‘Meet the Author’ with Reonne Haslett
Local author Reonne Haslett has released a new book called “JAKE/GEEK: Quest for Oshi.” We snagged a few minutes of time with Haslett and asked some questions about her latest book and life.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I love to write and have been writing all my life. I’ve written books, screenplays, poems, magazine and newspaper articles. I’ve had several blogs, the most recent one sharing my journey reinventing myself after my husband’s death four years ago. I especially love to write SciFi, Fantasy and Paranormal stories. I live in Grass Valley with my daughter and two cats.
What brought you to this area?
I always wanted to move to the foothills. When I met my husband in 2000 it turned out he had the same dream. We had a healing practice together in Vacaville, then opened one in Auburn, then on up to Nevada City. It was a gradual process, until March 2003, when my daughter got into the Nevada City School of the Arts. I had a good friend who had moved to Nevada City, and she helped us make the transition.
How did you get into writing?
I started writing stories as soon as someone put a pencil in my hand. I remember earning an award for a SciFi story I wrote in the third grade. I have hundreds of stories I’ve written, and ideas scratched on notepads lying about. My imagination knows no bounds. I dream prolifically and write them down as soon as I wake up. I worked in the film business in the 1990’s, and especially love writing screenplays. I see entire films in my dreams.
What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?
There are so many I don’t know where to start! I read SciFi voraciously and particularly like Young Adult fiction. One of my favorite SciFi writers is N.K. Jemisin. I’m reading her latest book “The City We Became,” and loved “The Broken Earth” trilogy. I also like Cixin Liu’s “The Three-Body Problem” trilogy, as well as “Ball Lightning.” I like M.T. Anderson’s book “Feed,” and, of course, who doesn’t love Harry Potter? If it’s about outer space, time travel, magic, spirits, or anything that pushes the limits of our beliefs, I’m there. That’s why I named my publishing company Expansive Press.
What is your book about?
“JAKE/GEEK: Quest for Oshi” is a story about teenage relationships amidst the backdrop of Silicon Valley. It’s a SciFi adventure and mystery involving hackers, avatars, evil billionaire computer gurus, experimental government projects, and a paranormal research lab housing an energy transmutation pod that transports Jake and Oshi into the World Wide Web. I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s a page-turner!
I’d also like to add something about the cover art. The artist, Chinthaka Pradeep, listened to my vision and captured the essence of “JAKE/GEEK” so well. Chinthaka lives in Sri Lanka and has quite a following on Facebook. He’s an amazingly talented artist.
What inspired you to write this book?
Teenagers today spend so much time on their phones and laptops, and my daughter was no exception. I think originally I was concerned about privacy issues, and I became fascinated with how hackers can find out so much about us. This was ten years ago, and it’s become much worse since then. I got the idea about a 15-year-old computer genius who becomes a hacker after his parents’ divorce. When I decided to self-publish, I had to bring the story up-to-date with technology trends that change so rapidly. I hired a tech consultant to make sure the details were correct.
What did you find most challenging about writing a book?
Discipline. I was in an advanced writing program when I wrote the book. I had an instructor/editor to report to which forced me to complete my assignments — basically the book’s outline and chapters. In December 2020 I rented an office three days a week to get “JAKE/GEEK” updated and ready for publication. I knew I couldn’t do it at home — too many distractions!
What is your key takeaway or message you hope readers find in your book?
Kids that are hurting inside need a positive outlet for their sadness and anger. Jake’s quest to find Oshi, his best friend, gives him a sense of urgency and something productive to focus his intense energy on. He transforms from the experience. He realizes that he can use his incredible talent to help others rather than be destructive, and his relationships with his family are healed.
Where can people find your book?
Locally, “JAKE/GEEK: Quest for Oshi” is available at Harmony Books in Nevada City and The Bookseller in Grass Valley. I always encourage people to support our local bookshops. If you happen to be at Quietech, the “geek” store in Grass Valley, there are a few copies. Online it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Abe’s Books, to name a few.
Please describe what you’d consider your perfect day.
Sitting in a café, drinking a chai, writing. Then later, a walk on one of the many beautiful trails we have up here. Pretty much a normal day for me.
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