Interview with Kelsey Josund, Author of Platformed

If you were in an elevator with a stranger and had one minute or less to describe Platformed before the doors opened, what description would you give?

Silicon Valley is a weird place even today: it’s pretty disconnected from the real world a lot of times but also very exposed to the threats from climate change and reliant on the whims of the rest of the country. In Platformed, I imagine how this wealthy but vulnerable place will be in the mid-2030s, following a young female software engineer as she turns to a mega corporation to shelter her from wildfires, disease, and a failing economy. The story is heavy on characters’ processing their circumstances and full of beautiful imagery, all against an unsettling background. It’s supposed to be a gentle dystopia, frightening because it’s so close to our own lives.  

What part of Platformed was the hardest to write? What part was the easiest?

The first scene I wrote was of Sara and other newcomers to the Community being compelled to play a game of tag. It came to me fully formed and was incredibly easy to write, though I didn’t know the characters or the implications of anything that was happening. That was incredibly fun. On the other hand, Sara’s time early in the Community, while in quarantine, was very tricky–I needed readers to understand Sara’s profound boredom and numbness in that time without being bored or numb themselves. Striking that balance was not easy at all.  

If Platformed is turned into a movie, who would you pick to play Sara?

Florence Pugh!

What books are on your to-be-read pile right now?

I’m looking forward to reading Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders, which is about the power of stories in bad situations. For fiction, I’m just starting The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. In addition to that, I’m going to read advanced review copies of not-yet-released books by friends of mine in the writing community, including Of Us and Them by TL Coughlin and What Happened to Coco by VB Furlong.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I love to both read and write science fiction and fantasy, though I’m oddly not that interested in many of the classics of either genre. I think I prefer female protagonists so much that a lot of the old famous science-fiction-fantasy books are off-putting to me.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading Platformed what would it be?

Platformed quietly deals with climate change, wealth and privilege, and gender roles, but mostly it grapples with meaning, and the sources we use to derive meaning in our lives. I hope readers remember that climate change is not something that can be avoided or escaped, but that our complicity in its impacts does not decrease our worth.  

Kelsey Josund is the author of the new book Platformed

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