#NewRelease Q&A Upon All Men by Sophy Layzell
I am thrilled to have a question and answer session with speculative fiction author Sophy Layzell. Her latest novel Upon All Men was released on March 28 of this year. I must admit I find the premise of organs as currency absolutely fascinating.
In a world where cloned organs are currency, loyalty and truth are hard to find...
Faction members Deter and Lincoln find themselves on opposite corners of the earth.
Deter journeys to the remote Kerguelan Islands to be reunited with her guardian, Amery, who has found safety from the Establishment at the Sanctum. Lincoln, exhausted and disillusioned, has no choice but to remain in London as he continues to work on the elusive vaccine... But his already frail heart is failing.
Following the violent end to the uprising in New York, Angus flees to Finland, finding a new role supporting a bid for free trade with one of the world’s leading Biomedical Scientists. Back in New York, Roller and his friends are afraid. It seems Angus has left just when the Brownsville community needs him most.
As the Establishment step up their security measures, what little freedom the people have is squeezed even tighter. As things reach a crisis point, who will come to Lincoln and Deter’s aid in time?
Will it be the Faction, the Establishment or the Sanctum?
Q & A with Sophy Layzell
It sounds like this is a very personal story for you, partly inspired by your experiences. Are those experiences what made you want to become a writer? Or was it already your goal?
Hi Dan, there are many aspects of writing the Complete trilogy that are personal to me. Firstly, as way of channeling energy after my daughter died and also because the theme of organ transplants is very personal to me. Part of what the Jemima Layzell Trust does is encourage conversation around organ donation and so I created a plotline where they are the norm; where having a transplant is an expected part of life. If anyone would like to know more about Jemima’s organ transplant legacy please do look up her website www.jemimalayzell.com there’s too much to tell you in one blog post!
Also, I suppose that story telling was already there though, from my work with youth theatres and moving into novels was just a slight step to one side.
How many books do you have planned for in the series? Judging by the end of this one, at least one more.
Yes, there are three. They are all linked and the main storyline overarches all three. The first, Measure of Days is already published and this one Upon All Men is the second. Wages of Sin, the final book, will be released in October this year. It’s probably best to read them in order, although I have had mixed feedback. Some people say they enjoyed Upon All Men as a standalone, whereas others are adamant you need to read all three.
As a follow-up to the previous question, to what extent did you have the entire series planned out when you started the first book?
I knew it would be a trilogy from the outset. The main plot was there in my mind but the details developed as I wrote it. Some of the characters dominated in the first draft, then were cut to make way for others. It could have been one book, but it would have been a little long!
How do you allocate your writing time around a day job and other commitments?
I’m lucky that we are self employed and run our own businesses. I write between various other commitments but that’s what I like, the fact each day is varied. Over lockdown, writing became more like a job as there wasn’t much else I could do. Our building conservation work stopped, so did the youth theatre and charitable fundraising. It really was a surreal time and so writing gave me something creative and rewarding to focus on.
Your story is told from several different narrative voices. Is there a character you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoy each one as I write it, but both Angus and Roller are my two favourite characters. The action scenes are great fun to get stuck into and in the last book, the battle sections were a joy to lose myself in. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’d rather write about killing someone than kissing them!
The great thing about multiple perspectives is it gives you a chance to see things from varied viewpoints. One man’s triumph is another’s disappointment, and for a story that deals with political upheaval, rival scientific institutions and man’s adjustment to changes in the natural world, it’s vital we understand that. So, I hope readers come away with their own opinion, about scientific intervention, how world leaders should operate, and how one person’s actions can change everything. As Jennifer says to Deter,
“Well, you have this unusual quality but in truth, it’s irrelevant. You have the same shelf
life as other beans. You are in the same size tin. Your tin also has the same power as any
other tin. If stacked to a great height, one tin can topple them all if removed from the
bottom of the pile.”
“So, the fact you are a clone and immune to FED doesn’t have to define you.”
About the Author
Sophy Layzell lives in Ilminster, Somerset and worked in Youth Theatres for over fifteen years which she loved. She is also busy with the family firm, J Layzell and Sons, who celebrated 125 years in the building industry last year. Her daughter Jemima is the UK record holder for most organ transplant recipients. Since her daughter’s passing, Sophy set up the Jemima Layzell Trust and has been encouraging conversation about organ transplants and brain injury awareness ever since.
This is the second book in the series after Measure of Days.