Jay Mackey

1. Tell us about your current science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

The Third Rescue follows CJ, a 17 year-old being raised by his grandparents because his parents had died when he was an infant. He gets an assignment at school—trace his ancestry, take a DNA test, and write a paper on one of his relatives. Sounds easy, but then something goes wrong with his DNA test, and he decides to write his paper on his grandmother, despite the fact that she says she was an orphan. The project quickly becomes a desperate quest for family for CJ. When an old man tells him about a strange shootout in the desert many years ago, CJ finds himself in conflict with a secret the government has been hiding for over seventy years, and in the crosshairs of someone who wants to capitalize on that secret.

I have no idea how I came up with the concept.

2. What elements make this story a science fiction thriller?

The DNA, and the government secret should give you a sense of why the story is sci-fi. In a thriller someone is at risk; the protagonist is in jeopardy. Often the fate of the world, or of the universe, or of mankind, is at risk. I prefer smaller stories, where ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances. The fate of the world is not at risk while CJ searches for family, but his life, and that of his friends and family, are.

3. How did you get started writing science fiction?

I’ve always loved reading sci-fi, going back to when I was a kid reading Jules Verne. I loved Heinlein, Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and many others. I think part of my love of the genre is the imagination that’s on display as writers create worlds that don’t exist, or at least, don’t exist yet. So it was natural for me to write what I love.

4. What tropes do you think are important for science fiction thrillers?

There are many recurring themes in sci-fi—time travel, worlds at war, technology gone amok. But I don’t think anything is required except imagination. Many of the stories I love, and the stories I write, take place in a world just like the one we live in. Many are so plausible, we wonder if they might be true. If not now, soon.

5. Is this novel written in first or third person and past or present tense?

This novel is written in past tense, close third person, with multiple narrators.

6. What is your favorite part about this story?

I tend to fall in love with the characters in my books. They become very real to me. I laugh when they say something funny, and I cry when they feel pain. The Third Rescue has some great characters.

7. What stories or authors have influenced you?

I’ve mentioned some of the classic sci-fi writers. I also love writers like Elmore Leonard, for his spare prose. And thriller writers like Grisham and Harlan Coban. Modern sci-fi writers like Andy Weir and Hugh Howey.

8. Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

One that everyone doesn’t know about is the Silo trilogy by Hugh Howey. Amazing world-building. Douglas E. Richards is very prolific. One of his I really liked was Split Second. And a book I just read and loved was Recursion, by Blake Crouch.

9. Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

I guess I’d like to put in a word about independent authors, like me. Many books by independent authors are really great—I believe Hugh Howey self-published the Silo trilogy—and I hope my book will be placed into that category by readers. We live by reviews. And of course, blogs like this. Many of us don’t have the means, the expertise or the desire to do a lot of marketing, so we have to rely on readers and writers to help spread the word.

10. What’s the best way to find you online?

I built a very simple website, jaymackey.com. And I’m on Twitter and Facebook. You can find my book at mybook.to/TheThirdRescue

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Jay Aspen

1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is
it about and how did you come up with the concept?

The Phoenix Enigma series is set in a near-future world where some current issues have become more extreme. I think one of the delights of SF is the way it creates an opportunity to explore where things might go––and also have a bit of a satirical laugh at some of the more outlandish antics of the people in charge!

I wrote the first draft five years ago as a TV serial, then left it and wrote a few other books. When I came back to it to re-write as a novel, I found that several of my ‘near-future’ scenarios had actually happened!

(Be Careful What You Imagine…) Anyhow, I did some updating and started working it into a 5-book series––just starting to edit book 4.

I like reading books with a good mix of character, plot and action, and I think its a shame that the emphasis on genre tends to push authors to focus on whichever one is more typical for the genre. So when I’m writing, I make that balance a priority. Time will tell if that makes it harder to get the series well known!

2) How did you get started writing science fiction?

I previously wrote NF travel and adventure, (with a different pen-name) published by Random House. After a rather spectacular climbing accident, I don’t travel too well so I decided to switch to SFF where you only have to travel in your mind––although it’s fun bringing in episodes of extreme sports that I can write in first-hand detail.

3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

I’m surprised that so much of the ‘science’ in SF is about tech, space travel. AI. I’ve always been interested in bio-science and the science of psychology. My post-grad is ecology and I also trained with Himalayan shamans––and discovered that there are fascinating overlaps between the two, once you look at the detailed physiology. The challenge is to weave in simplified versions of all that so it doesn’t get in the way of the action, dastardly plots, fights, romance, and all the rest of it!

