Friday, January 25, 2013

Upload by Collin Tobin: Interview and Review


Tell us about your current release.

My current release is entitled “Upload”. It’s a technological thriller about a boy, Jay Brooks, whose life is in turmoil. His mother was killed the previous year and to make matters worse, his father has become extremely distant. Jay finds solace in spending time with his best friend Bennie, and cruising the streets, mapping Wi-Fi hotspots. One night, Jay accidentally captures an upload he was never supposed to. Once he and his friend dig into the origin of the upload, they realize what they’ve discovered has far-reaching, life-threatening implications.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I do. My first reader is always my wife, Gina. After that harrowing screening process, I’ll reach out to close friends and other authors I’ve come to trust. Funny you should ask, because I’m currently torn between sharing chunks at a time at first, or waiting for a complete first draft before sharing. On the one hand, the early validation and occasional reorientation that can occur with frequent and regular feedback is good. But on the other hand, until at least a first draft is complete, even I can’t quite see it whole yet. Why should anyone else?

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A veterinarian and a chef. But once I learned very early that you have to occasionally hurt the animals to make them better, I was turned off to the idea. And with chef, I hadn’t thought it all the way through either. Cutting up and broiling animals didn’t seem to be a dream job for me either.

What is your favorite meal?

Pizza. It really is the perfect food, and I’m obsessed. So much so, I have trouble when I’m in a strange town and see one of those tiny hole-in-the-wall pizza shops without stopping. I am sad when I can’t. As if I’d just made a major life decision. The wrong one.


Do you play any sports?


I wrestled and played tennis in school. Currently, I’m a big fan of the P90X at home workout program. A major focus of the program is around “jump-training”. I do this in my basement, which has very low ceilings—my knuckles can attest to it. I haven’t hit my head yet, but I’m probably developing a dowager’s hump?


Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? If so, how are you approaching it?


Wow, yeah. Forty. It’s not so bad. I don’t know if this is true of others, but somewhere between thirty-five and thirty-nine, birthdays had become a blur, as if I either didn’t care, or didn’t want to think about it. No big deal. What? I said, no big deal. Next question?


What is something people would be surprised to know about you?


I was an extremely premature baby. My parents even held back naming me, things were so touch-and-go. My father still holds out his cupped hand to me and says, “I could hold you, seated just like this.” Now that I think of it, given that I was so premature, maybe I can put off recognizing my fortieth birthday a bit longer?


Is there one passage in your book that you feel gets to the heart of your book and would encourage people to read it?  If so, can you share it?

Yes. A bit of dialogue. Without divulging details, a very sad, and very determined old man is introduced in the first half of the book. He is recounting the loss of his daughter due to a violent crime. He’s relaying his struggle to imagine what his daughter, or any child, must be going through in the hands of a violent criminal:


“For those children to have realized that all of humanity had abandoned them at that last moment.” He shook his head. “What must she think when she realizes there is no hope, no help? Just the day before, her greatest personal responsibility and burden was perhaps to tie her own shoe, and today, here is an animal doing God knows what to her. Now she has nothing. She has to face total abandonment, helplessness. She has to both conceive of for the first time and greet the true prospect of death in the next coming minutes, days, hours. Do you understand? All of human suffering, all of human suffering, is brought to bear upon this poor child. Every horrible, painful, unrighteous death throe is hers to experience, alone. Can you imagine how alone she feels? The protective golden bubble of youth smashed open to reveal… what? Nothing? Cold, irreverent space? That pain has no end? Human evil has no bounds?”


Do you have a Website or Blog?

I do. It’s fairly new, but I’ve started to add some smaller pieces I’ve written, mostly poetry for now: The name of my blog originates from a Vladimir Nabokov quote about his writing process, relating it to how he feels right before a novel comes to him, just as a bird gathers what it needs to build its nest.

Collin Tobin lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters. He holds a bachelor's in English and master's in Education. He has worked in the software industry for the past twelve years.

He was the lucky recipient of the Mississippi Literary Festival's 1st place in poetry and has also published poems in "character i" and "The Drum".

When he's not writing, he enjoys re-reading Nabokov's fiction in chronological order, eating very hot salsa, and dreaming up inventions with neither the capital nor the initiative to see them through.

His greatest accomplishment is his wonderful family.

Blog  |  Amazon  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Someone’s always watching. Jay Brooks’s life is in chaos. His mother’s sudden death has unhinged his father, making Jay a stranger in his own home. He seeks solace by spending his spare time with his best friend, Bennie, but matters are further complicated by his crush on Chloe, Bennie’s older sister. A wheelchair-bound hacker, Bennie Welch practically lives in his basement computer lab. Longing to make genuine connections to the outside world, he secretly films people’s precious memories for later sale and surfs the crowds at rave parties, despite the danger to his frail body. One night, Jay’s hobby of Wi-Fi hotspot hunting turns serious when he unwittingly blunders into the scene of a crime and downloads a mysterious transmission. When Jay brings Bennie the contents of the transfer, Bennie embraces the opportunity to use his skills to investigate. As Jay and Bennie dig deeper into the world of electronic secrets, they find that the simple video has far-reaching implications that not only threaten their lives, but society as they know it. Tracing the mysterious coalition responsible leads them on an inexorable journey that will change them forever.

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4 Stars

I thought this was a very enjoyable read.  Jay is capable, creative and extremely likable.  I also loved Bennie; his wheelchair bound geeky friend and Chloe, Bennie’s sister and Jay’s love interest.  When I like and can relate to the main characters in a story it is almost guaranteed that I will find the story entertaining, as well.  In this case though, the story astounded me with its clever plot twists and unrelenting tension.  I read it quickly, even waking up in the middle of the night to continue reading because I felt so invested. 

Far-fetched and stretching the limits, for me, of believability, I still found the plot at least plausible (and scary).  I personally loved the technical descriptions and explanations - carefully structured so as not to overwhelm any particular segment in the story. The dastardly plot creatively illustrates and challenges us all to be alert to the idea that there should always be balance. Powerful surveillance devices, for example, may have their uses but the drawbacks of overextending the technology may seriously outweigh the benefits of going to such lengths. In that case, even well-intentioned zealous purpose could be horribly misguided. 
This is an exciting, contemporary, clean mystery that you will not want to miss.

I received a free digital copy of this book from Red Adept Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Reviewed by Laurie-J


January 21, 2013 to February 8, 2013 

January 21:Review on Big Al’s Books and Pals

January 21:Interview on Kboards Blog 

January 21:Guest Post on Earth’s Book Nook 

January 22: Guest Post on Literary Musings 

January 22: Interview on Writing Sleuth 

January 23: Review on Mallory Heart Reviews 

January 23: Review & Guest Post on A Diary of a Book Addict 

January 24:Interview on The IndieView 

January 25:Review and Interview on Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews 

January 25:Review on Reading Renee 

January 26: Review on Feeling Beachie 

January 27: Interview & Guest Post on The Pen & Muse 

January 28:Guest Post on Big Al’s Books and Pals 

January 29:Review on The Chaotic Reader 

February 1: Review on This College Dropout 

February 2: Guest Post on Mysterious Reviews 

February 4: Review on The Offbeat Vagabond 

February 6: Interview on Limerence Magazine


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