Review and Interview With Elizabeth Guizzetti

Other_Systems BlogTourSquareHello once again, Readers!!! Guess who’s back on my blog!! That’s right!!! Elizabeth!! To celebrate the release of her novel Other Systems in paperback, she is going on a blog tour! I was lucky enough to snag a spot!

So to celebrate, Elizabeth has agreed to do an interview with me:

eguizzettiauthor2For those who might not know you, can you tell them a little about yourself?I am the author and artist of the independent graphic novels Lure and the Faminelands Series. I also illustrated the comic book series Out for Souls&Cookies. Other Systems is my first published novel. I currently live in Seattle with my husband and two dogs, Rosie and Tycho.
I began my career as an artist, but I got into comics, after realizing that painting baby room murals was incredibly boring work. Later when my comic book partner, Maria Masterson needed maternity leave, I wrote my debut novel Other Systems.

What made you want to become a writer?
I always enjoyed telling stories. I decided to become a writer/artist when I was twelve or thirteen.

Tell us a little more about Other Systems.
Basically Other Systems is a story of a young woman’s determination to make a better life for herself. The novel explores the loss of identity, friends and family due to a forced breeding program and time dilation. I also tried to consider the shifts in culture and belief systems, the definition of humanity, and family structure.

Humans have begun to sprawl across the known galaxy, however without an influx of human DNA, the planet Kipos has eleven generations before it can no longer sustain a healthy population. It takes over two centuries to get to Earth and back at near light speed.

Other Systems follows Abby, an Earthling, who sees opportunity in Kipos’s need. After medical, intelligence, and physiological testing, she and her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid, are offered transportation. They leave the safety of their family 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 analytical mind.

To escape her captors, she’ll join a planetary survey team and discover yet another way of life.End_Nebula

What has been the hardest part of being a writer?
Deciding how to break up my time between writing, drawing, publicity, running the business, and life. Time management is imperative for any self-employed person. I do not find writing or drawing difficult, however marketing my book and comics now takes a huge portion of my day. Also deciding what is good publicity versus what is a waste of time is vital. Interestingly, it is not the same for every author or even every book.
Are any of your characters based on someone you know?
While I was inspired by certain mannerisms, no, they were not based on anyone particular.

Can you tell us a little about what you’re doing right now?
Trying to figure out these answers to this interview…just kidding. I have three projects in the works. A fantasy novel entitled The Martlet which is about assassins who are trying to live forever. The manuscript is finished and is in the process of being shopped around. I am also finishing up a companion novel for Other Systems which right now I am still calling Other Systems #2. This novel focuses on Earth after the Kiposi took people and left space elevators. Finally I am beginning to do the prep work of my next graphic novel which is based on my short story Unintentional Colonists which is scheduled for release Spring of 2015.

Who are your top five Sci-fi heroes?
For this question and the next, I am going to try to stick with science fiction rather than sci-fi/fantasy, because this list is by no means complete.
1) Q—from StarTrek TNG. Wait Wait, before you say he/she/it/they were villains. I disagree. Honestly if Picard was slightly more open-minded they might have even been friends. Picard was willing to give a wide berth to other omnipotent species, but he was constantly judging Q. Yet Q did the very thing that the crew of the Enterprise did when visiting less developed species: he mimicked them. Sure, sometimes he seemed a bit proud, but come on, he was omnipotent! The Q did not help the crew, because they lived by their own “prime directive,” yet on the Q episodes when Picard was close to failure, Q gave hints without giving away the answer. In DS9, when Sisko punched him, Q did not react maliciously though he certainly had the power to. In Voyager, he asked Captain Janeway if she would carry his child, gave her time to think about it, and when she said no, he respected that. (Compare that to the Greek and Roman Myths of Gods impregnating women in order to make demigods.) This is why he gets #1 on my heroes lists.
2) Ripley for the Aliens Series played by Sigourney Weaver. She was one of the first strong female leads in movies.
3) Eleanor Arroway from Contact (Carl Sagen) I enjoyed the movie and the book, but for different reasons.
4) The whole crew of the Serenity, but I loved Firefly (TV show), I only liked the film.
5) Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko Deep Space 9. Of all the StarTrek captains he was the most fleshed out.

