As you may have seen, the firstis up and running. Entrants can win anywhere from one to five eBooks from various authors.
Today, we have Natalie Buske Thomas to complete the Sci-Festival questions.HOW DID YOU GET INTO WRITING SCI-FI/FANTASY?
Sci-Fi and Mystery were my favorite genres when I was a child and my tastes haven't changed much from those days. My first published story "The Personalities" was a Sci-Fi contest win for my high school magazine. I won ten dollars, which was a lot of money to me back then in the late 80's. It sure beat babysitting for $1 an hour!
WHICH IS THE FIRST ASPECT OF A STORY YOU USUALLY PLAN? THE PLOT, THE SETTING, OR THE CHARACTERS?
I'm driven by the plot. Something sparks my imagination and I think, "What if that happened?" Next I imagine who it happens to, which is easy if I'm plugging the plot into my Serena Wilcox series. I fall down on the setting. I've been guilty of forgetting to mention where the action takes place. I've been working on slowing down and not skimping on the sights, sounds and smells of the setting. At first my focus on the setting felt like a tedious errand but I enjoy descriptive prose much more now that it's becoming more natural to my writing process.
IF YOU HAD TO SAY THAT YOUR STORIES WERE SCI-FI/FANTASY CROSSED WITH SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE? FOR EXAMPLE, SCI-FI/ROMANCE, OR HISTORICAL FANTASY. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS?
My Sci-Fi cross-overs are: Mystery, Thriller, and Historical (when writing time-travel based fiction). I don't feel that I've chosen to write in these genres. I get excited about an idea and then I run with it. Most of my ideas tend to involve conspiracies, crimes, and corruption.
WHAT, OR WHO, WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR GREATEST INFLUENCE IN YOUR WRITING?
Actors and entertainers influence me. Movie and /or television screenplays deliver a complete story in a short period of time. When I'm writing I imagine my book as a screenplay.Is the story dragging?Is there enough humor to break up the drama? Are my plot lines so tangled that I've lost my readers? Do I have too many characters? Have I developed my characters enough? If I can't "see" the action in my book I imagine actors performing the scene.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THE BOOK YOU'VE LISTED HERE?
The Serena Wilcox dystopian trilogy (the prequel to Project Scarecrow) was based on a real-life nightmare that I had about Iran, nuclear war, and a divided America. I wrote that book in 2010. I had no idea that it would hit so close to headlines in 2013. The political nature of those thrillers was unnerving, and accidental. I wanted a departure from that unsettling business. What genre did I enjoy writing? Why was I sucked into political themes? Sci-Fi was what I wrote when I was a kid. Why wasn't I writing that? The Serena Wilcox series was starting to take off and I hadn't yet hit my stride with the characters. I was just beginning to mature as a writer--what a shame to drop Serena now that she was finally starting to gel with readers, and the supporting cast was coming together. Could I work Serena and crew into Sci-Fi? Why not?
What was your proudest moment in the creation of this book?
I had to study quantum physics to research aspects of time travel technology. I am proud of myself for actually doing real research instead of surfing the Internet. I went to libraries and loaded up on serious reading material, including text books. I studied harder for this book than I did for most of my college exams! Unfortunately I forgot to watch the due dates on my materials. That reminds me, I still owe the library $10, which is serendipitously the same amount I mentioned earlier that I won in my first writing contest.
Have there been any points that had you doubting yourself? How did you get past them?
I always doubt myself. Courage is not about "never being afraid", but in doing what scares me anyway. I always get stage fright before public speaking and especially before singing. I do it anyway. I also get publishing fright, or worse yet, I develop anxiety long after a book is out there. I keep writing anyway. A seasoned performer learns how to handle nerves. A professional writer does the same. But for most authors, and for me, anxiety is never completely gone. I'm not truly living if I'm never afraid.
What is your favourite aspect of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres?
I can travel beyond what I can see in this present space and time. I love that anything is possible, and that thousands of like-minded people believe this too. Sci-Fi fans come from all walks of life but are brought together by wistfulness for "something more", a curiosity about what's out there, and a warm fuzzy notion of Good triumphing over Evil.
What is the element you like the least about the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres?
I cringe when a story is meant to be taken seriously, but instead comes across as desperate and silly. Sometimes inserting farce and wry humor into the story will sell an outrageous and fanciful plot. While anything may be possible, it's a challenge to create a believable fictitious world.
Discounting 'because I'd have made a lot of money' (if that is the case,) which Sci-Fi or Fantasy book/tv series/film do you wish you'd written, and why?
I wish I'd written the Doctor Who series because I would have responded to fans who sounded the alarm when the writing took a turn that they didn't like. One of my favorite episodes was when Donna Noble was in the library. I would have written more scripts with that mysterious vibe. I was completely taken in by that episode!NATALIE loves all things Irish, oil painting, sugar cookies, the color red, pizza, live music, and singing. She is an author of books for all ages and enjoys people who are still capable of having an imagination, of having a sense of wonder, of feeling hopeful and full of energy, of feeling as if anything is possible, of feeling afraid of scary things and unafraid of the restof having courage, of being selfless, of being spontaneous, of recognizing humor, and of living life to the absolute fullest.
Natalie was born in upstate New York, raised in Indiana, and then lived in Germany for three years. She currently resides near the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Minnesota). Natalie would one day like to time travel, but for now she writes about it.
Natalie Buske Thomas is also an oil painter, singer-songwriter, and entertainer.
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Serena Wilcox, former private detective and mother of three, investigates corruption in the past, present and future for GSI, an institute devoted to investigating crimes in science and technology. Serena is assisted by Agent Estep, burned-agent Beav, and a motley crew of scientists. Former American president Ann Kinji is the owner and director of GSI. Her desire for a civilian life is immediately troubled by threats to national and even world-wide security when the mysterious MOTF turn up in the Argonne Forest, WW1. Who are these men? What do they want? Is Serena Wilcox, the world's first time travel detective, in over her head?
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