Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Spark by Rachael Craw

Tuesday, June 24 Diva Booknerd 
Wednesday, June 25 The Tales Compendium 
Thursday, June 26 Kids' Book Review & Happy Indulgence 
Friday, June 27 Fictional Thoughts 
Sunday, June 29 Striking Keys & Thoughts by J 

Hallo! I'm so happy to be part of the Spark blog tour. Spark is the debut sci-fi novel by New Zealand author Rachael Craw. I have Rachel doing a guest post for my stop, check out the tour schedule above to see all the other awesome content throughout the blog tour!

Release Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Genre: Sci-Fi

"Evie doesn’t have a choice.

One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer.

The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.

And then there’s Jamie. irresistible. off-limits."

Guest Post

DNA: Nature versus Nurture

- What's inside us versus what we're brought up to believe and how Spark, with the premise of altered DNA can affect that.

Spark explores the question of free-will through an extreme premise of genetically engineered predestination. The megalomaniacal Affinity Project use ‘Optimal’, a synthetic gene, to create a breed of combatants with pronounced affinities for defence or attack. These individuals are physically bound to follow their instinct to protect or kill. Evie is one of their unwitting initiates. One minute she’s a normal 17 year old girl grieving the loss of her mother, the next she’s a Shield bound by her DNA to watch over and protect Kitty, her best friend from a deranged killer. 
The idea of being compelled, bound, doomed, fated to a course of action is a fairly harrowing concept. I wanted to force my protagonist to have to operate within these parameters almost like an experiment in human nature. How does it impact decision making, the view of self and others, personal responsibility, culpability, motivation, relationships, commitments, values etc, etc? Evie struggles against this loss of ownership over her life while liviing the demands of her new reality. She questions her own feelings: Is love or desire real if it’s designed in a test-tube? Is loyalty, devotion, compassion legitimate if it’s simply programmed into your DNA? Where’s the value in it if it’s not birthed in choice? 
I’m an advocate of personal responsibility. Undoubtedly there are individuals born into extreme circumstances over which they have no control: war, disease, political climates, religious dictates but for the most part we still carry the wild card of ‘choice’. I like to think of myself as a free-agent determining my own path, choosing who I am and who I will become within the constructs of my family and society but I can’t deny I had a moment when I made contact with my birth mother where I was confronted by the power of DNA. Aside from the striking novelty of acute family resemblance (something I had never personally experienced) I was astonished that I could share so many similarities in personality, temperament, sense of humour, mannerisms, interests and talents with someone I had never spent time with before. I can’t deny it stirred up some spooky contemplation about how much of who I am and who I am destined to become is already built into the foundation of my person at a cellular level. 
Poor Evie has some painful wrangling to do with these tough questions. The injustice of it, alone, could drive a girl mad. In ‘Stray’ (Book 2), Evie comes face to face with the power brokers operating within the Affinity Project. Her time at the compound is not easy and their gruelling ‘orientation’ process pushes her to the limits, physically, mentally and emotionally.

That's very deep. I can't imagine constantly questioning whether I have free-will because of something in my DNA :/ Thank you so much Rachael for stopping by the blog today. Spark is sure to be an interesting read!


About Rachael Craw

I love words. I always have. I love the shape, sound and texture of them and sometimes pinning them down but I didn't always know I wanted to be a writer.

When I was six I was pretty sure I'd grow up to be a Solid Gold Dancer, all that glittering spandex. By about 10, like every girl I knew, I wanted to be an Air Hostess. As a teen I fancied acting and studied Drama and Classical Studies at Uni. In the end I became a high school English teacher and I loved it despite the lack of Lycra and jet setting. I have kept journals most of my life and written poetry, scripts and short stories for my own entertainment. 'Spark' is my first novel, the beginning of a Young Adult sci-fi trilogy picked up by Walker Books Australia. I lived in Christchurch my whole life until our house was wrecked in the 2011/12 earthquakes. Now I live in sunny Nelson at the top of the South Island of New Zealand with my husband, three daughters and our odd little dog.

Find her at the following places:


  1. I love it when speculative fiction brings up a really great debate that has real-world consequences - like this one. Science has developed so far and soon this DNA/free-will kind of argument will be even more important. Great guest post :)

    1. The idea of science getting so far ahead just raises so many ethical issues and the lines are really blurring - books like Spark scare me sometimes when you think of what science can do O-o