Interview Questions for S. A. Gibson
1. What inspired you write Feeling a Way?
My first fiction novel, A Dangerous Way, related a story of the library swordsman in mid-career after many adventures across two continents. I now have to reveal a little of his origin story. So, Feeling a Way is set in California, where William Way first arrives in the future United States.
2. Talk about your main characters, Kalapati and William.
William is a scout, library investigator, and swordsman. He has traveled from India to help the local California librarians solve a mystery involving stolen Hindu religious books and kidnapped children. Kalapati is an archer from a Native-American community who makes her living contracting out her abilities for pay. Her assignment to escort a young boy across Southern California will bring her into conflict with the libraries and their scout, William.
3. What is the intended age range/target audience?
My stories would be suitable for middle-school on up. They have no sex and no cursing. They contain some violence, but only to serve the needs of the plot and story. As I write, I consider the target audience, but my main goal is to recreate my own sense of excitement when I read science fiction as a teen. Young people will confront difficult subjects, in their lives, and I think about how to write about such issues.
4. What writing style do you use?
Feeling a Way is written in third person with a few different POV characters. I hope that writing it in present tense will feel more action oriented to readers. I also added an index at the end to give links about locations, technology or other information that readers might be curious about. The book is not constant action. Although Kalapati and William, Buckley, Lucia, Tamara, and Claire must constantly move to solve the problems in the story, the tension should rise and fall several times through the book.
5. How do you write about a future dystopian California in Feeling a Way?
Creating future California without technology is a fun history learning endeavor. People, in this future without modern technology, need to accomplish the same things we do in our modern world. They need to produce food. They need clothing and houses. They need to travel and communicate over distances. Finally, they need to have the means to live peacefully together, or defend themselves from violent people. The historical truth is that people in the past did all those things. I researched slide rules, messenger pigeons, donkey transportation, bows, arrows, swords, and atlatls.
6. What different cultures are represented in the book?
Kalapati is a Native American young woman. William, the library scout is a mixed (Black/Asian) young man. There are many different cultures represented in these scenes from future California. The intersection of cultural differences is an important element in the book.
7. Which authors do you enjoy?
I have read a multitude of Science Fiction novels. I most often read stories where multiple cultures interact with each other. I enjoy Luis McMaster Bujold (Barrayar, where Cordelia must confront and live with the alien Barrayarians), Sharon Lee (Fledgling, where Theo must learn about the Liadens and other space faring groups in her universe), Sara King (Zero Recall, where humans must learn to live with the dangerous aliens who have power over Earth). Ryk E. Spoor (Spheres of Influence, where humans find that advanced civilizations control access to space). I like character driven stories about conflict and the resolution of conflict, with intelligent female leaders.
8. What is the reading sequence for the series?
The in-world chronology is different from the publication order of the series. So far there are two series: "After the Collapse" and "The Protected Books." Pratima's Forbidden Book, book 1 of "The Protected Books," published earlier this year, has a young William Way, as a major character. As a teenager in Rajasthan, India, he's an apprentice for libraries and has not become an expert with swords, yet. Feeling a Way, book 1 of "After the Collapse," takes up the story of William after he arrives in California after years of sword training. A Dangerous Way, book 2 of "After the Collapse," follows William years later in New Mexico as he wields his sword for the libraries. A Dangerous Way, is available at Amazon.