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L.T. Suzuki

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

Shay Fabbro Interview
6/14/2011 5:53:30 AM
Dr. Shay Fabbro discusses her debut novel and the writing life!
LTS: If you enjoy reading well written, riveting science fiction, then today’s author feature is for you. I’d like to introduce you to the fabulous author of sci-fi/fantasy, Dr. Shay Fabbro!
(And don’t forget to enter at the end of this blog for a chance to win an autographed paperback by Shay or one of three ebooks!)
I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Shay. I know you were born in Colorado and received your doctorate degree in Human Medical Genetics from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. But tell us something about yourself that we may not know by reading your blog, such as what you enjoy doing when you’re not writing.

SF: Well, I definitely enjoy reading! I have been an avid reader since I was a kid. I’m a sucker for a good action movie. Give me fantasy, scifi, tough guy movies any day:) I also enjoy being in the outdoors: camping, fishing, hiking, hunting.

LTS: You’ve spent years studying to earn your doctorate degree and then teaching biology. When did writing fiction fit into your life and was becoming a published author always a life long dream?

SF: I used to write when I was a kid. Piers Anthony was my first introduction to fantasy. I used to finish one of his books and write a sequel to it. But it wasn’t something I ever took seriously and I stopped when I was in high school (except for a creative writing class). When it came time to go to college and choose a career path, I chose to get a degree in biology. I have always been fascinated with all things science: biology, geology, archaeology, marine biology, astronomy. But it was genetics that drew my interest the most and when the opportunity came to do undergrad research, I jumped. Writing is actually a big part of being a scientist. We write journal articles on our research for publication (I have two articles out now with a third on the way), writing our research proposals, doctoral thesis, presentations for lab meetings, grants, etc. So while not writing fiction, I was still writing ;)

LTS: Your debut novel, ‘The Chosen’ has received wonderful reviews. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist?

SF: The Chosen came about from a dream I had while in graduate school. I have always had vivid dreams (most would call them nightmares) and I can recall at least one dream every night. This particular dream as different; I couldn’t stop thinking about it the next day. Or the day after that. Or the day after that. I was curious about the man in my dream, where he was from, and what the machine was that was doing so much damage to his home. And something that is different in my book is that there is actually many protagonists. When I began to realize that by thinking about my dream, I was getting the glimmer of an idea for a novel, I knew I wanted to do something different. Rather than one world, I have five major planets. And instead of one protagonist and his many sidekicks, I wanted to have many protagonists, who all contribute equally to the conflict with the antagonist. With five planets, some of the alien creatures are very different than humans, in their physical form and their way of life.

LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open ‘The Chosen’?

SF: Readers will be taken on an intergalactic ride across the galaxy, visiting many planets and interacting with many alien characters. They will get to see magic, telepathy, futuristic weapons, battles, betrayal, revenge, murder, adventure, love, hate, doubt, fear, prophecy, destiny, and free will.

LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. Do you have any advice you’d like to share with the author struggling to find representation via literary agent?

SF: Oh gosh, this is a tough one. I tried to find an agent for The Chosen and was unsuccessful. I did have two ask for samples based on the query but they didn’t like it enough to offer representation. I am probably one of the most impatient people on the planet. I wasn’t willing to continue to try for years and years. I think that the best advice I can give is for writers to do their homework and know what they really want and if an agent/publisher can give it to them.

LTS: Becoming a published author is truly a difficult road to travel, what made you decide to go the indie route and publish your own books?

SF: My impatient nature decided for me ;) And I am also a control freak so the Indie route fit me best. I like having total and complete control of my books and I like making more money per book.

LTS: What is the best advice you can give to an author that may be considering the self-publishing route?

SF: Do your homework! And know what you are getting into. It’s not easy and it’s not cheap. Self-published means that the author takes on all aspects themselves: writing, editing, cover art, formatting (this includes e-books and paperback), choosing a route of publication (Lightning Source, CreateSpace, Lulu, Smashwords, PubIt, Kindle Direct), marketing and promotion. It’s a LOT of hats to wear, on top of those you wear for family, friends, job, etc.

LTS: I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?

SF: I write when I have time ;) As a full time professor, my days and most evenings are busy with lectures and grading. But I actually find I have a lot of time to write. And I can’t put pressure on myself to write X number of words a day. Since I love to spend time with family and friends, I like to have the freedom to just pick up and go 4-wheeling, camping, hiking, BBQs, etc without feeling guilty that I am out having fun when I didn’t write my X number of words for that day.

LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.

SF: I do both actually! I have the synopsis written before starting on the first chapter, but it’s just the basics. For me, I HAVE to have a beginning and end so that I don’t just write and write with no idea how to wrap things up. That’s especially true for books that are a part of a series. I had the synopses written for all 3 books in the Portals of Destiny series before I started writing the first chapter. But the little side-adventures and things I just pants ;) This enables me to use things that are happening in my life and add them to the story. But I have the synopsis in mind so that I can make sure my characters are still moving toward the ending and not get too far off course.

LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?

SF: I actually don’t have any rituals at ALL when it comes to writing. I can write pretty much anytime, except for when I am out of town. I think my brain decides it’s on vacation and doesn’t want to get into “book” mode :)

LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?

SF: I have been lucky in that I haven’t come across this yet. My problem is finding the time to write. I think perhaps I have so many ideas built up and chapters written in my head that when I do sit down at the laptop, it just flows out.

LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?

SF: I have so many favorites! But Tolkein, George RR Martin, and Piers Anthony are my top 3 for sure. It’s hard for me to give specific examples of where their works have influenced me but I think it’s safe to say that these authors are at the top of the fantasy genre and weave tales so spectacular that they take readers away from this world and deposit them on a different one. I only hope that my books can do the same.

LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?

SF: I am always surprised at how people interpret the little things and how much they connect to a particular character. It’s always fun to hear their reasoning for hating a character or loving a character. I haven’t been told yet that my work has touched someone’s life but that would be the ultimate compliment :D

LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?

SF: I am reading Angst by a fellow Indie author named David J Pedersen. I think it was recommended to me on Goodreads.

LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from Sci-fi into other genres? Can your fans expect a sequel to ‘The Chosen ‘ in the near future?

SF: The second book of the Portals of Destiny will launch Aug 2011 as will a novella titled The Mad Lord Lucian, an expansion on a legend I mention in The Chosen. That will also be published Aug 2011. I have the first book out of a new YA/fantasy series. It’s called Dangerous Reflections and features a girl named Alexis Davenport. She must use her extraordinary knowledge of history to save the world from an evil man trying to change the past—and our futures.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lorna for this interview! These are some of the best questions I have ever been asked! :)

LTS: You’re welcome and thank you so much for take time from your hectic schedule to discuss your novel and to share in your writing experience, Shay. For more information about Dr. Shay Fabbro and her novels, check out:
Website: shayfabbro.com
Follow Shay on Twitter: .ShayFabbro
Where to buy the book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Calico Books (Broomfield), Tattered Cover (Denver area)

Enter for a chance to win an autographed paperback copy of ‘The Chosen’ signed by Shay Fabbro (U.S. entrants only) or a chance to win one of three ebook (worldwide): To enter, all you have to do is send an email entry to shayfabbro.gmail.com with “Autographed book” or “ebook” draw on the subject line. Contest deadline is Sunday, June 19th midnight. Winners will be selected at random and will be contacted via email and announced on the website: shayfabbo.com.




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