Tag Archives: science fiction

Author Interview: Rae Knightly

Author Rae Knightly is a science-fiction adventure author for teenagers and the young-at-heart. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Rae Knightly and I live near Vancouver, on the West Coast of Canada, with my husband, two children and two grumpy cats. Before that, I lived in Mexico City, and before that, I lived in Belgium, and before that, I lived in Arizona, and before that… I think you get the idea. I love travelling and immersing myself in different cultures. In fact, I got a BA in translation (those who have read my books will get a chuckle out of this).

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been a writer at heart, but never had time to really do anything about it until 2018, when I lost my job. I already had a rough draft of Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall (The Alien Skill Series, Book 1), so this turned out to be the perfect time to polish it up and publish it. That’s when I decided to go full-time into writing, and I haven’t looked back since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

2018 was a pivotal year for me. For the first time in my life, I managed to concentrate on a single project and write it from beginning to end. I felt very proud of that achievement because I had never managed to write a full story before. I had to wait until my forties to have enough time, a certain insight into my strengths and weaknesses, and a lot of patience, before I could attempt to become a writer.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I published the first book in The Alien Skill Series in 2018 (second edition in 2020). This is a science-fiction adventure story for middle-graders and teens, which talks about a twelve-year-old boy, Ben Archer, who witnesses the crash of alien spacecraft in his grandfather’s field and is entrusted with an alien superpower. He goes on the run from government agents with the sole survivor of the crash: an alien man called Mesmo.

I believe that the friendship between Ben and Mesmo, as well as uncovering the reason why aliens came to Earth, have captivated readers of all ages and are the reasons for the series’ success. I have now won multiple awards and have achieved bestseller status on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall is the first book in the series. The sixth and last book, Ben Archer and the Toreq Son, published in March 2021.

I am now working on my next series, The Lost Space Treasure, which I plan on publishing in 2022.

What inspired you to write this book?

As mentioned above, I had plenty of story ideas but always struggled to focus on one of them. Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall was supposed to be my ‘practice novella’ – a short and simple story. I wasn’t even focusing too much on the story itself; all I wanted was to prove to myself that I could finish something short. But once I got into it, I became attached to the characters and the story kept growing. I guess you could say I grew with the story and was inspired to see how far I could go.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My mother tongue is French (I was born in Belgium), so I have a certain limit as to what/how I can write. Fortunately, I have enough English knowledge and vocabulary to tell a good story in an easily-accessible way.

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall is told from multiple points-of-view, which is quite unusual for middle-grade/teen books, but I believe it also the reason why readers of all ages have found a character to relate to.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I did a lot of research for the title, as well as the name of the main character. The original title was David Archer and the Chilliwack Fall, but then I discovered there already was a David Archer series and some smart readers pointed out that no-one would remember the name Chilliwack. I then changed the title to the Cosmic Fall to give it a science-fiction vibe.

The title of a book is important and is worth some thorough thought and research.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Under layers of adventure and excitement, there is indeed an important message in the series. Fortunately, readers have grasped that message and it reflects in their reviews: “A great environmental lesson for young adults.” “Contains environmental yet important themes about our need to protect our planet.” “An extremely timely message for today’s readers.”

In short, I hope to inspire young readers to take action to protect our environment.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in
your own life?

The book is not based on experiences or people in my life. However, they are inspired by real events, short newspaper articles or videos I came across; such as water plumes jutting out of one of Saturn’s moons, imprisoned whales freed off the coast of Russia, images of the Northern Lights in a magazine, major fires in the rainforests of Brazil…

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you
find inspiring?

I was an avid reader when I was a teenager, and most of my own writing reflects that. Some of my favourite science-fiction and fantasy authors were Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising trilogy), Lois Duncan (A Stranger with my Face), Monica Hughes (Earthdark), Terry Brooks (The Shannara Trilogy), Paulo Coehlo (The Alchemist).