I write mainly in post-apocalyptic and dystopian sub-genres because that is what is available. I wish speculative fiction was a bit more mainstream!

So I guess my epics are post-apocalyptic (but not blasted wasteland where everyone is killing each other for the last tin of beans), rather there is a new order hastily re-established after the chaos. Which is, of course dystopian or there wouldn’t be much of a story! But again, most of the time is spent with the Resistance rather than pages of suffering, tortured victims.

4) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

I’ve used all, depending on what works. Present tense, first person is very immediate for a single protagonist, but can get confusing for the reader if in some chapters “I” is actually someone else.
So for the Phoenix Enigma series, I’ve used 3rd person past tense as the central theme is about how a close-knit team use trust and close cooperation to outwit and defeat an adversary with more weapons, money, and influence. So the story builds up several almost-main protagonists who can weave their own sub-plots into the main narrative and contribute to the overall goal.

5) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

Living in my own movie! And chatting with fans who get involved with the saga.

6) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Ads! I decided to go indie when I switched to fiction as I felt that was the direction things were going, especially for SFF (yes I do write a bit of fantasy as well). And I quite enjoy the marketing as it puts me in touch with people who want to chat about the stories, but… actually creating the ads involves a lot of navigation and analysis that I’ve never been very good at. It just takes chunks of my time when I’d rather be writing or chatting about ideas for future stories!

7) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have
missed you didn’t create?

I love the unusual kinds of science found in books like the Dune series, or Hunger Games and Divergent, where the tech is secondary to human ingenuity. I’d love to see more of this, especially as we may be coming to a point where the assumed relentless progress of tech may become constrained by the way security, food, extraction and so forth may limit that progress. Then we may have to focus on developing ourselves!!

8) What’s the best way to find you online?
jayaspen.com
and my Amazon pages https://www.amazon.com/Jay-Aspen/e/B07NPVJGYF/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Dixon Reuel

1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

While I write my debut novel, Rise of One (a paranormal apocalypse tale), I currently have two SciFi short stories released: Harmemoric Asylum and Powdered Souls (out July 2019!).

Harmemoric Asylum is especially close to my heart because it’s the first short story I wrote in 2005 (then rewrote for release this year) and it was shortlisted for The James White Award.
It touches on several SciFi tropes that I love from movies like Alien (claustrophobia in a hostile environment), 2001: A Space Odyssey (when AI goes bad), and Gattaca (Are you more than the sum of your genetics?).
Essentially, snowsubs burrow into glaciers that cover our cities after a global freeze – these snowsubs are the archaeologists of their time and scour old skyscrapers for tech to be reused surface-side.
But, buried beneath the ice live human spectres, harmemoric ‘echos’ of the skyscrapers’ employees.
I utilised the trope of Alien’s Ripley character in my never-say-die against-all-odds snowsub pilot Rina, who must face a particularly exceptional spectre beneath the ice.

Harmemoric Asylum is available for free download -> https://dl.bookfunnel.com/d8nqps42x1

2) How did you get started writing science fiction?

I wish I could write stories set in the real world, but after trying for so many years, it never works out. Always, whatever tale I tell has – needs! – a fantastical element.
I grew up watching the big Space Opera SciFi series: Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, along with 80s heavy-hitting SciFi like Blade Runner, Alien, Terminator.
So, telling a story in a different realm or from a speculative perspective feels natural when I write.
Also I love SciFi fans and fandom and the geeky/nerdiness that follows. I cosplay, attend conventions (I’ll be at World Con this year, as it’s in Dublin!). I love being part of that world and contributing to it.

3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

I like to write Action SciFi, usually with paranormal and/or dystopian elements.

4) What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?

I think you need a balance, when it comes to any type of speculative fiction, between the tropes of the dystopian and the utopian.
You can see it, for example, in the newer Star Trek series (Discovery, JJ Abrams’ new movies, heck even The Orville) that they have tilted towards dystopian (with its incumbent explosions, drama, and lens flares).
Whereas in the ‘golden age’ of Star Trek (Next Generation, The Original Series) it is far more uptopian. The crew never in-fight or are pitched against one another, e.g. the charming grumpiness of TOS’ Bones or Scotty versus some of the latest plot lines in Star Trek Discovery. While a pure utopia, devoid of all conflict, does not make for the type of TV that viewers expect today (and is also practically just not attainable), that ‘utopian tilt’ is what makes a series like Star Trek excel in the minds of the viewer. We end up with memorable, cerebral, and touching episodes like Darmok and The Inner Light. Hopefully, when it comes to the new ST: Picard series, we might see a move away from dystopian and more towards the type of Star Trek that initially made it great.

5) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

I like to start out drafting in First Person Present, as if the character is speaking the story in my ear. Then I switch to Third Person Past to really craft the tale for subsequent drafts.
This is a process that occurred naturally overtime in how I write and I find it’s quite effective at nailing a story’s opening tone and voice.

6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

That the crazy worlds inside my head finally get to have a home! And that it’s okay to be an indoorsy reclusive hermit – it’s almost expected for a writer and it suits me just fine!
And also that I get to contribute to the current Speculative Fiction scene. If I see the rise of a trope that I cannot stand (‘subverting expectations’, for one!), I can just write another universe with my own rules and indulge in all the expectations I like.

7) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

That you are not expected to make any money from it, that being a writer is not a viable career choice, or the expectation that writing is ‘easy’ and merely a relaxing hobby.
Lack of a clear apprenticeship structure (unless you have the $$$ for a masters and even then, a masters degree is not a true apprenticeship), often means that so many writers languish for years unguided, or they put out shitty work when an education in story structure or editing would really guide and elevate them.
This also results in so many writers trying to juggle writing with full-time work. And it’s not just the daily ‘words on a page’ – it’s the editing, reviewing, proofing. If you’re self-publishing, it also includes marketing, building your brand, perhaps podcasting or YouTube, cover design… There’s never enough time. That is the hardest part.

8) What stories or authors influence your writing?

I’m a big Arthur C Clark fan – 2001: A Space Odyssey is such a great read. Its simplicity and world building influenced me a lot when I was younger.
Similarly, I found Michael Crichton’s fiction also simple and fantastic for world building (Jurassic Park, The Andromeda Strain).
Readability is so important in Science Fiction, I believe. You can subvert all the tropes in the world, put all the twists and spins you want on them, but if I can’t get past the first page a work can’t influence anybody.

9) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

I hope everybody has watched The Edge Of Tomorrow. I stayed away from it because I wasn’t a fan of Tom Cruise, but the plot is so good, so tightly-paced, excellent use of the usual SciFi tropes (the Strong!Female!Character is actually bearable to watch) and, on top of everything else, it’s funny! Humour! That’s what’s missing so much in SciFi today – fun! Please stop subverting my expectations and give me great adventure to laugh along with and sweep me away!
Also, Galaxy Quest is an oldie, but a goodie. Moon is a nice slow-burn movie, great for a snoozy Sunday afternoon.

10) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

Rise of One is my first novel and it’s about a vampire coven in the English countryside trying to survive a zombie apocalypse – not exactly hard SciFi, but surely Speculative Fiction!
I really wanted to tackle the long-standing tropes surrounding vampires (especially in the wake of Twilight and even Anne Rice’s works) – no sparkling hunks or lacy cuffs here!
Instead I wondered, if I were to live forever and feed on people, what would that look like? So, I came up with Rise, Ogrim, and Salter, and their human, Cypriot, who live in a small country house and spend their days gardening, farming, making soaps and perfumes, until a zombie apocalypse hits the world and they are forced to bring new human survivors into their utopia world. This is the catalyst that turns the coven from peaceful into something quite ferocious and power-hungry indeed.
The story of Rise and co. is more like one of hobbit vampires, preferring ditches, roots, and hedges (rather than garlic and crosses and coffins) who are then exposed to the One Ring/the seduction of power!
Rise of One is releasing end of 2019 and you can sign up to my mailing list to be informed of its release.

11) What’s the best way to find you online?

My website is www.DixonReuel.com but I’m most active on Twitter, so follow me there -> @DixonReuel
I like to post #WritingDeskSelfies whenever I’m at my desk. I have a bit of a bugbear about people acting like writing is this mystical, muse-driven thing, when really it’s hard work that you need to pour your time and energies into to see results.
I like letting people see that writing takes frequent effort and dedication, and those selfies (although cringy!) work as an excellent check-in mechanism for myself.

If you would like a free copy of my short story, Harmemoric Asylum, you can get it here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/d8nqps42x1

Nicholas Adams

Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

My only novel-length SciFi story is called “The Angels’ Secret.”

Blurb: After her parents mysteriously disappeared at the age of thirteen, Evangeline Evans has been on her own. As a military pilot for Olympus, the most powerful and technologically progressive Citadel of the new world, she keeps her reasons for finding them a secret.

