I consider myself a global citizen and always include an array of international characters and languages in my stories. I like the idea of humanity moving toward a common goal, but maintaining our clever and unique identities. I've lived so many places around the world, now I only wish that I could explore the galaxy, so, I write science fiction novels. I have lived abroad for over twenty years and have picked up degrees along the way in anthropology, East Asian Studies, East Asian Art and applied linguistics from universities all over the world. My favorite cities, where I wish I could be all at once; London, Berlin, Stockholm, New Orleans, Shanghai, and Los Angeles.
The Mars One Incidentby Kelly CurtisPublish: Aug 30, 2019Science Fiction
Carl Sagan and Oprah Winfrey were the most influential people in my life growing up. Both of them know that as human beings, we can do better.
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a novelist. Much of my early life was spent studying and working; however, I always did a lot of writing for work and enjoyed it. But as James Baldwin so aptly put it, “The terrible thing about being a writer is that you don’t decide to become one, you discover that you are one.”When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I realized I was a writer about a year ago. I wrote my first book last year under a pen name. I just wrote it in a week and then self-published. I like to learn by doing first. I feel this helps me better understand instruction later, even though this comes with its drawbacks. I published my first book under my own name this past August, ‘The Mars One Incident.’ I had already learned a lot by then about writing, but I still know I can do better, and because of this, I have found an editor that I am working with for the next Unification Series book to help bring my writing to the next level.Having lived so many places around the world, which place would you choose to spend your rest of the life at?
Having lived so many places in the world makes this the most challenging question. There are so many places I love, and I have found that in every country, the positives and the negatives are always somewhat equal, but they are always different. At the moment, I am back in the UK, which, despite Brexit, is still actually very international and global thinking, compared to many other countries. However, I can never say ‘forever’ because the world changes all the time, and so do people.How do you make sure to include an array of international characters and languages in your stories?
Having lived abroad for over 20 years, most of my friends come from different countries, so incorporating these characters into my books seems natural to me, including the different languages. I love what all of my friends bring to the table to influence my life. Every culture has something to give, some insight that your own culture may be lacking and vice versa. In my books, I want to portray this. I don’t want to write about an Earth being united under one government and everyone important being an English-speaker. I want my books to be forward-thinking socially, that in the future, we will be able to work together without sacrificing our local identities. This is something that I feel is the best way forward, and the only way to get there is through understanding and respect for one another.How do you think picking up degrees along the way in anthropology, East Asian Studies, East Asian Art has helped you shape into an author?
All of my academic work has helped me create realistic social and political structures in my series. Nothing I present either in the human or alien world has not been a structure here on Earth at some time or someplace. I also use the importance of art in civilizations as it has always been means to reflect and sway cultures and societies.
I write unpretentiously. I don’t like to have long drawn out descriptions, and I assume my readers are clever enough to understand. For example, when I am talking about guilds, I believe my readers know what those are, or are intelligent enough to pick it up from context and I believe this style is reflective of my previous writing in non-fiction.What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime? What are your top three favorite books of all time?
I enjoy reading science fiction and biographies in my downtime. My three favorite books of all time are: Brave New World, Aldous Huxley Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë The Master and Margarita, Mikhail BulgakovHow do your travels inspire you to write your stories? How often do you travel?
I used to travel a lot. Now that I am a mother, I don’t get to travel as much as I would like, but every year I take a trip with one of my best friends to a place we have never been to before. Lately, these places have all been in Eastern Europe. Traveling plays into my stories a lot. Getting to your destination is half the fun of traveling. In all of my books, some of the most interesting conversations take place on a space station or on the way to somewhere, not during ‘the action’ if you will. And sometimes the best advice a character gets is from a stranger sitting next to them on the train.What challenges did you face to write your book, "The Mars One Incident"?
