Get Your Question in my new Book

It has become a pattern now for me to host interviews in my books. For my release of The Black Petal, I am asking for your questions. It can be about the book, any of the books, myself, any question you like. I did this for Here Lies Love, and was pleased to see many people take part.

The best will be included in the actual book, while others will be answered in a Youtube video interview. Make sure to leave your name and country at the bottom 🙂

*The questions will be included in the full length novel The Black Petal and not the free sample book The Black Petal: The Beginning.

 

The form is below. Scroll down to include your fab question.

 

First Stop on the blog tour

Hi all, just a mini update today. Everything Books & Authors kindly featured me on their website and blog. I had so much fun with the questions and Toni is running a giveaway too! Fancy reading about me and my new book? Yeah … of course you do. Head on over and show Toni some love!

Author Interview with Dan Thompson

Author Interview: Sharon Sant

If you like Young Adult Fantasy novels, then i think you’ll love English author,SkySongCoverSharon Sant’s brilliant written, The Sky Song trilogy. The first book in the series, Sky Song introduces us to Jacob and the strange, yet wonderfully captivating trauma he experiences as he undergoes a transformation from fifteen year old teenager to successor to ancient race of people. It has a very paranormal feel to it too, which spellbounds the entire structure of the book. Yet, oddly, it also comes across so authentic, so realistic which actually pulls in you more.

Sky Song was released to some wonderful reviews. “Sant effortlessly weaves together two worlds” says one Goodreads member, “Sky song is a novel that brought me immediately back to the excitement of being ten years old …” said another. Here is the blurb, just for you:

An unknown past. An unwanted destiny. A fight for survival.

A strange-eyed boy with no memory of his true identity or real parents, Jacob could have no idea of the mortal danger he has been in every day of his fifteen years. Now that danger has found him and suddenly he doesn’t know who he can trust and what is real anymore. All he knows is that his new identity is almost as terrifying as the peril unleashing it has brought. Caught in the universal power struggle of an ancient race of beings and a destiny demanded of him that he does not want, he must fight to protect his own life and everyone he holds dear. But when the time comes, will he be strong enough to make the sacrifices that saving them will demand?

Sky Song is the first book of the Sky Song trilogy

 

SharonSant

Sharon Sant was born in Dorset but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent. She graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing. She currently works part time as a freelance editor and continues to write her own stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles.

And of course, we all love Pringles! Shall we move on to the interview?

§ For those who are new to The Sky Song trilogy, what can they expect to discover?

I think you can expect to discover a trio of friends that go on a remarkable journey, one that reaches way beyond the world that any of them know.  I hope readers will laugh and cry (maybe even at the same time) and sometimes be scared, and wish that they could go to the same school as Jacob.

§ How did the idea develop? Did it progress whilst you wrote or did you have a rough overall plan before you put pen to paper?

I’m really not very good at plotting beforehand.  I always start with a beginning and a vague end point, but the story grows organically from there.  It’s like a treasure hunt, where each point will give you clues to the next one.  A character will do something which makes me think about what that character would do next.  Often, when I do try to plot more strictly, the book ignores my carefully planned out story and goes and does its own thing without me!

§ In Sky Song, there is fantastic and authentic chemistry between the three friends Jacob, Luca and Ellen. It’s an original dynamic, as we usually see relationships between only two characters. Tell us a little about these three characters and the roles they play.

Jacob is the main man.  He’s complex and quite intense.  If I’d known someone like him at school I might have been a bit in awe of him, but a bit scared too.  Essentially, he’s a good guy, but he has this dark side at the start of the book that he doesn’t really understand.  Once he does, he finds it hard to deal with the knowledge.  Then there’s Luca.  He’s Jacob’s foil, the light to his darkness. He’s the class joker, but he hides his insecurities behind his humour.  Beneath the carefree exterior is a much deeper character.  Ellen is the touchstone, the anchor of the trio.  She’s had a much tougher upbringing than either of the boys and is more level-headed and pragmatic for it.  She’s fiercely loyal and will do anything to protect her friends.  She also has a really strong sense of morals. She keeps the other two in check, and binds the three of them.

§ I love how the unique ‘two sides’ of Jacob’s personality conflict with one another. How the unknown haunts Jacob, whereas the locked Ioh desperately tries to shine through. Did you ever find yourself becoming almost possessed as Jacob’s story started to unravel and you just had to get it all down?

