Theresa, welcome to the Kōsa Press blog! I’m so excited to feature you in our Woman in Science Fiction series. I’ve had the privilege to read both Broken Skies and Dark Expanse (available for free here) and definitely agree with reviewers who say you are one of the up and coming authors to watch in the science fiction genre!
PK Tyler: Broken Skies deals with aliens coming to Earth. What inspired your depiction of aliens?
Theresa Kay: My aliens are humanoid mainly because I knew some of them would need to blend in with humans for over ten years before the collapse. The “pre-arrival” teams, as Flint called them, were made up of E’rikon from the less brightly/strangely colored family lines so they could pass more easily as humans. The features that set the E’rikon apart from humans (the scales on their backs and their eye and hair color) are somewhat inspired by birds. In fact, you could consider their various colors plumage.
PKT: Book Two, Fractured Suns will be released in September! Congratulations! What can you tell us about it?
TK: I can’t say a whole lot without major spoilers for Broken Skies, so I’ll just say that Fractured Suns picks up a few weeks after Broken Skies leaves off, and it’s told partially in Lir’s POV.
PKT: These books are in the alien science fiction genre. What inspires you about this subgenre and the alien theme?
TK: I’ve always been interested in science fiction in general, and I find the idea that there could be other intelligent lifeforms out there particularly fascinating. I’ve explored the idea of both friendly aliens (the E’rikon fromBroken Skies) and hostile aliens (the Greesal from Dark Expanse/Bright Beyond) and have enjoyed writing them either way.
PKT: You credit The Rebel Writers for helping you on your path to success. Here at Kōsa Press, we’re a collective of like-minded authors working together for mutual success. I wonder if The Rebel Writers are similar. What is the approach of The Rebel Writers and what have you learned from working with other authors?
TK: The Rebel Writers and I came together almost by pure chance, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share my writing journey with. Basically, when our group started we were all at the same point: finished or almost finished writing a book. We cheered each other on to the finish line, offered critiques, beta read for each other and motivated each other in general. After that, as far as actual publishing went, we had no idea what we were doing. So, starting with Regan, we just began putting stuff out there and then came back to the group and shared what did and did not work for us so that the next Rebel to publish could benefit from the knowledge. As we all learned the business, the dynamic of the group changed a bit, but we still actively support each other both in our writing and personal lives. The Rebels are more than just my writing group, they’re some of my best friends.
PKT: On your blog you state, “The most common comment I get on it is: ‘I don’t typically read sci-fi, but I loved this.’ Why do you think this is? What about your work reaches beyond the limits of sci-fi or do readers not completely understand what science fiction really is?
TK: I think the reason I got that particular comment about Broken Skies is because it’s a YA series and the words “science fiction” tend to make readers think of spaceships and intergalactic battles and not post-apocalyptic stories set on Earth. That said, there’s a lot more YA sci-fi out there now than when I started writing Broken Skies (or when I wrote that “about me” section, lol), and it’s become a more popular genre in YA, so I don’t seem to hear that comment as often.
PKT: The Dark Expanse books have a strong military sci-fi theme. This is unusual for women sci-fi writers. What drew you to this aspect of science fiction?
TK: I’ve always read a variety of genres, but I think what drew me to this aspect of science fiction was actually the main character. Eva was one of those characters who popped up out of nowhere and started chattering away. For me, writing her series is more of a low pressure, “for fun” project than my others, so I just let the story go wherever Eva takes it.
PKT: What other projects are you working on? Have you done any genre jumping or are you solely focusing on science fiction at this point in your career?
TK: Speaking of Eva… My next release after Fractured Suns will be Bright Beyond Episode 3. Since I’m writing that series for fun more than anything else, it has been put on the backburner for a while now, and I’m anxious to get back to it. I’ve also begun brainstorming and doing some rough plotting for Shattered Stars, the third and final book in the Broken Skies series. There are some other stories knocking around in my brain too, including a horror/urban fantasy mash-up, a contemporary romance, and more sci-fi, but I’m not sure which one I’ll get around to finishing next.
PKT: How do you know when you’re ready to move onto a new subject for your stories?
TK: I tend to listen to whichever character is speaking the loudest at the time, so sometimes I end up working on more than one project at a time.
PKT: What system, task, or tool has had the greatest impact for reaching and maintaining your audience?
TK: Social media in general and particularly Goodreads, Facebook, and Instagram. Bloggers have also been essential in helping me get my books out there, along with some really enthusiastic readers and fans.
PKT: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned over your writing career that you’d like to share?
TK: You can’t edit what isn’t written. I struggle the most with first drafts (as do a lot of writers), so I constantly have to tell myself to just get the story down and then I can go back and fix things later.
PKT: Would you join the Browncoats or Rebel Alliance?
PKT: If you could time travel in only one direction, would you go forward or back?
PKT: Do you prefer swimming or hiking?
PKT: Aliens or Sea Monsters?
PKT: Would you rather live in a world with no power or a world with no books?
TK: No power.
About The Author:
I’m utterly awful at writing these things. No, really. I can write thousands upon thousands of words about fictional people, but writing about myself is like pulling teeth. I guess if I have to, though…
I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a writer. As far back as I can remember I was scribbling out words and asking teachers, “What’s the longest it can be?” I still have the very first story I ever wrote, a hand-written fantasy story that I wrote around first grade. My writing has come a long way since then (thankfully), but it’s still a fun thing to look back on.
Probably the thing that most got me into writing was reading. I’ve been an avid reader from a very young age, and I always devoured as many books as I could get my hands on. And I still do. If you need a book recommendation, I’m your girl. Just give me a genre or an example of a book you liked, and I can normally list at least three books you might enjoy. Although I read nearly every genre, I tend to write in the realm of speculative fiction with an emphasis on sci-fi and urban fantasy.