In The Minders (Berkley, Feb.), Marrs envisions a future in which advances in DNA technology enable massive amounts of data to be stored in people’s brains.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

One evening, I found myself in an internet rabbit hole and stumbled across a website dedicated to conspiracy theories. Some posters’ suggestions appeared quite credible, others were utterly insane. But it left me thinking, what would it be like to know all of your country’s deepest, darkest secrets? And if they were offered to you, but you couldn’t tell anyone else, would you still want to find out? I thought it might make the premise for an interesting thriller.

Your plot hinges on the idea that the entire contents of the British National Archives could be transferred to the minds of people with an unusual form of synaesthesia. What was the inspiration for that?

I was searching for a way for my characters to carry a vast amount of information inside them and saw a TV program about British trip-hop band Massive Attack, and how millions of copies of one of their albums were put into spray paint using synthetic DNA. The music is then stored in any painting made using the spray can. The documentary also asked the question, “Could DNA be the new way we store all our data?” Again, I turned to the internet for help, and I found a fantastic neuroscientist in the U.S. who assisted me in making this science make sense to a layman like me, and to help incorporate it into my story.

How did the plot change from your original conception?

It didn’t change very much at all, with the exception of the very ending. Life isn’t wrapped up in neat little packages with definitive explanations, and sometimes I like my books to finish in a way that’s open to interpretation. But this one felt it deserved more closure. So when I thought it was complete, I decided to rework the ending to give the characters and the reader a more conclusive finish.

Do your novels share any themes?

I didn’t think they did until a blogger pointed out to me recently that escape, reinvention, and loss are the underlying themes of many of my eight novels. While I’m very happy and content in my own life, I put my characters through the ringer as they try to discover whether the grass really is greener on the other side. I try to use my books to ask readers a question about tech and morality. My books are fictional, therefore I get to push boundaries and create original and thought-provoking thrillers. At least that’s what I hope!