There were a few key themes. First, we are going through something in America right now that has been bubbling under the surface for much longer than anyone would like to admit. The trifecta of evil (as I like to call it): racism/xenophobia/homophobia/sexism, partisan media, and the destruction of the middle class. Biased media has been stoking the fire of hatred and distrust since Richard Nixon left office and an entity called Fox news was dreamed into existence. It has created a culture of fear and suspicion among our citizens. This book is a “what if” if Donald Trump (or someone like him) and his family were to gain control of the United States forever. If they were able to successfully remove the constitution and deploy their own tactics as a form of governance. I wanted people to see what could happen if we continue to ignore these threats as well as the ever-looming promise of climate catastrophe. Not one person is going to be able to fix this, it has to be all of us; or at least the majority of us, that take a stand. The United States is sick and only by dragging these issues into the light will we find a remedy. Another prominent theme was the age-old tale of good versus evil. I wanted to make the characters truly good or evil to demonstrate the acute contrast between the two choices. Was it a little over the top at some points? Sure. That was intentional. Kaelyn and Arrow are the purest forms of what is right and just in the world. Adon was the epitome of corruption, narcism, and abandonment of reality. This first instalment was meant to be laid out in a true black and white format. The subsequent instalments will delve more into the gray; where you find people like Sloan and Nora
2. How did you choose the names for your characters in Rise of the Resistance? I'm curious, is Macleod's first name (Adon) a partial anagram of Donald?
Well, Adon is a mash-up of Adolf and Donald. MacLeod was the maiden name of Donald Trump’s mother. Arrow and Valor were named after the fall of America (in the storyline) with the intention of invoking hope and direction when you thought of them. Kaelyn was merely a throwback to a time where things weren’t as perilous
3. Given the subtitle of the book (Phoenix One), it feels like this is the beginning of the series. There were also a few characters along the way that felt like seeding or foreshadowing for further stories. Are there any plans for a continuation of the story?
Yes, there will be a sequel, at the very least. I will probably write a total of four. Two that take place after this one and then potentially a prequel. There are characters placed through the book that I will focus on later. Specifically Phoenix Two, Sloan, and Nora. I believe they all have some interesting perspectives that need to be explored. I’m looking forward to writing Sloan’s story (in the nest book). She has existed in Eden as an indentured servant of sorts, and an outsider in many ways. Her family remained loyal to the Resistance throughout her whole life, which cost them dearly. When I see the world through her eyes, I imagine it was plagued with a look of resentment and confusion. This probably wasn’t always laid at the feet of MacLeod; it would have had her questioning the Resistance as well. Unlike Arrow, who had it ingrained in her everyday duty that this was the only way to survive, Sloan saw a more comfortable path day-to-day life unfolding in front of her.
4. And more importantly, will Nora be involved? She's intriguing! Can you tell that I like villains...
Nora, yes; I actually get the most questions about her, which I find fascinating. Readers really love to hate her, and weirdly, are pulling for her. With Nora, you can see a brilliant woman who is a product of her circumstances. She has been raised in a terribly sexist world and has had to keep her intellect in check to fulfil her ambitions. Although she was born into privilege, her capabilities were limited. The final instalment of the series will focus on her story, and her internal battle to not only survive but thrive. Nora will be able to reinvent herself, but some aspects of her will remain the same. She will never be “the good guy”, but instead, an antihero. Strangely, Nora might be the most relatable character in the story, and I really want to dig into her flaws as well as her attributes. In the real world, people aren’t one-hundred percent good or evil. The majority of us fall somewhere in between. I think Nora is an excellent vehicle to exemplify those characteristics.
5. If you could plan a dinner party for a handful of characters across all of your books, who would you love to see engaging in conversation over canapes?
I have written in several different genres at this point, so this is an interesting question. In my After Dark Series, there are military, FBI, Homeland Security, terrorists, and CIA personnel. Lands End is about a restaurateur and a PR Rep. In Lucy’s Chance there is a police officer, journalist, and serial killer. I’m working on a book with, Jean Copeland right now that is about a time-hopping witch. So, if I had to choose one from each, I believe it would go something like this: Tyler Monroe, Lucy Rodriguez, Amy Kline, Jennifer Glass, and Nora MacLeod. Tyler suffers from PTSD from her time in the Marine Corps and trying to find where she now fits in. She should be hardened and untrusting, but she has managed a level of empathy and understanding that I missing in most people. Lucy Rodriguez threw away her first love to pursue her career aspirations and has had to deal with the repercussions. She is smart, sassy, and a lot of fun to write. Jennifer Glass also appears in the After Dark series with Tyler. She struggles with insecurity and tinges of jealousy. Finally, Nora, because I think she would liven the whole thing up. Nora is a formidable force with very strong opinions on…well…everything.
6. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars, no question. I’m a huge fan and am really enjoying the direction they’re taking the storyline. Although they both have the ability to keep reinventing themselves while holding true to their tried and tested themes; I find Star Wars to be much more entertaining. Plus, I’m genuinely enjoying Rey’s journey and find myself counting down until the next instalment.
7. If you were trapped in a derelict building surrounded by nefarious, supernatural enemies, who would you want to save you, Buffy or Wynonna Earp?
This was a hard one…but I’d have to say I’d go with Wynonna. She’s a bit of a wildcard, which just adds to her appeal. I also find Wynonna to be a bit more of a layered person, in contrast to Buffy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think they’re both fantastic, badass women. But, if push came to shove, I’d much rather see Wynonna breaking through the window with Peacemaker, then Buffy.
You can buy Jackie D's scifi novel, Rise of the Resistance, here and connect with Jackie here.