This week’s “Author Spotlight” is Logan Keys.
Logan’s currently half way to Japan, working on her new voyage (hint hint) into fantasy, but she’s still “keeping it real”, and writing futuristic sci-fi on the daily.
Saving imaginary planets one story at a time, she says, “My words are my riot.”
We were lucky enough to get an interview with her after reading “Barkley Five Oh” an exciting yet emotional story about a robot named Barkley.
The story is about…
Blurb: The power of attachment. The pain of connection. An ability to love. Barkley 50’s special programming allows him to mimic human emotions, perhaps a little too well. He finds himself navigating this new-found humanity in a place that’s losing its own. And with the passing of each one of his owners, the world grows closer to its end, forcing Barkley to fear the future, a thing he’s never contemplated until now.
What will he do when there’s no one left at all?
From the Author of the Best-Selling Dystopian Series “The Last City” comes this surreal tale of a robot learning what it is to be human. At the end of the world, Barkley Five Oh depicts the beauty of learning to love, and is a fantastic short glimpse into the dimensions of the human spirit.
You won’t be able to put this one down!
I think Barkley Five Oh was a good short story about a possible future living with AI (artificial intelligence). The robot is purchased, but develops human-like emotions in dealing with its human companions, positive and negative. Kind of scary, considering how far the science of AI has come, and the developments that are happening everyday. Although the application of giving AI emotions is still a puzzle to researchers, the robots that have been developed are frighteningly human-like.
are two examples, and there are many more for those interested in pursuing the subject. Stephan Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates have all stated serious misgivings about artificial intelligence, which I think is interesting in light of the story.
I received a copy of the story in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! I loved this short story about Barkley Five Oh, the robot. Barkley sort of reminded me of Johnny Five from Short Circuit in a way with how his personality changes over time and he becomes more human minded. I just loved it. It’s short and sweet, emotional at times, and I loved the ending!
Thanks to Logan Keys for sharing it. I’m very much looking forward to reading more of her books.
Interview with Logan Keys
~Twogalsandabook: Have you always wanted to be a writer?~
Logan Keys: It was strange. I never considered not writing. But I also didn’t think I’d take it further than for myself and friends or family. I’d forgotten until recently that I had written a partial novel, a middle-grade mystery about a magic stone at age ten. I wrote a ton of pages and carried them around. Funniest part, I had a song to go with it! And I still remember the song. (dies of embarrassment)
Would you like to hear it? LOL 😛
~Twogalsandabook: When did you start writing?~
Logan Keys: Poetry was my first style. But I wrote shorts too. And that novel above that I mention haha. I was very young when words meant something to me. Like weirdly obsessed with vocabulary before I could even string a sentence together! (My grandmother can vouch for this) I was also a voracious reader very young. I read horse books mostly. Flicka, Black Beauty, A horse and his boy, King of the wind…
Anyway, because they were children’s books, but dealt with larger adult issues (animal abuse, economy, prejudice) I learned a great deal about how young adult doesn’t have to mean young prose. Their writing is spectacular, and poignant. I was a reader and am still a reader first. Writer second.
~Twogalsandabook: As a child, did you dream of becoming an author?~
Logan Keys: Not at all. I dreamed of being an Olympic equestrian (still do *sigh*). I ride horses and compete. I love it. But life has been too busy (I have two small children). I daydream about riding more than actually doing it now days. I had an accident a few years ago. Physical therapy for a year, and during that, I figured I’d take my writing more seriously to keep from losing my ever-loving mind.
I’d been published before (short stories) and I had a finished novel, but I had re-written it so many times that I wanted something new. I wrote Gods of Anthem (now named The Last City) in that period with only one arm free (the other in a sling haha).
~Twogalsandabook: Did you enjoy writing in your high school career?~
Logan Keys: I actually dropped out of high school after the second year and attended college instead (whilst working three jobs to support myself). After my first creative writing class I found that it wasn’t for me. I’d take college courses for something else. They wanted me to write about horses because that was where my heart was. But there is another side of my life that wasn’t all ponies and roses. I write when I’m in a good place at times, but more so, and often, I write when I’m in a bad place. (mentally)
I was not encouraged in college to pursue horror. It is still predominately a male genre. I should write romance and ranch hotties, right?
