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 first two young adult books, After the Green Withered and the sequel, Burden of Truth, are set in a dystopian world that reflects our possible future. I was inspired to write this story while completing research for a graduate course I wrote in environmental education. My course included concepts regarding earth’s history and, within this, I learned a great deal about the impact humans have had on the planet. As I studied and composed the course, an idea began to germinate.
What if there was a global drought due to the impact humans have had on the planet? What if water became the global currency?
That seedling idea sat with me for a year or so as I finished my course writing and began to teach a few graduate courses. Eventually, I began to write the story but it took a whopping five years to get it from draft to publish! The final push actually came about after I read an article about Cape Town’s water crisis. At the time of the article, it was predicted that Cape Town’s water supply would run dry in April of 2018, not tens of years in the future. Reading this, I knew the story I wanted to tell was incredibly relevant so I buckled down and finished the first book.
2) How did you get started writing science fiction?
Science fiction has been a favorite genre to read for years. When inspiration struck and I began to write, the scifi genre was really a must as the story I wanted to tell fits within it.
3) What specific sub-genres within science fiction do you write in and why?
My first two books are dystopian. This genre was inevitable considering the story I wanted to tell. The premise is a future of man’s making. It is the choices humanity made that became the downfall. My main character lives in the aftermath.
I think, as humans, we have a natural curiosity regarding the future. This is something that is beyond our control, and, as a species, I think many of us are uncomfortable with that uncertainty. So perhaps a dystopian story sheds light on a possible future that human beings can affect in the present. I know that for my books, what mankind is doing to the planet right now lays the foundation for the world my main character inherits. Perhaps if we made different choices, her life would have been different. In a sense, we can prevent this dystopian society from ever coming to fruition.
4) What tropes do you think are important for that sub-genre?
Within the young adult genre, there are numerous tropes that you find in YA books. I think it’s important to give readers a connection to the story through this familiarity while not following them completely. My main character is a seventeen-year-old girl who is wrestling with societal and familial responsibilities while figuring out who she is and what she stands for. This is a common theme in many YA books as the characters reflect a time period in a person’s life where individuals are developing their perception in the world and their place within the fabric of society.
5) Do you prefer to write in first or third person and past or present tense?
I prefer to write in the first person for my YA books. This is a common narrative perspective as it allows readers to become the characters and experience the journey on a very personal level.
6) What is your favorite part about being a writer?
My favorite parts of my writing journey are many and varied. Pressing the submit button on Amazon was an incredible moment. Prior to that, I had talked about writing and publishing a book for years. To actually take that step and put it into the hands of readers was momentous and I did a little happy dance when it officially went live.
Another big moment for me was winning the 2018 Best Indie Book Award in the young adult category took me by complete surprise. While I had entered the competition with the hope of winning, I didn’t honestly consider my debut novel as a true contender. Receiving the congratulatory email from Best Indie Book Award was a defining moment. I felt that recognition validated, not only my story concept, but also my writing craft.
But the experiences that surpass these big achievements, are the reviews readers compose that reflect the connection they have to the characters and story. It is the words they write which are truly profound.
7) What is the hardest part about being a writer?
There seems to be a strange time warp that occurs in my life. This is evident when the workday crawls by, painfully, slowly, hour by hour. But writing time? I get in my groove and two hours have flown by and it feels like I just got started. I think I need to analyze this phenomenon because this whole time thing is the biggest challenge and my greatest downfall in productivity. Well, I may get lost in the internet playground from time to time. Then there’s Twitter. I might spend too much time scrolling through tweets. And Instagram. Fine. Facebook too.
8) What stories or authors influence your writing?
Aside from my wonderful English teacher who inspired me many, many years ago, I am heavily influenced by what I read.
In the dystopian genre, it all began when I read The Giver. The world Lois Lowry created had a lot of elements that are reflective of a society under intense control where our very nature as human beings is suppressed. The book reached so many emotional levels. I really enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale which I reread recently as I had every intention of watching the miniseries. I have yet to watch it but it’s on my list. I also enjoyed The Hunger Games books and feel that Suzanne Collins touched on some powerful societal issues.
9) Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have
missed you didn’t create?
I love geeking out with a good scifi flick. In fact, I’m a huge movie nut and often drop random quotes from some of my favorites. Recently, I re-watched one of my favorite, campy scifi flicks, Starship Troopers. This is by no means a little known movie, but I do love the big action (big bugs too) and fun characters (Neil Patrick Harris was great!)!
10) Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?
I have had numerous readers tell me that my books are a truly frightening vision because they could see the world of my main character coming to fruition in real life. An important idea of the story is that the choices we make, environmentally, have consequences. We may not see them in our lifetime, but what we do can, and will, affect the future. In the end, if the people in Enora’s world had made different choices long before she was born, then her life and the events that shape the story, would have been a much different tale to tell.
11) What’s the best way to find you online?
I love interacting with readers and am regularly on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Drop by and say hello!
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