Hello 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:
For 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.
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.
If 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?
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?
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:
Barnes & Noble
Website with deleted scenes and other extras!
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