Friday, February 06, 2009

GUEST AUTHOR: Kimber Chin

Living Off The Grid

 Invisible_Kimber_Chin Before I talk about my new book, Invisible, let me first say that I'm a serious J.K. Coi fangirl. You know a writer rocks it when I read her paranormal novels. I mean, paranormal novels have dead (or undead) people and blood and everything. I have to close my eyes during the violent parts and that's really, really difficult when reading (much easier when watching movies). All this is worth it because J.K.'s characterization is mind bending!

Okay, gushing over. Back to my own frightening tale…

As anyone who has ever applied for credit knows, our financial information is connected by giant databases (from space – no, not from space but that would make a good story, wouldn't it?). When you apply for a Visa Card, your application becomes visible to every creditor you currently have, including MasterCard, American Express, your bank, Lord And Taylor, Wal-Mart, oh, and, of course, the government. You use a loyalty card when buying a jar of peanut butter, and that loyalty card company tells retailers, manufacturers, credit card companies, oh, and, of course, the government. All these people now know you prefer smooth over chunky. Freaky, isn't it? Better than giant databases from space 'cause these giant databases are local. Situated right here on Earth.

Anyhoo… the fun really starts when your peanut butter purchases and your Visa applications and your medical files are looked at together. Companies use common pieces of identification like social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, to happily connect this information. A pretty good profile is built on who you are and what you're likely to do next (Big Brother styles). The web of interconnected databases is called 'The Grid.'

Right or wrong, this is the world we live in.

Or at least some of us live in this world.

You see, there are thousands, perhaps millions, of people who live off the grid. No one knows how many because… well… they are untraceable. No, we're not talking illegal immigrants though they tend to live off the grid too. These are otherwise regular residents like you and I, born here, likely gonna die here. They don't have social security numbers. They don't have credit cards. They don't pay taxes.

In other words, they don't exist. They're invisible.

Maeve, my heroine in Invisible, isn't a purist. She does pay taxes (or at least her corporation's corporation pays taxes). She does semi-exist. However, her job (paid in cash, of course) is to hide people on the grid or take them off it entirely. What kind of people? Abused wives escaping nasty husbands, rich people who want to make it a little more difficult for someone to sue their a$$es off, victims of identity theft.

It is a crazy, unique, mind bending way to live. I wrote Invisible to be a standalone novel but found this world too darn fascinating to leave at one book. Plus my pre-editor told me that if I didn't write a certain knife wielding vigilante's love story she was going to quit. So expect a follow up novel next year. She's a great pre-editor. Gotta keep her happy.

Excerpt from Invisible:

“You want me to disappear.”

“No.” She laughed that wonderful laugh of hers and his disgruntled mood lightened. “You’d have to do a lot more than that to disappear, Hagen.”

Right. “No phone,” he guessed.

“No calls at all.”

No calls at all? Couldn’t be. “What about a payphone?”

Maeve shot down that idea, shaking her head, her hair brushing against his shirt. “A good investigator would be watching all calls to family members. She could track the call, finding the phone. It would be enough to eventually locate you.”

Why did that excite him? The thought of Maeve finding him? He was one sick puppy. “I’d have to keep moving then.” To escape her.

“The more you move, the more likely you are to make a mistake. Better to disappear once well.”

But she would catch him, she wouldn’t give up until she did, tenacious, little…“Do people disappear often?”

“Every single day.”

About Kimber Chin:

Kimber Chin writes sexy contemporary romances set in the world of business. Why business? Because men in suits are hot, hot, hot! Don't believe her? Every week, she features a photo of a man in a suit on her site http://businessromance.com/. She is also an avid romance reader and gives away her favorite romance eRead every month.

16 comments:

Maggie Robinson said...

Interesting premise! There are many days when I'd like to disappear. All I know is that I Googled bathing suits last week and now have ads on the sidebar of every site with women in bathing suits. Planning on something completely outrageous to Google and see what happens!

Kimber Chin said...

Yes, Maggie, don't even get me started on Google. Google Earth... the fact that anyone on the planet could watch you and your house. Pretty darn freaky.

Makes me think of that Rockwell song 'I always feel like somebody's watching me'

Amy Ruttan said...

I've got my copy, as you know Kimber.

It's my treat when I get through my RITA reads.

Kimber Chin said...

Amy, you're the best!
I hear a bit of groaning about the RITA reads from other authors.
Hopefully you'll find some gems.

I love 'discovering' a new author.

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Candace Morehouse said...

What an interesting concept! I could so see this as a movie starring Ben Affleck globe trotting and avoiding the bad guys... Sounds like a great book!

Michele Ann Young said...

Cool, Kimber, such an insight into our world. I wish I was invisible. Can't wait to read it.

And how about that do not call list. How crazy is that?

J.K. Coi said...

Hi Kimber!
I loved Invisible. It took me two days to read it only because I had to stop for work and sleep—even so, I’m walking around like a zombie today.

It’s disturbing to realize just how easy it would be for anyone—even if they weren’t as skilled as Maeve—to find us if they really wanted to. I might just have to disappear myself.

So how many times have you changed your name? :)

Kimber Chin said...

Thanks Candace.
LOL about Ben Affleck.
I can't remember the last movie he made.

Kimber Chin said...

I currently have a few names, J.K.
It comes with having a difficult last name (the Chin is only part of it). I get credit cards in all sorts of names.

'Course I also have my maiden name.

One of my brothers has 'officially' changed his name about five times.

I believe in making it difficult
for the baddies
but
if anyone wanted to track us down, they could.

I was complaining to a hacker friend about my dentist holding my records hostage.
A half hour later, my hacker buddy sent me a copy of them!

J.K. Coi said...

I've come to know a few really good skip tracers myself--comes with my line of work (day job) and have learned a lot from them.

On another note, can you tell us a little bit about your next book?

Kimber Chin said...

My next novella (out in July) is a total departure. It is a romantic comedy written for my Mom so she can show her more conservative friends what I write. In other words, it has no sex in it (grinning).

However, after that, I will be back with Tavos' story, my knife wielding vigilante from Invisible. He is a very bad man and he doesn't suddenly morph into the traditional romance hero either. LOL There is no 'I'll change for you 'cause I love you', more like 'This is who I am. Deal with it.'

That's in for submission with the publisher now.

I'll have a couple shorts coming out of that novel.

J.K. Coi said...

Oh, Tavos! Tavos was awesome, I can't wait!

Kimber Chin said...

I love Tavos also. He has that scarred bad boy thing working for him.

My pre-editor, Mandy, forced me to write Tavos' story. I'm glad she did. It took me awhile to find the perfect woman for him though.

Tavos does something in his story that I've never seen done in a romance novel before (no, not use the F-Bomb as every second word - that, I believe, has been done). He is a very bad man. LOL

Shelley Munro said...

I think I'm following you around Kimber. I saw you at Wylie's blog. This is such a great premise, and when you think about it, these days it would be pretty difficult to stay off the grid.

Kimber Chin said...

Are you a stalker, Shelley?
LOL
Ohhh... that gives me a great premise for another novel!