Introducing: Surface Burn, An Interactive Novel

by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

We’ve got a real, live interactive novel for you. We’re hoping you’ll be part of the experience on Figment. We’ve writing a new YA thriller called SURFACE BURN and we’d love to get your thoughts on it.

First, allow us to introduce ourselves….

We are Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas. We’ve worked as screenwriters and producers in the film industry and began our foray into the world of YA fiction last year with our debut novel KARMA BITES (Houghton, Mifflin) in August 2010. Our latest YA novel, FROM WHAT I REMEMBER, will be published by Disney/Hyperion in Spring 2012. (To find out more about us, visit

Recently, we’ve started work on something new, SURFACE BURN. It’s a thriller, a bit of a departure for us.

SURFACE BURN tells the story of Sarah, an American teenager, who’s lived a peripatetic life with her parents, traveling the globe, helping the underprivileged. When her mother dies, Sarah’s father, a doctor, takes a job in Berlin, working for a public hospital. It’s the first time Sarah has spent much time out of the Third World since she was a child, and she takes to Berlin immediately. She’s in thrall of the city and all it has to offer, including a wild nightlife with a fast crowd that Sarah meets at her new international school.

A few months after arriving in Berlin, Sarah’s father becomes gravely ill. Mysterious circumstances surround his sickness. Sarah is convinced that her father is being poisoned, perhaps in retaliation for something he witnessed at the hospital where he works. But Sarah’s concerns fall on deaf ears. Sarah is left alone to try and figure out exactly happened to her father and how to save him. In attempting to uncover the truth Sarah stumbles upon a much more sinister plot involving the Russian mafia, smuggling, uranium, and dirty bombs. It’s more than she could have imagined and more than she can take on alone. But there’s nowhere to turn for help. As the clock ticks, it falls upon Sarah to save her father, and possibly the city. But can one seventeen year-old girl really do all that?

We’re mostly accustomed to writing comedy and action/adventure, based on our previous novels and our work in film and television. Since we’re new to the thriller genre, we decided to do this story a little differently, in participation with Figment. It seemed like a great opportunity to get to know our audience better. We’ll be publishing one chapter a week on Figment and look forward to your comments, criticism and discussion in order to help us sculpt our novel for publication.

After making movies for years, we understand the value of audience participation and thought it would be fascinating to try and replicate the experience of movie making with a novel. Movies tend to be largely collaborative experiences, from development (where executives, producers and often a variety of writers participate in the process) through production (where directors and actors contribute) to, ultimately, post-production (where the greatest portion of the film is actually molded). Most movies go through an exhaustive and rigorous round of audience screenings before the movies ever reach a theater. Movies are shaped by audience reviews. It’s an interesting and intricate (though sometimes frustrating) process of evaluation where audience members are given questionnaires and asked to rate the film on a variety of levels. Novels, on the other hand, are largely the province of individuals (with editors’ and agents’ opinions thrown in, but rarely forced). We were curious what would transpire when the audience was part of the novel writing process. And what better forum to test our theory than the new and fabulous Figment?

We hope you’ll take part in the experience. We look forward to creating a kick ass book with you!


Stacy and Valerie

You can find Stacy and Valerie on Figment and on their blog.

5 thoughts on “Introducing: Surface Burn, An Interactive Novel

  1. This sounds very interesting. I think I might be watching SURFACE BURN for a while and see how it’s going. 😀

  2. Considering international schools and moving from country to country is my life I am interested to see how you will portray that.

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