Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BECOMING HUMAN, by Eliza Green

I met this author via Twitter--she writes a great blog, Eliza Loves Sci Fi, and it covers everything from writing tips to science, science fiction, movie trivia and other things. Her first book, BECOMING HUMAN is a great science fiction novel that just debuted on Amazon.

For a chance to win your own copy, write the name of your favorite alien (made up ones are fine too) in the comments section!
Contest is now complete!


Eliza's Bio:
Eliza Green writes down-to-earth science fiction that has stemmed from her lifelong obsession with science fiction stories.

She 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 from the 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. 



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. BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science-fiction adventure that you won’t want to put down.


Here are Eliza's answers to some of my questions:
Your website bio states that you have "a healthy (although not obsessive) love of technology and sciency stuff." How do these interests influence your writing, and can you tell us more about your journey toward becoming a writer?

Well, I say I have a non-obsessive interest because I don’t want people to think I’m an expert or anything! I can’t fix computers and I don’t read New Scientist religiously. But I love technology (I’m pretty good on a computer I’ll have you know!) and I’m fascinated by how things work, like how the human body sometimes cures itself of cancer or how we might be able to combat ageing in the future.

My own journey began four years ago when I hit a difficult patch in my day job. I was seriously considering quitting, but I told myself to think about it rationally. It was a knee jerk reaction, something else was happening in the organisation that had nothing to do with me. During that time, I started to think about other things and I suddenly wanted to do something I enjoyed. I’ve always been creative. I can sing (in private!) and I have an eye for colour. But you can’t really make a career out of that unless you study for years. I’d already tried my hand at interior decorating years before, but I didn’t stick with it. I was never good at the drawing or rendering element of it, which you had to do by hand as part of the course. I stumbled upon the Stephenie Meyer Twilight Trilogy having seen the first film and I devoured the books. While I was impressed with her story telling ability, I was equally frustrated with how she wrote some of the scenes. I began to ask myself ‘How would I write this?’ That was it. That was the beginning. A week or so later, I took out my laptop and wrote 3k words on the first thing that came into my head. It was the start of another project I’m working on. I felt giddy, knowing that I had complete control over how the story began and ended.
 

We've had similar experiences! A difficult time in my day-job motivated me to finally write my novel. Sometimes the best things come out of bad circumstances. You say that BECOMING HUMAN was an idea that "just had to come out." Where did the idea come from, and what do you want readers to take away when they're finished reading it?

At same time I wrote the 3k words for my other project, the idea for BECOMING HUMAN came to me. I am a huge (!) fan of science fiction, but I prefer to devour TV shows and movies over books. I don’t know why. I’m not against reading the books and I’ve enjoyed a few (Orson Scott Card’s ‘Ender’s Shadow’ comes to mind), but the movies and TV shows are faster paced and I find I can sit there and think of a whole string of ‘what if’ ideas as I watch them. Even though I had decided to start with the other project first (women’s fiction), I was itching to pitch the idea of the science fiction book to my partner who is a ‘hard core’ fan of the genre. I wrote a short story, about 10k, and showed it to him. The short story centred on the chapter in the book where the Indigene, Stephen talks to the young boy for the first time. There are so many alien movies where the alien is always trying to kill everyone. I’m bored with those. I wanted to do something different. I wondered what an alien might actually say to a human if circumstances suddenly brought them together. My partner was intrigued when he read it and told me to keep going.

First and foremost I would like readers to enjoy it, but there is an underlying message: We are complex creatures and we make mistakes but do we have the capacity to learn from them?
 

I feel the exact same way--I write lower fantasy, and can barely stand to read some of the high fantasy available on the market. I'd much rather watch--and like you, dream up scenarios! You write a blog on your website: Eliza Loves Sci Fi. Is it difficult to balance the blog with other writerly tasks? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers wanting to start a blog?

Yes it is difficult and I have to be practical. With a full time job I can’t post every day, and I don’t want to. The blog is fun and a great way of getting to know your potential readers and it also breaks down barriers. Many writers follow me because I blog about my experiences as a writer. I think it’s quite therapeutic to talk about the problems you’ve been experiencing and to get advice or feedback from others. I don’t believe in being precious or secretive about how I edit, format or market my work. I’m only competing with myself and I know that writers will use the advice how they see fit. If it helps, then great. I also seek advice in some of my posts and I find other sites really useful for tips.

