Stephen Hise is the author of Upgrade, a sci-fi thriller that he describes as a bodice-ripper with a Twilight Zone twist. In a nutshell, Upgrade is about Brent Schoenfeld, a wealthy, but unattractive, young man, who undergoes a cutting-edge new medical procedure that changes the way his appearance is perceived by others.
The concept of Hise’s novel is based on the science of the brain. So explains Hise:
"It is known that there are some decisions the brain makes much quicker than the conscious mind is able to. Innumerable brain processes are never entrusted to the conscious rational mind, but instead are hard-wired in the brain itself. In effect, our brains make a whole lot of decisions without consulting us. What we think of as 'deciding' may in some cases be nothing more than the conscious mind rationalizing a decision already made by the brain. The premise of the book is that a scientist has discovered the exact optical metrics the human brain uses to categorize attractiveness, and he has developed a procedure that alters the face in a way imperceptible to the patient, but causes others to see him as attractive."
I was first made aware of the concept of how humans make instant decisions which are based in the depths of our reptilian brain in Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller, Blink. Hise initially got the idea for Upgrade while watching a Twilight Zone marathon. As he was homeschooling his high-school daughter, he assigned her to come up with a story line for her very own Twilight Zone episode. Struggling with the assignment, she challenged Dad to do the same. And so was born Upgrade.
Upgrade was e-published by Hise and is available on Smashwords for download. Hise decided to e-publish the novel after trying the traditional route first. Hise got caught up in what he calls the “Catch-22 of agents who don’t want to represent someone who doesn’t have a publishing contract and publishers who don’t want to hear from writers who are not represented by an agent.” Before Hise e-published, he had never even heard of the concept. Shares Hise: “One day I tripped across a blog article on how to get your book e-published. I followed up on it and here we are!”
According to Hise, e-publishing is definitely the future of publishing:
"One of those reasons is that the 'gatekeepers' of the traditional publishing world have become so risk averse and lethargic, they will not be able to compete with the variety and economic models of e-publishing."
What is Hise’s advice for aspiring writers? “I let the characters and plot twists evolve organically, rather than trying to force whatever vision I may have had originally into the writing.” Hmmmm…. I tend to be a structure freak, but I definitely think that books do take on a personality of their own. And I have also been very influenced lately by how character wants and needs are basically at the core of what drives plot.
You can find more information on Stephen Hise and Upgrade on his website: http://stephenhise.com/. Don’t forget to also check out his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.hise2 LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stephen-hise/26/b81/342 Twitter: @StephenHise