I always become possessed with every character I write!  I always immerse myself in every world I create, which makes me very difficult to live with when I’m in first draft territory.  I get to the point where I’ll inhabit that world in my head, night and day, no matter what I’m doing or where I am.  And I am quite obsessive when I’m writing a first draft, in that I’ll spend every available moment working feverishly to get it all down before it disappears.  If I lose the thread at any point during that process, I’ll often have to abandon the draft and, sometimes, they don’t get picked up again for years, if at all.

YoungMoon§ The front covers for Sky Song and The Young Moon are interesting and eye-catching to say the least. Did you design them yourself? And if you did, what influenced the design?

Thank you!  I designed them myself.  It took a long time to find the initial image for Sky Song.  I wanted something that represented the climactic scene of the book, something atmospheric and spooky.   I also wanted the three covers to tie together, visually, so that it would be easy to see that they belonged together.  The third book has a similar image, but it’s a different colour again. And I stuck with the same font too.

§ Excluding Jacob, what other character did you have the most fun writing?

It has to be Luca.  He gets some great lines, particularly in the second and third books.  A few people have said that he had them giggling.  And he’s such an outrageous flirt, as a woman you’d cringe if he tried to chat you up with some of his lines, but you’d also laugh your socks off and probably go home with him anyway!  But he has a serious side too, which comes out when the others really need it.  As I said earlier, he hides his securities behind his humour.  In that sense, he’s a lot like me.

§ I’ve read that you have a standalone novel Runners coming out later in 2013. This however is to be released by Immanion Press. Is there a specific reason why you are switching from self-publishing to traditional publishing for this release?

I was offered the contract for Runners during summer 2012, so it’s actually been a long time coming out.  I had the first Sky Song book finished at the same time, sitting around on my laptop.  It had never occurred to me to self-publish, but a friend who self-publishes suggested that I give it a go.  I enjoyed the process so much that I decided to put the second two Sky Song books out the same way.  But the traditional publishing deal actually came first and I would probably take another one for a book in the future if the right deal came along.  I enjoy publishing both ways for very different reasons.

§ If you could pick three characters from fiction to be shipwrecked on a desert island with, who would they be?

Harry Potter, without a doubt.  Will Stanton (The Dark is Rising) would be pretty cool too.  Both of those would be handy if we were on a desert island!   The third is a really weird one, but run with me.  I think Biggles would be super tough and keep all that magic in check with his no-nonsense stiff upper lip.  I had a weird obsession with W.E Johns books for a year or so when I was in my teens. I think that might be the first time I’ve mentioned it anywhere; you must be like a Parky-style interviewer to drag that secret out!

§ Do your favourite authors influence your writing genre or do you like to escape from YA Fiction and read something different entirely? Or does the stories you write fall into a genre all by themselves?

I really don’t think I’m influenced by writers as such, but I suppose it must creep into my work.  I’m interested in great stories and amazing writing no matter what genre they come from.  I write a lot of YA and I read a lot, but it’s not an exclusive thing.

§ What book have you read recently that deserves to be turning into a film or TV Series?

When I read Jack Croxall’s Tethers, I really visualised it as the sort of thing that would be perfect for a CBBC series.  I think he should turn it into a script and send it to the BBC!   I would also love to see The Night Circus as a film.  I’m sure that’s only a matter of time, though.

§ Do you have any writing superstitions? Perhaps you have to always wear a pair of slippers to click your brain over into writing mode, or maybe you have to always start with a coffee in your favourite mug?

If I’m in a situation where it is impossible to write, you can guarantee that my brain will be in writing mode!  I don’t have a superstition as such, but I do need a steady supply of tea.

§ When will the final instalment of The Sky Song trilogy be roughly released? Can you perhaps leak any details or a working titles?

The final instalment has been written and beta read. The cover has been designed too.  All that’s left to is to proof read.   I expect release date to be 1st May 2013.   I can’t say too much without giving away the end of The Young Moon for those who haven’t read it, as the third book, Not of Our Sky, picks up right from the end of the second book.  What I can say is that book three hinges on the prophecy in The Young Moon that foretells Jacob’s fall into darkness.

§ Describe The Sky Song trilogy in just five words.

Love, loyalty, adventure, surprise, destiny.

Biggles? Really, Sharon! What an insightful interview, i’m sure you’ll all agree! Sharon Sant is an exciting and fresh new voice to a genre that is getting a lot of attention at the moment. You can keep up to date with her writing news, as well as interesting insights too over at her blog. She tweets as @SharonSant and has her own Author Facebook too.