So instead, I went online (my name making people assume that I was a male) and I began posting stories (horror). It was well received, and I started sending them to magazines shortly after.
~Twogalsandabook: Do you read much? If so, who are your favorite authors, and which authors inspire you most?~
Logan Keys: Even though I started in horror, I actually was inspired by various artists. Gabaldon’s Outlander, Koontz’s Intensity, Goodkind’s fantasy series, Karen Moaning’s Fever series, and on and on. I read all over the map!
Even Twilight inspired me to write first person because I loved the closeness to the thoughts of the character.
~Twogalsandabook: When reading Barkley Five Oh, I couldn’t help but think about “Johnny Five” from Short Circuit. Barkley reminded me so much of him with his developing personality. Was Barkley Five Oh at all inspired by that movie?~
Logan Keys: Not at all. Actually. LOL. I don’t even think I’ve watched that one all the way through haha. There was a sci-fi magazine looking to pay for short stories. I submitted chapter one as a full story and it got declined (rightfully so). I then rewrote it, and added and kept adding.
Suddenly I had this whole story and nowhere to put it. I went to my cover designer The Book Design Guy and asked if we could do something for him, and he obliged. I didn’t expect much from Barkley. But I should have.
Writing him was a flurry of emotion. He was intense!
~Twogalsandabook: Does the science of developing AI interest you, and do you follow developments?~
Logan Keys: Not much! I honestly read mostly fiction about AI. I read Glitch, by Hugh Howey, and he mentions emergence in it (also AI) and I looked it up and started reading about what that meant. Some stuff I just make up, so it’s not hard science fiction, but some I read and studied, so it’s got those elements mixed with fiction.
~Twogalsandabook: What do you think of the comments made by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk that developing AI will be humans’ demise and is like opening a Pandora’s box, and we will all rue to regret it?~
Logan Keys: I don’t buy it. I think we tinker with things and push so far, but the universe (God) pushes back with boundaries. Take horses for instance. They’ve gotten healthier for certain, but not faster over time with specific breeding even. The model is what it is. The genes break down.
I think with computers it will follow this same pattern. For every big breakthrough, there will be a drawback that moderate our capacity to go too far. (shrug just imo)
I believe everything has a balance.
~Twogalsandabook: Was much research required for the book?~
Logan Keys: Not really. I fudge a lot of the science. But I write fiction more purist. I’m not in it for the actual science as much as the fun of fantasy too! The story!
~Twogalsandabook: What was the most difficult aspect of writing Barkley Five Oh?~
Logan Keys: The self doubt. I have not done straight science fiction. If you read The Last City series, you’ll see it’s a mixture of fantasy and fiction. Nothing is certain in that world. Each book grows closer to dark fantasy (and that’s also closer to what I like).
But with Barkley, I felt like I had no business in that field.
But then I remembered how horror felt at first too!
We all belong in any field that takes our fancy.
Write it all!
~Twogalsandabook: Will there be any more books pertaining to Barkley?~
Logan Keys: I want to make a saga, sorta. Book two and three will be like Act II Act III. But my timeline is nuts right now! I have book three in The Last City series coming out in the summer, and book one in the War on Magic series also coming! I have a short story (The Lucky Ones) waiting in the wings that’s very dystopian. I’m seriously swamped at the moment in a mountain of words. I love it!
~Twogalsandabook: What are you working on now?~
Logan Keys: Tons! Everything. LOL. I’m doing fantasy this year, dark fantasy, young adult. I write my own style of magic and I feel like it’s really unique. I’m excited to show it to you all! I hope people who like the science fiction will try my fantasy to. It’s definitely got horror elements as well. I think almost all of my novels will have that.
~Twogalsandabook: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?~
Logan Keys: Everyone has a story. Everyone. Try to translate it onto the page as well as possible, but if you are worried, or nervous, or scared, then you are absolutely doing it right!
