by Branwen OShea
GENRE: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
They thought the biggest problem they faced was each other.
After Bleu, Rana, and their new friends narrowly prevent war between the star beings and humans, they hope the upcoming negotiation will secure the peace. Newly emerged from their subterranean haven, the Northern Haven humans are clearly not suited to Earth’s ice age, and require assistance from the enlightened star beings to survive long term on the Surface. But Commander Savas doesn’t trust the suspiciously kind star beings and their unexplainable abilities. When both sides reluctantly negotiate a joint mission to find the other Havens, Bleu must somehow cooperate with the manipulative commander to keep his friends safe.
As their team confronts unexpected dangers, Bleu and his teammates begin to suspect the star beings don’t know as much about the Surface as they claimed, while Rana is torn between remaining true to her nonviolent ways or becoming more human to survive. When an unnatural predator attacks, even the nearly all-knowing Kalakanya can’t explain it. Now the team must pull together or their new discovery will pull them apart, limb by limb.
As the sun descended behind the mountain and darkness crept across the frozen field, a strange dread seeped into Bleu’s bones. It felt like a warning, an alarm that danger lurked nearby.
He had known safety in Rana’s village, and he’d lost the spatial anxiety caused by the wide-open spaces of the Surface that differed so much from the cozy walls and tunnels of home. No, this unease wasn’t spatial anxiety to the openness of the sky and horizon.
This was different, and perhaps a bit similar to what Kahali feared. Bleu had never faced the possibility of other humans with guns. His team sat out in the open, exposed. The meager light from the cooking fire did nothing against the shroud of blackness surrounding them. No safe walls protected them from physical attacks or bullets. And then, there were the unknown predators of the region.
His earlier excitement of finding the footprints evaporated, leaving behind a gnawing awareness of their vulnerability. The darkness beyond the campfire could be punctured any moment by monstrous claws or gunfire. Childhood tales of the evil Undescended crowded his mind with images so ludicrously terrible that he wanted to laugh at himself.
Instead, he checked that they were all armed and sent Savas and Neviah to make sure the helicopters were locked. Animal calls and crunching footsteps drifted down the mountains as if something were encircling them. Even the confident star beings kept glancing out into the night. They should be comfortable in such wilderness, right?
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
Thank you for having me on today. I’ve lived in a bunch of places on the East Coast, and six months in Cardiff, Wales. I currently live in Connecticut with my family, which in addition to people includes a pride of cats and a rescued horse. I’ve always written, but until the last fifteen years it was stories and poems for myself and my kids. I’ve always worked, first as a neuropharmacology researcher and now as a mental health therapist. In addition to my regular job and writing books, I also homeschool my kids. So, you might say I’m a bit busy.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
This entire series came to me in a set of really powerful dreams where the star being, Rana, introduced herself and told me a story of humanity’s future. It was so fascinating to me that I started writing the next morning. I never planned on being a novelist, and it took me ten years to finish the first book, but now I’m on a roll.
How do you create your characters?
For this series, I didn’t create the characters, they showed up in the dream, introduced themselves, and have sort of lived in my head ever since, lol. The star beings revealed their looks and culture, just like the humans of Northern Haven. That makes for an interesting experience, because sometimes they surprise me. For instance, while writing The Chasm, which is the second book in the series, I learned things about Commander Savas that I hadn’t known. The new information explained more about certain things that he did in the first book, which was already published, so its good he’s at least consistent.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
Because I’m so busy, I’ve learned to dive into the story and write under all sorts of conditions. I can have silence, music, kids playing and interrupting me, waiting in the car at the kids’ activities, etc. My ideal writing time is in a coffee shop for a period of at least five hours, but I rarely get that opportunity.
What do you like to read?
I like to read anything speculative: science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and horror that’s not too graphic with the violence. I also enjoy romance, but more so if it has speculative or paranormal elements.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
First of all, find other writers, because as much as writing is solitary, we need support. Writing isn’t easy, and getting published is even harder. I suggest joining a local writing group or connecting with the writing community on Twitter.
Second, be very careful of other writers who believe they know the “Correct” way to write. We all have very different voices, and different stories inside us. In my opinion, rules can guide you, but breaking them is also fine. Just be aware of the difference between writing rules and publishing norms. Rules can be broken, but agents and publishers have certain expectations that they require you to fit if you want to be included.
Third, have fun and write books that you enjoy. If you’re having fun and are moved by your own work, then the readers will likely be as well.
Finally, at some point you will want to look over your drafts and upcoming book ideas and get a sense of what your author brand will be. I had no idea what mine was until I’d drafted my second novel. With each successive novel, I get a better sense of mine, and you will too. If you like to write drastically different types of books, then you may want a pen name, so readers don’t get confused.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Since I was talking about author brands, I’d say my brand is stories with stardust, magic, and hope for humanity. I love writing morally grey characters, enemies forced to cooperate, and dark, creepy scenes, but there is always stardust, magic and hope for our future in there as well. If that sounds interesting, join me on the epic ice age adventure of the Finding Humanity series.
As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.
Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her published works include Silence of the Song Trees, The Calling, The Cords That Bind, and The Chasm.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/branwenoshea
The Chasm (Book 2) on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09QFPHQVN
The Calling (Book 1) on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735915998
The Cords That Bind (Book 1.1) on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CSK4813
Branwen OShea will be awarding $30 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.