Recently I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a phenomenal sci-fi novel called Otherworlders by Angela Cavanaugh.
The synopsis says it all:
“When a virus threatens humanity with extinction, the desperate and dwindling number of uninfected seek refuge in a parallel universe. The technology is untested. The other universe is unprepared and one thing is made violently clear: they are not wanted.”
A few days ago, I caught up with Angela and backed her into my interview corner to find out who she is and where she gets these ideas.
Who do you write for?
I write for myself first. There are days when I wake up with a scene or a story in my mind, and I just have to get it out. I also have full length works that will never see the light of day because, while it’s a story that I needed to write, it wasn’t necessarily a story to publish.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’d write even if I knew no one would ever read it. But I revise, polish, and make my writing the best it can possibly be for everyone else.
What do you want your writing to accomplish?
I hope that my writing accomplishes the telling of a good story. I hope that people will find enjoyment in my work. With any luck, I can tell a story that’s never been told before, and tell it well.
Which of your stories is your “darling,” the one you’re the most proud of and/or sensitive about?
I think the story that I’m most proud of is a novella of mine called “Skyland”.
It’s hard sci-fi, and I love my characters, and I think that it’s the best world building that I’ve done so far. I’m also not sure what to do with it yet. It’s been through several incarnations, from one story in a series of 4 […] to a complete story itself. It received an honorable mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. Which is good, but I loved this story so much that I really wanted it to win.
While its fate is unknown, I’m sure it’ll wind up somewhere at some point. I just love it too much to never share it with the world.
Tell us about your writing hideout.
My hideout isn’t much of one. I wrote most of Otherworlders at a folding table or at Panera. But now I have a desk of my very own. I keep my desk fairly clean, with the exception of the empty water bottles that seem to accumulate very fast. My desk sits in the living room.
I often listen to music while I write, so I’ll typically stream music through the television. I have a book case next to my desk. It’s quickly running out of space. And I have the first of my two my honorable mentions framed and hung on the wall. (The second award is in the mail.)
What fuels your writing?
Lots and lots of coffee.
What is a piece of advice that you wish you had gotten when you were just starting out as an author?
It’s hard to answer this one. A million things pop in my head, but I’m sure that they’re all things that I was warned of. Things like, “Writing is hard”, and, “No, seriously, writing is hard.”
Ideas are easy, concepts and premises, too, but real, great execution is tough.
Also, it’ll take some time to find your style. Read a lot. It’s not cheating to outline; even if you don’t like it, try it, you might just be surprised at how much it can free up your mind. I guess that’s more than a piece.
But every step in writing and publishing is a learning process. Be ready to learn a lot.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
You can find my short story, Human Network, on Amazon now. I have a short story coming out in The A.I. Chronicles in March, and The Z Chronicles in May.
I’m also planning a series this year. It’s still in first draft stage. I don’t have a concise synopsis yet, but I’ll just say it’s a near future world where the elite hibernate and the poor must stay awake around the clock to work. It’s a collection of stories about addiction, society, and of course, sci-fi.
Give us a taste of one of your stories.
We each took a glass, and look at each other. She gave me a parsed smile. Distracted, I studied the bluish liquid, sniffed it, and swirled it out of habit. As I did, the liquid changed, turning a deep purple.
“You’ll bruise it,” Ava said.
I laughed at the notion of bruising a sedative. But I knew that she was right. The bitter taste of the chemical cocktail was hidden beneath a layer of sweet rose.
Our glasses gently struck each other with a high pitched clink. She leaned over, pressed her warm lips against mine, then leaned back and drank the liquid down in one long sip. I followed suit, but gulped rather than savored.
The wine didn’t do its job. The liquid was thicker than I would have desired, and the bitterness bit through the soft sweetness of the rose. I was left with an uncomfortable aftertaste, like artificial sweetener mixed with bile.
My discomfort only lasted a moment before the sedative set in. My body filled with a warm tingle. My mind eased, and I heard myself begin to laugh. I looked at my wife, who was giggling to herself.
The sound was familiar in my ears, although it sounded far away. I tried to shake the fuzziness from my mind. Men in tuxes grabbed us by the hands. Ava stood with grace. I, on the other hand, required two men to hoist me from my seat.
[Excerpt from a yet-untitled book; for now, she says we can call it Sleep Saga: Book 1]
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