Extropia is the action packed Debut novel from Robin Bootle, who resides in none other than the UK!
Our main character, Edward, is a person we will come to know very well during the roller coaster read that is Extropia. The tale begins when an act of sabotage leaves Edward all alone in the world and a single day at school plunges him right back into the heart of a tragedy that he tried to escape.
Set in virtual reality with RPG elements this book had me hooked, I was hanging on reading “just one more page” and almost caught hypothermia when I took it in the bath! Each character is developed and well thought out, no matter what their part in the story. This is the action-adventure we’ve been waiting for and I am thrilled to have got my hands on a copy.
There are mentions of other characters and games in the book which don’t really date it as such, Edward is a young boy so he’d definitely know these references, although a certain part that mentioned Skyrim as an “old game” had me reaching for my phone to check when it came out, sure enough, it’s older than I thought!
The book is not afraid to bare all when it comes to emotion as it takes us through a roller coaster of treachery, heart ache, friendship and victories. It’s not difficult to get invested in these characters and the “bad guys” definitely get your heart beating faster.
The imagery is fantastic, Bootle doesn’t spend ages going over the finer details but I definitely had a picture in my head of each character, location and scene.
I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait for the next part of the adventure. If you’ve enjoyed this review and want to know more, go along to amazon to get yourself a copy.
Born in Greece, Mr Bootle is well travelled having lived in Chennai (India) and Hampshire (UK) before moving to Mauritius as a child, where he still visits regularly. He has since lived in New Zealand & France, and is now living in London with his wife Kate.
I was fortunate enough to get an interview with Mr Bootle for this review post, I always love to do this with upcoming authors so that their readers can get to know a little about what makes them tick. Here it is;
Hi Robin, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. I’m sure both our readers will be interested to find out more about you and your work!
So how did you come to be an Author and what inspired you to write?
I was sat at a desk job with no work to do when I was 21, and my brother emailed me to say, “Why don’t you try to write something to fill the time?” So I did. I wrote a short piece about some people at a party. It was poor but the point is I really enjoyed it. Then I spent about 10 years trying to think of what to write, before the idea for Extropia inspired me to finally get on with it.
Extropia is your debut novel, and it is some novel! How do you feel about how it’s been received so far?
I’m really pleased. There are some amazing reviews out there. It’s a long slog writing your first novel – there’s so much to learn – so to have people enjoy it genuinely makes it all worthwhile. There are some people who didn’t like it too and I’ve read their reviews which, while being torturous, actually contain some good feedback as well.
Are there any real-life influences for the characters in the book?
I didn’t think so … but my family and friends have pointed out various details. Maybe my subconscious is in there more than I realise. But there are some definite and deliberate fictional character influences in the book. Like Ivandell and Hasgard. They’re fictional characters inside the game, designed to be similar to characters from Lord of the Rings. In some ways, Extropia is a coming together of so many science fiction and fantasy books and films. I love those genres.
The book is set in Virtual Reality and works within the realms of RPG. Are you a big fan of VR and RPG gaming?
To be honest, I started writing the book before VR had become broadly available to consumers But I can’t wait to see where this new technology will take us. I enjoy a good, open ended RPG, and the coming together of these two things – an RPG using virtual reality technology, will be so immersive. I don’t think my wife will ever see me again.
Is there any particular character in the book who you identify with?
The protagonist, even though he’s only 16. He reminds me of my younger self. Self-assured but not outspoken. Liable to let his feelings build up until he gets into a bit of a rage or does something stupid.
Extropia is a roller coaster of a read putting the reader right in there as a fly on the wall throughout all of the heartache, friendship and victory, did you find it emotional to write?
You know, the older I get, the more emotional I become when I read or watch scenes about people dying. I can’t help it. I think I can relate to the characters’ sadness more, particularly when it comes to bad things happening to direct family members. So strangely, I do find myself a little sad when I read the scenes about Edward’s relationship with his father or his mother’s funeral, for example.
There are more books coming to the Extropia universe, when do you plan to release these and is there anything you can tell us about the next part of the adventure? (without dropping spoilers of course!)
Yes, absolutely. I’m just running through the 2nd novel with a thick layer of polish. I hope it might be out this year, but I could see it slipping. I’ve also made a significant dent on part 3 as well, and am hopeful the third instalment won’t be too far behind. What can I say about them? Well, if all goes according to plan, the lines between what’s real and what’s not, and who we are as people are going to blur even more.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
So much advice. If I pick just a few things: 1) You have got to be determined. It’s not going to be easy. Keep at it. 2) Get lots and lots of feedback, and only from people who are going to be brutally honest. 3) Don’t tell yourself you’re going to write an hour every day. It can soon seem impossible, particularly when you reach an impasse with the plot or become uncertain how to deal with something in the narrative. Just tell yourself to sit down for 10 mins every day, and most days those 10 mins will turn into 30 or 60 mins. 4) Use your time now to network. Go to writing conferences and meet people before you’re trying to sell them something. When it comes time to try to get published, you’ll already know some people who may be able to help you out.
If you’d like to get your hands on the book, it can be found here