Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Interview: Eliza Green, Author of Becoming Human

Two worlds. Two species. One terrifying secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

1. What's your favorite part of a book? 
The part where you get to know the characters. No matter how interesting a book may be, I feel very little when I start reading it because I don’t know anyone. It’s that moment when you peel back the curtain and see into their lives.
2. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
The name has to be appropriate for where the character is from. For example, my protagonist, Bill Taggart, is from Scotland and Taggart is a strong Scottish surname. Other than that, not really, but a character’s personality will often give me clues. I might picture him or her in my head and I’ll run a few names over and back. A name has to feel right before I’ll give it to them.

3. What advice would you give to people who "run out of creativity" when writing?
Take a step back and don’t force it. We all hit walls in our creative thinking. It might be simplistic advice, but not thinking about anything can help unlock something. I can have the most interesting dreams. I make sure to write down the ones that make sense. It often sparks another thought.
Exercise is also a good way to think through stuff. A half hour walk allows me to work out a few kinks in a story or organise my thoughts so I can free up some space in my mind. Our daily lives can get a little ‘noisy’ and it can be good to forget about a few things, writing included.
4. How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?
I started writing about five years ago and finished BECOMING HUMAN in 2009. I submitted it to agents and publishers with little success, so I hired an editor in 2010 because I was thinking about self-publishing my book. She showed me that I wasn’t ready to publish and I still had a way to go to improve my writing. I spent the next two years learning how to write and when I resubmitted to agents/publishers in 2012, I had some very favourable responses but nothing leading anywhere. I decided to self publish because the story had been on my computer for far too long and I didn’t want to wait any longer. I kept addressing my writing weaknesses because there was no way I was going to release the book unless it was right.
5. How did you come up with the title? 
Using the same process as naming the character. The title had to speak to me, had to fit in with what the book was about. There is a scene in the book where a member of the alien Indigene race talks to a young boy. That was where the idea for the book started, as a short story, and what turned it into a full-length novel that’s also part of a trilogy. The name came about because in order for the alien to convince the young boy to talk to him, he had to become human.
6. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
Yes. The story is set on a dystopian Earth and examines the reasons why humans can no longer live there: overcrowding, poor air quality. If they’re forced to start over on a new planet, will they learn from their past mistakes or are they doomed to repeat them?
7. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 
I really loved Hugh Howey’s ‘Wool’. Originally a self-published author, he now has a strong publishing deal. I was impressed with his writing and his strong characters. The story was unusual and I wanted to keep turning the page. When you read such strong fiction, you only want the best for your own writing.
I recently bought Louise Phillip’s debut crime novel, Red Ribbons. She was nominated for ‘the’ Irish writing award in her genre. I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into it. I love crime books.
8. What are your current projects? 
I’m currently working on the second part in the Exilon 5 trilogy called ALTERED REALITY. The second book will explore the Indigene race in greater detail.
9. Can you share a little of your current work with us? 
Not yet, it’s still in that early stage of writing/editing. I’m happy to share a little from Chapter 1 of BECOMING HUMAN though.
While Bill picked at his food, he quietly observed the crowds of people on the streets outside, rudely pushing past each other, trying to get to the next place. The lessons arising from the old ways had not been learned. Exilon 5 – or New Earth as the residents had christened it – was their future now. Conditions on Earth were so dilapidated that to relocate the entire population had become the government’s only solution.
Presently, there were not enough cities on Exilon 5 to accommodate everyone, the numbers standing at just six: New Delhi, London, New York, Taiyuan, Vienna and Copenhagen. They had kept the most familiar parts of Earth’s urban centres so that people would adapt quicker to their new lives. The first batch of transfers had included doctors, engineers and teachers to help to establish industry before the remainder of the population transferred. The World Government’s extremely ambitious plan was to relocate all twenty billion inhabitants of Earth to Exilon 5 over the next twenty years. Currently, there was a fraction of that living on the exoplanet and well below expected targets.
If the World Government was serious about transferring the entire population, then Exilon 5 needed more cities, more housing – more of everything.

Bill had an ulterior motive for choosing Cantaloupe that day. According to recent reports, there had been sightings of ‘Shadow People’ in the vicinity. Shadow People were what the children called the entities that ventured into certain areas of the cities at night. Although no one had actually seen one up close, they had all reported feeling ‘creeped out’, as if they were being watched. He knew them by a different name – Indigenes. He also knew the creepy feelings the children had experienced were attributable to the static charge the race emitted, that left the air tingling with electricity.
He had been waiting a long time to come face-to-face with one of the Indigenes – two years to be exact. Even though he was officially working as Investigator for the International Task Force, this mission was personal for him. He wouldn’t stop until he found out the truth.
He took another sip of coffee. The caffeine effects were wearing off but his heart was still beating strong and fast. The tremors hadn’t diminished, nor did he expect them to until he finished his job. The other patrons regarded him warily as if he was ‘on’ something, but he was not a city junkie. Nor was he their enemy. He had seen evidence of Earth’s social problems creeping into the new cities. But there were other reasons that made it dangerous to live on Exilon 5. Its residents were only being fed half-truths about their new home.
10. What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
The editing, because I had so much to learn about my style. No, style wasn’t the problem. I had trouble with the other things that make a book sing, like pace, well-positioned backstory, strong characters, hooky endings. My first manuscript was rubbish. My second was okay. My third and fourth were much better. When I thought I had edited my work enough, my editor would say to me “you need to watch out for point of view.” I had to ask myself, how do I even write POVs? So I looked it up, learned it and applied it to my writing. That back and forth editing, where you find something new to work on, took a long time. Now, I understand what I have to do, but when you’re learning it, edits can be very time consuming. I view the last four years as a writing course.
11. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 
Yes, writing is a long term thing. Nothing happens overnight. Your work will improve with a little patience, reflection and learning.
You need to sell yourself as an author first. Let people get to know you by writing a blog. Set up an author platform and pick two things to start with. I set up a blog, Twitter and Facebook a year and a half ago. That’s all before I published my first novel. I’ve enjoyed the interaction with other writers. This has helped me to become a better writer.

Eliza Green has just released her debut science fiction novel, BECOMING HUMAN and has one Kindle copy of her book to give away. Just leave a comment to be in with a chance to win.

Author Bio
Eliza Green writes down-to-earth science fiction that has stemmed from her life long obsession with science fiction stories.

Eliza has worked in many industries from fashion to sport to finance, but caught the writing bug several years ago and has now released her first novel, BECOMING HUMAN, part one of the Exilon 5 trilogy.

Since Eliza was young, she has always been a fan of science fiction television shows and films and is bringing that love to her new trilogy. She hopes to capture the imagination of readers who shy away fromthe genre with her new novel, set on Earth and Exilon 5.

She is currently working on ALTERED REALITY, book 2 in the Exilon 5 trilogy.

BECOMING HUMAN is available in print and Kindle ebook format (exclusively until mid March). Afterwards, it will be available in several other formats through Smashwords.

Where to Buy

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for interviewing me, Ashley. If any of your readers/writers have any questions for me, I'll be around all day.


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