Bottom line is I need to write books. That’s what I want to do as a full time job. If I have to excuse myself from my blog every now and again, I will.

Aspiring writers wishing to start a blog: try to decide what you want to write about. I’ve seen some writer blogs that talk about everything, but there’s no focus on what the blog is about. It’s not clear if they’re writers because they don’t discuss their writing work. I’ve seen other blogs that only promote their work, and I find that a little annoying to be honest. I can think of one (nameless) author, who posted once a month and only about his upcoming books. I thought to myself, why do I want to follow this guy? Maybe he was doing really well with sales but I didn’t care. I wanted to know how he became a traditionally published author. Then there are the blogs you follow because you like the fun posts, or you’re a writer and the blogger is sharing good information. I follow those sites on Google Reader and I share it with my Twitter followers.
 

I agree--with a blog, focus and direction are especially essential. BECOMING HUMAN is your first self-published novel. What advice do you have for writers interested in self-publishing? Is there anything you wish you'd known sooner?

Advice first. Go into self publishing with your eyes wide open. Prepare for a ton of work. Do not say, ‘I’m only doing this because traditional publishing didn’t work out for me.’ Do say,’ I’m as good as any traditionally published author and I’m going to prove it by producing a quality product.’ Readers can smell desperation a mile away so always be professional in everything you do, as if you had a publishing house and agent behind you.

I would like to have known a few things sooner, like deadlines for book covers don’t mean much if you still have to finish a final round of editing so you can give them your page count. Just when you think you’ve formatted your ebook correctly, Kindle Fire comes along and screws it up. These are minor issues and you will pick up many things as you go along. Don’t be too hard on yourself but be realistic about deadlines.
 

Excellent advice! If you were stuck on a desert island and had a choice of two movies and two books to take, which would you choose?

Ooh, good question!

Movie 1: I would take Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. To this day, I still get a laugh out of Verruka and her “I want a golden egg.” song.

Movie 2: Weird Science. I loved it when it came out first and it features a very young Robert Downey Junior. I grew up with John Hughes movies (Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club) and this one is very funny. Then there were those important lessons you had to learn in all of Hughes’s movies.

Book 1: Mockingjay (Book 3 in the Hunger Games Trilogy). I haven’t read it yet and I want to see how it all ends.

Book 2: I’m not going to say BECOMING HUMAN, because I would only discover some annoying error in the book and without a laptop or internet connection, I would have no way to fix it. Grr. So, I’ll say anything by Michael Connolly and the Hieronymus Bosch series. 


12 comments:

Eliza Green said...

Thanks for hosting me as part of my blog hop, Karen. Your questions were especially interesting to answer!

The Writer Librarian said...

Thanks, Eliza! Your answers were informative and unique!

Laurie Dennison said...

Great interview! Sounds like a great read!

Eliza Green said...

Hi Laurie, thank you! Do you want to take a stab at naming your favourite alien for the competition?

The Writer Librarian said...

Thanks, Laurie! I bet Eliza would like TRESPASSERS too. :)

Eliza Green said...

TRESPASSERS? What's that?

The Writer Librarian said...

Trespassers is Laurie's novel--she's shopping it to agents, I think.

Eliza Green said...

Oh, good luck with it Laurie. I hope everything goes really well.

Eliza Green said...

Karen, thanks for hosting me as part of my blog tour. I hope your readers enjoyed my interview.

I have picked the winner of my Kindle book. Congratulations Laura! I'll ask Karen for your email so I can send you the book later today.

Eliza Green said...

Sorry, that should read Laurie!

Laurie Dennison said...

Sorry you guys, I just now saw all these; I had a really busy week at home. Totally spaced on the alien name, didn't I? I guess my favorite alien name is Alf. Not very literary, but he's always the first one who always comes to mind.

Fabian Barahona said...

What is the message Eliza was trying to give with this book?