~Twogalsandabook: How do you deal with writer’s block?~
Logan Keys: I don’t actually believe in “blocks”. Strangely enough. I do believe you get tired, or weary, or have a bad day. I think people use block to describe when their brainpower is low. My brain gets exhausted. I get to where I don’t have much energy left. But surely I need to eat or rest, or use nature to refuel. Or read a book to refuel.
There is a lot of ways to spark back up!
~Twogalsandabook: Do you have a special atmosphere or environment when writing?~
Logan Keys: Depends on where I am in a project. My first draft I live in my head at times. So just daydreaming as I go around. Music that fits that world in my head. Then writing is usually quiet. But sometimes music then too if I need it to really be emotive. But I’m not lucky enough to just shut myself away. I usually have dog, baby, kidlet, and family all right next to me while writing and editing. The TV on, doorbell, barking, chaos….sigh. haha. I write anyway. You can’t let it stop you!
~Twogalsandabook: Is there anything that you’d like to add that we haven’t included?~
Logan Keys: Yes. I actually ran a reviewing blog for a long while. Before that I was a senior editor for a magazine out of London, and let me tell you, having been on both sides, I can’t thank you all enough for doing these reviews, blog posts, keeping the word out for authors like me. It’s crucial to our existence. I read reviews to keep going. Plus it spreads the word. It’s a thankless job so…thank you so much.
~Twogalsandabook: Are there any social media platform links or websites where readers could connect with you?~
Logan Keys: www.logansfiction.com
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Twogalsandabook would like to say Thank You to Logan Keys for offering her time for this interview so we can share it with readers everywhere…
Logan is the author of other works including:
The Last City (The Last City #1)
This book is getting rave reviews! You can read some reviews at:
Twogalsandabook will be reading and reviewing this series soon. Please subscribe below to see our posts!
Sixteen-year-old Liza was prepared to die from cancer, but instead she’s been gifted super-strength. Since the undead plague, the world’s gone crazy: Evil dictators, mad scientists, sick kids imprisoned on an island, and experiments that have created the stuff of myths and legends.
When Liza meets Jeremy Writer, an anarchist rousting the people to revolt, she has a choice to make. Risk imprisonment, or join the rebellion. And she finds she has a talent for enlisting allies to their cause.
Tommy’s a normal seventeen-year-old boy, that is, until he’s angry. The Underground’s created super-soldiers to fight the regime holding the last city. But he struggles to contain his monster more and more, and Tommy wonders how much of himself will be left when they arrive. He’s got too many who rely on him, to give up now.
If Liza can’t help spark an uprising, and Tommy loses control before victory, then the last of the population will be purged, and freedom will be nothing but a memory.
The Last City (Formerly Gods of Anthem) is a young adult zombie dystopian tale that faces all odds in a post-apocalyptic world. Fans of The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, and Divergent will devour this thrilling series.
La La Land (The Last City #2)
This is the second installment in The Last City series. Readers are loving this series. Please visit Goodreads for some of the reviews:
Twogalsandabook will be reading and reviewing this series soon. Please subscribe below to see our posts!
A rebel who’s been revived to save the world. A soldier with a monster locked inside.
Liza and Tommy return to a destroyed America, continuing their fight for freedom, only this time, their search for allies will end with the same madmen and women who’ve engineered new monsters in an attempt to create the perfect soldier.
Faster. Smarter. Hungrier.
These rejects from the special program have replaced the undead at the top of the food chain.
Blood suckers roam the wilds, while brutal youths trap unsuspecting travelers.
No place is safe.
If Tommy and Liza can’t stop the warmongering council that rules the new fortress, they might not get a chance at freedom again.
Following the best-selling novel The Last City (Gods of Anthem), La La Land is a must-read for fans of dystopian zombie books, and young adult fiction. Those who enjoyed The Walking Dead, Divergent, or Hunger Games, will love this sequel that delivers an epic tale of survival until the heart-stopping finale.