I’m very pleased to share an interview I did with cyberpunk author, Anna Mocikat. The author of Behind Blue Eyes and Cyber Squad, I’m a big fan of her work and have reviewed multiple books by her. Recently, she just released the fantastic NEON NIGHTS: A CYBERPUNK DETECTIVE THRILLER and sat down to speak with us about it.
Can you tell us about Neon Nights: A Cyberpunk Detective Thriller?
Happy to! Neon Nights is a blend of cyberpunk science fiction and a classic noir detective story. It has many tropes from both genres but tells a unique and exciting story that has my signature.
Is it possible to read this without being familiar with Behind Blue Eyes?
Absolutely! Even though Neon Nights is a direct spin-off of Behind Blue Eyes, I wrote it in a way so no previous knowledge is necessary to enjoy the story. Readers can dive right into the gritty sexy world of Olympias! However, Neon Nights features two of the most popular side characters from Behind Blue Eyes, the two homicide detectives Siro Ferreira-Nunes and Kate Spader. Readers who enjoyed the main series will surely love this book, too.
What inspired you to do a cyberpunk detective thriller?
I think cyberpunk and detective noir fit together perfectly. If you look at Blade Runner, it’s basically a detective story, too. And so is Altered Carbon (the book). This is the first time that I wrote a crime/mystery story, and I had a lot of fun with it. It’s certainly more like “Seven” than “Miss Marple” though haha
Mostly the book is a fan service. Readers loved the two side characters and their perspective so much that they kept nudging me to give those to their own story.
What’s the protagonist, Siro, like? How about his partner Kate?
Siro is an amazing guy. And I’m not saying this because he’s my character. He’s just someone everyone likes, and that applies to readers and other characters. He’s honest and idealistic, in fact, in this whole rotten cyberpunk reality of Olympias, he’s probably the only good guy. But he’s also sharp-witted and an ambitious over-achiever. What makes him special is that he’s Brazilian. I have some Brazilian friends and watched them closely before writing the character. Even in serious situations they always seem to have something lighthearted about them. They’re amazing people.
Kate is very different than her partner. She’s sassy and can be pretty ruthless if she wants to achieve something. She looks more like a punk than a cop which is why she’s the perfect choice for undercover investigations in Oldtown, Olympias’ underbelly. Despite being completely different, the two cops form a very close bond and work together nicely.
Can you describe the setting?
Neon Nights is set in the same world as my acclaimed cyberpunk series Behind Blue Eyes. It’s a world that is ruled by three mega-corporations that control everything. Both stories are set in Olympias City, a cyberpunk megacity built over what used to be Atlanta, Georgia. Even though it’s clearly a dystopian system, Olympias has managed to make people believe that they live in a utopia.
While Behind Blue Eyes is mostly set on the “corpo” side of the story, Neon Nights brings us to Oldtown, Olympias’ grittiest and seediest part. It’s mostly a huge redlight district where everything is possible, but it’s also the place where organized crime blooms. Of all places in Olympias, this is certainly the most dangerous one.
Neon Nights is a lot steamier than your previous works, what made you go the sexier route?
Is it? I thought all my books were pretty steamy? 😉
My books are written for an adult audience, meaning there’s violence and sex, there’s beauty and ugliness. But maybe you’re right and Neon Nights is a bit sexier than the others. That is because I use sex as a setting. Huge parts of the story are set in the redlight district, so I thought I’d show the readers what it looks like and how it feels to actually be there. I got inspired by the redlight district in Bangkok, Thailand. I’ve been to Thailand many times and was always fascinated by the unique vibe of the huge redlight district there. It was my blueprint for the redlight district of Oldtown Olympias.
Plus, our main character is a handsome, charming guy. He deserves to get laid properly at least once.
What is cyberpunk to you as a genre?
First of all, cyberpunk is my favorite genre and my passion. Which may be why I’ve written four book series in it. For me, it’s dark gritty science fiction for adults. Contrary to Star Trek, it shows a relatively realistic future, often a dystopian one but not necessarily. It often bears a social commentary, which I combine with fast-paced action scenes. My personal all-time favorite and big inspiration is Ghost in the Shell
Is this the start of a new series or a standalone?
I’ve not decided yet. Neon Nights is a closed story and a standalone. I think the ending is satisfying. It depends on my readers. If they tell me they want more then I can write many more cyberpunk detective stories featuring Siro and Kate for them.
How different is this for fans of Behind Blue Eyes?
I think fans of Behind Blue Eyes will feel at home immediately. Every book in the series also has one or two side plots set in Oldtown and readers will recognize locations such as The Dome or The Underground. And, of course, the Guardian Angels will make a guest appearance. I think seeing them in action from a completely different perspective will be a lot of fun for BBE fans.
What can we expect from you next?
I’m currently working on Space Punks 2. Originally, I planned to release one book a year in this series, same as I do with BBE, but I got such overwhelming feedback for the book with so many people asking me to give them book 2 as soon as possible, that I decided to change my plans and to start with book 2 immediately. It’ll release in January and that’s also when the audiobook will come out. I’m really excited about this one as it features a full cast.
I always listen to my readers. After all, it’s for them that I sit down and write every day.