I always say that writing is the only thing in the world that simultaneously kills me and keeps me alive. A lot of people frown when they hear this, probably writing me off in their heads as just another crazy, ‘creative’, writer. This is what I say when they, albeit seldom, ask me to explain myself:
Writing, to me, has always been like having an ambiguous mistress. It’s both physically and emotionally exhausting and can cause a lot of stress and frustration. However, there are moments of such immense pleasure, such indescribable joy and such pure satisfaction that it makes it all worth the while. The act of writing might kill me, but those wondrous moments are all that keeps me alive. I cannot live without it, but it might just be the thing that destroys me in the end. A beautiful problem, isn’t it?
Writing To the Stars was exactly this experience. Though since it was my first, a lot of this knowledge I now have at the end of it, was all muddled up confusion, doubt, frustration and all those other words writers dread so much. But, it was all worth it and I think that what came out of that dark birth canal is something beautiful. At least to me.
It took me nine months to write the first draft and another four to edit, proofread, edit and proofread again. The idea of the book came much easier. I was watching those set of channels that everyone uses to lull themselves to sleep, and I use to make myself feel smart. A documentary came on about all the different possibilities in which Earth could meet its doom and how humanity could go about saving themselves or at least the species. And there, BOOOM! The idea of To the Stars exploded into my head like the Big Bang! Less dramatic, though.
I’ve always read books in the genres of Young Adult, Science Fiction and Fantasy. My bookshelves overflow with books like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Christopher Poalini’s Inheritance series, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games and all the like. I absolutely love them. So naturally, the first book I would attempt would end up being in that genre. And, I fear, a lot of my books that follow will also be.
The idea for the dystopian world of the book came as I fleshed out my initial idea over a good few weeks. Writing little notebooks to their deaths. Though I think that my fascination with the notion of a single man or group controlling the masses for the ‘good of them all’ was what prompted me in this direction. History is full of examples of how this could go badly, but my interest lie in the questions: Is it always a bad idea? Or are there scenarios and moments in humanities existence (past or future) that would need this?
The title came as part of the book’s story. It is derived from the slogan of the Last Empire of Earth in the book. Ad Astra Imus, which is Latin for To the Stars we go. See?
The characters, like I think is the same for most writers, drew their traits and personalities from the people in my life. From my sister and my father to a third grade teacher with a permanent nasty mood. There are even traits of myself embedded in one of the lead characters, Noah. A son with a lot of pressure on his shoulders from his father. I think that’s maybe why he might just be my favorite, if I could choose favorites. He reminds me of myself, which is also why he irritates me the most.
Though it has been a hard process writing my first novel and a huge, and I mean ginormous, learning curve, it has also been immensely satisfying. My next endeavor will then of course be another book. I’m currently almost done with the first book in a three-part series. The title is still a heart’s secret, but it will also be in the young adult realm, mixing science fiction with fantasy adventure and throwing in a little bit of Greek mythology for good luck. I can’t wait for it to see the light of day beyond my cramped little office. Also, one of my dystopian flash fiction pieces is out now, published in a spectacular anthology called Baby Shoes: a flash fiction anthology.
This might be cliché beyond apology, but I have to say it: Watch this space. There’s a lot more words in this ‘creative’ person.
AD ASTRA IMUS!