I faced a few challenges writing ‘The Mars One Incident.’ The first was that I didn’t know that much about detonating a nuclear weapon before I began writing the book, so I read a lot of articles about nuclear weapon construction and detonation to write those few lines where it is discussed. Although my Unification Series mainly focuses on future social and political structures, I don’t ever want to get the hard science wrong in my books either. It annoys me when science fiction writers using alien languages and translators, in ways that do not make any sense, and I’m sure anyone who knows anything about nuclear weapons would have felt the same about my book if I had gotten those few things wrong. Another challenge was deciding how much to tell about Captain Alma Johnson and The Joint Confederacy in this book as ‘The Mars One Incident’ is Captain Alma Johnson’s backstory in so many ways, and it is meant to be a brief introduction to the world and the main character and the defining moment of her life. ‘The Mars One Incident’ will stay with Captain Alma Johnson for good or bad as who she is throughout the entire series.Why did you choose to set "The Mars One Incident" in the year 2635?
I chose to set ‘The Mars One Incident’ in the year 2635 because at the turtle pace we are moving now towards one human government, it will probably take us that long to build any real understanding between each other. I am more optimistic about science and the space programs though, hence the Great Leap Backwards, where a decision is made to give up all of social technology is made 500 years before. I also put the date out so far because I wanted Captain Alma Johnson’s character to have been securely living in a culture that did not use social media at all. That it had been given up 500 years before and to have social technology and a lot of unnecessary technology for daily life be seen as such a means of lies and propaganda. And that is why in the first few pages of the book, Captain Alma Johnson is nervous about having her name in print. And this is really something, because Captain Alma Johnson is not a woman who scares easily.Who inspired the character of Captain Alma Johnson in "The Mars One Incident ?
I don’t think there is one person who inspired the character of Captain Alma Johnson. I created her character to be that person that you want defending your borders because she is moral, but at the same time, you may not want to have dinner with her. She’s not a natural person to like, but she’s someone you can respect and count on. I created her like this because she can look at her own society and love it from a distance, to see its virtues and as well as its faults. This is something that becomes very important on her next mission across the galaxy to The Shimbahn Unification of 5.A lot of authors have a distinct writing style that sets them apart from the rest. What would you say characterizes your writing?
I write a lot of dialogue without much description, and I write very simply. I purposely use some of the most common names from different areas of the world for my characters so that the names already give my readers a clue as to the character’s physical attributes. Then I let my characters speak for themselves.What is something that people don’t usually know about being an author?
That sometimes, you can go days without actually speaking to anyone but the mailman, your young child, and your child’s teacher as writing can be very solitary work. I am a very social person, so I find this the most difficult sometimes, but when I am writing, I am writing, and it’s different to any other kind of work I have ever done and I can completely loose myself in it in a very positive way, at least until my pick up from school alarm goes off.How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?
I love the instant access e-books, and audiobooks give people. No longer do you have to wait to read a book. Also, you can carry it with you everywhere on your phone without having to remember to take it with you. I love e-books, and for me, I read everything on my mobile phone these days. I have dyslexia, so I enjoy being able to change the font on e- books and not having writing on the back of the page. I have always enjoyed audiobooks as well, and I am pleased that they are becoming as popular as I think it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to appreciate a book. I loved putting ‘The Mars One Incident’ together with narrator John Pirhalla. He took to all the accents I needed and really brought the story to life.What advice would you give to someone who is about to write his/her first book?
Write like you aren’t afraid and realize when the story is finished, it’s finished, and it’s time to stop whether you were ready for it or not. These two things seem so simple, but I find I have to remind myself of them all the time, the temptation to change something because of what someone else might think-because I’m afraid- or the temptation to add something or change something to the story-I always remind myself of the numerous changes to ‘Tess of the D'Urbervilles’ and how in my opinion the first version was the best.What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? How has AllAuthor helped you so far and would you recommend this platform to other authors?
I only do basic marketing, mainly on Instagram, but that seems to work well for me at the moment. In the future, I hope to learn more about marketing. I would recommend AllAuthor to other authors. It can be quite isolating being an author, and AllAuthor allows you to connect with other authors, not just on Allauthor, but to find each other on Instagram, which I have found to be very rewarding. I also appreciate the monthly emails with complementary promotional photos of my book. It’s such a help in marketing as creating different images takes a lot of time, and my promotional photos aren’t nearly as good as the ones at Allauthor.
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