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Interview with Emilie Hardie, author of Subjugation

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By 2041, Australia has become an Empire. Emma is their top rebellion-squashing General and she’s furious when she’s given her invaded homeland, New Zealand, to rule as Governor.

Pretty much everyone, including Emma, knows what a spectacularly bad idea it is to put her in charge of anything related to governing, and soon everyone and their dog (or lion) has an opinion as to how Emma should run her Territory.

Emma’s stuck between a rock and a hard place when she’s told to crush the New Zealand Resistors or the whole Territory will be nuked, particularly since her secret little brother is a part of them.

Things just get more complicated from there.

What genre are we dealing with here?
Near future Dystopian with a decent amount of political suspense thrown in. There’s also a few vague elements of a military thriller at the beginning, but that will feature more later in the series.

We meant to ask you about that. So this is a series?
Subjugation is the first episode in my TV series-like novella series, The Last Empire.

In that case, we should get to know Emma a bit better.
Emma Calloway is a tough girl who had a tough life.

She was old enough to remember, and get caught up in, the Australian Invasion of New Zealand. At the time, she supported the Resistors, doing little things like running messages, and she didn’t acclimatise well to living in the country that invaded hers.

She spent her teens as a party girl, drinking to forget her pain, then shocked her whole family when she enlisted in the Australian Army. Within ten years, she made General thanks to the efficiency/skill she demonstrated at putting down rebellions. Her loyalty to the invader is absolute.

She sounds like one tough cookie. Is there more than that to her?
Emma wanted to be a ballerina as a child and was well on her way to being a professional but her legs were broken during the Invasion, ruining her dream. Her balance and flexibility help her enormously in the army and she is not someone you want to go up against in a fight.

Emma is very protective and loves her family, but that aspect of her is largely ignored by those who meet her. It’s much simpler, after all, to call her effectiveness malice and to name her a monster, rather than a human being you is simply spectacularly good at an unsavoury job.

Is Emma just a fictionalised version of yourself? How much do you have in common?
Very little. We share one or two of the same stats – female, Anglo-Saxon, twenties – but Emma is a girl who has spent most of her life under serious emotional stress and it will be truly spectacular when she reaches the breaking point.

There must be some things you admire about her.
If I admire anything about her, it’s her ability to cut through the BS. I guess that goes along with being one scary woman, whereas I’m about as scary as a wet towel.

She reminds us a little of Katniss Everdeen. Is that fair?
If you like the Hunger Games, you’ll love my book, particularly if you’re looking to progress to something more complex.

Oh? So what kind of readers exactly is The Last Empire series aimed at?
The kind of readers who like their characters real and conflicted. Characters in Subjugation often end up doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

OK. You said this series is TV-like. What does that mean?
I plan to release a new episode every month, so stay posted.

Tell us about yourself. All we know thus far is that you’ll be rubbish at crushing rebellions.
I’m an Australian and most definitely not an imperialist. I’ve studied international relations and am about to start a Masters in Military Strategy. Some of the backstory to the series’ main plot came out of me studying too much then trying to write to unwind.

Despite some of the horrible things my mind can come up with when I’m writing, I’m a perfectly ordinary human being. I like my hiking, cycling and running and love the fact that my writing makes it easier for me to come up with witty repartee to keep up with my family.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
Sure do. It’s emiliehardie.wordpress.com.  If you want to find out where I’m up to with writing the latest in the series, the right hand sidebar has progress metres.

How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
I’m on twitter at @EmilieHardie, which I use fairly often. I have a fanpage on Facebook which I use much less often. Okay, barely at all. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emilie-Hardie/335457606572973 if that interests you.

What’s next?
Continuing The Last Empire series. The plan is for at least a full season of twelve episodes, one a month for a year.

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