Without warning a terrifying disease that could destroy civilization begins to infect citizens across the city. Only the race known as Angels—who brought advanced technology to Earth—seem to be immune to its devastation.

Evangeline and her husband Jack, an Artificial Intelligence designer, are swept into a secret war between the Dissidents in the Low Technology Zones and The Quorum of Zeus.
The Human race is on the precipice of Extinction. Who will prevail? Angel or Human? High Tech Olympian or Low Tech Dissident?
But the better question is… Who SHOULD prevail?
It started many, many, many years ago as a favorite fantasy world where aliens who pass off as humans are engaged in a secret war among themselves. I thought of it as feuding vampire clans from space. Eventually the writing bug sunk its needle-like teeth into my fleshy arm, and I started writing. With no experience, and even less budget, I self-edited and self-published through Kindle Direct Publishing.

How did you get started writing science fiction?

I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I would create scenes and scenarios in my mind, but didn’t try describing them in writing except in short stints. In 2013 I read the quote “write the story you want to read” and let my fingers tell the Evangeline’s story in a pure pantsing free-for-all. Since then, I’ve focused on developing my skills by attending workshops, conferences, subscribing to several newsletters (David Farland is my favorite) and regularly submitting to The Writer’s of the Future quarterly contest. So far, I’ve received four Honorable Mention awards, but that Golden Pen is still my goal.

What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

I like to try out different things; cross-genre speculative fiction. I’ve written a Cyberpunk Fractured Fairy tale based on Tinkerbell, a time-travel short story where autistic kids have superhuman senses, a short story where a boy has to use inherited magic to power a robot to defend his colony on an alien planet, and even a second-world fantasy novel where people are a mixture of birds and kangaroos.

What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?

To be honest, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the idea of tropes. To me, those are the one-dimensional characters that make me put a book down. I think tropes are good as minor, or temporary characters, but can’t hold a reader’s interest enough to last throughout the storyline.

Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

My early works are all 3rd person, past tense. My latest works I’m exploring 1st person, present tense. Writing in 1st person, I think, is more challenging because it requires me to slow down my thinking to describe events, textures, senses, etc. Also, writing in 3rd person lends itself to narrating as an observer (omniscient or otherwise) but can also lead to head-hopping (which admittedly happens too often in my early works).

What is your favorite part about being a writer?

Whether it’s a novel, short story, or tweet, I love to hear when someone shares how they had an emotional resonance with my writing.

What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Finding time to write, and producing the quantity and quality of writing that seems necessary to get discovered. Also, finding representation. I’ve been querying my 2nd-world fantasy novel and have yet to get a request for more pages. As the saying goes, “It’s never been easier to get published (KDP), but it’s never been so hard to get read.”

What stories or authors influence your writing?

I’m influenced more by movies and TV than books. However, works like Animal Farm, 1984, and Shakespeare continue to creep themselves into my subconscious thoughts.
Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?
They’re not SciFi, but K.M. Weiland has written several amazing novels. My favorites are Dreamlander, Storming, and Wayfarer. I’d also recommend the Reckoner series by Brandon Sanderson. Artemis by Andy Weir. Stellar Fusion by Elysia Spark. The Titan Strain by Virginia Soenksen. Plague Wars by David VanDyke. Halfskin by Tony Bertauski. The Got Luck series by Michael Darling. Yesterday’s Theif by Al Macy. Drifter’s Alliance by Elle Casey. Schism by James Wymore.

Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

Support an author by rating their book and leaving a review, even if it isn’t glowing. Positive feedback helps them keep going. An honest critique (not criticism) helps them see areas where they can improve.

What’s the best way to find you online?

Website: http://www.nicholasadamswrites.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NicholasAWrites
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicholasawrites/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NicholasPAdams

Jude Austin – Sci-fi Author

1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

My latest sci-fi novel is called Project Tau. It’s set at a time when human cloning is just starting to take off, and the clones (called Projects) are seen as no more than livestock. The MC accepts this just fine, until something goes very wrong and he finds himself on the other side of the fence.
I actually never started out to write about human cloning. At the time, I was represented by a literary agent who was no good at her job – I think she later showed up on the Water Cooler under the Beware section – and she told me that publishers only wanted books that could be adapted into movies, and that it was impossible to write a sci-fi novel without lots of expensive CGI. As soon as she said that, I thought, “Oh yeah? Wanna bet?”
So the concept was basically to write a sci-fi story that could be adapted into a movie on a very low budget. Flashy CGI was out, aliens were out and huge space battles were definitely out! Both the protagonist and the antagonists had to be human, so it made sense to bring in the cloning angle. It kind of built from there, and I ended up with a fleshed out novel that would actually be pretty cheap and easy to adapt 😉

2) How did you get started writing science fiction?

