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S.J. Kincaid - Interview by Julia, Teen Blogger

My new obsession and favourite book series is S.J. Kincaid’s, The Insignia Series!

I only picked up Insignia because it was on my Battle of the Books list but, of course, I had to just fall deeply and madly in love with it. I ended up fangirling to my friends every lunch hour, and sometimes during class, for a week. I made fan art, jewelry, and goofy little writing projects.

I really loved this book because of how much it reminded me of the Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. But Insignia sings it’s own unique song. It plays on the sweet genre on sci-fi and fantasy and it has over 300 sweet measures (pages) of pure awesomeness.

Today, I feel very lucky to be able to share an interview that I did with S.J. Kincaid.


INSIGNIA Book CoverHow did you come up with the title?

I always have difficulty coming up with titles, but INSIGNIA just hit me one day…As I walked through Best Buy past the ‘Insignia’ brand.

What inspired you to write Insignia?

I came up with the idea after reading an article about anticipated near-future technological developments. One development discussed in the article was the increasing use of unmanned drones, especially for warfare. This image came into my mind of two great powers fighting a vast battle with fleets of these unmanned drones. It occurred to me that with the human element removed, it was almost like a videogame. Everything else in INSIGNIA sprang from that.

In your pen name, what does S.J. stand for?

Shelley Jessica

Did you base any of the characters in your story off of someone you knew?

Certain elements. I based Wyatt’s appearance off someone knew. I based Vik’s demeanor off a guy I lived in the same hall with. I based Yuri’s perfection off someone I knew in high school. Last but not least, I based Tom and Vik’s friendship partly off the friendship of two boys I knew.

How did you envision your characters? Were all your characters in the book the same as you first imagined them or did you change them up?

The only one who majorly changed was Wyatt Enslow. Originally, she was two different girl characters who I felt very ‘meh’ about. I decided to combine the best parts of both of them into a single, very awesome girl character, and Wyatt was the result.

Do you like to play video games like your main character, Tom Raines?

I am awesome at The Legend of Zelda on SNES. Otherwise, very rarely. I luckily have friends who are very into video games, and I got ideas from them.

Did you learn anything from/while writing your book and what was it? 

VORTEX Book CoverI burned myself out writing the second book with a technique that used to work wonders for me. I used to reread a book almost every day during the writing process, but during VORTEX, I started going back, editing over and over again, and basically tearing my hair out trying to get it perfect and getting nothing done. I learned when I am reaching that point, I need to step back and give myself some breathing room.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

It’s what I always write in INSIGNIA: Make it matter.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d probably choose my writer sister, Meredith Duran. Even before I got published, she was the one telling me how the publishing world worked. When Insignia was just a manuscript, she was the first person other than my agent to read and she greatly encouraged me to move forward with it. She remains my voice of reason.

What books are you reading now? 

ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth and a book called SLAMMERKIN. Also, just finished rereading THE DRESS LODGER, and planning on rereading THE RED TENT.

[Editor's Note: Slammerkin, The Dress Lodger and The Red Tent can all be found in the Library's Adult Fiction collection.]

Thank you so much for doing this author interview with me and a BIG thank you for such a great new book series that I can now super fangirl over. I loved doing this interview with you so much! I really admire you and enjoy all your works.  So I have one request of you… And that is to keep on writing!


You can find out more about S.J. Kincaid on her website and you can follow her on Twitter.


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