To buy the first instalment of The Sky Song trilogy, you can find Sky Song over at Amazon UK & Amazon US/AUS

Sky Song at Goodreads:

Sky Song (Sky Song trilogy #1)

 

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Come and like my Author Facebook Page or join me over at Goodreads

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Blue Dust: Forbidden by Katy Krump and Author Interview!

I’m pleased to introduce this book review and Author Interview for Day Four of Sci Week. Blue Dust: Forbidden is the first in a new series of YA Sci Fi books by author Katy Krump, published by Ghostly Publishing and if the first book is anything to go by, then the series I’m certain will be a huge hit. It tells the story of Qea, who for reasons unknown at the beginning of the book, is hiding on Earth under the guise of Kerry Johnston; a teenage girl with a limp. After discovering all is not as it should at home, Kerry realises her cover has been blown and crosses the breadth of England to Devon to meet at the rendezvous spot. And so starts Qea’s journey that will take her across the galaxy to her home system; the Octad.

We discover that Qea was third born to a family; which goes against the rules. In a land where Warlords rule the desolate land, diamondine mines and have contacts in every liveable sector. Natural resources are sparse and a reproduction law deems only two children per family. Qea has only known solitude for her early life and when her parents are killed she is captured by an evil warlord who uses her for his own gain.

But after betraying this warlord, Qea meets Adam on Earth, who causes a bit of a dilemma. Qea is torn between her instincts for survival and her heart when she is thrust back into the ruthless land she grew up in and must find a way to survive against the mysterious Inquisitors; a unique alien police force who govern the laws.

I think Katy Krump is on to a winner here with Blue Dust; a YA Sci Fi novel is a unique proposition amongst a plethora of successful fantasy novel featuring vampires and witchcraft. It is indeed original and it sucks you in within the first chapter, where the action blasts off almost instantly. Who is this Kerry Johnston? And why is she taking refuge in our planet? Ms Krump doesn’t release all of the details all at once mind you, but slowly gives you tit bits of life on the Octad and the politics that govern the system.

In the first quarter of the book, what works extremely well is the flashbacks of Qea to when she was a young girl hiding away with her parents and her trying to understand the life she was unfairly thrust into. It’s a wonderful balance of innocence and curiosity and I thought that this was perhaps the most important part of the novel. What this does is allow us to feel for Qea’s predicament and will her on to become free. This young Qea is almost a complete contrast to the spunky, no nonsense teenage Qea who is always on the look out and suspects danger around every corner. With her back story we can see how her life must have been difficult; trying to stay hidden from a warlord must be daunting task.

Blue Dust: Forbidden is extremely well written; concise, descriptive and engaging. Ms Krump’s use of language is also interesting as it is quite educated compared to other YA novels. I however, loved the originality of the world she creates where water is treacle like and red.

The love interest between Qea and Adam is also extremely well crafted and never comes across as cheesy and obviously fabricated which could alienate some readers, especially male readers. However, the subtle references are believable and written in a more dependable way. The character’s of Qea and Adam make a great team and must get use to each other’s way of dealing with things to come out on top together. They are thrust with responsibility with the looking after of Forbidden Children quite early on and their disagreements give us an insight to the core of both characters. Soppy romantic writing doesn’t make an appearance and I think this book is very much multi sex. It has enough action and imagination to appeal to both male and female readers.

And what action there is! Fights with warlords, battles with Inquisitors and deadly escapes from prison camps; it is all in here. Ms Krump even goes as far to mix supernatural elements with appearances from spirits. Her reference to the Troiqa is a unique subtle reference to religion and it is these delicate mentions of our life that make this book very special indeed. This is exactly what YA novels need and Katy Krump almost does everything right.

Where Blue Dust: Forbidden falters ever so slightly though is perhaps the last

Previous Front Cover of Blue Dust: Forbidden

quarter of the book where it seems to run out of steam in parts. It doesn’t ruin the story, but the flow of the book seems to slow down and it isn’t until the very end where it picks up again. Another problem I had with the book was something quite silly, but still affected ones opinion and that was the front cover. It just didn’t fit and didn’t give a correct representation of what the book was about. Thankfully the cover has since changed and all is OK again.

If you are new to the Sci Fi genre, then Blue Dust: Forbidden is exactly the introduction you need and with it’s pacey, well structured story interwoven amongst a backdrop of callous warlords and crime, it is exciting to get stick in and follow Qea’s turmoil. Adam creates a wonderful balance and represents us humans into the story and he is so easy to get behind, with his gentle approach and caring nature. You can’t help but get pulled into the new world this book creates. It’s addictive, appealing and very accessible and a brilliant start to what is bound to be an action packed series. Give it a go; I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

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Author Interview with Katy Krump

Katy Krump is here to talk about her Science Fiction novel Blue Dust: Forbidden. I took my time when formulating some questions to ask her and I hope you find them interesting to read.

