Recently Hannah Shouppe, a friend of mine and a striving public relations professional, excitedly approached me with a proposition. Given the coming release of my science fiction series, she thought it would be a stellar idea to ask me a few questions about the book (and myself) in order to generate some exposure and awareness about my upcoming series. I have to say, I’m certainly not used to the air that comes with calling it an “interview,” but I was pleasantly surprised by the questions themselves. For a lot of the questions she asked, I had never actually sat down to attribute words to my feelings, so many of those feelings were an obscure cloud until I actually put my fingers to the keyboard.
I’d like to point out that this, my novel’s debut launch, and everything I’ve done through social media platform and other mediums of exposure have all been thanks to my wonderful PR team, Hannah Shouppe and Josh Newby!
Without further ado, here is the first part of the interview!
1) What genre/category is NANO: Archive 01?
NANO is Science Fiction. Although many have said that it reads a bit more like fantasy. I suppose the best categorization I could make would be to say this: think about Star Trek (With all its technical jargon and detailed exposition) and then think of Star Wars (where the answer to just about any conundrum is “The Force.”)
NANO falls closer on the Star Wars end of the spectrum. Just substitute “because The Force” with “because Nanites.”
Though I should point out that I personally think there’s still enough jargon in NANO to satisfy the Trekkie in most of us.
2a) What led up to your decision to write this book?
I don’t think any one thing contributed. Sometimes you’re just sitting and you have a spark, an idea, and then you start writing it. For me, once the writing began the story and its characters took on a life distinctly their own. I fell in love with the world, the technology, and all the characters very early on. I wish I could say that it was some Eureka moment, but that’s not the case. The story and characters predominantly wrote themselves with naught but minor guidance from me.
I can’t tell you the number of times the story’s main protagonist, Ihlia, threatened to cut off my fingers in my mind when I prepared to have her say or do something outside of her character.
2b) Where did you come up with your ideas for the style the book would be written in?
I have only just recently been recognizing that some of my ideas are similar to things I’ve seen before. The wardrobe and action sequences are very Matrix-esque. The setting is a bit of Wild West blended with high-tech, which I might have pulled from Firefly.
And, don’t tell anyone, but Japanese Anime largely inspired my combat scenes! I just love anime and the way so much of a story is revealed when two characters are engaged in mortal combat. The actions are all over the top, but no fight is meaningless. Every battle reveals something about a character or propels them forward into a new discovery. I love that, and I incorporated it a lot in my book!
3) What was the time frame for getting this book written and published?
Haha, as a new author I grossly underestimated the time frame required to write and publish a book. I had hoped to have the book written and published by mid 2013. It wasn’t until I took a look at the story, the characters, and my overall progress at the end of 2013 that I realized how naive I had been. Once I realized that and accepted the fact that I did not want to rush through anything, I decided not to worry too much about a time frame. I was engrossed in the writing, and I wanted to make sure I conveyed everything the way I wanted. I figured since I wasted ten years of my life doing nothing in regards to my passion, why not spend an extra year completely drowned in it?
I started the project November 5th of 2012 and finished the series on April 1st, 2014. In the end, it’s taken me about a year and a half to get the first book published, but I should be able to stagger-release the other three books in the series shortly after I release Archive 01.
4) Where did you get your ideas for the futuristic equipment and landscapes in your book?
I guess this goes back to the other question about what made me write it, but a lot of the stuff comes from all kinds of various sources- a lot of which I didn’t recognize I pulled from until after I finished writing and took a step back.
There are things called starch bars that replace basic food in that universe. They’re essentially processed carbohydrates that give the body energy, and then people take synthesized vitamin and mineral pills to keep themselves somewhat healthy. The Panacea implant takes care of the rest. Those starch bars, as they’re called, probably come from Warhammer 40k, where a soldier receives “Corpse Starch” for rations. But in Warhammer 40k, I think those things are actually recycled corpses. Yuck.
Then things like Holocoms are just holographic computers, which I think is a staple in most science fiction tech arsenals. Nanites are used predominantly as a support element in most science fiction I’ve read/watched/played. A “nanite infused suit” or “nanite mesh” or “nanite enhancements.” But I don’t think I’ve ever read or watched science fiction that centered the setting on those nanites the way I have.
Then there’s Osmiridium. It’s theoretically an actual material, but I don’t know why anyone would spend the money or resources to regularly make it. The video game series Mass Effect utilizes Iridium to upgrade equipment in Mass Effect 2, and from there it wasn’t much of a stretch to concoct osmiridium bullets and other equipment. I’m no smelter or even a chemist; most of these things are probably completely unfeasible and/or silly. Have mercy on me, and just read them for fun! If Stan Lee can get away with vibranium and adamantium, I say I can have osmiridium!
As for the landscapes… For most of them I couldn’t pinpoint an exact source of inspiration if my life depended on it. There are really only four major locations that the characters visit throughout the series. Two of them are in the first book: Junction City and Loftsborough.
Lastly, one of the things I wanted to do in my world is make sure that we, as a species, had advanced far enough technologically to have cool gadgets, but not so far that we were firing phasers or quantum gatling guns or black hole generators or shooting through the universe at faster than light speeds. It was something I decided early on. People will still chop you up with a cleaver, and a sniper rifle will still put a bullet between your eyes. The cleavers, rifles, and bullets are just a little more effective than ours today. Oh, and nanites.
5) Tell us a little about your main characters:
I could go on for hours on this topic. I love my characters immensely! All of them either stem from pieces of myself, people that I actually know, or mixtures of both. With each character, and each person that character represents, I took a trait or two from them and exaggerated it. Sometimes to a ridiculous point, but with most of the characters, you would be able to identify who their real life counterparts are after meeting them for only a few hours.
Ihlia Lorando – Ihlia is the main character of the book. The story is told entirely from her point of view. She’s an ex-US mercenary. Her former group, The Bald Eagles, inducted her into their ranks when she was only a child for reasons you’ll have to read about. The leader of The Bald Eagles, Bradich Lesfort, is the story’s main antagonist. It is he, for reasons you’ll have to read about, that destroys the world and spurns Ihlia to undertake a quest for revenge in the first place.
Ihlia is pieces of me mixed with attributes of various women in my life. I very much wanted to break away from the mold of “Male dominant lead with female support.” From the beginning, Ihlia was a woman and the main heroine in my story. I never made a conscious decision to change a man into her, nor did she start as a support character and get switched later on. She was very dominant in stepping forward, in my mind, as NANO’s lead character right from the get-go. And she’s a total badass!
Crelyos Highwind – Crelyos is, in almost every regard, my brother. I love his character to death, and he’s arguably the “lead support” character. If Ihlia’s in the thick of things, Crelyos is in the thick of things. And sometimes… he’s in the thick of things when she isn’t. He’s got a lot of vices (he drinks like there’s no tomorrow, for example), but his values and ideals are unwavering. Most of his character involves those ideals and how they get challenged by the people around him.
Doctor Oswald – Doctor Oswald is one of my favorite characters. He is actually a mix of two close friends of mine. He is extremely intelligent, far too wordy for his own good, sarcastic to a fault, and along with Crelyos, adds a few much-needed scenes of comic relief to an otherwise grizzly setting. The two of them are always at each other’s throats in a typical personification of brains-vs-brawn. I can only hope the readers consider these two characters as endearing as I.
And there you have it! The first part of the interview from my PR team about my book! The next post will be about me, personally, so I hope it gives you as much of a chuckle as this one, because it’s packed with just as many nerdy answers!