What inspired you to write this book?
Well, ever since I was a child I've always wanted to be a writer. It was my dream to be published and to write stories that everyone could enjoy. Speculative Sky was created because I've always had a fascination with stories about Extra-Terrestrial Life and S.E.T.I., and I wanted to integrate such a story with a female character as a strong and intelligent lead.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes I do, but I am not sure what to call it. When people read my work I want them to feel as if they are right there in the midst of it all. I want them to be able to hear, taste, smell and see the action as if it is happening all around them. I also tend to write tight stories with quick pacing. It's what I like to read, and consequently, how I write.
What is the name of your latest book? And how did you come up with the title?
I've always been attracted and fascinated by the abstract and the symbolic. I wanted the title to symbolize what April Mullen, the main character, has to deal with as an Astronomer, and all that came with her assignment.
What is Speculative Sky about?
It is about a woman who takes a chance and leaves for an assignment on a science colony far away from Earth. As an astronomer, it is her job to monitor the stars at night and to record her findings, nothing more than that. But when she arrives, she notices that her new home is a bit odd, and though there is evidence of life out there, they don't want her to either acknowledge or do anything about it. She of course finds this troubling.
What books have most influenced your life most?
In fiction it would have to be the old Star Wars books that came out in the eighties after Return of the Jedi. The Star Wars Expanded Universe books taught me about atmosphere, and development then any book I know! I read them over and over again, and learned about non-human creature development, planetary science fiction and description of space travel, not to mention how to write a cool leading man! I still read them.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Douglas Preston and/or Lincoln Child. They write incredibly compelling books which I generally can't put down.
What book are you reading now?
I am almost finished with "Book of the Dead," by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I'll be going through their back list very soon in order to get caught up.
Are there any new authors that have caught your interest?
Last night I was thinking about the Friday House about D. K. Gaston and how it's a compelling story about assassins who have no memory of their being programmed. I think it's cool. And several books on the military scifi romance front that I have recently heard about. I write in a tiny subgenre, so it's nice to see what other authors are doing in it. That way I don't get lonely!
What are your current projects?
Presently I am finishing up the final editing for "Ice and Peace," the sequel to Cold Warriors, ss well as having another expanded universe book in the works. Not to mention, two futuristic romances that are completely different from my military fiction.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Motown Creative Writers Group--they helped get on the road to being published. And not to mention the many groups in the Romance community. They really pointed me in the right direction. I'm grateful for that.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yeah; that's why I have to hurry up and get it out of my hands 'cause I keep changing it!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As a child, my father use to encourage me. I use to write for my family and give the stories to them. They would say, "Maybe one day you could get this published!" I was like five.... and then when I was in middle school I found out that S. E. Hinton had been published at sixteen-- I became truly determined then.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yeah, getting through the first draft!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Just get the first draft down on paper. Don't be afraid to make stupid mistakes and have dumb lines on paper, 'cause it's the first draft and you are allowing the characters to come alive. Later on you can fix and micro manage, but don't try to do it the first time through cause it will stifle your creativity.
Excerpt from Speculative Sky, available from Red Rose Publishing
"I'm sure that's the case but how can I not be excited over this? It's the find of a lifetime," she said reveling in the thought of making contact with extra-terrestrial life.
"You don't have to try to impress us. Just do you your work and you'll be fine."
"What does that mean?"
"What does that mean?"
"It means you don't worry about it. There is plenty of research to be done. You could spend your entire lifetime studying the Jugis Star Cluster alone."
"Haven't you ever looked up in the sky and wondered if there was anyone else out there?"
"Of course I have. And if anyone back home asks, tell them it's just us," he said finishing off his drink.
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Thanks Clare! It has been a pleasure having you visit.