I loved their stories because they transported me into fantastical realms, away from reality. It was a thrilling feeling full of emotion and discovery. That is what I aim to do in my own writing.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Cristy Watson, my editor and author friend (Cutter Boy), has been a guiding light since the very beginning of my writing career. As a traditionally published author and teacher, she knew exactly how to gear the story towards my target readers. She has also brought a positive touch to my stories.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I ran a book cover contest on 99designs.com and received over eighty submissions! I picked five covers, then asked reader and writer Facebook groups to vote for their favourite one. The book cover designer Pintado came out a clear winner. This was an excellent marketing strategy for me because I knew I had a cover that was on target.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing, publishing and marketing your book can feel overwhelming at times. I suggest you don’t look at the mountain. Rather, focus on what you can get done today. It doesn’t have to be much, but you have to be constant. Also, forget about pleasing the crowds. What you have to do is find a group of target readers: those who will most enjoy your stories and rave about them.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Although my books are geared towards middle-graders and young adults, I welcome anyone to try them out. You can download a free novella by subscribing on my website: www.raeknightly.com .

This free novella is called The Great War of the Kins and is the point of origin of my two series: The Alien Skill and The Lost Space Treasure. I will also send you a monthly newsletter with news on upcoming releases, book cover reveals, ARC-reader opportunities, free books and more. Welcome to this fun and inclusive reading community!


Rae Knightly
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)

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Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall

Cover Artist: Pintado

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Author Interview: Bill McCormack

I asked Author Bill McCormack (aka Bill McScifi) how he would describe himself as a writer.  He said, “I tend to write dark stuff for adult audiences. It’s not something I do consciously, it just seems that somehow, somewhere, someone needs to be skinned alive with a titanium cheese slicer.”  Please welcome him here to No Wasted Ink.

Author Bill McCormickHi there, my name’s Bill McCormick and I’m a science fiction writer who lives in South Chicago with my fiancée. Before writing science fiction, I did occasional articles for music magazines and sports blogs. Overlapping that I worked as a touring musician and eased into management when it became clear I was going to live my life in bars if I kept playing bass in public. I went on to work with James Brown and many others.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written for fun and intermittent profit. But, in 2010, I’d lost my job, my wife, and most of my reasons to live. I decided to dust off some ideas I’d had and immerse myself in fantasy worlds for a while. It was a rude, but semi-effective, form of therapy. Oddly, some early beta readers of the stories I was writing said nice things behind my back and I started putting more effort into it. I was able to get a job with a consulting company that gave me some freedom, so I used my free time to write. I cranked out multiple short stories, and garnered multiple rejection letters, until 2011 when I sold And the Beat Goes Phut to Bewildering Stories. That’s when I circled back to a story I’d tried to write a couple decades earlier. I trimmed it, dramatically, and began work on what I hoped would be a novella. It ended up being a trilogy. Oh well.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always used the term to describe my life goals, but I started using it as a personal descriptor in 2017. By then I’d left my job and concentrated exclusively on writing. I had two comic book series, several one-offs coming, and The Brittle Riders was out and doing well. Being that I was fifty-six at the time, it was a risk. But, so far, so good.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY is both an interesting and cautionary tale. It starts with a ten-year-old, African American, boy being tossed out of a car in Omaha, Nebraska. He has a crisp fifty dollar bill his father gave him, before tossing him out, and not much else. It is very much a road story as he travels first into Omaha proper, and then across the U.S., until he ends up in the Marines while trying to do a favor for the New York mob. The name comes from a fictionalization of Elon Musk’s theories about enhancing humans with cybernetic implants.

What inspired you to write this book?

Funny story. A gentleman named Tye Feimster, owner of ©Watchdog Entertainment®, had a series of comics he asked me to review. As I did, I noticed one character in the background of all of them and I wanted to know him more. So, I wrote a ten-page sample of what I wanted to do with the character and submitted it. He liked it, but … you knew there was a but, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do a comic. My writing seemed more cinematic. One thing led to another and I signed a deal to write a movie. When I finished the movie I tried, again, to sell the comic as an ancillary and complementary intellectual property. I said I wanted to add some elements that weren’t in the film to give it depth. Tye thought that was a great idea but asked me to write a novel instead. Azoth Khem had the whole thing under contract before I’d finished chapter one. So, short answer, I tried to make a few bucks selling a comic and it all blew up.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Well, as author Steve Silver has noted, “McCormick says more in twelve words than others do in twelve paragraphs.” While that may be a tad hyperbolic, I do tend to be terse. Nancy Chandler, the owner of Azoth Khem, joked that The Brittle Riders was three hundred thousand words of gut punching sentences. SPLICE, however, is even more terse. It clocks in just under one hundred thousand words and I broke them out into eighty chapters to keep the story moving at breakneck speed.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Well, SPLICE was the character’s name in the comic books and Tye wanted to add Hit Bit Technology as it’s the link in all of his comics.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40). This kid goes through hell. Being an abandoned black kid in a primarily white city, already made somewhat paranoid by his parents, he never really catches a break. He learns early to be as invisible as possible. There are no heroes in this book. Splice grows up to be a super villain with an inexplicable support group.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some of the experiences he goes through are based on stories I have heard from friends. The early strangers in the book are based on lonely old people who would talk to me on planes as I was shuttling between families. They tend to offer information no one cares about. Like how Herbie likes tacos with American cheese.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

