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Is there anything in your book you’d go back and change?
Since I first published Stellar Fusion, I have changed the beginning of the book. Originally, I was told to avoid prologues. But after publication, the book just felt like it was missing something, a hint of context for where the series falls in the Universal War Novels—which will be three series in total when it’s finished. I went in and added a single page and tweaked the first few paragraphs of chapter 1. It reads better and sets the scene the way I want it to now.
What inspired your book?
I am a lucid dreamer that regularly gets migraines, so I was trying out dream journaling to help me sleep calmer. After awhile I noticed they were getting interesting and I was having fun writing them down. As a child, I used to lie in bed on Saturday mornings (my only free time) and just make up stories in my mind. I had no idea what they looked like on paper until I tried out this therapy tactic of dream journaling. One night I had a particularly interesting dream and it sparked the idea of Stellar Fusion.
Do you write as you go, or do you have the book all planned out from page 1?
A book usually starts with an idea of a character’s struggle, a twist, or an emotion I want to capture. I usually make a rough outline of what has to happen where and when. Then I just free write. Often I start out with a concept but have to change it a few times before the end of the book to make all of the pieces fit together just right.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Stellar Fusion took me about five years. It was on and off writing in the beginning, whenever ideas (and time) came into my life. I also struggled a lot with the notion I was falling into the “crazy writer with unrealistic dreams” category so doubt came in to play. But when we were isolated in North Dakota for a winter, I had plenty of time and little else better to do. I finished the novel, and here it is!
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Top favorite author, hands down, has to be Pierce Brown. But I also love Kerry Nietz’s work, Lois Lowry, and J. R. R. Tolkien.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Someone once told me to remember, every time I encounter someone impatient, rude, mean, or otherwise negative, that I do not know what is going on in their life. A car passing me on the shoulder might startle me, but I remind myself now that they might have someone in the car that’s hurt. Or someone’s in the hospital and they just got the call. I don’t know for sure. But this little piece of advice has made me much more patient and understanding as well as helped open a portal in my mind to the possibilities of what is going on in other people’s lives. It’s much easier to write now because I’m always studying people.
How do you react to a bad review?
Readers are entitled to their opinions. I read the review and search for anything that could be a legitimate concern. I want to ensure my books are enjoyable for my readers, so I care about what my fans think. But at the same time, I know it’s important to let most of the negativity go. Unless someone has something factually incorrect, I don’t really want to dwell too long. I’m too busy working on new books!
Which authors have influenced you most – how?
J. R. R. Tolkien definitely got me interested in creating languages. Pierce Brown has some amazing description and such complexity to his stories that a reader’s brain really has a lot to chew on. Kerry Nietz plays with cyberpunk/biopunk concepts and works them into character development with ease. Lois Lowry has a gentleness to her voice even through tense moments that I wish I could emulate.
What is your favorite scene in your book?
I loved writing all of them, and each is essential. But there’s one scene where Atana, the female lead, connects with a child named Kios, and it changes her. It’s essential foreshadowing for the future of the Infinite Spark Series but is also a tender moment that eases the main mood of the book, slows it down, and reminds us as readers that even the broken can be beautiful.
What books do you love that don’t get a lot of hype?
I really enjoy biopunk and speculative fiction. When I found Kerry Nietz’s A Star Curiously Singing, it didn’t have a lot of reviews, but it sounded interesting. I ended up reading it in one sitting then rereading it like a week later.
What makes your novel stand out from the crowd?
Stellar Fusion has a balance of everything: blood-quests and finding family, magic and science, and extreme order and power versus the powerless. It features a unified government (Universal Protectors) for a futuristic Earth where there are no countries, no separate militaries, and everyone is registered in one system like Social Security, what I called Human Cataloging. I also introduce alien languages that I build heavily upon in later books.
Do your characters really talk to you?
No, my characters don’t talk to me. I’m usually hanging out around them in their environments like a reporter, jotting down notes as they chat and interact. Sometimes I put myself in the position of a particular character so I can attempt to understand the best reaction or move for them or their counterpart. I have, oddly though, dreamt one of them was looking at me, and it was clear it was me as the writer, not me as a character. But I think it was just my mind subconsciously working on the character’s appearance. Most of my good ideas come to me at night. I keep a notepad handy.
Thank you for having me!
This was fun!