Who are your top five Sci-fi villains?
1) Darth Vader. When I was a kid, he was scary, yet he redeems himself. I love redeemed villains.
2) Aliens, Predators, Aliens versus Predators. It doesn’t matter once they are involved, humans are prey.
3) The Mule from the Foundations Series (Isaac Asimov) A mutant who has the ability to change people’s emotions. He conquers planets simply by visiting them with his own army, instilling great fear, then loyalty to himself.
4) I don’t know if they are “villains” per say since they are not evil after all the war was just due to a misunderstanding. The Formic/Buggers from Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) were interesting. There really should be a “just misunderstood” list.
5) Pennywise from It (Stephen King) Tim Curry played Pennywise in the movie rendition which was straight horror, while the book version was more science fiction, either way Pennywise is evil, munches on kids, and poisons a town into complacency.

Part 3_KiposIf you could be any character in your book, who would you be?
Diane Richards. Though her son died of old age when they were on different timelines, Diane has a job that she loves with her best friends. Though not related by blood or marriage to the Alekoses, she is family. Since she is Head of Engineering rather than Captain or XO, she gets to have lots of fun every time they go on shoreleave. She is kind to animals and kids so she takes on an “older sister” role to Abby. She has a pet cat, Rockford. (Or Rockford has a pet human, the relationship is slightly unclear.)
On a side note, many women readers have told me how much they loved seeing a woman who was smart, sexual and yet not predatory in any way.

Plotter or Pantser?
What is the word “or” that you speak of? I do basic plotting and then let the story take over. Sometimes its characters who say, “No, I wouldn’t do that.” Other times, my research pushes the story in a new direction.

Sweet or Salty?
Again another “or” question… I like mixing sweet and salty. Bacon dipped in maple syrup, Popcorn and M&M’s, Pretzels dipped in chocolate. Need I go on?

Favorite color?
Red

Favorite planet?
Earth. It is home and the only home we have right now. However, I would also vote for Jupiter. It is an easy spotting planet from Earth even with the naked eye and its four largest moons can be seen with just binoculars. When Galileo Galilei discovered these moons in 1610, it was a revolutionary idea that the Universe did not revolve either Earth or at least our sun. Once when his observations were confirmed, the idea shifted thinking at least in Western cultures.

Star Trek or Star Wars?
Firefly.
Oh wait, that wasn’t an option. I enjoy Star Trek TNG, DS9, and Wrath of Khan best, but then put in the original trilogy of Star Wars. Then the other Star Trek films, the original Star Trek series. I disliked the Star Wars Prequels. I really disliked Star Trek Voyager after the first series since the writers didn’t seem to know what they wanted to do with the main characters except Janeway was expected to pick up, care for, and teach every random person in the delta quadrant.

Links where you can stalk her:

Amazon:

Print: http://www.amazon.com/Other-Systems-Elizabeth-Guizzetti/dp/1937546144

e-book: http://www.amazon.com/Other-Systems-ebook/dp/B007QQDU94

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

FB Page

Website with deleted scenes and other extras!

Trailer Links:

Other Systems: Voices from the Stars Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAHQJBjRvgE

Other Systems: The Stargazer Trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiIJBPJ1DV8

Echelon out!!

A Construct Of Angels – Author Interview

Hello once again, Readers!!! It is crazy windy here! I hope it dies off by tomorrow for the craft fair. But enough about that. Today I have a special guest, Andrew Toynbee. He just published his debut novel, A Construct of Angels, and I have the pleasure of sharing with you an awesome author interview. But before we dive into that, lets take a look at the beautiful cover created by Ravven and blurb.

The blurb:

After accidentally triggering the spontaneous resurrection of a dead student, an ordinarily routine day for York-based paramedic Sara Finn erupts into a series of events that propel her on a terrifying journey, promising to forever change her pragmatic opinions of life and death.
Still haunted by her domineering and abusive stepfather and driven by a life-long search for her missing younger brother, Sara finds herself caught in the crossfire between warring forces, powerful beyond human comprehension, that threaten to plunge civilisation into hellish chaos and eternal darkness.
Are you excited yet?? I just bought my copy and can’t wait to begin reading it!! So let’s get to the good stuff and meet the brains behind this operation!

Welcome, Andy! Tell us about your book and what was your inspiration for writing it?

My book follows the adventures of a female paramedic who inadvertently becomes involved in the eternal battle between the Realms that we know as Heaven and Hell. Whilst she’s trying to identify a body that may or may not be her missing brother, using her peculiar ability to retrieve disembodied souls, she accidentally pulls down a lost Angel – one who had been trying to Fall to Earth in order to counter a particularly nasty plot against mankind, but had become lost. Together, they have to figure out who or what is behind the plot and how it will affect us all before they can organise themselves enough to try to prevent a world-wide catastrophe.