  • Blue Dust: Forbidden is the first chapter in your Blue Dust series. Tell us a little about what we can expect as we follow Qea on her journey across England and indeed the Octad.

Qea’s journey is fraught with danger. She’s constantly fleeing in fear of her life and is seldom given a moment to relax or feel safe. Her nature and past make it impossible for her to lower her guard and she struggles with this, especially when she meets Adam. At first Qea’s on the run from her enemies, who have tracked her to Earth, but once she’s taken back to the place of her nightmares, the Octad, she’s faced with a whole new set of problems as the beings and strange, alien planets attack her. It’s also a journey of self-discovery, not always easy for her as she’s confronted with her true self and has to decide who she’ll become to survive. She’s never entirely certain what her next move will be, and this ups the tensions for both her, Adam and the other Forbidden children. For the first time she realises that her decisions and choices affect others and she has to face her own mortality and decide whether or not her life matters more than those she’s responsible for now. She has the role of heroine thrust upon her and is never entirely comfortable with this part. You’re never sure if she’s simply going to run away and leave everyone else to their own devices or if she’s going to stay and embrace her destiny.

  • Qea is such a tough and gritty young woman. What was your inspiration behind her character?

I’d like to say ‘me’, but that’s not true. I wanted a strong female protagonist because I think that the girls are too often relegated to the role of side-kick or love interest. I drew on the character traits of a number of woman in history from Joan of Arc to Boudicca and Miss Marple – weird, I know. I also took the strong male protagonist traits we see so often and made them female, because girls are just as strong as boys, sometimes stronger, and I felt there’s a gap in the market for feisty teenage heroines. And of course, I’m a girl, and have very clear memories of the confusion that becoming a teenager can bring, so I wanted to reflect that too. Life isn’t always easy and it certainly isn’t a ‘chick flick’ where everyone lives happily ever after as soon as the handsome prince has galloped up on his trusty steed. There’s far too much in magazines, television and other media telling girls that all they need to succeed is good looks, big boobs and a strong man and that happiness only comes when you’re rich enough, skinny enough, have big enough eyelashes and hair or have caught a footballer. Girls are disempowered by vacuous celebrities who are famous for nothing more that the size of their chest. Qea becomes her own person through what she has experienced and it’s her experiences that make her who she is. She’s never entirely comfortable with herself and this brings added conflict to her story. I wanted to create a heroine that is untouched by the shallowness of some of the values on Earth. I hope that she’ll be a positive role model for girls, and that boys will see girls as more than simply accessories.

  • What I thought worked really well was the conflict of the young innocent Qea back when she was learning that she is in fact one of the Forbidden. Talk us through your approach to writing the two sides of Qea ~ the younger Qea and her older self.

As I said, being a teenager can be rough and Qea’s past has been traumatic, it’s made her what she is, so I wanted to show this. We’re all shaped by our history, but we don’t have to allow that to define us forever. Qea not knowing why she lived as she did adds a new dimension. Her early years were bizarre, she doesn’t understand why she’s been kept in seclusion, and the discovery that she’s Forbidden is devastating and informs how she reacts throughout her adventure. I thought back to my own childhood, that foggy feeling when things happened that I didn’t fully understand and the light bulb moment when suddenly everything became clear. I wanted the older Qea to remember her younger self and to become more tolerant of her own failings as she understands where she came from and why she was treated the way she was. In the sequel Destiny, even more of her early life is revealed. I felt it important that the readers understand why Qea is so hard and inflexible, why she’s had to become tough and I hope I’ve conveyed this effectively.

  • Sci-Fi is predominately the main genre of this book, yet throughout you manage to keep everything believable and somehow realistic. Were you always drawn to the Sci-Fi genre and how important was it for you to keep everything so believable?

The first time I saw an episode of Star Trek as a child, something clicked inside me. The thought that there might be other worlds out there was so amazing and it gave my imagination a huge shove, though I did struggle to put aside the part of me that wanted to know ‘but how is this possible?’.  I had to learn how to suspend belief and understand that I was watching a story. My dad took me to see 2001 A Space Odyssey when I was quite young, and it put me off Science Fiction for years, because it seemed so random and inexplicable and I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. But then we got television and I met Captain Kirk and Mr Spock and they were believable despite the setting, because they had personalities and characteristics I could identify with. Now with special effects and CGI, other worlds are so much more believable than the cardboard rocks in the early Star Trek episodes I saw. I still love Sci-Fi that makes sense, there must be strong characters, an amazing setting, constant danger and conflict. I wanted to keep Qea real, even though she’s an alien, my readers must be able to relate to her and see their own circumstances reflected in hers. It was important that I kept the characters and beings of the Octad possible, without falling back into a cliché. The readers need to see themselves in Qea’s struggles and I hope I’ve conveyed this.

  • I think Adam’s character is a nice balance to the over eager Qea. Even though Qea is very much the main protagonist within Blue Dust: Forbidden, it is still Adam’s story too. Did Adam start off in your mind like this or did his character just take over in your writing process?

Adam grew as I wrote him, it’s funny how characters do that. Suddenly they do something you never expected or planned and I’m constantly surprised as they take on a life of their own. Adam challenges Qea and brings his own Earthly constructs into her world, which is why they clash so often. I wanted to make him the alien in her world, but the way he reacted wasn’t planned, he did that all on his own. Being an ‘alien’ myself, I released a lot of my own frustrations into Adam, except I moved him from Earth to the Octad, whereas my own journey was only from South Africa to England. He certainly has aspects of my own feelings of disempowerment and alienation in him, and though I planned these for Qea initially, they unexpectedly manifested in Adam too.

  • Tell us about some of your writing heroes? With the cold winter fastly approaching, which book can you always rely on to hook you and let the time just slip away into the night?

My first heroine in fiction was Jo March in Little Woman. She moved away from home to become a writer and that resonated with me even back then. Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple as well as Tommy and Tuppence, influenced my love of crime and I spent many happy hours wandering around the neighbourhood looking for clues and writing down car number plates ‘just in case’. I love a good thriller on a cold night. A recent hero of mine is the much flawed Harry Hole in the Jo Nesbo books. I also admire Lizbet Salander (to a point) in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the sequels and I’ve recently discovered Lord PeterDeath BredonWimsey in the Dorothy L Sayers series. He’s a bit old fashioned, but I enjoy his eccentric Englishman sleuth. And of course Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games trilogy. I only found her when Blue Dust : Forbidden was already complete and it was great to find a strong female character for the YA market.

  • I think you have found a gap in the YA market with Blue Dust: Forbidden. Do you think Sci-Fi is a genre that is somewhat left in the shadows too often or do you think that it is a genre that can grow?

Sci Fi films and television shows have certainly helped the genre grow, and I’m hopeful they will continue to attract and steer new readers to the genre. It seems to me from reading various magazines that there is a bit of snobbishness out there, and often Sci-Fi isn’t taken all that seriously by those that consider themselves ‘proper’ writers. Nor is YA fiction for that matter. Of course any writer knows that writing for the YA market is just as much proper writing as anything else and there are loads of crossover books where adults also enjoy YA books. I’m finding many Sci-Fi and fantasy loving adults who are enjoying Blue Dust : Forbidden and that’s wonderful. I think the genre will continue to grow and will hopefully pull new younger readers in as it did to me. Yes, it has been left in the shadows, Sci-Fi followers seem to have a reputation as nerdy geeks, but intelligent readers know this is nonsense. You have to be particularly bright to understand Sci-Fi, I think.

  • But what about you Katy? Tell us about yourself and how you got into writing?

I was born and raised in South Africa and have always enjoyed writing and telling stories. I had an over-active imagination, something my teachers didn’t always appreciate and I often felt ‘squashed’. I was an English and music teacher before almost losing my sense of humour (and mind) and deciding I needed to devote myself to the thing I love most – writing. While teaching I published a number of children’s musicals and realised that I wanted to write full-time. I was lucky enough to become a television scriptwriter for children, entered a nationwide scriptwriting competition and was selected to be on the writing team of a popular South African soap. I also worked as an advertising copywriter, wrote radio ads and jingles, educational textbooks and readers…anything writing-related to keep the wolf from the door. Basically, I’m constantly writing; books and TV or film scripts and if not that then plotting, planning and scheming how to take over the world!

Like my creation Qea, the feisty heroine in Blue Dust: Forbidden, I understand something about being an alien after I embarked on a new journey, crossing the galaxy to settle on a new planet (England) many moons ago. Some like to call this process ‘immigration’. I am now the proud possessor of a maroon Intergalactic Wayfarer Permit and have come to love the aliens I mix with daily, even though they don’t always speak the same language.

  • And lastly, if you could describe Blue Dust: Forbidden in just five words, what would they be?

