You Asked – I Answered…

Sanacion II : We Are the Aliens – The Longest Interview I have ever done!

I told you just send in your questions through one my sites and I’d answer, well you did and I do! There is no real order to them and some are similar but I decided to just go for it!

It turned out to be rather long but I didn’t want to cut anyone’s questions out so here it all is;

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How did you come up with the title?
Sanacion II: We Are the Aliens was one of Steve’s closing comments in book one and it seemed an appropriate comment on the situation as well as letting you know what the book was about. And I just liked it!

*Tell us about your most recent release. (okay, I added this one to highlight Sanacion II: We Are the Aliens – now in print!)
After surviving the unbridled power of the mysterious and deadly Black Hole, humanity now focusses on establishing a new home on a planet named after the heroic crew of the starship Sanación.
With the civilian uprisings and bloodshed now in the past, mission leader, Colonel Steve Jensen, hopes that Sanación will allow mankind to finally focus on the greatest of all human emotions— love.
But, the planet Sanación holds mysteries of its own…
A small scientific outpost is soon set up to investigate the planet and identify the landscape for any useful resources. Long thought to be uninhabited, the crew is shocked when they encounter a unique set of footprints.
For several crewmembers, uncovering another life-form is a scientific find of enormous significance, for others though, fear of the unknown reveals a distrust that may not be so easily dealt with.
Now, Colonel Jensen and his romantic interest Lenora, along with the scientific crew and the fearfully distrusting Civilian Leader, must seek out and identify the maker of the prints.
What they discover though, may be more than any of them can bear…

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is a message or commentary about some of mankind though obviously Steve and many others are different. A message that the science and the wonder of things can be lost in the shoot first ask questions later attitude, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I wish I had such cool experiences! I don’t base my books on what I know but find a topic that I find cool (like black holes or Rogue Planets – for the one I am currently working on) and then I study it, make calculations, and then within the theories and science run a scenario. That becomes my book.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I have tended towards reading non-fiction. I get curious about things and then read up on a subject from scientists of opposing views and then go on from there. BUT my writing style is solidified by the many fiction books I read such as Arthur C. Clarke and others. I also find many of the series books that have come out over the last decade quite awesome like Divergent, Twilight, or Harry Potter. Each one was totally different and had its own awesome qualities.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’m not a one writer, one painter, or one actor sort of person; I like each for their specific qualities. However, there was one person who was my mentor, my mother, Mary Elizabeth Davie. She taught English Lit., Composition, and Grammar and since I was young had me reading tons of books of every genre.
(Pictured below is Mom)

MomFAV

What book are you reading now?

Alister Reynolds – Revelation Space

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Suzanne Collins – Divergent series. Each book is equally interesting and there aren’t many series’ where I have found that to be true.

What are your current projects?

I just finished up the research portion – I’ll give you the working title, “Surfing the Rogue Planet”. What I have learned about these ‘Wanderers’ is really neat and I think it is going to make an awesome backdrop to this space adventure I have in my mind!

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My best friend; I used to just write to write and then put them up on the shelf. Not only did she coax me into sending them out to be published but she is my Alpha Reader and gives me great advice too.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes and No. I see writing as what ‘it’ is all about. Through writing I have gotten to meet such cool people all over whether at conventions up in Rochester or Chicago, all over Pennsylvania and Maryland. Also it has gotten me involved with NASA. I keep a blog on all sorts of things science and above the exosphere (once in a while below as well), and NASA is probably the most mentioned but now I get to go to some of their Media events such as GPM Media Day or the TDRS launch in Florida and it gives me a better understanding of all things NASA. I would like to expand on my writing, do scripts or movies and that would be a career, but writing is a love!

MeAtNASAhammingItUp

(Me after a NASA press conference hamming it up)

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Not a thing. And I actually didn’t expect to feel that way so soon. There are some things I would add or change to the first, not many, but the second, I re-read it and think ‘wow, that’s really good!’