The holy trilogy, Heinlein, Asimov, and Clark, of course, but Walter M. Miller, A. E. Van Vogt, Clifford D. Simak, and Octavia Butler really punched my buttons. They wrote some brain bending stuff and my brain bent happily.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

David Brin. Mostly because he has answered questions for me and given pointed advice. Also, he’s proud of his growth from his early work, and isn’t ashamed of how much better his stuff is now.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Tye and I knocked it out in an afternoon. We both have experience in graphics and knew what we wanted.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t be afraid to suck. You’re going to no matter what so just do it and move on. I once wrote “The yielding shall never commence” and thought it was good. It wasn’t, isn’t, and I learned.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Well, this group is your readers, but I hope some of them will become mine.

Splice Book CoverBill McCormick
Chicago, IL

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SPLICE: HIT BIT TECHNOLOGY

Publisher: Azoth Khem Publishing

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Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry 2 Launches!

Eccentric Orbits Poetry Anthology

Fabulous science fiction poetry and scifaiku by a talented international group of poets. There’s robots, there’s aliens, there’s intergalactic war, there’s the eternal quest for peace, and there’s love found and love lost. Underneath all, is the quest, the truth, and the realization of humanity.

Eccentric Orbits 2 is my debut as a poetry anthology editor. I am humbled by the quality and variety of poetry that was submitted for this volume. I am happy to have it available in time for National Poetry Month. The book is available in paperback via Amazon, or via paperback and pdf through the publisher, Dimensionfold Publishing.

Author interview: jared k chapman

When I asked Author Jared Chapman about his writing, he replied: I love taking established tropes in the genres I write in and then flipping them on their heads, turning them inside out, and finding new ways to blow readers minds. I love filling my stories with Easter eggs that readers only pick up on second and third readings, because that’s when they get super excited and I know I’ve done my job. Please give him a warm welcome here on No Wasted Ink.

Greetings. I’m Jared K Chapman, not to be confused with Jared Chapman children’s author/illustrator, although we both lived in Austin in 2002. I was born in south central California to a farmer’s daughter and an engineer in petroleum. I didn’t crawl. I went right to walking around. I guess I had places to go, people to see. My dad’s job took us to Calgary, Alberta, but by 5 years old my mother moved my kid sister and I back to her father’s farm in California. I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian area and got kicked out of Sunday School for asking too many questions. From age 10 to 14, I spent my school years with my father in Canada and summers with my mom. The experience gave me a diverse perspective.

I have degrees in religious studies and psychology, and I’m currently working on my PhD with a focus on extremism through the lens of social psychology. I also have a fondness for science fiction, fantasy, and horror, having grown up reading books by Ray Bradbury, Anne MacCaffrey, and Stephen King, and an array of comic books. I share these interests, whether they like it or not, with my wife and three sons.

When and why did you begin writing?