Exciting, frightening, sad, romantic, hopeful

Blue Dust : Forbidden (Blue Dust #1)

Thanks for those insightful answers Katy! We wish you luck with the book launch! Blue Dust: Forbidden is now available! You can purchase it from the following links. Amazon Paperback, Amazon eBook, Waterstones.

Stay Tuned to Sci Fi week because I am giving away a free copy of Blue Dust later this week, with the addition of a special gift from the Author!

Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti and Author Interview!

Day Two of Sci Fi Week – I’ve sat here for the past five minutes wondering whether or not to post the review of the book first or the Interview first and I just don’t know. Does it really matter? I think it makes more sense to read the review of Other Systems first and then find out a little more about the talented author next.

Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti was published by 48Fourteen Publishing earlier this year in April and follows the story of Abby, who surprisingly leaves all of her family and friends on Earth and is heading off to Kipos, a planet light years away to start a new life; one filled with education, heart warming stories about loving spouses and grand jobs. But things aren’t that simple however, and Abby is soon to discover that life upon this Utopian planet is actually more of a hellish nightmare. She is sold to a man as a slave and life is pretty drastic and dire. Will she escape or will she learn to ride the difficult culture and accept her new position in an unknown planet?

What I loved about Other Systems was the highly advanced world Elizabeth Guizzetti creates. It is one full of history and full of promise and the result of this is actually a fully rendered 3D world we can actually visualise and understand. Kipos is a planet on the decline; generations after generations are succumbing to a failed reproduction law and are desperate for solutions. You can get sucked in to the entire political situation of Guizzetti’s world and it almost serves as a dual storyline alongside Abby’s turmoil.

I feel it safe to say that Other Systems is indeed an adult novel and it features many unpleasant scenes and situations that are difficult to read, yet this is not a bad thing! It is the awful point where Abby is raped that you suddenly awaken to the addictiveness this sort of novel produces. You simply have to read more. You want Abby to be OK; you want her to live on and make something of herself; not letting those awful moments define her as a person.

For Abby is such a relatable character and a protagonist whom we learn to love and admire. I think Abby can come across incredibly naïve in the beginning, falling for the false promises offered to her, but why not? Despite her quite innocent approach at times, she is a highly modern woman; a woman with many ideals and emotions that can distance some readers. Should monogamy be the right path? For Abby, love is something she learns to accept on many levels and her approach is simply her choice. As a reader we can either accept this, or see it as one of her flaws. And it is these flaws that can also make Abby so readable. We aren’t perfect ourselves so why would we want to read ‘perfect’ characters?

Guizzetti’s book is quite technical at times and this is to be expected from a book of this genre. It never patronises you though and at times you come away feeling quite knowledgeable about the processes and technologies within the novel. Surely this is a sign of the author’s talent? It is obvious she has done her research with so much attentiveness and love.

Alongside Abby is a cast of interesting and fully rendered characters. Take Cole for instance who can almost come across as quite endearing at times. Cole can almost be seen as a love interest for Abby, but you realise much later on that their relationship is more of a father and daughter. With the inclusion of male characters we also come across Harden and Mark. With that also comes the subject of homosexuality.

I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil everything the book has to offer but we come to realise that Harden is bisexual, which is quite rare to see in books. I think it is wonderful that Guizzetti has dared to approach these subjects and decided to explore them.

There is simply just so many things going on within this novel and you can’t help but let of all these intertwining events and politics take over your own imagination. What if our world was like that? Where would we be as a civilisation? It most definitely gives you cause for concern as you come across the beginnings of these things in our own country.

Of course a review wouldn’t be fair without showing both sides of the coin. If subjects such as rape and character sexuality are something that you wish NOT to read then I’m afraid you won’t find this book very enjoyable. The sensitive subjects are never thrown at you with menace but I would assume that many people may find all of this uncomfortable in a shockingly unpleasant way.

I think it fair to say that at times, the flow of the book can slow and it is at these times where reading can become a little confusing especially if you aren’t fully aware of the subject matter. However, with a book of this nature and calibre it does deserve your entire attention.

I would highly recommend Elizabeth Guizzetti’s Other Systems as a book to reignite the Sci-Fi genre to you if you have ever left it if you are fan; definitely go and add it to your wish list. It has a nice balance of action and emotion and with very well written characters, there will be someone in here that you can find so attachable. It’s an intelligent novel that will send your mind wondering and I loved the fact that the book could become quite intense at times because ultimately this strengthened my connection with the characters. When you read this book, you will understand exactly what I mean.

