Author Interview with Giveaway: Spiked (Spliced #3) by Jon McGoran

Posted April 29, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in author interview, Blog Tour, giveaway / 2 Comments

Author Interview with Giveaway:  Spiked (Spliced #3) by Jon McGoran

About the Book:

Title: Spiked

Series: Spliced #3

Author: Jon McGoran

Publisher: Holiday House

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopian


A plan for peace turns into a fight for survival in the third book of the acclaimed sci-fi thriller series. 

Committed to both peace and human rights for chimeras–people who alter themselves with animal DNA–seventeen-year-old Jimi Corcoran is torn when she’s invited to a gathering of moderate pro- and anti-chimera rights activists seeking to find common ground. But when a militant chimera rights group prevents her from attending–and saves her from being killed by the bomb they’ve planted–Jimi herself falls under suspicion for the blast.

Seeking to clear her name, Jimi and her chimera boyfriend, Rex, investigate the mysterious group. . . . only to discover that her involvement is no accident. As they dig deeper, they’re drawn into a whirlwind of secret identities, shocking experiments, and an apocalyptic plot that threatens the future of humanity.

In this thrilling conclusion to Jon McGoran’s timely and heavy-hitting Spliced series, extremists on both sides square off in an escalating battle between competing visions of the future of humanity, and of the Earth. Set in a near-future society where science is both celebrated and vilified, the Spliced series tackles weighty questions about genetic manipulation, artificial intelligence, population control–and when, if ever, revolution is worth a life.


Author Interview:

1.  What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.?  

I am a huge outliner and pretty much always have been, in fact for a couple of my books, I’ve written out more than one parallel outline, one for what is happening and one to keep track of which character knows about which clues have been revealed, that sort of thing. Plot is pretty important to my books, and I find outlining essential for plot purposes, but I’ve also come to appreciate how important it is for my writing from a character perspective. I feel like, with a really good outline, I know my characters really well before I start to write the first draft, which helps in the writing, but also helps with the plotting, knowing what they would or wouldn’t do, or what they need external or additional motivation for.

Some writers don’t like using outlines because they feel it constrains them—what if the story you had in mind changes while you are writing it? I totally understand that, but it is important to keep in mind that the outline works for you, not the other way around. I almost never finish a draft without changing the outline at least once or twice. As much as I outline, I am still learning more and more about the characters and the story as I am writing, and it is important to stay flexible. But I never abandon my outline, I revise it and then get back to the draft. 

I can see the appeal of using cards or post-its, but for the most part, I just use Word to outline. I can move text around easily, and sometimes when I’m outlining, I get carried away and just go ahead and write the scene. Having is all in Word makes it easy to just copy and paste.

2. Do you edit as you go, or wait till you’re finished before you edit?  How many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over? 

I used to edit as I went, but now I try not to. I write my outline, then I focus on completing the first draft before changing or editing anything, although, like I said, I do sometimes stop to revise the outline, if the story feels like it wants to change in some way. I used to do many drafts before asking anyone else to read it, but if a book is on a deadline, I may only get to go over it three or four times before sharing with my editor. It probably depends on the editor, but most of the editors I have worked with will want to see a fairly early draft, so that I am not wasting my time sanding and polishing bits of the book they are going to ask me to change.

3.  Are you part of a writers group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?

I have been in the past, and I found great benefit in it, but, again, when writing under deadline, I found that it just wasn’t practical. I would have to write at such a pace that by the time I got notes back on a chapter, I had already moved on. I am a part of an authors’ group, The Liars Club, and we support each other in many ways, mostly not directly related to writing, but sometimes we’ll talk out troublesome plot points and such. My wife Elizabeth is my main beta reader, and she usually reads my stuff early on, before my agent or my editor.

4.  Do you base your science fiction on real science that you have researched?  How much research do you do to be accurate?

Absolutely, my writing is based on real science, although it is often extrapolated out into the future. I do tend to do plenty of research, which I really enjoy. Mostly I am reading online, then usually tracking down experts to ask them the crazy questions that aren’t answered online. I have also sometimes done physical research for books. For one early book of mine, I had to test a few very specific properties or behaviors of liquid nitrogen, so I bought a huge container of it and tried all sorts of things. It was a blast (in several cases, literally!).

Sometimes, the research comes before anything else, as the idea for one book comes while doing research for another. That often happens when I’m writing a series, getting ideas for subsequent books while researching earlier ones. But the whole central idea of the Spliced series—young people using genetic engineering as a form of body modification—came to me while I was researching one of my earlier books, Dust Up, which also had a genetic engineering aspect.

5.  What are your favorite:

Books/authors/genres: I mostly read science fiction, thrillers and crime, and I have so many favorite authors, it’s hard to single any out. I grew up reading all sorts of science fiction—Clark, Asimov, Haldeman, Dick— then later got into crime fiction, especially Elmore Leonard, who was a big influence, and Carl Hiaasen. More recently, I love Neal Shusterman, especially the Scythe series. I cohost a podcast, The Liars Club Oddcast, and we had him on as a guest, which was incredible and super exciting. We’ve had a lot of great authors on, including Joe Haldeman, which was a real treat, too.

Movies/TV Shows: I love Alex Garland’s work. I just watched Devs and really liked it, and I loved Ex Machina. I love Black Mirror. There’s so much good TV out there right now. I love Barry, Fargo, Better Call Saul. I’m looking forward to watching Tales from the Loop, the new Amazon show based on the stunningly compalleing and narrative paintings of Simon Stålenhag.

Music: I like a lot of different music, alternative rock, some old punk, post-punk, alt country. I’m a huge fan of the Old 97s. I don’t actually listen to music all that much these days, which is unfortunate, because music is important to me. I don’t listen to music when I write.

Food/Writing snack: Mostly just coffee. I love to munch on salty snacks when I write, but that can interfere with my typing, and really, one should only eat so much in the way of salty snacks, so I try to avoid that as much as possible (…but it’s not always possible…).

About the Author:

Jon McGoran is the author of Spliced, a near-future YA science fiction thriller that Kirkus calls, “Timely, thrilling, and more than a little scary.” Splintered, the sequel to Spliced, is now available in bookstores everywhere. Look for Spiked, the final book in the trilogy, coming May 2020.  

McGoran’s other books include the acclaimed ecological thrillers DriftDeadout, and Dust Up, as well as The Dead Ring, based on the hit TV show, The Blacklist. Writing as D. H. Dublin, he is also the author of the forensic thrillers Body TraceBlood Poison and Freezer Burn

When not writing novels and short fiction or cohosting The Liars Club Oddcast, McGoran works as a freelance writer, developmental editor, and writing coach. Freelance samples and ore information are available here. He also works with Anne Dubuisson to offer a more comprehensive range of publishing and editing services. For more information, email

Author Links:


  • 1 copy of SPIKED by Jon McGoran
  • US Only
  • The prize may be delayed due to shipping centers being affected by COVID-19
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2 responses to “Author Interview with Giveaway: Spiked (Spliced #3) by Jon McGoran

    • Lisa Mandina

      Agreed! And as a former science teacher it totally got me intrigued by all that part! Thanks for stopping by!

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