The ambulance picture is the hapless Methuselah, the battered vehicle driven by the main character in the first part of the book.

The whole idea originally stemmed from the market saturation of vampire and werewolf novels.  After seeing Twilight, the Vampire Diaries, Blood Ties and True Blood on TV, I began to wonder if I couldn’t write a supernatural story – but one without any Vampires or Werewolves in it. I asked myself; ‘What’s more powerful than either of those creatures? What wouldthey fear?’  The answer, naturally, was Angels, beings that have been around forever.  I remember reading a novel many years ago (the name of which evades my Swiss-cheese memory) where US Marines in flying gear were sent in to battle a group of rebellious Angels. They were torn to pieces. The scene in which the Angels simply ripped the marines apart was graphic and horrific and I have never forgotten it (unlike the name of the book).

So, when the time came to visualise the power of Angels, that scene was foremost in my mind.  But as I began my research and delved into all the biblical accounts of angels and their dealings with mankind, I realised that I wanted to create a more modern approach to the whole Angel-Heaven concept – something that could be explained not only with faith, but with science too.  I’m a confirmed scientist and a big follower of Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose, so I envisaged a Heaven that could be linked to modern cosmological thinking, whilst retaining the consistencies that biblical references have documented.


Very interesting. How long did it take to write your book?

The original concept was formed in August 2009, when I began to discuss the idea by email with my long-time friend and fellow Trekker, Louise.  We even began to write the story together, describing an Edinburgh over-run by marauding demons, battled by Angels that walked the Earth in defence of mankind. But it quickly became clear that we were both developing divergent ideas on how the story ought to run.  I’d envisaged a contemporary tale, whilst she favoured a post-apocalyptic scenario.  The project stalled.  After a great deal of thought and several sleepless nights, I realised that both ideas could work – except mine could be a ‘reboot’ of hers.  She could continue to document the consequences of a demon-invaded world, whilst I would describe how the whole disaster had originally come to pass.  So, in early 2010, I set the story in York, recycled a pair of characters that hadn’t been used in Louise’s story and began from there.  It took me until mid-2011 to complete the First Draft.  Sadly, Louise never completed her work in progress.


What is your favorite part of writing and the most difficult part?

My favourite part is letting my Muse have her head and just watching where the story goes.  I am a confirmed ‘Pantser’, but that’s now been tempered with a degree of initial plotting.  As long as the story ends up where it’s supposed to, my Muse can have a field day.

I think the most difficult part stems from something that is relatively new to me – that of fitting my tale into a contemporary setting.  I’ve always avoided writing real-world stories for the same reason that I rarely read real-world novels.  I find everything too restrictive, too contained.  In our world, there are definite limits to what you can and can’t do.  If you set a novel in a city, you must adhere to that city’s layout.  Our world has physics, which means that, unless you utilise magic, those physics must be strictly adhered to.  I’d set myself a very difficult challenge by setting ‘A Construct of Angels’ in modern-day York, with a Main Character who was a Paramedic.  But, if Stephenie Meyer could set Twilight in a real town, why couldn’t I?


What was your favorite scene or character to write?

My favourite scene, I guess, would be the final scene of the book.  This was my Muse’s anchor. This was where the entire story had to lead up to.  When I began to research the city for suitable venues, I’d envisaged a certain crucial event in which Hell attacks Heaven directly.  I’d even thumped Louise’s wooden table (a little hard, I confess) to convey the single hammer-blow that Hell launches.  So I needed a cannon – a historical venue from which to launch the attack.  Actually, you can see the building in Ravven’s marvellous cover for the book. All through the story, I knew that I had this final scene ahead of me and I could hardly wait to get there.  That probably helped to speed my writing.

My favourite character?  Oh, that’d have to be the man with no name.  Actually, he’s a Nephil, a demon’s offspring, not a man at all.  He’s also the antagonist.  And he does have a name…unfortunately no human can bear to hear it – as my Main Characters discover. I’m a good-natured person at heart, but I spent some time trying to get into the skin of an evil antagonist, trying to work on his motivations.  What would it be like, I wondered, to be all-powerful AND evil?  What would you do?  What havoc would you wreak? It occurred to me that if you were a powerful enough villain, you would probably have no fear of consequences.  So, the man with no name, who is only ever referred to by description in the story, became the sinister, shadowy and disdainful-of-authority figure that I most enjoyed writing.


Will there be a sequel to your book?

