By Government-enforced mandate, genetic augmentation and implant technology cannot coexist in the same human body. Sixteen year old Viki’s life has depended on her implants since she was five. Now her implants are failing. When Viki discovers that the malfunctions are due to illegal augmentation, she is determined to find those responsible. Viki’s friend Halle, a rogue AI, is doing its best to help her search, but Halle has its own problems.
Agent Smith of the Search and Retrieval Bureau is also looking for the geneticists who augmented Viki, and his orders are to capture them by any means necessary—even if it requires risking Viki’s life by using her as bait. Agent Smith had been closing in on the AI before being reassigned to Viki’s case, and Smith’s partner is still on the hunt. Searching for the geneticists risks exposing Halle, but Viki and her friend must find them first—they are her only chance for survival.
“Augment is one of those great books that keeps your interest locked in until you run out of pages. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for well rounded, and well written, story with characters that will make you care.”
“There was just enough science to be plausible, and plenty of fiction to be entertaining. The author does a fine job in making an inanimate character (Halle) quite ‘animated’ and an essential component to the story.”
“The plot is very unpredictable and the tension almost tangible. The characters are so vivid you find yourself sharing their fears, their desperation and their tears.”
CIR: What inspired Augment?
HAYDEN: I love science fiction and studied genetics and computers in college. When it came time to choose my Senior Project, I decided to combine all my passions and write a science fiction novel. Of course, I needed a story to write. Thankfully an idea popped into my head out of the blue and from that fragment, Augment was born.
CIR: What was your favorite part of writing this story?
HAYDEN: Discovering the world and the characters. I’m a pantser, so the first draft was almost entirely unplanned—just me sitting down and writing. Viki and Halle leapt off the page from the start, and I sometimes had trouble keeping up with them! Writing an AI’s perspective was especially challenging at times, but also very rewarding.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
HAYDEN: All the research it required. A lot of the technology in Augment is still theoretical (or made up), but I wanted it to be as accurate as it could be, and that meant a LOT of research. I spent most of the summer prior to writing the novel reading books on genetics and augmentation, implant technology, and artificial intelligence.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
HAYDEN: Honestly, it’s too close to call, but if I have to choose one, I’d say Halle. Despite the challenges that come with writing an AI, I really loved watching its character develop as the story progressed. Its unwavering loyalty to Viki is one of the things that keeps her going through the darkest parts. Also, Halle’s avatar is a cat that changes colors with its emotions, and I really love cats!
CIR: What themes do you address in this story?
HAYDEN: Friendship is a major theme, and to a lesser extent, so is acceptance in various forms. Viki’s and Halle’s friendship especially is important throughout the story, as it gives them both the strength they need to face the many obstacles in their paths. Both must also learn to accept certain things … I can’t say more for fear of spoilers!
CIR: Is there more coming? A sequel?
HAYDEN: Yes, I’m am currently working on the sequel, Upgrade, which will be released in 2017. Upgrade will continue Viki’s and Halle’s adventures, with more of a focus on Halle this time, because the new danger they face is another AI called Talbot. Let’s just say Talbot isn’t friendly like Halle is…