My mother would probably tell you I’m a born storyteller. I’ve been writing as long as I remember being able to write. One of my first memories is having a short illustrated story published in a book with other kids in my 3rd or 4th grade class. Seeing it in print blew my mind and made me want to do that again. I remember writing a novel in 6th grade that was a kind of mish-mash of Star Wars and Star Trek. I think I wrote it to see what others thought about my story, because I passed it around to fellow students and never got it back.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I began writing a novel in 1996… something I’m still working on. I think the moment I allowed someone to read that was the moment I thought of myself as a writer. That’s when I believed I was going to become a writer. Unfortunately, life got in the way, but I’m finding my way back now.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My debut novel, 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Not, is essentially a murder mystery thriller set in a futuristic dystopia where the superpowered Haves known as the Mighty are the majority, and they oppress the powerless Have Nots. Mario wakes up late for work and misses his bus into the city. While waiting in the long line of other workers, an adjudicator arrests him for the murder of his employer, a Mighty restaurateur. He must race against time to prove his innocence and help those who oppress him to survive the onslaught of the real killer. However, Mario is not the only primary protagonist. When his kid sister, Zelda, suspects he is in danger, she finds her way into the city in search of her brother, the only person she has left in the world. While on the hunt, she discovers a dark secret the Mighty would never want her or anyone else to know.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had a thought in my head about “to be or not to be” but applying it to the situation of haves and have-nots, which resulted in the title “to have or not to have.” I thought that was too presumptuous and cumbersome, so I kept thinking and though To Have or Have Not sounded much better, and I am a Hemingway fan, so there’s a little homage there. I kept thinking and thinking about this title and one day while driving home the numeronym popped into my head 2HVORHVNOT. I thought that would be a cool title for a book, so I began to think what a book with that title would be about.

I immediately thought about a tattooed identity code on someone’s arm. I thought about how it could be scanned and used in the future like credit cards, but I thought that was too obvious and really wasn’t sure what the story would be. Poor people are Have Nots and can’t even use their codes while the rich people can… it seemed like something I’ve seen many times before. So, my mind went somewhere darker. What if only the Have Nots have these identity codes and they’re forced on them? I began to think about the Holocaust and poor lives lost in the camps. I began to think about Nietzche’s idea of the Ubermensch inspiring the Nazis. I began to think about Japanese internment camps and signs that said No Jews Allowed or Colored Only Section. I began thinking about the X-Men stories where normal people wanted to round up the mutants and put them into camps. Then, I thought what if that was flipped. What if the people in power, the majority, were the ones with superpowers.

I started to think about what kind of world that would be. I drew upon a lot of the social psychological theories I had learned through the course of my collegiate life. I found myself really drawn to Sherif, Asch, Milgram, and Zimbardo’s famous experiments. Ultimately, I wanted to delve into conflict resolution between two completely different groups. I also drew upon my religious studies and my interest in science-fiction/fantasy, post-apocalyptic/dystopia speculative fiction, particularly 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, The Dark Tower Series, Running Man, Demolition Man, Minority Report, and Ready Player One. All of these inspired me to create the world of Fellowship City.

In Fellowship City, there is a caste system with the highest, most powerful Mighty being the telepathic seers, monks of Sol & Luna, who police the other Mighty. This creates a world without heroes or villains, because the monks stop any crime or wrongdoing, even wrong-thinking before it happens. They eliminate the bad elements to create a utopian world for them, but in doing so, life is mundane. Their superpowers are meaningless. In this world, a pyrokinetic has a job as a barista reheating coffee in the ceramic mugs of old customers. But in nearly every utopia we find some dystopian element, and for those without powers, this world is a nightmare. They are forced to serve the Mighty, live in camps or slums, and must be tattooed with their scannable identity codes.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Varied. Sometimes I outline. Sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants. Sometimes it’s a little of both. Sometimes I write in first person and other times in third. Sometimes I write in present tense and other times in past tense. Whatever I do, however, I try to be as consistent as possible. But it all depends on the story I’m trying to tell.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

At the core of it, my book is about how embracing diversity in skills and thoughts, not judging a book by its cover, nor dehumanizing others, are the only ways we can overcome that which might kill us all.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in
your own life?

I think we, as writers, always draw inspiration from our own experiences or from those we know. There are definitely some small moments that were inspired by real experiences, but if I did my job well, the reader will not uncover which ones are real and which are pure fantasy.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you
find inspiring?

