Project Pandora (Assassin Fall #1)
By: Aden Polydoros
Publication Date: August 1st, 2017
Tyler Bennett trusts no one. Just another foster kid bounced from home to home, he’s learned that lesson the hard way. Cue world’s tiniest violin. But when strange things start happening—waking up with bloody knuckles and no memory of the night before or the burner phone he can’t let out of his sight— Tyler starts to wonder if he can even trust himself.
Even stranger, the girl he’s falling for has a burner phone just like his. Finding out what’s really happening only leads to more questions…questions that could get them both killed. It’s not like someone’s kidnapping teens lost in the system and brainwashing them to be assassins or anything, right? And what happens to rogue assets who defy control?
In a race against the clock, they’ll have to uncover the truth behind Project Pandora and take it down—before they’re reactivated. Good thing the program spent millions training them to kick ass…
1) What is on your desk or where you write? What do you need to write? Do you have a writer’s survival kit?
I usually don’t write at my desk. I like to lay in bed while I write or write on the train, but I usually have some sort of beverage waiting nearby. Coffee mainly, although it’s become a tradition to drink a Monster energy drink when I first begin a new story or edits.
My writer’s survival kit consists mainly of caffeine and insomnia.
2) A lightning round:
What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster?
I’m a pantser. I usually have no idea what a story is going to be about when I first write it, and PROJECT PANDORA was no exception to that rule. By the time I hit the 100th page, I get flooded with new ideas and writing becomes easier.
Which came first: the novel or the title?
The novel. I hate coming up with book titles.
Which do you prefer: drafting or revising?
I prefer revising, as it’s often easier and goes by much faster.
Which came first in PROJECT PANDORA, the character or their code name?
The code name. The characters’ code names were the whole reason I named the project Pandora in the first place. Otherwise, I would have just used numbers to refer to them.
3) What is your number one writing tip?
Keep writing. It doesn’t matter if you hate your writing, as long as you keep it up, you’ll have something salvageable at the end. Besides, by the time you’re done, you probably won’t remember which parts you hated writing and which parts you loved.
4) Describe you book in 5 words or less
Teen assassins rebel against handlers.
5) A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete. What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?
1. In the first draft, the story took place in New York City.
2. Hades was originally the villain. He still sort of is.
3. When I began writing PROJECT PANDORA, Tyler was my favorite character. During edits, when I had to write more scenes from Hades’s POV and reshape him into a character that readers would love (or at least love to hate), Hades became my favorite character.
4. The story went from 65,000 words to 104,000 words during the revision process.
5. “Zeus” has had multiple names. Only in a recent draft did I settle for “Dimitri.”
6. I added the poker game scene in part as a way to introduce Dr. Miller, who is going to play a role in the sequel. This was after I wrote the sequel and was in the process of revising PROJECT PANDORA with my editor. Dr. Miller didn’t exist in the first version of PROJECT PANDORA.
7. I wanted there to be a sort of duality between Hades and Tyler, even down to their appearances; Tyler represents civilization and daylight, whereas Hades represents the wilderness and darkness. That’s why you’ll notice Hades is compared to wild animals a lot, whereas Tyler is described as being tan and elegant.
6) Do you have a special story, a discovery you made while doing research, or an innocuous thought that grew into something bigger that is behind your inspiration for the book?
When I first started working on PROJECT PANDORA, I began researching brainwashing and stumbled across articles about Project MKULTRA. As I read more about MKULTRA, I learned that some of the experiments involved LSD, electroconvulsive therapy, and sensory deprivation, which became my inspiration for the experiments in Project Pandora.
7) Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?
Hades is my favorite character, and he is also the one who gave me the most trouble. I probably had the most fun writing his chapters because he can respond unpredictably and cruelly, without having to worry about what is moral. Except, that meant I also worried about how people would perceive me for writing him, especially since I never condone his actions when they’re written from his POV. He doesn’t think that what he’s doing is wrong, although the other characters do.
8) If you could ask a character of your choice from PROJECT PANDORA one question what would it be?
That’s a good one. Hmm. I would probably gather my characters all together and ask them if they hate me, because I subject them to so much crap. They’re probably very pissed off at me. Especially Hades.
9) What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
I’m most proud of the interview transcripts and status reports I sprinkle throughout the book. I feel like they really add to the story and create a sense of authenticity. They were also really fun to write, because it allowed me to give the reader information that I couldn’t include in the characters’ chapters.
10) What are the top five things we should know as a reader before starting PROJECT PANDORA (about the main character, their love interest, the antagonist, their world/home town, their situation, etc)
Oh, this is a hard one. Let’s see…
1. PROJECT PANDORA is divided between 4 different POVs—two male and two female. The chapter ratio is relatively even between the characters, even though the blurb is written from Tyler’s POV.
2. All the characters are flawed. They make mistakes. Some kill people.
3. There’s some steamy kissing.
4. The story takes place in Washington D.C.
5. There are two couples in the story: Shannon/Tyler and Elizabeth/Hades. But I hope that readers will ship different pairings, too.
11) What is your favorite line that you have written? (whether recently or of all time. It could range from funny to poignant)
In PROJECT PANDORA, it is:
There were no clear borders between his old self and what he was evolving into. Some days, he felt like a beast and a man sutured together, each one fighting for dominion over the other.
12) What is next for you? What are your currently working on?
I’ve completed the sequel and an accompanying novella for PROJECT PANDORA, and am now working on several other young adult novels. Currently, my main project is a gothic horror novel about a cursed girl and a young Holocaust survivor who are dragged into a conflict between entities that feed on human suffering. I’m also working on a high fantasy and a contemporary thriller.
Aden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, the youngest of three children. Aden’s family moved to Arizona when he was in second grade. As a kid, he spent much of his time exploring the desert near his home. When he wasn’t searching for snakes and lizards, he was raiding the bookshelves of the local library. As a teenager, Aden decided that he wanted to be a writer. He spent his free time writing short stories. He was encouraged by his English teacher to try his hand at writing a novel, which inspired him to begin PROJECT PANDORA. The YA thriller is set for publication with Entangled Publishing in Summer of 2017. He is represented by Mallory Brown of Triada US.
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