I get a lot of questions, about everything from writing and publishing to why I have a cat… Some of these (even the cat question) may be of interest to more than one person, so instead of answering all of these individually, I figure it is time for a fresh approach.
So, a few days ago I invited people on Facebook and Twitter to ask their questions. I got a few and I´ll try to answer most of them here. Please let me know if this kind of thing is something you enjoy – I might do another.
Here we go!
Daniel: Is there a continuation from the story of Exodus? I have been out of the loop for a while but thoroughly wanted to hear more of the series and characters.
Me: YES! In fact there is continuation in several directions, and in the end the Exodus Trilogy will be one of several series in the Aurora Universe. So, to give you a few choices of direction, you could go ahead and read the Rift Saga, which takes place back on Earth more than two centuries after Devastator strikes. Eventually you´ll want to read Alive (which you get for free if you sign up to my newsletter), and Impact. I guess the name of the latter says it all… Another way to go about it is to read Alive and Impact first and then move on to the Rift Saga. Also, there is Explorer, a Genesis companion novella, in which you´ll meet Tina Hammer a year after the end of Genesis.
Excellent question Daniel, since the interconnectedness of my books can get a bit complicated – this is anything but linear!
Sheila: Ancestry .com says I’m 50% Scandinavian, with Norway smack in the middle. Could we be 4th or 5th cousins? And yes, this is a serious question!
Me: Sorry Sheila, I doubt it. As far as I know I don´t have any direct ancestors who emigrated to America. It would have been cool though! 🙂
David: I would guess that you’ve come to writing through reading a lot over the years. Who do you like to read and why?
Me: Wow, how long do I have? 🙂 But seriously, the first one´s easy – Yes, I read a lot of books. I started writing a fantasy novel back around 2000, but I never finished it. I wrote a few scenes of fantasy and scifi, on and off, but never finished anything. It wasn´t until 2011 that I actually managed to finish a book called Exodus… But no matter how much of a late bloomer I was when it comes to writing, I´ve always read a lot (except perhaps a brief period in my teens). I read in several genres, but I tend to fall back on scifi and fantasy. I discovered fantasy back in the mid- nineties, and plowed through anything I could get my hands on; Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margareth Weiss and Tracy Hickman, to mention a few. In fact, I discovered G.R.R. Martin´s A song of ice and fire several years before it became a tv series, and it is to date my favorite fantasy series. I also enjoy alternate history, like Eric Flint´s 1632, Robert Harris´ Fatherland, and Philip Roth´s The plot against America. I may have ben influenced by reading S.M. Stirling´s The Domination when I wrote Rift, and that may just be one of my favorite dystopian/alternate history book. Another dystopian I enjoyed is The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. As for more pure scifi, there are, of course Robert A. Heinlein. I also enjoy Peter F. Hamilton, Michael Cobley and a fresh new indie addition, Lucas Bale. Lucas has written what I believe to be one of the best space operas in recent years, his Beyond the Wall series, and although I´m sure he doesn´t believe me when I say that, I think it´s just a matter of time before this series takes off.
Muzi: @ achr75, you read hundreds of books on your ipad and Kindle. How do you get time to write and when in the day? #Scrivener
Me: Well, hundreds of books, I don´t know about that… But I definitely read a lot. I think I need to divide my answer into two parts here; before and after I began working full time as a fiction writer. I used to work a full time job, which I scaled down once I could afford it, and while I worked full time my writing time was limited. I would get to my computer after my son had gone to bed, and write for about an hour 4-5 nights a week. The trick (which can be hard to actually follow through with – trust me, I know!) is that you have to spend this time actually writing. If you do that, it adds up pretty quickly. Once I was able to write full time, I began writing in the day and take the evenings off. I know at least one person who appreciated that! 😉
I think that for a beginning writer with a full time job, perhaps family and an active social life, one particular skill can be very useful: To be able to sit down at your computer, on your phone, or on your ipad, ignore everything else (no Facebook, Twitter, Email, or Candy Crush – seriously!), and jump right into your story, writing effectively from the first minute. And you really don´t have to “prepare” for an hour first… If you can do this, you can make use of all those little breaks and short periods of free time that you´ll find once you take a good look. Your favorite tv-show starts in ten minutes? Write a hundred words. You´re on the bus and it takes you twenty minutes to get where you´re going? Write on your phone. I use Evernote for this, since it syncs across devices, so once I get to my computer I can just cut and paste. Voila, a couple hundred words right there. The trick, I believe, is to look for the opportunities, and take them, use them, even if they aren´t perfect.
Here´s one where the answer may contain spoilers, unless you have read Aurora and Genesis, so just be warned:
David: In Exodus why didn’t they include several thousand embryos? This would have given them an even bigger gene pool to work from in the years ahead. I don’t think it would have added to population growth but it could have added greater diversity.
Me: Well, I think that sounds like a great idea, similar to the movie Interstellar perhaps? If embryos were to be included as the basis for a new population, I´d think that grown humans, or perhaps even children, with robots to help them out would have to be on board as well, since newborn human babies are more helpless than any other species we know of. You may have noticed that none of the other ships seems to have contained embryo populations, so we might speculate that something prevented that from being an option. I guess embryo ships could definitely be a way to go about colonizing the universe, but that will have to be in a different story. 🙂
I really enjoyed reading these questions and answering them. I hope you enjoyed reading this as well. Let me know in the comments!