Monday, 23 November 2015

Interview with Sci-Fi author Emma Larkin!

Today I'm interviewing Emma Larkin, author of Mechalarum!



Tell me three interesting facts about yourself!

In college, while playing drums for the LSJUMB band, I piloted a hammock-boat. Through some mysterious channel the picture was discovered years later by Gizmodo and Reddit - woo internet famous!


I studied ancient handicrafts (aka “earthworks”) during high school, including pottery and blacksmithing. I have a cute penguin/alligator-looking creature on my bookshelf that I forged out of steel.


blacksmith-statue.jpg


I never learned to whistle as a child. It’s one of my chief regrets. Only now am I starting to figure out how it’s done.


Summarize your book in one line.


Iron Man meets Fury Road - with aliens.


Tell me something cool/crazy/quirky about the book – it can be anything!


I’m obsessed with naming. Almost every name has a convoluted backstory with multiple layers of meaning. Take Kiellen Corr, the heroine of the story, for example. ‘Kiel’ is similar to ‘ciel,’ which means ‘heaven’ or ‘sky’ in French. Kiellen is a pilot obsessed with flying her Mechalarum suit (in the sky). ‘Corr’ is similar to ‘coeur,’ French for ‘heart.’ Kiellen is passionate and headstrong, usually acting on her instincts and emotions. Her last name also evokes the word ‘core’ - after all, Kiellen is the main character, the ‘core’ of the story, central to the the plot and action.


I’m not even done. I could go on, but that’s probably already more than anyone wants to know :)


Why did you decide to write this particular book?


One of my greatest desires is to have the power of personal flight. To be able to rise up into the air unencumbered by gravity at a moment’s notice - wouldn’t that be grand?


So it’s not strange that the idea of a flying woman fighting aliens came to me in a dream. Corny, I know, but it’s true! That’s all I had to start with: a woman, flight, and a war. I’d read more fantasy books at that point than science fiction, but I knew I wanted this story to be scifi, because I love exploring the reasons things in my story work the way they do. And I love robots.


I might not have taken this particular idea all the way, but National Novel Writing Month happened and it was the best idea I had. So I went with it!


Best part of the writing process?


Coming up with ideas. That limitless feeling that you can write anything - that your book can be anything. Writing is hard - dreaming is easier! I daydream about my stories a lot, picturing my favorite scenes in my head.


Share one thing you learned writing this book.


You have to let go and just write for your first draft. The more closely you try to control the words that come out of your fingers in those early stages, the slower it will go, and the more you’ll doubt yourself. When you get into the ‘flow,’ and the words are coming to you faster than you can type, you come up with amazing things that surprise even yourself. Of course, you write a lot of junk too, but that’s easy enough to fix in the editing phases.


Tell me about one strange experience you’ve had. Again, it can be anything!


I had a one-in-a-million experience that taught me nothing is impossible. When I lived in Annapolis, I went on a trip to visit San Francisco. I was wandering around, about to go back to the hotel, when I looked down the hill and realized I was right next to the Norwegian Seaman’s Church, where I had been baptized almost three decades before. I went inside and chatted with the greeter for a few minutes, then stepped out onto the balcony for a moment. I was taking pictures of the view, when I just happened to look down… And there, walking down the street, were two people I knew from Maryland! They just happened to be vacationing in the same city in the same state on the opposite coast of where we were from (at the same time), and just happened to walk down the same street. If I’d stayed inside the church for a minute longer, I would never have known they were there.


I have more stories like that - like my parents’ implausible meeting story. Weird coincidences seem to be my lot in life.


Name one fictional place you’d love to visit.


Ooo, that’s a hard one! I’d have to say Tortall, the world where Tamora Pierce sets mosts of her stories. The place itself is interesting enough, but more than that, I love all those characters and I’d give anything for the chance to sit down and chat with them over a drink in the Dancing Dove.


Name one real place you’d love to visit.


The northern midwest of the US. It’s on my bucket list to check out every state, and there are still a few up there I haven’t gotten to yet. I hear it’s very beautiful.


Share one sentence/mini-excerpt from the book!


I try not to get too flowery with my language, but I did enjoy using some really visceral language to describe Kiellen pairing with the Mechalarum suit.


“Kiellen forced herself not to brace against the discomfort—her body suffered less when she let the suit twist her limbs to fit its needs. It switched from an exploratory mode to a predatory one, swallowing her exposed skin inch by inch like a virulent case of gangrene.”


Bio and Blurb


Emma Larkins is a science fiction author and card game designer who loves puns. She writes accessible stories that tease the edges of your imagination without making you feel like your brain has gone through a blender.


Her Mechalarum ebook (“Strong heroine Kiellen risks slow death for the power of biomechanical flight; Iron Man meets Fury Road, with aliens.”) will be available for free November 21 through 25 on Amazon - during which time Emma will be raffling five signed paperback copies of the book. And she’s going on a book tour! Join her as she shares stories, excerpts, interviews, and more. Click here for a complete list of tour stops.


You can also stop by her Twitter or blog to say hi!


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