Today I welcome a fellow Martian – well, another author of scifi on Mars – Cheryl Lawson. Cheryl grew up in South Africa and lives in Canada. She’s an artist and photographer too, but today I want her to talk about Mars.
So Cheryl, tell us a bit about your book We Are Mars – What’s the main premise of the book and who are the stand-out characters?
We Are Mars starts out as a story about a Mars settlement, Rubicon, that is getting a little old, shabby and down on its luck due to the repeated funding cuts of the mission from Earth that runs it. Things get a lot more difficult and dangerous when a virus breaks out in the confines of the colony. A group of characters from conflicting backgrounds suddenly find themselves in a life-or-death situation and need to work together to overcome some threatening challenges or die trying.
There are no particular standout characters as I focus on a core group of characters that each feature in individual vignettes, moving the story forward from their own points of view.
Why would fans of Mars science fiction like We Are Mars? What can they look forward to?
If you like science fiction based on Mars, you’ll love We Are Mars. It has all the elements of a sci-fi story on Mars – cool science, a grungy and dilapidated habitat, danger, adventure, romance and suspense. There are subplots that bring in a little spiciness in the form of political intrigue as well as spy drama. The characters are an awesome ensemble of very human people just trying to survive. There’s nothing over-the-top unbelievable and it makes for an absorbing read.
Are you currently working on a writing project? If so, when can we expect it to launch?
I’m working on the follow-up to We Are Mars, book two of the Rubicon Saga. It is entitled Storm at Dawn. I expect to be able to release it next year, but I can’t offer more than that as it’s very much going to depend on how well the story continues to come together and how much editing is involved. Stay tuned!
Tell us a bit about yourself: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What prompted your change in career? Where do you get your inspiration to write?
I knew I wanted to be a writer when I got the idea to create a manifesto for myself that laid out my creative thoughts and process. I spent months articulating the ideas before I finally wrote them down. When I’d finished writing I knew I had a book, not just some notes. I took another swing at it and formalized the entire thing into a useful work that explained much of my process and thinking in a way that other people could understand it and benefit from reading it. After that, the ideas for creative writing came easily and I, basically, followed the same process and landed up with the bones of We Are Mars.
It was only after that that I recognized the part of me that had always been writing – the student writer for school magazines, the letter writer, the magazine writer submitting articles, the volunteer editor… It was all there, and I hadn’t even realized until We Are Mars was in front of me.
I am inspired by good stories, interesting people and the desire to tell a compelling story. My writing influences vary from Stieg Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) to Michael Chriton (Prey, Jurassic Park). I enjoy rich settings, complex characters and solid endings. My love of science fiction and space helped me choose the genre as I feel it is comfortable and familiar.
What’s your current favorite reading material?
I have lots of favorites – I like articles, comic books, novels, poetry, short stories, flash fiction and even people’s twitter posts for various daily writing challenges. I read a lot and always have a stack of books I’m moving out of the way!
Thanks to Cheryl and to our readers. You’ll find Cheryl on several places on the internet:
Facebook for Authentic Creativity: https://www.facebook.com/Authentic-Creativity-Cheryl-Bezuidenhout-269113643440259/?fref=pb&hc_location=profile_browser
PW Booklife: https://booklife.com/profile/cheryl-lawson-28178
Websites: We Are Mars: http://wearemars.com/
And look for her Authentic Creativity (creative manifesto): http://authenticcreativitybook.com/