Currently, there are two sequels planned, both with a specific ending in mind (to keep my Muse in check).  In these, I’d like to explore more of my cosmological Heaven-Hell ideas.  The first book barely touched upon them. However, these two will only take us about half-way towards the previously-mentioned apocalypse, so there is room for a second trilogy, assuming the first is successful.  And there might even be a post-apolcalypse trilogy.  But that’s all a long way off at the moment.


Do you ever get writer’s block and if so how do you overcome it?

I’m fortunate enough not to suffer from writer’s block.  No, really.  I DO find myself standing at a fork in the road quite often, with my Muse panting like a terrier and pointing down an unknown route…when I had planned to take a ‘safer’ path. I usually give in and follow her down the dark and twisty path just to see what happens.  More often than not I am surprised and delighted. If I ever find myself at the natural end that a Chapter break provides, wondering just what comes next, I will lie down, close my eyes and run the scene that I’ve just completed in my head as if I was watching it at a cinema. As I munch on virtual popcorn and squeak my folding seat, the scene will change and show me what happens next, hopefully in such a way that the virtual audience around me doesn’t cry ‘what the hell just happened there?’  If they do object, I have the film rewound and run it again until an acceptable scene-change occurs to me.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read a lot. I usually have at least two, sometimes three books on the go at any one time.  I also make short videos and post them on YouTube under the name Andybee64.  Most of them are movie/music  mash-ups where someone else has done all the hard work filming and composing, but occasionally I get time to head outside with my camcorder and shoot something for real. I’m hoping to use my experience in this area to create a trailer for my book. I’d love to include some live action scenes.  Any volunteers?

What are you currently reading?

‘Planet Word’ by J P Davidson and Stephen Fry.  ‘The Jesus Mysteries’ byTimothy Freke and Peter Gandy and ‘The Cylinder’ – an eBook by Luke O’Boyle.


Any authors or books that inspired you and your writing?

Well, you could say that the books of Stephenie Meyer, PC Cast, Rachel Caine and Richelle Mead (amongst others) got me started by saturating the market with vampire stories, but it was the ‘Chronicles of Thomas Covenant’ (all ten of them) by Stephen Donaldson that inspired me to begin the ‘Elementals’ saga (all 234,000 words of which are still languishing on my back-burner), and before that it was E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s classic ‘Lensman’ series that inspired me to my first planned-ending novel ‘Homeworld’ (still unfinished, sadly).


Any advice for aspiring authors?

Start writing!  Now!  Whether it’s NaNoWriMo, a short story or a full-length novel, you have to write to be able to write.  And nowadays, you are no longer required to stand in line before the Gatekeepers that are the Agencies and Publishing Houses.  You can publish independently as an eBook author. But make sure you have your work read by as many independent, trustworthy people as possible.  Even now, after twelve drafts, I’m still finding silly errors.  So check, check and check again – then get other people to check.  And then use the feedback to strengthen and improve your work as much as possible.  Make it as good as you possibly can – and then make it even better.  Jenna Burtenshaw told me that when I was five drafts in – and I groaned at the thought.  But she was right.

And start a blog.  Immediately.  If I hadn’t, I would never have met any of the amazing bloggers who have been my daily inspiration.  A blog can work as a private journal (if you want to keep to yourself, but document your daily writing progress) but it can also be a meeting-place and a venue where ideas and valuable information can be exchanged.  I might never have ePublished without the help and support of my fellow bloggers.


If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

My ideal job would be…Bush Pilot in the Australian outback.  Flying, freedom and daily challenges amongst larger-than-life characters.  That appeals to me.


Tell us something random/share a guilty pleasure.

Something random?  Oh, well, I used to be a cat person, but my wife taught me to be a dog person.  Our two terriers are called Ron and Arthur Weasley after…well, you know.  Their much-missed predecessor was a terrier called Harry.  He used to potter around the garden all the time…so blame him for the names.

My guilty pleasure is chocolate.  Isn’t it everybody’s?  And I adore Honey Rum.  I’ve only ever seen it for sale in Spain and the Canary Islands, but a bottle always accompanies me on the journey home.  It’s lush.

If you have anything else you want said, let me know!

I love to listen to soundtrack and soundtrack-esque music as I write.  My current favourite is Thomas Bergersen’s ‘Illusions’. It lifts me to incredible heights and plunges to stunning depths. I hope something of that feeling has transferred to my writing.

So what’d ya thing, Readers!! Pretty awesome right?? Here’s where you can pick up your copy:

Amazon

What are you waiting for!!??

Echelon out ♥