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Interview with Eliza Green, author of Becoming Human

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The trilogy explores the difficulties when Earth is no longer habitable and humans are forced to search for a new planet to live on.  But the new planet called Exilon 5 is already occupied by a race called the Indigenes. Becoming Human is about the humans’ and the Indigenes’ discovery of each other. Neither side is really prepared for what they find out.

We’re hooked already. What genre is it?
It’s Dystopian Science Fiction. It would categorise it as adult fiction, but young adults have been finding, and reading it.

The novel is set in 2163. What is Earth like in 150 years? Describe Exilon 5 for us.  What are its indigenes like?
Earth is the victim of humanity’s carelessness. Humans’ overuse of fossil fuels has darkened the skies and turned the air against them. They must use gel masks to breathe safely outdoors. The temperature continues to drop because the clouds are preventing the sun from warming the land. The Earth’s population has ballooned to twenty billion people, too many for the Earth to house safely.

When humans first discovered Exilon 5, the planet wasn’t suitable for human habitation. The oxygen ratio was all wrong and the atmosphere was colder than Earth’s was. So they terra formed the planet, transformed it into what Earth used to be; a warm place with breathable air.  The Indigenes, used to the environment before the changes, had to relocate underground.

The Indigenes are a democratic society and human colonisation of Exilon 5 has threatened their way of life. They lost most of their race to the terra forming explosions, and more after the changes to the planet became more permanent.  Now they struggle to keep their location a secret from the humans and to control rogue members of their society.

Talk to us about Bill Taggart and the Indigene, Stephen.
Bill Taggart is a World Government investigator.  His job has attracted enemies along the way. He’s paranoid and a loner, for good reason. He’s also struggling to come to terms with the disappearance of his wife, Isla. He believes the Indigenes killed her.  Revenge is never far from his mind.

When he was young, Stephen lost his parents to the terra forming process. As an adult, he carries that pain around and has little tolerance for the humans who have come to live on Exilon 5. To help his society understand the humans’ motives, he must go against his instincts; to discover more about their race, he must become human.

What can you tell us about the rest of the trilogy? What’s the next book called and where will it take the story?
The second book in the trilogy is called ALTERED REALITY. Book 2 will shift the focus onto the Indigenes and explore their strengths and weaknesses.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Male and female readers, and that’s based on the feedback I’m getting.  It’s primarily an adult-themed book, but there’s no reason why a reader of YA dystopian wouldn’t pick it up, and some have.

Are there any books out there that you’d say are similar?
Wool by Hugh Howey is a similar read. Both are dystopian, both deal with struggles for survival and both focus on how people cope when they’re met with adversity.

Aren’t science fiction authors usually male?
You’re right on that and I was a little nervous about writing Science Fiction because I thought the male readers would tell me I was wasting my time. But I had a story to tell and I love Science Fiction, have done so since I was a child, so I took a chance. Both male and female readers have told me that they really enjoy the story.

I struggle to read many Science Fiction books and I think male authors write the high tech/hard core sci fi really well, but it’s too technical for me. I enjoy the human element to the story.  I think female writers explore relationships more but that doesn’t mean that male writers can’t, and don’t, humanise their stories. Take Orson Scott Card for example. I’m currently reading Ender’s Game. To the reader, Ender Wiggin is an open book. To the other characters in his world, he’s far from it. He’s a really vulnerable and strong character. A good writer can do that, can get inside their character’s minds, and discover what makes them tick.  A good writer can be male or female. I recently read a science fiction book written by a male author where the men took centre stage and the women were aggravatingly stupid or happy to let the men lead.  To me, it was lazy writing. Part of writing is challenging yourself to write different parts well.

Are there other female science fiction authors out there?
There are several successful female Science Fiction writers: Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games; Ally Condie, author of the Matched Trilogy. Both are doing really well. I read the Hunger Games trilogy and I loved it because it wasn’t just for young adults – it translated well into adult fiction too.  But the trend I see is that female science fiction writers are writing for the young adult market. There’s nothing wrong with that, but my own preferences are a little darker and I like to push into areas of writing that I hope male and female readers will enjoy.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m from Dublin, Ireland and I’ve been writing since 2009. I live with my partner, who happens to be a Science Fiction fan too.  I enjoy going to the cinema and get plenty of inspiration/ideas for stories there. I love that my research is so much fun!  When I’m not writing, I’m reading, eating good food and drinking nice wine. I work full time as an administrator, a job that pays the bills. What I would like to do is make enough money so I can write full time.

Do you have a website? How can we follow you on social media?
My blog is www.elizagreenbooks.com  I mostly blog about writing topics.
@elizagreenbooks
www.facebook.com/elizagreenbooks
For readers interested in new releases, they can sign up to my newsletter.

What’s next?
I’m currently working on ALTERED REALITY, the second book in the trilogy. I’m aiming for a 2013 release date.  In 2014, I’ll hope to be in a position to release the third, and final, book in the trilogy.

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