{Tour} Interview with AUTONOMOUS author Andy Marino

AUTONOMOUS Andy Marino Blog Tour

As soon as we heard Autonomous by Andy Marino being touted as “a high-tech, twisted Breakfast Club for the social media age,” we knew we had to read it as soon as possible! It’s definitely a book unlike anything we’ve ever experienced and will be a perfect read for fans of Knight Rider, Transformers, and yes–The Breakfast Club.

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We were lucky enough to chat with author Andy Marino about all things Autonomous, so without further ado, we’ll get right to it!


Hi, Andy, thanks for stopping by Swoony Boys Podcast today. We’re excited to chat with you! Autonomous is unlike anything we’ve ever read. What sparked the idea for this book?

I knew I wanted to write about an emerging technology, and I’ve always been interested in groups of friends with secrets (harmless crushes and much darker things). A driverless car with its own identity ended up being a really interesting way to put the group in an increasingly out-of-control situation, since the car is both the setting—they are literally inside of it for much of the book—and a character—the car tries desperately to get to know them.

It’s thrilling, and there is so much going on here. What kind of research did you have to do to make the story seem believable?

I watched TED talks by driverless car engineers to learn how the cars use LIDAR (basically, radar imaging) to “see” the road and the world around them. We don’t think about it because we’re used to driving without contemplating every move we make, but we’re processing a ton of date every time we drive to the store. It’s amazing to see that mapped out.

I also read a few academic papers on the possible ways a driverless car might be hacked. I never want the research to be overly evident on the page, since nobody wants to read infodumps of technical jargon. I research just enough to be able to put my own spin on the technology.

Wow. How was your approach to writing Autonomous different from writing anything else you’ve written?

I have never jumped across four different POVs before. I love writing books that shift POVs because it helps me dig into the inner lives of the characters and ensure that they all have agency and the ability to move the plot forward in a way that jives with their personalities. But, yeah—four POVs was definitely a challenge.

We bet! How would you introduce William to readers?

William is a reckless, impulsive boy who also happens to be the lynchpin of his friend group—or so he thinks. He’s a fun guy to have around, but if you get close to him and start to dig a little deeper, all those fun times seem like they might be masking something else.

Tell us about Otto. We want to know all the things!

Otto is the prototype driverless car that William wins in a contest. The car is equipped with everything you would need for the road trip of a lifetime—but the most interesting thing about Otto is his artificial intelligence. Real driverless cars will be able to “talk” to each other—on one level, to keep each other informed about problems on the road, and on another level, to learn about human driving habits and the way we operate.

In the book, Otto uses the road trip to learn everything about his passengers—their secret desires along with plenty of other things they’d rather keep hidden. Is it all a misguided attempt to insinuate himself into the group, or does Otto have a much darker agenda?

😈 If you could introduce one of your characters to another character from any other book, who would it be and why?

I would have to use this opportunity to introduce Otto to Christine—the car from Stephen King’s Christine. I think they would really hit it off.

That thought is absolutely terrifying. How would you describe yourself in three words?

Devoted cat parent

Aww, so sweet. 😍😍 What is the one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I came very close to becoming a painter instead of a writer.

How interesting! What is your most anticipated upcoming book-to-screen adaptation?

HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 with Michael B. Jordan.

We can’t wait for that, either! Do you have any current or future projects you can tell us about?

I’m a little superstitious about talking about works-in-progress, but I can say that I’m working on a horror novel.

Of course you are. 😏 Is there ever anything that you always wish someone would ask you, but they never do?

Hey Andy, want to skip work and go bowling?

We’d be happy to play hooky bowling with you, Andy! Thanks again for coming by. We can’t wait for our readers to get their::grabbyhands:: on Autonomous!

***About Andy Marino***

Author Andy MarinoAndy Marino was born and raised in upstate New York, and currently lives in New York City with his wife and two cats. He’s also the author of Unison Spark, Uncrashable Dakota, and The Door.

Find Andy Here: Website | Twitter | Goodreads

***About Autonomous***

{Tour} Interview with AUTONOMOUS author Andy MarinoAutonomous by Andy Marino
Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 3, 2018
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller
Pages: 368
Goodreads Buy the Book

William Mackler is about to go on a road trip of a lifetime. After winning a contest—and nearly dying in the process—he becomes the proud owner of Autonomous, a driverless car that knows where you want to go before you do. #Worthit! To sweeten the deal he gets to pick three friends to go with him on a cross-country trip to see their favorite band. For William, a reckless adrenaline junkie, this is the perfect last hurrah before he and his friends go their separate ways after graduation. But Autonomous is more than just a car without a steering wheel. It's capable of downloading all of the passengers’ digital history—from the good, to the bad, to the humiliating. The information is customized into an itinerary that will expose a few well-kept secrets, but it will also force William to face some inner demons of his own. Think you know Autonomous? The real question is, how much does Autonomous know about you?

What do you think, Pretties? How excited are you to check out this thrilling book with a (maybe) sinister AI Car?

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OMG Let's Totally Talk About It...


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