I believe my three biggest influences are Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Anne MacCaffrey because their books were my gateway into real novels. Before reading their books, I read books made for kids. When I was 10, I read Misery and it blew my mind. After that, I remember finding Dragonriders of Pern books in the school library and devouring them. However, Fahrenheit 451 was the book that made me question reality and made me believe I could do that too. They all created wonderfully vivid worlds, sometimes vibrant and colorful, but other times dark and dreary. I think their ability to create such worlds is what I found most inspiring.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Stephen King. He is a legend. He’s published over 60 books and he’s only 73. Imagine how many others he wrote that weren’t published. The guy is a machine. I just wish I could be 1/10th of what he is. He’s like the end goal that I aspire to be like. I know I’ll never achieve what he has, but that’s okay. I just want to be 1/10th of what he is… and direct a feature film. He did that. I want to do that too.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Derek Smith is the artist who designed the cover. I met him in 2011 when he began dating a good friend of the woman I was dating. We married those women within six months of one another and our babies are eight months apart. He is an amazing artist, and I approached him in 2012 about doing the art for a graphic novel I was writing. I wrote it, but he got busy with his day job touring the world, drumming for a band, so we never completed the graphic novel. I decided to write it as a novel instead, so I could proceed without his art. When I completed the novel, I asked if he would do the cover because it was always meant to be a project we were doing together. Someday, we will go back to the graphic novel. You can find him at https://www.facebook.com/kickitlikebonham and https://www.instagram.com/dereksmithart/.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I waited too long to publish because I didn’t have confidence in my work. Don’t do that. You are the only person who can tell your story the way you want it to be told. So, write it and don’t be afraid to show it to people. Also, don’t have a big head about it. Be open to others’ critiques, challenges, and changes they may introduce. Those ideas may help you more than you know. It’s never too late to start. I’m 43 and this is my debut novel. I wish I had begun 20 years ago, but here I am now, and wishing only gets you so far. If you need help, there are people and companies out there who can help. I needed my confidence boosted and help on how to get published, so I found a program. Message me if you want to know about it. Otherwise, keep writing. Write every day. Only stop to send pages to the editor. Publish!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I grew up in the 80s, watching Saturday morning cartoons followed by wrestling, reading comic books with superheroes and books by Stephen King and Ray Bradbury, and sneaking into B-Movie slasher flicks to watch the ridiculous blood and guts spray across the screen. I loved Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, The Last Starfighter, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Goonies, and Monster Squad. I write stories that I want to read, and they are influenced by those early interests. I also studied religion, psychology, anthropology, film, and creative writing in college, and those academic experiences influenced how I see the world and how I write about it. I’ve also dealt with abuse, neglect, and instability when I should’ve been a kid enjoying all those things. The worlds I create and write in reflect all of that. My goal is to make my readers feel something viscerally in a world of my creation. I hope I do that, because it’s the best part of being a writer.


Jared K Chapman
Los Angeles, CA

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2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Not

Cover Artist: Derek Smith
Publisher: Apotheosis Press

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Author Interview: R.M. Olson

R.M. Olson is the author of the Ungovernable series. She promises she hasn’t done all the things she writes about. Honest.  Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Author Ruth OlsenMy name is R.M. Olson. I’m a Canadian, a lawyer, an author, and the mother of four kiddos. I love to travel, and I admit, I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie–I’ve jumped off the highest bungee jump in the world, trekked across mountains in pouring summer storms, gone cage diving with great white sharks, and maybe most frightening of all, taken all four of my kids on a three-day backcountry camping trip all by myself. I’m an unrepentant bookworm, and always have been. I love corny jokes, campfires, and hot tea, preferably all together. Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I’ll never get tired of the sight and smell of leaves the colour of sunshine against a grey autumn sky.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I think my first completed work was when I was about six. I’d heard my parents talking about Shakespeare’s tragedies and decided it couldn’t be that difficult. And it wasn’t. I killed off my MC and his entire family and all his friends in the course of about three pages. Not sure even the Bard beat that record.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Only about five years ago, honestly. Although I’ve been writing my whole life, that was when I first started taking it seriously–working intentionally on my craft, querying, and putting in a sustained daily effort to writing.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Well, I write fairly quickly, so my current WIP changes on a regular basis. But I can tell you a bit about my series. I’m currently finishing up a space opera science fiction series that follows the adventures of a motley group of ex-cons and their mysterious leader. It’s called The Ungovernable, and it’s a sort of Ocean’s Eleven meets Firefly, with all my favourite tropes–laser guns, smugglers, explosions, heists, jailbreaks, deep-space casinos, carnivorous plants, political intrigue, and most of all, a fumbling, ridiculous, and ultimately loveable found-family crew.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’m a sucker for clever heists, and for sprawling space adventures, enemies-to-friends, groups of clever misfits who love each other in spite of their quirks or even because of them, and lots of action. I’d just finished watching Ocean’s Eight yet again and I thought, why not do something like that, but in space? And so The Ungovernable was born.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My style tends to be fairly fast-paced–lots of action, snappy dialogue, never too long between something exciting happening, but ultimately character-focused. There’s usually romance, but it’s usually slow-burn. One of my beta readers left a comment once that sums up my style pretty well, I think. She commented, “I was expecting sexytimes, and instead I got a near death experience!” And that basically says everything there is to say about how I write.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