Oh, I was always writing SF/fantasy, from a very young age. I really love creating new worlds and cultures, so it was a bit of a foregone conclusion that this would be my genre.

3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

Space opera and soft science fiction. I struggle to write standalone novels, so long story arcs are the best for me, and I prefer focusing on the story to the science.

4) What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?

For both the author and the reader, the MST3K Mantra trope is the most vital. Does it matter how humans are living on Mars? How they colonized Mercury, or Venus? If the story is about the colonization itself, then yes, absolutely. If the colony’s firmly established and has been for a couple hundred years, it’s not something the characters (or, indeed, the reader) should be agonizing over. I worked with a fairly bad editor in the past who insisted I need to explain how the characters can possibly exist on the other planets in our solar system, despite the fact that the characters themselves were teenagers who wouldn’t know or particularly care. (To draw a parallel, American teenagers might be able to tell you what year their city was founded, but how many of them can tell you how to build a house and – later – lay on electricity and running water?)
I have a small confession to make though: in the case of that particular editor, before I sent the rewrite back, I got fed up trying to justify my right to tell a story, so I sat down and worked out all the relevant scientific information, equipment and chemical equations necessary for colonizing the planets and their moons, and adapting the atmospheres into something breathable. She never mentioned it to me again XD

5) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

Generally, I write in third person omniscient, past tense. I’ve written stuff in first person, but I tend to find it too restrictive, and I don’t write in present tense at all.

6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

It would definitely be the writing. For me, I can’t not write.

7) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

For an indie writer like me, it’s definitely getting your work seen. I haven’t given up hope of securing a good agent, but it’s a long slog!

8) What stories or authors influence your writing?

It’s more games and movies than stories, to be honest. There’s an unfortunate tendency for some people to insist the author justify everything (how did we do this, why wouldn’t your character react the way I think he should, etc). Games and movies – particularly ones like you see here in Japan – take the attitude of, “Who cares? This is the story; let’s get on with it!” Major influences: Shining Force, Star Wars (original trilogy), Sir Terry Pratchett.
Don’t get me wrong; a novel does have to make sense and, as an author, you need to take constructive criticism, but you can have too much of a good thing.

9) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

Ring Rise, Ring Set by Monica Hughes. It’s short and more YA than adult, but it’s a great story. Also, the Isis trilogy by the same author. Movies…this might sound strange, but I actually don’t watch a lot of SF movies. Most of them follow the same pattern of blowing up everything, and while I like a good action sequence as much as the next girl, I find them too predictable to be really interesting. There are some exceptions such as the first two Alien movies, but they’re hardly something that anyone would have missed 😉

10) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

One thing I would like people to know is that despite what you might think, Project Tau is definitely not dystopian! I don’t get sci-fi writers who think that the future is going to be terrible; I have a far more optimistic outlook!

11) What’s the best way to find you online?

Either Twitter (@JudeAustin18) or my Goodreads author page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5858345.Jude_Austin
) goodreads.com/author/show/58…)
I also have my own website https://www.judeaustin.net
(but I only update it when something big happens.)

John Dulak

1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel.

My current novel I’m working on is a Cyberpunk Thriller about a killer who can hack into peoples minds and forces them to commit brutal murders. The idea came to me when I decided I wanted to write my first full length novel. I wanted to create something grounded but still heavy in sci-fi and I’ve always enjoyed thrillers so I decided to try and mix the two.

2) How did you get started writing science fiction?

Science fiction has always been a favorite genre of mine in almost all mediums. It offers such a vast openness to new ideas and creations.

3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

Currently I’m writing in the Cyberpunk sub-genre. I’ve always loved Cyberpunk for a lot of reasons and there isn’t nearly enough novels in that sub-genre so I wanted to explore it and see what I could bring to the table.

4) What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?

Cyberpunk is one of those genres I feel like relies heavily on it’s tropes. Advanced technology with a heavy emphasis on body modification and augmentation, strong dystopian vibes, dark seedy underworld and imposing corporate presence are common as well.

5) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

I write in third person. It’s what I prefer to read and it’s what comes to me naturally when writing.

