Author Sara Creasy joins SciFiChick.com today to discuss her latest release Children of Scarabaeus.
…And keep reading for a chance to win a copy of her novel!
Can you tell us a bit about the plot of Children of Scarabaeus in your own words?
The story takes up where Song of Scarabaeus left off: Edie needs to get to the Fringe worlds, where she has something that will help the people there, but she gets captured along the way. She is recruited back into her mentor/nemesis’s terraforming project that she’s certain will turn out to be highly destructive – so much so that humans across the galaxy may end up with nowhere to live in a few generations. She also discovers that gifted children are being used for the project, and she wants to help the children avoid the life that she’s had.
Her bodyguard Finn, who is “leashed” so he’ll die if he leaves her, is along for the ride. The two of them have a growing attraction and the relationship progresses in this book. It’s hampered by the fact that Edie’s emotions cause him discomfort, because of the leash, so they are always looking for a way to deal with that. And, of course, a way to escape.
Are there more novels planned for the series?
There’s always a chance I’ll want to go back and continue Edie and Finn’s story but I’m writing something else now.
Can you tell us more about biocyph, and how you came up with the idea?
My background is in biology, so when I set out to write a novel in my favorite genre it felt natural to use biological concepts. I developed an idea based on retroviruses, which are not fictional – they’re viruses that change the host cell’s DNA, and in certain circumstances the changes are passed to subsequent generations. Guided by extremely complex (and fictional!) computer programs, an entire ecosystem’s DNA can be changed to produce plants and animals that are compatible with human life. The biocyph technology I envisioned is a composite of computer circuitry and the biological machinery necessary to create these tailored retroviruses.
Do you feel you had any obstacles as a woman writing science fiction, since the genre has seemed to be dominated by (and for) men in the past?
Not at all. That never crossed my mind. I suppose it’s possible that male readers find SF written by women an obstacle – it’s certainly true that the majority of my readers appear to be female, but I’ve also heard from very enthusiastic male readers, so I hope they’re not put off by the lack of space battles and galactic politics or by the inclusion of a romance and the “softer” sciences. There is an awesome spaceship engine described, albeit briefly, in Song of Scarabaeus that I’m very proud of (my husband invented it for me) for those who like hardware.
What drew you to the genre?
Pure escapism. I like historical fiction for the same reason, actually – because it takes place in a different world. I haven’t read any contemporary fiction in ages.
What’s up next for you after the release of Children of Scarabaeus?
I’m working on a new SF adventure story, possibly a series. It’s set in a different universe, or at least a very different time and place from the Scarabaeus stories. This one is a little more fun, although it does get pretty dark in places. I was initially inspired by a drawing of a gothic-style spaceship. The entire story sprang from that.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.
It was never my goal to be a writer. I used to think writers were very special beings with some sort of magical ability that enabled them to put stories into books. It never occurred to me that I could do that.
When I first got online in the mid-90s, I discovered fanfic – largely Star Trek, because that’s mostly what it was at the time. I realized ordinary people could write and sometimes those stories were rather good. About the same time I began working in the publishing industry (non fiction) and became a slush pile reader and copyeditor (and later associate editor) for Aurealis, a SF&F magazine here in Australia. Those experiences demystified the publishing industry and again made writers seem more human. Eventually, about 11 years ago, I started the novel that became Song of Scarabaeus.
What inspires you?
As I mentioned, a single image can inspire me. The Scarabaeus books were inspired by a more complex set of factors, I think. It’s hard to recall now where all the bits and pieces came from. For Song of Scarabaeus I developed some key scenes and plot points while listening to music. For Children of Scarabaeus I imagined my nieces and nephews when writing the children. I was pregnant while writing that, and found it really hard to be mean to them.
For the writing process itself, I’m inspired simply by reading about the experiences of other writers. Writing is a bit of a rollercoaster career choice, so it’s nice to know there are others out there going through the same ups and downs, and having the same sorts of frustrations in getting words on the page.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?
I love books that take me somewhere else. I have a nostalgic soft spot for Enid Blyton, who wrote boarding school stories, and Flowers in the Attic – basically, children cut off from normal family life. I started out reading hard sci-fi at college, like Gregory Benford and Greg Bear. My favorite stories tend to be far-future space adventures. Recently I’ve been reading Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War series (military sci-fi). I just ordered a heap of new books that fall into the “SF adventure with romance” category, which is what the Scarabaeus books and my new series are.
What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?
I have a nine-month-old daughter who takes up all my spare time. I watch movies with my husband, read and edit his books (he just sold a SF novel to Tor), and try to improve my cooking.
Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Only that I hope readers will enjoy Children of Scarabaeus! And thanks for having me.
On behalf of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of Children of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy for one lucky winner!
Contest is open to US residents only, no PO Boxes. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends April 15. I’ll draw names on April 16, and notify winner via email.