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was extremely young, like single digits – maybe seven, I wrote a novella about a young girl and her Palomino horse in the Pyrenees. So I had a love for writing almost immediately. I will say my dad is a musician (having written many hits in the ’50 & ‘60’s) so some if I’m sure I got from him!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Only that I can’t shut it off or at least I am afraid to! Between when I finished my last book to when I started my next was all of an hour and a half.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Me!… No? It’s a tie between the poetry of Emily Dickenson where her words are amazingly dead on and cool & T.S. Elliott: his books, plays and collection of poetry ‘The Wasteland.’

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

There are about nine months of the year where I travel, usually for long weekends to Sci Fi conventions. Then there are the shorter trips where I travel out locally (within two hours usually) to give one of my science presentations. The science presentations can be at a school, a Star Trek group, a book store, a library, anything really. I love the way we can all share in the concepts, the technology, the love of space exploration – and how most of us want to be there!

having some fun at Chiller Theatre Convention

(having some fun at Chiller Theatre Convention)

Who designed the covers?

Tom Rodriguez. Brighton Publishing chose him and he did a fantastic job with both covers!

What was your favorite part of the book(s)?

I have two scenes in Sanacion II that are my absolute favorites; the first is the ‘soccer game’ where everyone is blowing off steam while Steve runs his errand joining in on the fun when he returns, as I definitely believe that would happen, and the second is in the beginning when we first meet Rufus. I like how it transitions and I love how Rufus develops. Heck, I just love Rufus.

What was the hardest part to write in the book(s)?

The hardest part to write are the parts that requires science. Not because it is hard for me but it is hard to know how scientific to get. Some people may already know it and think it’s no big deal whereas others might want it simplified as all they really need to know for the book is does it work. I don’t want to talk down to anyone or sound ‘mightier than thou’, we all have our own area where we are subject matter experts, so I really work extra hard on these sections.

What are your favorite books?

Okay this is an odd but long list in no particular order:
1) Veronica Roth’s The Divergent Series
2) Arthur C Clarke’s SUNSTORM
3) Orson Scott Card’s Enders Game
4) The first 2/3’s of Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.
5) Paul J. Nahin’s The Incredible Story of the Square Root of Negative One. (non-fiction)
6) Raybradbury’s Farenheit 451
7) Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games books 1 & 2
8) NASA Astrophysics Missions (non-fiction)
9) Bill Maher’s The New New Rules
10) Ellen Degeneres’ My point, and I do have one

*I have a lot of science books too but what I consider a favorite changes from day to day!

If you could have dinner with one person,dead or alive, who would it be and why? …Character?

Honestly, I would be torn between Einstein, Rachmaninov and Shakespeare. (Shakespeare would be really cool because I could solve the mystery of who he was.) As for a character, I think Dracula, though I would hope I wasn’t on the menu.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

My best writing sessions occur when I have a 6 to 7 hour window to write so I particularly like to work from 7 or 8 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. I get mentally exhausted – especially if something like a death of a character or another big event happened which usually leaves me drained and upset, kind of grieving.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Play with my dogs – my puppy Casimira (Kazi) or Sabrina. I love horseback riding, reading – either science or mathematics or fiction, and going to SciFi Conventions as that is where everybody is and we can chat, I’m not talking about the panels, I am talking about when we have a one-on-one outside or a bunch of us chat about the latest thing NASA is doing.

Casimir & Sabrina

What does your family think of your writing?

Proud; my father as a musician especially understands the ‘need to create’ so he is particularly pleased. I only wish my Mom were here to see it, she would be so happy.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Have I written? Probably over ten, but I only started bothering to publish a couple of years ago, so published two with a third out next Fall. I have also written another beyond that not related to the Sanacion series and I am currently writing another book which is also a ‘stand alone.’ I suspect that I will return to the Sanacion series at some point as the characters aren’t done and if you remember there were three ships that left Earth and this is just the Sanacion. (Also the Memnoch & the Clinton)

Which is my favorite? Usually my most recent, but although I have written two since finishing this one, Sanacion II: We Are the Aliens is my favorite. It is so complete – I wouldn’t change anything!

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I know everybody says write every day and that is key, but more than that, read every day. It has been proven that reading makes the writing better. The flow, the grammar, the everything – trust me! Besides, it’s awesome!

Do you like to create books for adults?

I don’t think of my books for adults or kids specifically. As a kid, I read books across all genres and age recommendations and know that some kids are interested in taking true science and imagining the possibilities. I am proud that adults & kids alike chose to read my books.

