(Photo credit: Brandi Morris)
Out today from Flux Books is Maria Ingrande Mora’s Fragile Remedy! This dystopian story about a found family trying to survive is AMAZING. I read it recently (thanks Flux for giving me NetGalley access) and completely fell in love with it. Nate, Alden, Reed and the rest are all wonderful characters. I’m so excited that you get to meet them today!
Also VERY excited to be bringing you this exclusive interview with Maria. Many thanks to her for taking part, and to Flux for arranging.
1. I love stories about found family, and the group in Fragile Remedy quickly became one of my absolute favorites! Other than your own, which fictional found families do you especially love?
I adore the Dregs in Six of Crows. The Scoobies in Buffy were a formative found family for me, though my teen is watching Buffy at the moment and I can’t say it holds up for me. My favorite found family is probably the crew of the Bebop on Cowboy Bebop. An amazing cast AND a cute dog? It’s everything I need.
2. As great as all the characters are, for me the book really centers around two relationships – the very different ones that Nate has with Reed and with Alden. Of the three guys, who was your favorite to write?
Alden was absolutely my favorite to write. He was an outlet to step outside of the narrative and call out Nate (lovingly). He was a way to inject humor into the bleak story. And I’ve always been enchanted by characters who deflect like it’s an Olympic sport. I really connected to Alden’s insecurities and longing while recognizing the way he has mistreated others. He’s a divisive character. I don’t expect everyone to love him, and I think some readers will hate him. But no one hates Alden as much as Alden hates Alden.
3. Quick word association question – can you give me the first word that comes to mind in response to each of the following?
Nate – ponytail
Reed – worried
Alden – eyeroll
Pixel – clever
Brick – strong
Sparks – brave
4. One of the things I loved most about the book was the sense of hope that shines through despite the dire situation the characters are in. How important do you think hope is when you’re writing for teens?
I believe that all readers deserve to find hope in stories. That doesn’t always mean that a story has to have a happy ending, but I believe that stories should show people that hope is a crucial part of the experience of living. In a dark story, hope is a lot harder to hold onto. And it can be even more important to weave into the narrative.
5. You have a comprehensive list of content warnings on your website, which is really great to see. How important do you think content warnings are to readers?
I would love to see content warnings become more ubiquitous. It would be excellent if publishing started baking them into the back of books, for example. As far as how important they are to readers — it really depends on the reader. I don’t like reading about trauma to the mouth/teeth, for example. I’d love to know if this was in a story so I could gauge whether or not I was ready to dive in.
6. What are you reading at the moment?
7. And what can we look forward to from you next?
I have two projects at different stages of production. Both feature a bisexual girl main character. One is a contemporary ghost story that focuses on friendship and mental health, and the other is an alt-historical fantasy with a heavy romance element.
They both sound amazing! Huge thanks for this interview, Maria, and a very happy release day.
Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.
But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. As Nate’s health declines, his hard-won freedom is put in jeopardy. Violence erupts across the Withers, his illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay — and die — with the boy he loves.
Maria Ingrande Mora is a marketing executive and a brunch enthusiast. Her love languages are snacks, queer joy, and live music. A graduate of the University of Florida, Maria lives near a wetlands preserve with two dogs, two cats, two children, and two billion mosquitoes. She can often be found writing at her stand-up desk, surrounded by house plants. Unless the cats have already destroyed them.