The Next Big Thing

This is in response to a request/suggestion/tagging by fellow writer Courtney Cantrell. It is an interview about upcoming writing projects. Click on Courtney’s name to see her responses. Mine are below:

What is the title of your next book?

Gaia Lives. It appealed to me because the word ‘Lives’ can be said two different ways, and both are correct for this book. It is the second book in my Gaiaverse series, and will be published within the next couple of months, hopefully.

My current WIP is the third book in the series, Children of Gaia (working title).

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The first book in the Gaiaverse series was Gaia Dreams. Once the book was published, I found I couldn’t stop thinking about the people, the place, and the events at the end of the book. Finally, I realized that I had to know what happened next to everyone in that story, and the only way to know was to write it.

What genre does your book fall under?

I suppose it comes under science fiction. The first book was clearly a disaster novel. But this book is about what comes after the disasters and the almost-end of the world. What do the survivors do in a world depleted of many people and services? I think it could be called post-apocalyptic, an adventure novel, and a battle for freedom. What does that end up as…multi-genre?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I have absolutely no idea. I never see popular actors as my characters. I know what they look like in my mind, but they never look like anyone from TV or movies.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

After the world almost ended, the survivors in Cape Fair look to the future optimistically, but not everyone wants to be part of a new world that includes new mental abilities.

Hmm, kind of a long sentence there.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This book will be self-published as an ebook. It will start out first only on Amazon and will later be distributed to other venues.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Three months. Exactly. The first book, Gaia Dreams, took me ten years to finish. This time around, the story just poured out of my brain and through my fingertips into my computer. I’ve never written anything so fast or with more intensity. I guess you could say I got a bit caught up in it.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don’t like to compare to other books. I will say that there are several books that influenced my Gaiaverse series. They are:
Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
The Stand by Stephen King

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Gaia Dreams inspired me to write it. Which itself was inspired by my love of disaster novels, an interest in the environment and man’s impact upon it, and a need to explore how people react in extreme circumstances.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are a couple of love stories woven through the main story in the book.
The animal partners of the humans are featured once again. Merlin plays a big role!
Much more about the new mental abilities will be explored in the story.

This was fun! Thanks for the tag, Courtney.

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New series

The first book of the new Sully Point series is out on Amazon – Love Makes the Difference, by Nicole Smith.

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about writing

Writing can be a funny thing, full of ups and downs, superstitions and habits. For me to really get into the zone when I’m writing, I must have several things.

First, the headphones must be on my head with my playlist going. Each book has its own playlist. Occasionally a few songs will carry over to the new book. My brain gets so accustomed to hearing these songs whenever I sit down at the keyboard, my mind knows it’s time to write, like flipping a switch.

Second, is a new requirement. I’ve taken to wearing these macrame and beaded bracelets. I like the way the beads clink together as I’m typing or thinking. When I sit down at the computer and put on the bracelets I feel more like a writer. No idea why.

Third, when I start out the day of writing it must be with a cup of coffee at my side. Sometimes I miss not having the cigarettes right there too, but usually I’m too grateful that I quit for that feeling to last long. As the day progresses I switch to water to drink, but coffee is a requirement to get the day started. I’ve considered adding an alcoholic beverage at the end of the day, but have not yet succumbed to that idea.

Could I write if I didn’t have those three things in place? Well, yes. But it wouldn’t be as much fun!

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writing updates

Gaia Dreams I don’t expect that the sequel to Gaia Dreams will be out until after July or August of this year. I have not yet gotten back to book three–I seem to need that second book to be published before going further for some reason.

The romance writing experiment, under my other name Nicole Smith, continues. There is one short story up on Amazon, Passion Lives On. I have finished another romance which is kind of a romance/thriller. It is called Love On Loan. I’m so used to writing big long books that it is strange for me to write at a shorter length–but I do think it is good for me. Stretching ourselves as writers is important. It seems to me that when I return to the Gaiaverse series, these experiments in another genre can only enhance the writing.

If the weather will cooperate we will soon have warmer weather here. I am anxious to have it be warm enough to run the air conditioner. I am convinced that I think better in air conditioning. It goes along with my love of motel rooms, with the air conditioner blasting cold air. There is nothing so comfy as pulling on a cardigan sweater in the AC-cooled air. I am aware that my previous statement is an environmental outrage.

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another interview

I had another internet radio interview the other day. It can be heard at internet voices radio by clicking on the play button under Pamela Davis. It was interesting to talk again about the first book, Gaia Dreams after being away from it for a while. It made me remember how much fun it was to write.

I plan to return to the third book in the next week or so. I’ve detoured into writing some romance under another name. It has probably been good for me to stretch myself as a writer into another genre. It also made me consider adding more romance to the third Gaiaverse book, but ultimately I think there is a specific feel to the books that I don’t want to disrupt.