What do you think makes a good story?

Adventure, science or logic, plausibility and humor.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Good question! I wanted to be a heart & brain surgeon. Then when I started in college I was pre-law, finishing up with Chemical Engineering.

Your first book is dedicated to your mother and has a quote from the Eskimos – does the quote pertain to the book or is it a secret message to your mother?

Thanks for asking, I love that dedication and I wasn’t really sure anyone read them. When my mother passed away it blind-sided me, even though she’d been sick for a while. I wrote a song because of it (Wish I could e-mail heaven – on myspace if you want to hear it) and she is so much a part of why I write and who I am that I felt it was imperative that I dedicate my first published book to her. – The saying was something that when I read it, I had tears in my eyes. So to answer your question the quote says more about how I feel and what I hope and the only thing it has to do with the rest of the book is she is part of the inspiration.

This book, Sanacion II: We Are the Aliens is dedicated to my dad, Robert B. Davie, and says simply ‘You showed me the stars.’ He did. When I was a kid my dad used to carry me out in my robe to look up at the stars. Could be there was something particularly cool or it was just a really clear night but he made sure I saw it even if it was past my bedtime.

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If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

A scientist. Actually I was a chemist but that was short lived. I worked checking batches for FDA compliance and while I had my own lab, it wasn’t research so I went into IT. Basically I would want to be a research scientist – specifically Theoretical Physics. Sounds like fun, no?

What were you like at school?

Smart, talkative – I was an introvert & an extrovert depending on the day of the week. I wore jeans on the bottom but dressed preppy on the top. I was always reading a book under the desk. I liked science, languages, and wandering the halls. As a matter of fact they made me a hall guard when they decided I was always there anyway.

Were you good at English?

Yes. Mostly A’s but I remember one poem I wrote, probably because I think it is the best one I have every written, and I got a D on it, still bothers me.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Both. I write a very loose outline with some areas filed in with details or quasi scenes but once the characters take over it could end up wherever and I have to just trust them. In Sanacion II: there was a scene where an important character dies (read it to know which one) and I didn’t plan it but after I got over how upset I was I read the scene and realized it couldn’t happen any other way.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Do you remember Colonel Steve Jensenn’s phrase – “Act as if, becomes”? Well, my mom taught me to say that in my head to gain confidence when I was little and guess what, it works!

What is your favorite film and why?

That’s a tough one! I enjoy books more the movies but that being said I love a good Sci Fi or Action. Favorite one? “Ender’s Game”. I read the book after the movie because people kept saying how the ending was different and they shouldn’t have done that, blah, blah, blah, and guess what? It wasn’t very different, just would have added a scene but wouldn’t tell you anything more. I like that the movie didn’t feel it had to be more than it was and could tell you the story without proving they could do more special effects than the next movie.

What’s your favorite TV show?

First off I am a big fan of on demand because I get up super early so I go to bed super early but on demand allows me to see the shows I normally would miss. (Sorry – not a commercial just worry that if we don’t tell what things we like they might disappear!) My favorite now is Black list. I really like Bitten on SyFy as well and for reality shows Face Off on SyFy. I would LOVE for them to do a show on each group making a version of Rufus or the Dragonflies from Sanacion II: We Are the Aliens.

Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

I have always hated that question because I’ll tell you a secret, you never end up where you plan and it always turns out better than you expected! I would like to have the house and property I envision. That means it would have an observatory in my back yard that once a week the local college Astronomy class is held at. Oh and a zip line from my bedroom window down to the side of the observatory. Meanwhile I am on location in Vancouver for my latest SciFi series (I’m the writer of course!)

What advice would you give to your younger self?

It’s not a hobby, take the chance!

What is your favorite food?

I really thought about this one; tomato, cucumber and brie Sandwich with tomatoes picked from the garden and freshly baked bread.

What five things would you take with you to a dessert island?

Planning ahead are we? Ok, my nook as it is right now (filled), a blanket, a sheet, aspirin, and a knife.

If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?

Not tell you for one!

-Thanks for supporting me thus far and let’s not let the journey end!!!
Mary Louise Davie