Ha ha, it wasn’t easy. I spent a lot of time consulting with friends about it. But ultimately, the series title, The Ungovernable, is the name of the crew’s ship, and the title of each book is based off a hacker/computer term, since hacking plays a big part in the plots. The titles of the released and upcoming books are Zero Day Threat, Jailbreak, Time Bomb, Insider Threat, Blacklist, Trojan Horse, Blue Team, Attack Path, and Threat Agent. You get a point for each of the terms you can identify without looking them up!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Honestly, as much as these books are all about the action, their real message is friendship–about learning to love people for who they are, and learning to be loved for who you are. About the kind of friendship that means they see you at your ugliest, and your weakest, and your stupidest and most awkward–and they love you anyways.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Well–there’s a lot of me in Jez. I’m also ADHD and bi, and I certainly had a lot of the same feelings of alienation and not fitting in as she has throughout the series because of those things. And I, too, have managed to stumble into a group of friends who I could count on at any time and for anything. And the world itself is based in large part on places I’ve traveled–a year or so before I started this series, I traveled across Siberia on the Trans-Siberian railway, and I fell in love with the mix of cultures and the complex history of that area of the world. A lot of that found its way into the world I created for these books.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I’ve always loved Terry Pratchett. I love his ability to make you think while making you laugh, and to portray the ugliness in the world while still believing that people are basically good. I love Neil Geiman and Harper Lee for much the same reason. And while I only wish I could compare my writing to any of theirs, I hope that at least I can manage, in my own awkward way, to convey a similar message.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Hmmm. That’s a tough one. If I had to pick, I think I’d go back to Sir Terry. There is so much about his writing that I’ve loved and studied, and he deeply inspires the way I write and the things I chose to write about to this day.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

The first three covers were designed by Jesh Studios. He’s a fantastic artist, and was able to put down on paper what I had in my head for these characters. I loved every one of his covers, but because of unforeseen circumstances, he was unable to complete the covers after book three. I switched to KDS Cover Concepts, because I was looking for someone who could work in a similar style, and I’ve absolutely loved her work. I’d highly recommend her.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just keep writing–don’t let rejection discourage you. It’s part of the process, and it forces you to improve. I thought I’d be ready to publish when I wrote my first book. But looking back, I’m so glad that book wasn’t published. My writing has improved and deepened so much since then. I have several manuscripts and short stories that I submitted to agents and publications that were rejected over and over. But each time I re-wrote them, or wrote something new, I got a little bit better. And as much as it was frustrating at the time, that was when I really started to hone my craft–when people stopped praising me and were honest enough to tell me I needed to improve.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

First, a heart-felt thank you for reading. I’d be a writer no matter what, but I couldn’t be an author without you. So thank you for letting me live my dream. And I hope that somehow, my crazy crew of misfits has brightened your day, made a rough week a little better, or maybe showed you that you don’t need to change who you are in order to be loved. You just need to find your people. And they’re out there, whoever you are–even if you’re an irritating ADHD ex-smuggler pilot with a penchant for getting into trouble. ❤

The UngovernableR.M. Olson
Calgary Alberta, Canada

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The Ungovernable

Cover Artist: Jesh Art Studio ( https://jeshartstudio.com/)

All my books are only available on Amazon. Here’s a link in the US store to the series page:

And here are universal links for the four books that are currently released (although I can update this again before the interview goes live, as there will likely be another one or two out by then.)
Zero Day Threat
https://www.bklnk.com/B088C4FYPN
Jailbreak
https://www.bklnk.com/B0883Z4L3W
Time Bomb
https://www.bklnk.com/B088F6756J
Insider Threat
https://www.bklnk.com/B08F76MC75