Interview with Carole Stivers, author of The Mother Code

I’m so pleased to present Carole Stivers, our guest blogger this week! Carole is the author of The Mother Code, an exciting and fresh science fiction novel, which launches August 25th.

About Carole Stivers

Born in East Cleveland, Ohio, Carole Stivers received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She went on to post-doctoral work at Stanford University before launching a career in medical diagnostics. She now lives in California, where she’s combined her love of writing and her fascination with the possibilities of science to create her first novel, The Mother Code.

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The road to publication is twisty at best–tell us about some of your twists.

Though it took many years (from 2011 to 2020, to be exact), my initial “road” was astonishingly easy. The best thing I did was to utilize the services of Heather Lazare, a free-lance editor with connections to the publishing industry. She helped get me in the door with my agent Elisabeth Weed at the Book Group. Elisabeth wound up being The Mother Code’s “ticket to Hollywood,” through her connections with Michelle Weiner at CAA. And then there’s Cindy Hwang at Random House. All of these amazing women had a passion for my book that sometimes surpassed even my own!

My current road is much rockier. My book release in the U.S., initially slated for May 5, 2020, was pushed back to August 25 in the wake of COVID-19. Launches of the book around the world have followed suit. And I don’t foresee being able to do any of the touring I would have been so thrilled to do, in promotion of the book. Only time will tell how my launch will now unfold!

Tell us about your next big project.

Pandemics aside, I believe that climate change is the greatest challenge to humankind, a specter that has loomed over my entire life and with far too little done to address it. Right now, I’m working on another futuristic science fiction with some elements of “cli-fi,” but with an alien touch. I call it Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Story of Your Life!

Have you ever traveled to do research for your writing? Where did you go?

I love traveling with my husband, an amateur photographer. For The Mother Code, we visited New Mexico (especially Los Alamos), Utah, and Arizona. On the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona, we talked to current residents about their lives and livelihoods, and were invited to watch one of their ceremonial dances—an honor for outsiders. And of course we spent more quality time at our beloved San Francisco Presidio, another setting used extensively in the book.

For an on-line mystery novella I wrote called The Butterfly Garden, we spent many days over two trips to New Orleans. And for my next novel, we’ve traveled to upstate New York, New York City, and Iceland. Now, I’ll just have to figure out how I can work Spain into another novel…

If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?

I was painfully shy as a child. I threw myself into math and science because I was good at them, and because those seemed like areas where I could work out of sight. Today, I would tell my younger self to relax—to enjoy learning for learning’s sake and follow whatever passions arise. I didn’t start writing creatively until I reached my fifties—so I never got to be a “younger writer.” I do regret that now, and I find myself working hard to make up for lost time.

What does literary success look like to you?

To me, success is being read, and having people talking about what I have written. I love the idea that someone spent their precious time reading something of mine, and that it made them think about things they might not otherwise have considered. And it’s thrilling to have someone tell my story back to me, but in their own voice.

And now, it’s time for the **GIVEAWAY**



Set on a near-future Earth inhospitable to human life, THE MOTHER CODE explores what it means to be a mother in a precarious world.

When a botched attempt at targeted biowarfare puts all human life at risk, scientists build super soldier robots programmed with a “Mother Code,” an ingenious set of instructions that enables the bots to raise and protect babies who are genetically engineered to survive.

Kai is born alone in America’s desert Southwest, his only companion his robot Mother, Rho-Z. As Kai seeks answers to his own origins, his devotion to his Mother only deepens. But as he meets other children like him and they all come of age, their Mothers are transforming too—in ways no one could have predicted. And when government survivors decide that the machines must be destroyed, Kai is faced with a choice: whether to break his bond with Rho-Z, or fight to save the only parent he has ever known.


Author: Yodassa Williams

Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70% Jedi, 30% Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award winning performing storyteller, alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and creator of the podcast ‘The Black Girl Magic Files’, Yodassa (Yoda) launched ‘Writers Emerging' in 2019, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color. In 2020, Yodassa's debut YA Fantasy, The Goddess Twins, will be published by Spark Press. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently resides in the Bay Area.

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