6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

I love creating worlds. Building characters and events and seeing them all play out. I love trying to push my imagination to its max.

7) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

The hardest part for me is just writing haha. Currently writing is only a hobby so sticking to a schedule and making sure I made consistent progress is hard sometimes. I’m always caught trying to fit it in when I can.

8) What stories or authors influence your writing?

My biggest influences are definitely Jeffery Deaver, Stephen King (even though they aren’t Science Fiction), James S. A. Corey has been a huge one recently with The Expanse series.

9) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have
missed you didn’t create?

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty has been one I’ve been praising for a while now. It’s a great story with lots of great world building.

10) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

When/If my novel does get picked up and published, I plan on getting a tattoo to celebrate haha.

11) What’s the best way to find you online?

You can follow me on Twitter
@itsjohndulak
and on my website  TheStoryCraft.com

Carol James Marshall

Question one: Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

My science fiction and horror trilogy The Women of the Grey is about an alien race of women that are sent out on missions in the human world after being raised in a seclusion. The anti-hero of my trilogy is Lisa. She doesn’t know the full of extent of her powers. Throughout the trilogy she discovers the truth of who or what she is: human, alien, or both? The Women of the Grey trilogy is known for being incredibly creepy. One reviewer called it “deceptively simple yet creepily riveting.”
My inspiration for The Women of the Grey was The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I liked The Leftovers because the supernatural event was the background for the story. Perrotta focuses on the humans left behind: their pain, their emotions. I had an idea about a race of alien women that were neither kind nor evil, but teetered on the boarder of both. In The Women of the Grey trilogy my focus is on the emotions of these humanoid women that are raised in seclusion then expected to follow orders when they are set free in the human world.
I’ll give readers a hint of the horror aspect in The Women of the Grey trilogy, the humanoid women are addicted to human blood.
I have an upcoming new science fiction and horror release on Sept 1st. Ella is One of Many is a clean, science fiction and horror novel. Ella is inspired by the 1980s mini-series V. The 80s kids out there might remember V. V was the story of a reptilian invasion on earth. Ella is my homage to the V TV mini-series that started my obsessive love with aliens and horror.

Question 2: How did you get started writing science fiction?
There really was no choice for me besides writing science fiction and horror. That is where my interest lays. I have a hard time focusing on things that I have no interest in. Since I’m a proud science fiction and horror fan when I set out to write that is what naturally flows out of me. I couldn’t write anything else if I tried and believe me I tried.

Question 3: What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?
The subgenre I write in science fiction is horror. My science fiction trilogy and upcoming new release are horror based. I don’t have an answer as to why I love writing horror, possibly because that’s what I watch and read.

Question 4: What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?
That’s difficult for me to answer. I don’t purposely make sure that I hit any tropes in my books. However, The Demon Dealer my very adult horror novel, has one of my most favorite horror tropes ever, evil children. When I wrote The Demon Dealer, I didn’t consider it a trope. It just kind of dawned on me answering this question that it was. So I’m not sure which one I consider important, but I will say I love evil, creepy, wicked children in books/movies/television.

Question 5: Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?
Damn, I think I mix all of those together. I’m serious. Each one of my books has an element of each of those. I don’t prefer one or the other I write what feels right for that character and story.

Question 6: What is your favorite part about being a writer?
When someone reads my work then contacts me and tells me they felt something. Whether it be sadness, happiness, creeps, fear, what have you. I made the reader feel that story. Also, when a reader contacts me and tells me that my writing lingered in their thoughts for days after finishing one of my books.
By far though the best part of being a horror author is when someone tells me they read my work and I gave them nightmares. Giving someone a nightmare to a horror writer is the golden ticket, fist pump, good job done sticker.

Question 7: What is the hardest part about being a writer?
I have chosen to be an indie author. That means I’m a one woman show. Being an indie author is running a small business. Carol James Marshall is the business and if I mismanage it, it will crash and burn. The hardest part of that is wanting to do nothing but write, but you know you have to buckle down and handle the business side of your authorship.

Question 8: What stories or authors influence your writing?
Margaret Atwood is an enormous influence for me. She is terrifying. I find her work disturbing because everything she writes could possibly happen. Her MaddAddam trilogy is one of the scariest science fiction trilogies I’ve ever read. The possibility of what happened in the trilogy actually occurring isa possiblity and that is scarier than any demon clown.

Question 9: Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?
All science fiction fans should read Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky. It is my all-time favorite science fiction novel. The situation, characters, and set up in Roadside Picnic is a solid 5 stars. Go read it now.

