Author Interview – I Am Waltz – Matthew Dho
1. Tell us all a little about I Am Waltz
I Am Waltz is about a boy named Kyle. On his 16th birthday he is come upon by a robot that is down on its luck. In Kyle’s world a massive race of AI exists solely to complete menial tasks in the First World. They are all owned and controlled by the company that created them called IRIS. IRIS uses patented restrictor chips to limit what an AI version can learn. For example, police robots can only learn to become better police, chefs can only learn to become better chefs, etc. Kyle lives at a cognitive recapture facility, which is really a futuristic junkyard. There his father extracts the AI consciousness and uploads it through the cloud whenever a new hardware version is out. It’s real blue collar stuff, and most people frown upon it because of the grotesque nature of the process. Nevertheless Kyle lives there and on his birthday, he meets a robot pleading for help. This robot has somehow had his restrictor chip removed. (Something that was thought to be impossible). From there the story takes off and enters into a real adventure quest for freedom and answers.
2. Where did you get the idea for the book?
Originally I wrote a book about a group of people who had won tickets to the world’s first entirely sustainable space hotel. Through that, I wrote about a lot of ultra-advanced AI robots that were the help in this Space Hilton. The idea of ultra-advanced robots who had abilities both cognitively and physically far and beyond that of humans being essentially slaves to those who were really under evolved than them became something I obsessed over. I wondered what would happen if that were a reality.
What would happen if an AI existed that was better than humans in every way, but was limited purposefully in its abilities by those who created it? What would then happen if those limitations were removed? What lengths would the oppressors go to in an effort to gain back that control?
These questions led to I Am Waltz. Through exploring these answers a trilogy formed and the first is I Am Waltz. I wanted to tell the story through a relatable protagonist, so I chose a teen that had been disconnected from the world. This disconnection would provide a thicker connection to today’s readers. So I had my protagonist and a jumping off point of countless questions. From there the story spun itself.
3. Why did you decide to use Inkshares – a crowdfunded publishing site?
I hate the idea of slush-piles. I hate the idea of having so much control taken away. To just sit on a wish and a prayer that the reader at Publisher XYZ isn’t hungover and is actually going to give my manuscript a read. I think Inkshares is a great marriage between self-publishing and traditional. I think it really fills a void and is the future of publishing.
4. Why do you write?
Why not? Ok that was not my answer. I have been writing for as long as I can remember, so I am not sure the exact reason. But I do love to tell stories and writing is a great singular way to do that. I love to control of writing and the process itself. Its slow and often lackluster, but fulfilling for me in a very selfish way. Until other mediums such as film, I am not restricted by anything when it comes to writing. No money restraints, don’t have to worry about lighting or sound. It’s all the perfect condition and I can create anything I want.
5. What are your plans for the future with your writing?
After I Am Waltz hits shelves I will begin writing out the sequel and then the trilogy after that. I brainstormed and roughly plotted the entire trilogy before beginning I Am Waltz and have titles picked, though I won’t reveal those just yet. After this trilogy I have plans for a connected trilogy in the same universe the Waltz Trilogy sets up, though a century into the future from where the third book ends. Beyond that I love film and work on a lot of shorts and that sort of thing.
6. Why should readers help support your book?
Passion. The competitiveness and broken system that is the publishing world often drowns out a lot of great work. But yet passionate writers continue to plug away and no one ever hears their voice. I am beyond passionate about this book, it’s themes and I whole-heartedly believe its readers will derive a lot of value from it. Sadly without help in today’s world the book more than likely will fade into the abyss, never to be read. From discrimination, persecution and loss to more wild topics such as artificial intelligence and the technological singularity I hope the book to be enlightening and entertaining for all who read it.
7. What’s your favorite line from the book?
“I Am Waltz.”
8. I know you are using funds from the book to support a charity. Can you talk a little about that?
After the tragedy in Orlando I did not feel right asking people to support escapism entertainment without first acknowledging the horrors in our own reality. Money and profitability never has been a motivating factor for why I write. So it was an obvious decision for me to donate any and all author proceeds from this work to the families of the victims that were torn apart by that tragedy.