Isellia dreams of following in her father’s footsteps and becoming the greatest XR racer around, and popular media exploded with predictions of her success early on. The only problem? The sarcastic, tough teenager has never finished a race. Sponsors of the spaceship racing circuit quickly shied away from her after each race ended in calamity.
To earn money she teams up with a crew of smugglers (aHEM – Cargo transporters): Porter, a caring and protective man with a bit of a messiah complex; Joey, a boy they rescued from a mining planet; and the obtuse robot Joey repaired which now follows him around loyally.
The crew barely makes ends meet and Isellia’s dreams appear to be on permanent hold until a pair of mysterious passengers introduce them to people and situations beyond their imagination. While Porter and the crew grow increasingly concerned what they’re being drawn into, Isellia could care less; this looks to finally be her shot at breaking into the XR circuit.
And it’s sci-fi?
Robot Awareness is fantasy science fiction. It draws on my experience covering different kinds of races and it also draws on my experiences as a reporter, covering both crime and local government.
You’re a journalist?
I cover crime for the Stevens Point Journal in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. It didn’t take me long to understand why journalists tend to become fiction writers. Not only do I receive a word beat-down from editors on a daily basis, which has vastly improved my writing, but the variety of experience I’ve been exposed to and the cast of characters I’ve encountered has given me plenty of material for my fiction!
You’ve probably not met a character like Isellia. Tell us about her.
Isellia didn’t really start off being the main character of Robot Awareness – the book was supposed to focus on Joey, a boy of about 12 who used his mechanical abilities to rescue and ultimately befriend a wandering robot. Isellia, however, with her pink hair and tough attitude, isn’t one to stay in the background, and she quickly launched herself into the spotlight. Porter, the captain of the cargo ship, sees himself as a father figure to Joey and Isellia. Joey takes to this and happily accepts his guidance, since he he grew up on a Company C mining planet and knows nothing about space travel. Isellia mostly just sticks her tongue out at Porter – she wants to earn enough money to launch her racing career. But she cares about Porter and Joey much more than she would ever admit out loud. Isellia is loyal to her crew. Loyalty and friendship is definitely a theme in Robot Awareness!
Talking about the origin of this novel, we hear it started as a personal project.
Robot Awareness started as a series of short stories I wrote primarily for my friends about 10 years ago. After a couple of these, my friends were asking me all the time when the next installment was coming out. I enjoyed obliging them.
And now it’s a novel.
I always wanted Robot Awareness to be a full novel. After several false starts, I finally started something that’s still ongoing.
Robot Awareness: Part I is the first in what will be an eight part series.
Robot Awareness: Part II is written and is scheduled to be released Sept. 1, 2014! Part III should release before Christmas as well.
Complete this sentence for us: if you like _________________, you’ll love my book.
One of my beta readers told me my writing style reminded him of Isaac Asimov. I would never have been audacious enough to make that connection myself, but I was thrilled to be mentioned in the same sentence with one of my favorite science fiction writers! So, if you like Isaac Asimov, you might like Robot Awareness!
We know you’re a journalist. What else do we need to know about you?
In addition to being a science fiction geek, I’m also a fitness geek. I lift weights, bike, cross country ski and run, which takes my mind off of writing. But I also come up with a lot of ideas while I’m out hitting the trails!
Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
Feel free to visit my website at bckowalski.com!
How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
You can find the Robot Awareness Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RARobotAwareness; and follow me on Twitter at @BC_Kowalski
Are you doing any work outside the Robot Awareness universe?
Besides Robot Awareness, I’ve begun work on a fantasy novel set in a Alaskan-like world where remnants of the old magic remain – but a civil war breaking out in the lost city’s beyond the great barrier are about to suck the sleepy inhabitants of Point Blu into an all-out war.
I’m also working on a biographical story about my Aikido teacher, who in 1956 was one of the first non-Japanese people to earn a black belt in Aikido.