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Author Interview with Elizabeth Guizzetti

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Elizabeth Guizzetti here for an interview. Hi Elizabeth! Her author profile tells us that she loves to create (which is extremely apparent within her book) and once she has an idea she runs off with the idea, not letting it go until she has given it her all. Over the past decade, she has created over 100 paintings, three graphic novels and a comic book series. Other Systems is her first published novel.

Elizabeth currently lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs.

  • Other Systems is a wonderfully crafted and well structured Sci-Fi novel featuring Abby’s quest to start a new life. Tell us a little about what we can discover inside?

 

Other Systems is a story of determination and survival set against a background of scientific exploration. It explores the loss of identity, family, and friends due to time dilation.

Without an influx of human DNA, the planet Kipos has eleven generations before its human colony reaches failure. Gene splicing and cloning have failed. It will take over two centuries to get to Earth and back at near light speed. When the Kiposi transports arrive in our solar system, they are shocked to discover the outer colonies (Triton, Ganymede among others) are abandoned. The Home World is crumbling and filled with 17 billion wanton savages.

The novel follows Abby, an Earthling, who after medical, intelligence, and physiological testing is offered transportation along with her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid. They leave Earth with the expectation of good jobs, kindhearted spouses, and the opportunity for higher education. When Abby wakes up on Kipos, Jin cannot be found. Orchid is ripped from her arms as Abby is sold to a dull-eyed man with a sterilized wife. To survive, Abby must learn the differences in culture and language using the only thing that is truly hers on this new world: her observant and analytical mind. To escape her captors, she’ll join a planetary survey team.

While most of the novel is written from Abby’s perspective; the prologue, intermissions and conclusion focus on Cole Alekos and his family. These breaks in the narrative show the consequences of the Reproduction Laws, advances in technology, the variable nature of time, and the effect of Abby’s presence on his family after his adult daughter decides to take her in.

  • Other Systems is set so far in the future in 3062. How did you go about creating Earth so far ahead of our time? Was it all from your entire imagination or did you take elements from our own lives and evolve them further?

I know quite a bit about the construction of Seattle and was able to imagine what would happen if the seawall collapsed and if the infrastructure began to break down. Yes, I did take elements from current technology and evolved them to what might be if levels of tech continued to rise and fall as population continued to rise. If necessity is the mother of all invention, I just considered what would be necessary. Solar and methane collection would become crucial. I loved the idea that artificial intelligence decided to leave Earth and Kipos after they evolved past humans. They don’t have anything against humans, they just don’t want to hang out with us either.

  • I think Abby is such a relatable character. She has dreams to further herself and become somebody and although it is a bit of a risk to venture to Kipos, it is one many of us can understand. She has such a strong voice. What is it about Abby that you think is addictive yet relatable?

I am proud that I wrote a character that people seem to care about even when they get frustrated with her. One reason I think people care about her is that she has flaws, she makes mistakes. Yet she has strength of character. She is a survivor no matter what happens she keeps going.

  • Other Systems cover many sensitive issues; some political, others more ethical. It must have been hard to write about these with such detail? However it is done so professionally. I commend your daring about including these issues. What compelled you to include/write about these issues?

Let me first start by explaining how I wrote it. The concept for Other Systems really hit me when I was out walking the dogs: a young Earth woman goes to another planet and realizes she has become a slave. However, due to her intelligence, she will escape and become a ship’s captain while she rescues her siblings also somewhere lost on this planet. Obviously this original idea is not exactly the final concept. That very night, I saw an article about young, uneducated girls from India’s rural areas traveling into new cities and thinking that they are going to get factory jobs only to end up working as sex slaves. Suddenly, I knew the how Abby got caught up in all of this.

As for writing controversial issues (suicide, sex, swearing, politics, etc.) should be integral to the plot in some way. So first of all, I ask myself: Is this scene necessary? How much of the scene is necessary? Abby’s rape was integral to the plot and I had to force myself to not rush the scene though I didn’t want to write it at all.

For every negative scene, I tried to remember there would be a positive scene. The scene that was the hardest scene to write was the birth of Rachel Margret/Lei Lei. It took me a long time to write convincingly how much joy Abby had for the child’s life then her accompanying pain when the child is taken from her arms.

  • I love your approach regarding character’s sexual identity, in my opinion it sets it far ahead of other novels of similar theme. Were you ever worried about readers’ reactions or possible homophobia?

Not really. It is probably to my detriment, but I don’t worry about readers’ reactions to challenging subjects. My goal is to write a complex and interesting story and characters who readers sympathize with.