The unseasonably warm weather we had last week here in New England made me think again about how little we really understand this planet and its weather cycles. Sometimes I think my writing of the disaster novels dealing with the Earth as an entity with a plan is my attempt to make sense of the things that don’t make sense to me in real life. I do think that there are random events that happen. But I also think there may be more order in the chaos than we realize.

Here’s a link to Nicole Smith’s paranormal romance: “Passion Lives On”, a short story.

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blog radio interview

I did a blog radio interview with Lisa on the 16th, about Gaia Dreams. You can listen to it by going here at blogtalkradio.com the One Karma Author’s Lounge. My part is mostly in the second half of the interview. I was so nervous ahead of time! Hopefully that doesn’t come across.

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travels, interviews, and illness

I have been playing around with some short story writing since I finished the editing on the second Gaiaverse book. It is fun but challenging to try and write only 10,000 words or less.

I spent a week in Texas visiting family and had a lovely time. Then I came home and got sick. I usually get sick after travel on an airplane. The idea that I have the virus that will end all human life creeps into my mind by about the 3rd day of being sick. Alas, it was only the common cold.

I’m preparing to do two radio interviews on the internet during March. I’m always nervous before one of these. Also my phone has started acting up, so I will be spending some time in my closet trying to find my previous phone.

That’s my update for this week. Not much happening but I am almost recovered so I expect to be back to writing soon.

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back to work

I’m back! After a break of a couple of months of avoiding the keyboard, I’m back on track and writing again. I’m also editing–my second book in the Gaiaverse is through the first edit and now it’s my job to put in some hard work on rewrites and fixes. It is a lot of fun to return to the story after being away from it for four or five months. I find myself thinking, ‘ooh I didn’t expect that’ — which is somewhat crazy since I wrote all of it.

I have a couple more weeks to finish up the editing then I’m off to visit my grandkids. That should be loads of fun.

One thing I’ve realized is that I live my life better when I’m writing. I became a bit slothful during my writing break. I need the focus of putting words on the page every day to keep my life in order. Writing gives me energy…and it makes me happy. Okay…sometimes it makes me want to bash my head against a wall, but generally speaking I am happier while writing!

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details, details, details

When the story is truly big, it’s the details that matter. I’ve had to remember this in the second, and now third, book of the Gaiaverse series. The second book starts right after the end of the world as we knew it. What happens next only feels real if there are the details that support the story, the setting, the characters.

Sometimes I get bogged down in details and then have to go back and cut out half of what I’ve written. Other times I find that I’m skimming over them, telling the major story plot line without the details. If I am going to write about how my characters survived, I need to note their motivation, their actions but also how they looked, where they were, what was the mood, and basically ground them in the reality I’ve created for them. This is, I think, the difference between suspending disbelief and not–making the story feel real.

I’ve always thought Stephen King does this very well. He gives the reader a setting and characters that seem quite real. Then as the story goes on, the reader finds they are in a completely bizarre situation–one that shouldn’t be believed and yet is, because King has set us up with a foundation full of real details to make it all seem quite plausible.
Dean Koontz is another writer who takes ordinary people and thrusts them into extraordinary situations, yet makes it utter believable.

I think as writers we want our readers to come into the story, to leave their lives behind for a while and live in the worlds we have created. This only happens if we provide the foundation of details for the reader to hold onto as they sink into an alternate reality.

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power, bookstores, reviews

I wanted to mention here that losing power (and hot water) for two and a half days after the big winter storm of October was an eye-opener. For someone who has written about surviving disasters, I discovered that I was not at all prepared for one. Since then I have ordered a radio that runs on solar power or by hand crank, bought more flashlights and batteries, as well as more canned food to have on the shelves for emergencies. I really like the radio because I can charge my cell phone with it–it has a usb port.

My experiences during the power outage were fairly boring. I slept a LOT. I got to know my neighbors a bit better as we gathered in the hall where the building generator gave us minimal light there. I was thankful for my next door neighbor who fed me pumpkin muffins when I ran out of food. I kept thinking, “use this time to add to your writer’s storehouse of experiences” — HA! I’ve decided that my creativity needs electricity to function.

We got power back and it was a time of rejoicing. I have never loved a hot shower as much as I did the one I took after the hot water came back. When the lights functioned again it was as if my brain woke up too. Suddenly I was ready to write. I come away from this whole thing knowing mainly that I am not great in disasters.

Other news:

Barnes and Noble has picked up Gaia Dreams for shelf placement in their stores. I am very excited and thankful about that, and can’t wait to go see it on their shelves.

The contract has been sent back to the publisher for the second book in the series. Editing soon to come.

If anyone has read Gaia Dreams and not reviewed it yet on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com please, please go review it as soon as possible. The more reviews it has, the better. Even if it is only a one-liner, it will be appreciated.

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