It’s my pleasure to introduce, Lela Markam, fantasy and sci-fi author on to my blog today for a chat about her new book, and gathering inspiration from the headlines. Over to Lela…
The Fun Stuff:
What part of the world do you come from?
I was born, raised and chose to live in Alaska. I’ve travelled, but this is home and an adventure like none other. It’s the one place I’ve been in the world where you can live in a modern city and be out in the deep woods with the man-eating animals with only a half-hour drive.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had all sorts of different ideas. My dad was a chef and my mother was a diner waitress. I knew I didn’t want to do THAT for a living. I studied to be a journalist and was a reporter for the town newspaper for a while.
List three words to describe yourself.
Strong minded, independent, thoughtful.
Who would play you in a film about your life?
If she were still alive … Katherine Hepburn
What’s your favourite snack food when writing?
Coffee and toast.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
I’ve always been partial to telekinesis.
The Sensible Side:
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I’m a wife, mother and full-time employee. I work as an administrator in transportation. I started telling tales from the time I could talk. I started to write them down in the 5th grade. I’ve always sort of known I wanted to be a writer. I tried journalism, but I love novels.
When I’m not writing, I’m reading, quilting, and watching television with my family, cooking, or helping with home improvement projects. In the summer, we do a lot of hiking, camping, fishing and hunting. I blog on political philosophy, faith, writing, Alaska and other topics and I offer entirely free author interviews.
Where did the inspiration for your Transformation Project series come from?
Ripped from the headlines, baby! The series title actually came from President Obama’s unfulfilled promise/threat to fundamentally transform America. My daughter (who was a teenager at the time) and I kicked around the idea of what would it take to ACTUALLY transform this country and we came up with nuclear armaggedon. We composed a cute little story about it on a road trip and then I sat down to make it into a real novel a couple of years later. I think these are scary times that we live in and there are a lot of forces working to deeply damage the society and our individual rights to decide things for ourselves.
What do you like most about writing fantasy and science fiction?
That’s a hard one because they both have their own benefits. My “science fiction” is really an apocalyptic set in today’s world just after nuclear weapons have destroyed the major cities of the US. It’s modern English with people who could be my neighbours, so it’s a lot easier to write.
On the other hand, I love the world-building that fantasy entails. I love playing with language to give it that otherworldly feel. I enjoy building a society that is different from our own.
So, which do I like most? That’s sort of like asking a mother to decide which of her children she loves more.
What was the hardest part of writing this book series?
Time moves on. The news cycle moves forward. I wish I’d known about Clinton’s email scandal before I started. Or foreseen Donald Trump? I didn’t, so now I have to sort of stick my metaphorical fingers in my ears and sing “humana-humana-humana” so that knowledge doesn’t leak into the books. I can see this getting harder as the series progresses.
Can you give us a brief excerpt from Objects in View?
Life ticked away one breath at a time as one by one they yawned and found a place to rest on the floor, backs to the walls, heads in each other’s laps or upon each other’s shoulders.
They thought they were just settling down to sleep, to wait out the toxic rain and then face what had become of their world fully rested. They didn’t sense their ensuing doom. Occasionally someone protested that it was stuffy or hot, but few others were awake to hear them.
The hours ticked by and soon all were asleep. Nobody noticed the mouse curled in the corner, breathing its last. They didn’t wake when the lights went out. The people died more slowly than the mouse, smothered by the lack of oxygen and the increasing carbon dioxide level. Bart Rawlston suffered convulsions causing his wife to open her eyes briefly, but when he stopped jerking, she soon closed her eyes and sank closer to death.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Sometime this winter, I will publish a literary fiction novel entitled “What If … Wasn’t” which deals with a young man who has done the unforgiveable and must somehow rebuild his life after getting out of prison. I’m also working on the third book in both Transformation Project and Daermad Cycle. I’m not sure which one will win the arm wrestle for next Lela Markham novel to be published.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
I sometimes feel like I am in way too many places on the web. Authors tend to be a solitary lot. Here are some of my links.
Email inquiries or author interview requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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