Monday, 7 May 2012
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Vijaya Schartz
STEPH: What is "Noah's Ark" about?
VIJAYA: It’s about the female captain of a star freighter full of human settlers and domestic animals, and plant seeds, and frozen embryos, on a scientific mission to jump-start life and settle a new planet. When they fall out of jump space in the vicinity of an M-class planet, she realizes they are lost in an uncharted part of space. Then they are shot down, and crash land on the planet, which happens to be habitable, although freezing cold. Her survival expert is a Space Marine, Kostas, but as a military type, he has a very different idea of what must be done.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
VIJAYA: It takes me about five to six months to write a full length novel. For most authors, it’s considered slow. But I want my books to be unique and fascinating. I want my characters to come alive on the page, I want an unpredictable plot and action, as well as deep emotional conflicts.
STEPH: How much research did you have to do?
VIJAYA: Funny enough, for this fifth book in the Chronicles of Kassouk series (although now it comes first in the series) I had to research... my own books. I had to reread and take apart all the other books in the series, because it’s been a while since I wrote the first books, and for this prequel I had to gather all the tiniest clues and threads I had sewn into the tapestry of this world I had created. It’s like writing a story backwards. In the previous novels, I alluded to all kinds of things that happened in the past and had turned into legends or traditions. Now I had to dig out these legends, like an archeologist, examine the evidence, and reconstruct the true facts behind the myths. It was kind of fun.
STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?
VIJAYA: I love the cover. It’s perfect. The star freighter is marooned in the snow, in front of this medieval citadel of Kassouk, which is the background for most of the covers, and most of the stories in this series. It’s incongruous, just like the situation of my human settlers, faced with medieval technology. But of course, there is a lot more going on...
STEPH: Trixie is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?
VIJAYA: She is a leader, a captain, and her responsibility is to keep crew and passengers alive and well. But she also hide deep wounds. She didn’t do so good in her private life. She is fleeing from an overbearing father and running away from a disastrous marriage. She swore she would never let a strong man control her life again. Yet she is a lover and an optimist to a fault. She wants to believe that this planet is their lucky break despite the tragedy that befell them. It takes her a while to realize that the hero was right, and their situation is not exactly what it seems...
STEPH: What does Kostas find appealing about her?
VIJAYA: Her optimism. He is the exact opposite, and for good reasons. As the survival expert of the expedition, he points out everything that can and will go wrong. And he is a warrior, not a lover. But secretly, he admires her ability to keep a positive outlook and to make the most of any bad situation. He cannot help being attracted to her bubbling, charming personality (even when she berates him for not following her orders).
STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?
VIJAYA: We can overcome any odds and love can triumph in any circumstances. Love is just as important as hope, food, and technology for a community to survive in the direst conditions. Love and compassion is their salvation, whether or not they are aware of it. Another underlying theme is overcoming racism, not just skin color, not just cultural differences... not even alien races. It’s something much more insidious, invisible, yet fundamental and gut wrenching...
STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?
VIJAYA: Night dreams, hours of daydreaming, the science channel, the history channel, I’m avid for knowledge of the past and the possible futures. I read, I watch movies. My mind is constantly absorbing, analyzing, digesting, and plotting new stories.
STEPH: Do you have an eBook reader? If so, which one?
VIJAYA: I love my kindle. Since I bought it I can’t stop reading. I’m discovering new talented authors. This eBook revolution is the best thing that ever happened to enrich the human mind.
STEPH: Do you plan another story in the Chronicles of Kassouk?
VIJAYA: Not at this time. But if I did, it would be a much later story in the chronicles, the story of the humans of Kassouk making first contact with humans from earth. What if a vessel from earth came to them? How would both parties react to the way their cultures have changed over many centuries? It would be an interesting confrontation. Would they be friends or enemies? That story is brewing in the back of my mind and might one day surface as a novel.
Find Vijaya on the web at: http://www.vijayaschartz.com
Friend her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vijaya-Schartz-Author/109777709045040
Follow her on twitter @vijayaschartz
Find all her books on Amazon at: