Tell us about Earth-Sim
Earth-Sim is a Young Adult / New Adult science fiction novel about Jem Moran, a college student with a reputation to prove and a secret to protect. The prestigious world simulation program seems the answer to both her problems, but only if she can succeed in spite of her partner, Kir Davos, and the uncooperative human beings who populate her planet. Earth-Sim unravels the mystery of Jem’s true identity, but the novel is also about our planet, and most especially about the history of civilization. It’s about humanity with all our foibles, our courage and our weaknesses, and most of all, our ingenuity and resilience. Earth-Sim showcases Earth’s history in a seamless blend of popular culture, science, and religion, through the eyes of the two students and the android assigned to manage the planet.
What genre is it?
Science fiction certainly, but the material is suitable for a younger audience as well.
What kind of readers will it appeal to?
People with curious minds and a sense of humor. Earth-Sim incorporates many facts, and curious minds will enjoy digging out the obscure references to history, geography, popular culture, and even book titles. A sense of humor is absolutely required, because Earth-Sim is always whimsical, and occasionally irreverent.
Complete this sentence for us: if you like ______________, then you’ll love Earth-Sim.
If you like Waiting for the Galactic Bus by Parke Goodwin, then you’ll love Earth-Sim.
The premise of the novel is, if you don’t mind the praise, quite brilliant. How difficult was it weaving immovable historical landmarks into your story? And for those who haven’t read the book yet, can you give an example of what we’re talking about?
The difficult part really was choosing what immovable historical landmarks to incorporate. I tried to incorporate history and geography from around the world. Once I’d chosen the landmarks, it came down to creatively spinning the story. For example, the splitting of the supercontinent of Pangaea into the smaller continents we see on Earth today came from a difference in Jem and Kir’s management style. They needed more space to operate and to test out their different approaches in planetary management, so they physically tore the continent apart to give each of them a separate sandbox.
Tell us a bit more about Jem and Kir.
Jem and Kir are both college students and partners in the world simulation program. Jem is ambitious and uptight. She always wants to have a plan, a backup plan, and a backup plan for the backup plan. Kir, on the other hand, is much more lax in his approach. He handles uncertainty and change a great deal better than Jem, and will be the first to admit that he doesn’t even know how to spell the word “plan.”
You are probably best known for your Double Helix novels. Can you tell us a little about them?
The Double Helix novels are most frequently compared to X-Men, Heroes, and Alphas. The world of the Double Helix is very similar to ours today, except that it has been transformed by the genetic revolution and is populated by human derivatives, including in vitros, clones, and mutants. Galahad, the perfect human being created by Pioneer Labs, escapes from his laboratory prison and triggers a cascade of events that transform the world, most especially the life of the alpha empath, Danyael Sabre, whose genes were used as the physical template for Galahad. There are currently three novels in the Double Helix series; Perfection Unleashed, Perfect Betrayal, and Perfect Weapon. I also have a YA spin off called When the Silence Ends.
We hear that your writing career started from fan fiction. What kind did you write?
I used to write Guild Wars fan fiction. Guild Wars is a fantasy MMORPG—warriors, monks, elementalists, that kind of thing. The fan fiction turned out to be a ~300K word epic.
We know the answer to this, so forgive us for asking, but do women play computer games? Surely that’s the preserve of pimply teenage boys and men with no girlfriends?
Many do, I think, though certainly not in the same proportion as men. I think my guilds in Guild Wars tended to be 25% women, and those guilds tended to be family friendly. It’s the kind of guild where the necromancer would seemingly wander off and start a suicidal fight, and there would be a garbled message later from the player apologizing because his two-year old toddler hit the keyboard by accident.
Tell us a bit more about you.
Let’s see. I love writing (but you already knew that.) I also love reading, and in the rest of my free time, I hold down a full time job (that I actually really enjoy and have no intention of quitting) and try to keep my household running. I’m happily married to a man who patiently beta reads all my work and provides incredibly useful feedback, and we have two young sons, both of whom have shown a tendency to tell stories too (usually involving Power Rangers and the Backyardigans…)
Do you have a website? How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
Yes, I do. You can find me at the following sites:
Currently, I’m working on the fourth book in the Double Helix series, which is scheduled for release in October 2013. After that, I’ll be working on a new book, a paranormal-ish romance set in a dystopian Earth, tentatively called City of Eternal Night. With luck, that second book will be out by December 2013.