Today on the blog we have SBK Burns for an author interview. Thank you for joining us SBK.
Where are you from?
My mother’s womb? Born at an early age? Actually, Philadelphia.
When and why did you begin writing?
I always enjoyed writing. But the truth: My husband has his PhD in mechanical engineering and he’s quite dedicated to his work, mostly the invention of green technologies. So, if I didn’t want to become a very needy wife, I had to do something to keep myself equally engrossed. I joined a read and critique group who encouraged me to write a novel and a few years later, with lots of help from them, I’m published.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have very many talents, many of which will always remain hidden from me (The Uncertainty Principle and all). I guess I believe I am what I do. I’m a self-made philosopher because I philosophize. And I do that through writing. So I supposed I believe I’m a writer because I’ve been writing full-time for over five years.
What inspired you to write your first book?
In the news was word that in Tanzania, gangs killed and dismembered albinos for their body parts to be used in rituals. Then my research uncovered that there are more albinos born in Tanzania than anywhere else on Earth. My first book, Forbidden Playground (part of the Legends of the Goldens Series) is due for release in November. It’s a sci-fi urban fantasy where an albino race, the Goldens, psychic ancestors to the vampires, need to hybridize with humans, and in the process, they attempt to take down the corrupt world government. The hero and heroine, hybrids, are enmeshed in the plot.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve seen my writing style called quirky and offbeat. I give my characters plenty of attitude. That’s where the humor comes in.
At first I was a pantser, wrote by the seat of my pants. Problem was I got to a place in my story where I couldn’t think of any more scenes to flesh in. So, now, I write more quickly because I list all my scenes sequentially first, plot them out, and then let myself write. And when I say write, I don’t mean stopping now and then to edit. I never edit while I write. I do what many writers do at first: I write crap. Well, you might not think it’s crap, but I’ve got to convince myself it’s all right not to be perfect at first. If there are words on the page, I can always edit and polish them later.
Another major strategy I have in my writing is to do it differently from the way I used to solve my math equations. That was bludgeoning myself, always thinking of possibilities, all hours of the day and night.
Now I learn to improve differently. I almost never think of my writing or my stories unless I’m sitting in front of my computer. It’s a marvelously free way to go.
How did you come up with the title?
Long Live The Q! The quantum computer that is. Digital computers, like the ones we have, solve problems in a linear fashion going in a sequential route from question to answer. Quantum computers are thought to use something that happens when tiny energy particles are so small they go nonlocal, are almost everywhere at once (kind of like photons, particles of light). When the particles we use to answer questions are everywhere at once, we say they also exhibit quantum entanglement. They’re entangled with each other and must be focused, somehow, in order to deliver their answer/information. The Q, the quantum computer in Entangled, focuses entangled brainwaves from past lives, so my characters can channel into them.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Love is not just a word, but an emotion traveling to the very core of one’s existence.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I belong to two read and critique groups. Many of the participants in those groups are writing memoirs. I realized quite early after joining those groups that my novels were memoirs of a sort. They reflected the nonsequential way I remember my life, more in links than in long chains. More in a kind of jumbled puzzle than an organized or completed one.
What books have influenced your life most?
One of the first books I read at the age of seven, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
Philosophically, the works of Krishnamurti, The Taoism of Lao Tzu, and Finite and Infinite Games.
In science fiction, it’s Clifford Simak’s Ring Around The Sun.
In romance, it’s Jade Lee’s Devil’s Bargain.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
The fifty or so people that give me feedback on my editing each month.
What book are you reading now?
Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher, a sci-fi with elements of romance, published by Tor.
What are your current projects?
I’m finishing up a sequel to Entangled called Fly Like An Eagle where the hero and heroine are only children of industrialists in the late Regency period in America at the time of the opening of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (1824). Besides their factories constructing trains and ironclad ships, they design and construct dirigibles and hang gliders for the Victorian steampunk land of Piscatawnia. Where the Electress Sophie from the House of Hanover (the ancestor to all British royalty) has rescued the American Piscataway Natives with the help of her crystal q (a quantum computer constructed in the 18th century using light and lenses). The hero is half-Piscataway, the heroine, not, and so there is a dilemma in a society where this sort of matchup is forbidden. We see what lengths the hero goes to in order to claim her as his bride.
A prequel to The Legends of The Goldens Series is a little darker than the first two novels, Forbidden Playground and Dancing Dragons, coming out at the end of this year (Soul Mate). It tells the story of the first hybrid Golden (psychic cousin to vampires) and how she plans her first kiss and also how to sink her fangs into her boyfriend, dead set on becoming a vampire, in order to save his soul from the Dracule clan of vamps. Much of it takes place at Comic-Con at the Vampire Comic Booth.
Just in the plotting stage, a romantic thriller and space opera, Flat Spin, that takes place in the aerospace industry. She’s an aerospace forensics (works with high tech microscopes) with a legendary psychic power, and he’s a test pilot, a sociopath, pretending to be a normal person. Can he get her to admit her alien roots? And can she bring him into the world of emotion?
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Because I like to put science and science philosophy into my writing, I have to be very careful not to overwhelm the reader with difficult to grasp facts. I’m still learning to construct the best behavioral and description tags for the dialogue.
Who designed the covers?
I with a group of people I met through WonderCon (Anaheim, CA mid-March) designed the cover of Entangled—an artist, a comic publisher, a photographer and image-processor, and our models.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
When I’m half to three-quarters of the way through. That’s probably because I still let my characters tell their story and leave the climax until last. That way, I’m as surprised as I hope the reader is.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
In researching back into the scientific history of 1717, especially the big argument about who invented calculus—Leibniz or Newton—I wondered what happened to all the famous women scientists.
I discovered that the famous men, most of them belonged to the royal societies of Germany, England, and France and that it was mostly the royal women who funded them. Thus the idea of the Electress Sophie of the House of Hanover spearheading rescues of women alchemists who were lab workers back then, many of them burned at the stake as witches (the book is dedicated to them).