Besides, I figure people who are homophobic would have never got past the opening chapter. They wouldn’t agree with Lucy’s suicide as a protected right or Harden screaming obscenities at his father. If they happened to get to the second intermission, they learn Harden is bisexual like most people in the Fleet. He leans towards hetero, but he has had homosexual relationships. They probably would put the book down right then and there.

What surprised me is Abby’s sexuality has been more problematic for some reviewers than the homosexuality. Apparently, there is still an idea that a young girl should just want love from one special guy, but Abby thinks about love and sex with various men and boys.

  • What is it about the Sci-Fi genre that captures you? Did you just happen to fall into that genre or have you always had a healthy respect for it?

It is the story that captures my attention. Abby’s story happened to be science fiction. The day the inspiration struck I knew it would be. I have also written (in comics) fantasy, a dark comedy, and historical horror, each time I always knew what the story would turn out to be.

That being said, prior to writing my first novel, I loved science fiction as a genre and so does my husband. With this project, I hoped to create something my husband would love.

Since then I discovered I have a knack for mixing science with solid characters. Both of my published written works, Other Systems and the short story Unintentional Colonists are character driven sci-fi.

  • Despite all of the action and wonderful plot, it is the characters and their relationships that I loved the most. It was almost sad to reach the end. Does Abby, Harden or Mark feature in any of your future plans or has their full story been told?

The series will not have a traditional sequel, but it’s a big universe. There is so much more to explore including what happened on Earth after the Kiposi left the space elevators and what happened on Kipos. If it goes to plan…you will see all three characters again.

  • Other Systems was published in April of this year and has been released for some time. I’m intrigued to hear about your short story ‘Unintentional Colonists’. What’s that all about?

After 12 years of no gravity in space or low gravity on Europa, the crew of the one of the first long term space missions must decide if they want to go home and be crippled or stay on Europa and continue to do scientific research.

It was published by Perihelion SF on October 12 of this year. Everyone can read it for free at http://perihelionsf.com/fiction_4.htm

  • Sci-Fi has its own set of rules to follow and it must be difficult to avoid accidental ‘copying’ from well known Sci-Fi examples. Tell us your thoughts.

I don’t know if there are rules per say, but most science fiction has both scientific thought and the hypothesis of “what might be if…”

Sometimes I do worry about accidental ‘copying’ and think many authors probably do. After all, did I come up with the idea of artificial intelligence, nanotech, FtL messaging and travel? Nope. That technology is literally in hundreds if not thousands of books, movies, games, and television shows. Scientists right now are working to develop technologies that will push science even further.

When I needed technology or science for Other Systems, Unintentional Colonists or any story, I researched prevailing theories, chose one, then filled in the holes with fiction. Since that is what all authors do, it makes sense there is some crossover. Because every author is going to tell their stories their own way, the stories are going to be original. For example, there are other stories with Artificial Intelligence, some times they even become sentient, but I never read any story where the AI becomes sentient because someone was polite to it. That’s part of my story.

  • And lastly, what advice would you give to new Sci-Fi writers who are looking to get published?

This advice is really for any author. Since there are no guarantees, be passionate about the stories you write. Getting published is often an issue of reading submission guidelines, contacting the right market, determination, and not giving up.

Other Systems

What a great interesting interview! It’s really rewarding sometimes when you have loved a book to get to know the gritty information behind the novel and what went into it whilst it was still ‘under construction’. Thank you Elizabeth! I wish you all the best for the future and readers, if you loved what you have read get reading her free short story. You can purchase Other Systems though  using the link you are more familiar with. Amazon USAmazon UK , 48Fourteen,  Barnes & Noble.

Be sure to keep reading Sci Fi week on my blog for your chance to win a free copy of Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti and a surprise gift from Elizabeth herself!

Sci-Fi Week Coming …

I am currently reading two Sci- Fi books at the moment and to celebrate this genre, i will be running a Sci-Fi week on my blog from Monday 29th October – Sunday 4th November. This means i will be posting a new post every day of that week with the subject being Sci-Fi!

Sci-Fi is a subject / genre i have read probably the least, but a subject i have a lot of respect for. It can’t be easy writing a novel completely from your imagination with little realistic examples to base your novel from. You have to completely write a new set of rules; rules we have yet to discover and wonder at.

Be sure to keep tuned by subscribing by email to my blog to discover Sci-Fi week where i’ll be interviewing Sci-Fi authors Katy Krump and Elizabeth Guizzetti, find out my favourite Sci-Fi TV shows and a chance to win some fantastic Sci-Fi eBooks. If you love Sci-Fi then you’ll definitely want to read more.

Monday 29th October – Sunday 4th November