Hello folks. I have a chat with Sally Ember. (#sci-fi #spec-fic author) for you today, but first I would like to say a warm scrummy “I love you” to my husband on our 5th wedding anniversary, and 9th year together.
It also kicks off my first Goodreads Giveaway!
Please sign up and see if you could win a paperback copy of my book, Finding Esta!
The Writer’s Interview With Sally Ember
The Personal Questions
Have your personal experiences (or situations) influenced you, creatively? Give us an example. I learned to read when my brother did; he was 4, I was 3. I was so proud of getting my own library card the same day he did, but he was quite grumpy about it. Having access to unlimited numbers of books (it seemed) via the library was heaven for me. Over the summer before 6th grade, even though I spent three weeks away at camp and hardly read at all, I read 100 books to win contest. Truth is, I would have read them, anyway! At my peak of reading, I would read as many as ten books per week, but now that I’m writing a lot, that number is a lot smaller. I think from all that exposure to authors, stories, genres, I always knew that writing is an essential part of life. I started writing stories in 2nd grade (see below) and have been writing for some purpose or another ever since.
What are you reading now? I read a mixture of nonfiction and fiction. Genres I like in fiction include: female detective and female-centered suspense (but nothing too gory, and the woman has to kick ass and not be helpless); fantasy, speculative and science fiction (nothing too violent or excessively technical, not big on dystopias, and not liking many elves, gnomes, etc.); supernatural/paranormal with strong female characters (again, not horror, and not too gory); modern women’s/literary fiction (if it’s not too dark or convoluted in plot or sentence structure); legal/medical/crime-solving thrillers; and romance (again, strong female characters, only). Nonfiction tends to stay in science or spirituality, mainly Buddhist books. I also read trade mags, online articles, and some newspapers, book reviews, online posts.
What other interests do you have? Buddhist meditation, swimming, singing (women’s choruses, mostly), piano playing (with my friend, a fiddle/mandolin player, when we can get together), shopping at Farmers’ markets, nonprofit management (for money or as a volunteer), teaching (again, for money or as a volunteer). I like to play word games online. I watch TV and movies online. I love public radio and listen to lots of the local broadcasts and some online, AND I donate! About 12 years ago, I decided to learn Tibetan (related to my meditation practices) in trade with a Tibetan man who became a friend (I help him with English), and succeeded to some extent, but I haven’t been using it enough and it’s faded. I know a lot of Spanish and some Italian, Yiddish, Hebrew, German and French. Spanish is very useful where I live (northern California). I am in frequent communication with: my adult son, Merlyn, who lives in New Hampshire, now; my two sisters and their kids (LA & Chicago); my brother and his kids (all adults, now, New Jersey, Cambridge and Cleveland), and our mom, who is still in St. Louis (where we all grew up).
The Writer-Specific Questions.
1. What is your new book about and what inspired you to write it? This Changes Everything (TCE) is Volume I of The Spanners Series. 9 more Volumes are coming; one is almost completed and the others are sketched out; some have some parts written. Here’s a blurb about Volume I:
“Timulting allows Clara Branon, Ph.D., 58, to depict several versions of her 40 years as the Chief Communicator /Liaison between Earthers and the Many Worlds Collective (MWC) starting in December, 2012. Clara spends some of her multiverse timelines with her long-time love, Epifanio Dang. The MWC authorizes several “re-sets” of the Transition to ensure the fewest deaths among those who resist the MWC’s revealing itself and Earth’s inevitable membership, with the Psi-Defiers challenging the Psi-Warriors during the first years of the Transition in the Psi Wars, sending many to be Sequestered or Reinvolved. In her role as CC, Clara trains in the aliens’ Excellent Skills Program’s paranormal techniques, finds out the causes and reasons behind crop circles, Area 51, pyramids, and many other of Earth’s mysteries, but is quite lonely. Psi skills won’t bring Epifanio to her. What will?”
The Spanners Series’ Volumes alternate between adult- (the odd-numbered ones) and new adult/YA-audience-focused Volumes (the even ones), with various narrators and interviewees carrying the story for each Volume. Humor, romance, psi/paranormal, aliens, conflicts, pathos, alternate/multiverse timelines, historical/futurist stories, cross-species communication: all included!
I’m not sure exactly what “inspired” me to write this series. One night in February, 2012, I was awakened by a very clear voice that said: WRITE. I went to the computer, hearing sentences and seeing scenes in my mind. Five hours later, most of the first Chapter, all of the summaries for all the Volumes, and the Chapter outline for Volume I were drafted. I kept going from there and finished the first draft of Volume one in 8 weeks.
TCE went through 19 other drafts via my own ideas, consults with friends and family, and letting it “sit,” over an 18-month period to reach the final version. During that time I started Volumes II, IV, and V and sketched out parts of the others as well.
I feel very driven. Part of the reason is that I identify a lot with Clara. The line between fiction and nonfiction is very blurred in these Volumes, intentionally, and my life seems that way sometimes as well. I’m curious as to what the readers will decide is “real.”
2. Why do you write in that genre? I’ve always loved sci-fi and speculative fiction as well as fantasy. Miss Pickerell Goes To Mars and other books in that series, A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels, Stranger in A Strange Land, The Left Hand of Darkness, Herland, The Downstairs Room, The People books: so many, too many to list, inspired me over decades. But, I didn’t do much writing in this genre until recently. The ideas and stories that are inspiring me just had to be put into this genre.
3. Are you an indie or traditional author? My nonfiction went traditional (this was in the mid-1990s and up to the mid-2000s). I had some articles and stories published in print only, 1980s. My sci-fi series is starting indie, e-book, Smashwords: first time, for me.
4. What is your biggest problem with the writing process? How do you tackle it?
I prefer writing the “juicy” scenes and parts I like to read more than parts I know readers need to read but I don’t enjoy as much. I have to make myself write those, and then I reward myself with “juicy” parts, alternating the schedule of what I write. If a part is particularly tedious for me to write, I give myself incentives: write for one hour, then play a game online. Write for one hour, then eat lunch. Write for one hour, then check email or social media sites. These work for me. I’m just a dog who needs treats to do tricks.
5. Do you feel writing is something you need to do or want to do? Absolutely. I’ve been writing since I was in 2nd grade: stories, songs, articles, plays, in my journal, letters, emails, posts online; nonfiction and fiction. My first story, “Princess Why,” was published in the school newspaper and I believed I would be world famous from that. I sat on the couch by our picture window that overlooked our busy street and had a view of the school parking lot day after day for months, reading, looking out the window regularly. I was waiting for the news trucks and reporters to arrive. They never did….Well, I may become world-famous…just a lot later than that, and not from that!
Volume I of The Spanners series, “This Changes Everything,” summary:
Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., 58, is having the first of many home visits from holographic representations of five beings from the Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, over a thirty-year, increasingly Utopian period. Earth is being invited to join, formally, and the December, 2012, visit is the first one allowed to be made public.
Making the existence of the MWC public means many Earthers have to adjust our beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and, well, everything we think and are. Dr. Branon becomes the Liaison for Earth, the “Chief Communicator,” between Earth and the MWC.
“This Changes Everything” relates the events partly from her point of view, partly from records of meetings of varying groups of the MWC governing bodies, and partly from her media contact, Esperanza Enlaces, employing humor, poignancy, a love story, family issues, MWC’s mistakes and blunders, history, politics, paranormalcy and hope.
Read the first 13 chapters here!
Thanks for stopping by!
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