Question 10: Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?
I also write nonfiction. My current new release is a memoir of my days bartending at a dive bar in the middle of the California desert. Barflies: A Bartender’s Memoir is out now and is available on Kobo, Apple Books, and Amazon.
Also, let’s all get rid of the horror author stereotype of us walking around looking like Rob Zombie or biting the heads off lizards for kicks. Horror authors are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Maybe because we save our crazy for our writing.

Question 11: What’s the best way to find you online?
I’m very active on my Facebook and Instagram pages. You can find me by searching for Carol James Marshall. Readers can also join my VIP Fan Club. When you join monthly you’ll receive one or two emails from me that’s packed with book goodies, such as sales, freebies, deals, and other reader opportunities.
You’ll find me on Amazon at Carol James Marshall

LINKS
Carol James Marshall on Amazon https://readerlinks.com/l/312052
VIP Fan Club https://readerlinks.com/l/326005

carol james marshall books

Cass Kim

1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

My most recent is “The Change” which is a prequel to my novella, “Wilders.” In “Wilders” we see the main characters face some tough choices in what I call the half-pocalypse. It’s set about a decade after a zombie-like virus mysteriously appears in all of the major cities at the same time. People have figured out by this time how to keep the virus mostly in check, though there is no cure and no vaccine.
In “The Change” I rewound the timeline and gave a peek at what the first outbreak looked and felt like within the scope of what our new main character, Holly, experienced during the night the outbreaks started.

2) How did you get started writing science fiction?

I didn’t necessarily set out to write this book about the half-pocalypse/zombies. The first absolutely terrible story I wrote, which will never see the light of day, was fantasy. Then I wrote the start of the “Rallyist cycle” (a rollicking space opera, the first piece available on Amazon). After that I did a straight fictional literature novel for NANO 2017. Following a long break from writing fiction came my half-pocalypse series. I just write what I’m feeling at the time. When I read, I read throughout all of those categories, so I can only assume that influences me.

3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

I have a space opera that is more adult, and then the Wilders series, which is kind of horror/zombie/post-apocalyptic style scifi, for Young Adults (though I think it appeals to all aged adults). My writing is more character centered than anything, though.

4) What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?

I think something that sets “Wilders” apart is that it doesn’t follow a lot of the Zombie tropes. The humans that are infected will die naturally as the virus takes it course, they do not re-animate, and they are killable. Some things that it does follow are the lack of awareness or concern for their own bodily harm, and the inability to completely stop the spread of the virus.
For the “Rallyict Cycle” the idea that humans do spread out to other planets and travel through space as a part of everyday life is a trope that is fully necessary for a space opera.

5) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

Ugh, the question of the ages! I like third person past, I think. I wrote “Rallyist” in first person present, and sometimes I am filled with regret when I do a terrible job keeping my tenses right.

6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

I really enjoy when a story reads well. Like… when you read it and it flows, and it grips you. When I’m lucky enough that it happens in the first draft, it’s like magic. I can’t even describe how much I love that.

7) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

I think selling/promoting/being seen can be really hard. It’s a crowded market, and it’s very easy for a great book to disappear and never get the readership the writing and story deserve. Not just for me, but for a lot of books/authors.

8) What stories or authors influence your writing?

Everybody ever! I’m not kidding when I say I read a little bit of everything. I’ve read military memoirs, classics, I have a theater degree, I love scifi and fantasy. The past few years some Authors I’ve really enjoyed reading have been: Pierce Brown, Jenny Han, Sara J Maas, Helen Harper, Holly Black, Sara Dessen, Mason Cross, and a lot more. As far as earlier stuff, I loved reading Clive Cussler, Piers Anthony, Suzanne Collins, Orson Scott Card, Philip K. Dick, Robert Jordan, Ann McCaffery, John Steinbeck, Margaret Mitchell, Harper Lee, and a lot of others.

9) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

If you guys haven’t read “Ten Sigma” by Aaron Wang, it’s probably the best Indie book I’ve read this year. As for a movie, I still love to watch “Demolition Man” with Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone. Probably anybody over 25 has seen it, though.

10) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

I’m thinking about starting an Indie book review blog, and will also post those reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I know reviews are super important to all of us, so I’m working on helping out where I can.

11) What’s the best way to find you online?

I can be found on Twitter: @CassKim_writes
And all of my books are available on Amazon, from 0.99-2.99 on Ebook, and 5.99 paperback.

A. W. Wang

1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

I self-published my first novel (the third one I’ve written) on April 4th and it’s called Ten Sigma.
A dying woman has her consciousness downloaded into a virtual world for military training with the promise that if she completes all the requirements, she can return to the real world in a healthy body. However, it’s only when she’s there that she realizes she has to fight her way through an unimaginable set of odds to return to her family. I’d like to think that the book is a cross between Old Man’s War and Gantz.
The concept has changed over time. I started with the premise of violence as the means to create super warriors (a somewhat common theme and specifically used in Dune). My first idea was having AIs in a harsh computer simulation, where if you survived 1,000 battles the consciousness would be transfered to a body in the real world. But I had issues with the inciting incident and having the real world different than the virtual world for the AI. Instead, I switched it to a program what allowed people to become super warriors by going to the virtual world and if they passed certain hurdles, they could return.
2) How did you get started writing science fiction?

I’ve always had SciFi stories going on in my head and started writing seriously about five years ago.

3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

Military Science Fiction and I’m planning a Space Opera. My epic (when my writing rises to the right level) will be SciFi/Mythology.

4) What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?

I’m not sure about important tropes, I think they are all useful if used correctly and actually required because it allows you to use things the reader already knows without having developed them. I do however favor the strong female protagonists, so for me, the woman warrior tropes are all great.

5) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

My preference would be 3rd person-past POV by scene. My current works are all 1st person present, which I find easier to structure and write. When my writing is at the right level, then I’ll try to write my epic SciFi/Fantasy in 3rd POV past.

6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

The creativity!

7) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Getting all of the nitty-gritty details woven together to create a compelling narrative. It’s easy to think of ideas, a little harder to execute them. A novel really needs to work on many different levels and it’s easy to get lost in the process.

8) What stories or authors influence your writing?

Fred Saberhagen and his Swords Trilogy. The wonderful characters of David Eddings. And I love David Gemmell’s prose. There are more, of course, but these are the ones that standout from an idea, character, and world building standpoint.

9) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

I’ve read these books more than once: Startide Rising, 2001, Dune, Forever War, Old Man’s War – Basically look for anything that’s won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Also, Neuromancer is great too.
As far as movies, go with anything Denis Villeneuve has done, especially Arrival. Also the Annihilation movie was excellent too.

10) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

I self-published because I was too lazy to figure out how to write query letters.
Well, Ten Sigma is going to be a seven book series and I’ve already thought through the series after I finish Ten Sigma. And the one after that…
As I said above, ideas are easy. I guess I better start writing faster. 🙂

11) What’s the best way to find you online?

Sonya Deulina Williams

1) Tell us about your current or last science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

My current novel “Mirrors” is my debut novel and the first in a series. The protagonist, Sarah Davis is looking for her long-missing father. She discovers a dream realm where she has an alter named Sam Brennan and learns that there are people after her father and the formula he’s developed relating to these waking/dream world realms. I had a lot of inspiration coming up with the concept. As a therapist I’m interested in mental health, dreams, the influence of the subconscious mind over our thoughts and decisions. I have incorporated many of those elements into my book. I love when the lines are blurred between reality and fiction, so the reader finds themselves asking “Could this be possible?”

2) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?

My current book would be classified as parallel/alternate universe science fiction.

3) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?

I like to do a mix. My current novel is written in third person, limited POV.

4) What is your favorite part about being a writer?

The creation process. I love when new ideas come to me. I love watching them merge with other ideas in interesting and cohesive ways.

5) What is the hardest part about being a writer?

When I don’t know what to write. Some days my writing feels stagnant and forced, and that’s frustrating. To get past this writing block I like to shake things up by going on a walk, or writing in a new place, or going to do something out of the ordinary, then coming back to my writing.

6) What stories or authors influence your writing?

I love Madeleine L’Engle, Ursula Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, and interesting movies that deal with the psychological/alternate reality: Inception, The Matrix, Waking Life. Also, there are so many great new sci-fi/psychological thriller shows on Netflix.

7) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

A Scanner Darkly by PKD, you probably didn’t miss this one, but it was one of the first sci-fi books I read as an adult, that really catapulted me into this genre.

8) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

My book will be available on Amazon sometime in July, so stay tuned! I think it’s a unique concept and I am just so excited to share my story. That’s all.

9) What’s the best way to find you online?

Twitter:

Facebook:
http://facebook.com/AuthorSDWilliams
Blog:
https://authsdwilliams.wordpress.com