By Lance Erlick
Have you been writing for a long time?
I’ve been writing since I was eleven. We moved around a lot while I was growing up, including a stint in a boarding school in Brussels. Stories that I read and wrote seemed to anchor me. Writing has come in spurts with bursts of creativity interspersed with life and other priorities pulling me away. But every time I’ve gotten dragged away, I’ve come back better prepared and with renewed vigor for writing.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
At first, I enjoyed adventure stories and then thrillers and science fiction, in particular Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury. My first writings were inspired by stories I’d read that I felt I could match. One published story that had great promise but fell flat inspired me to write my first novel. Unfortunately, I soon learned that getting into someone else’s story and writing my own were quite different. My story was even flatter than the one that inspired me. It took many years of practice and development to get to the point I felt confident in my writing. Then I found inspiration in my many interests from history to science and social developments.
Is this your first series? If not, can you tell us about your first series?
Regina Shen is my second series. My first, the Rebel series, actually didn’t start out as a series. I’d written Rebels Divided, now the third book in that series, and one of the main characters bugged me to write her story. That became The Rebel Within, followed by The Rebel Trap. The series takes place after a second civil war divides the United States into a Federal Union that is predominantly female and a warlord controlled Outland in the mountains, since mountain people tend to be a fiercely independent lot. Because of atrocities committed during the war and technology that allows two women to have a child without a father, the Federal Union has gone down the path of ostracizing males.
Annabelle Scott is at odds with the Federal Union because they took her parents when she was little. Raised by an adoptive mother in the political opposition, she is expected to become a cop or a mechanized warrior supporting her regime.
In The Rebel Within, she rebels against being forced to capture escaped boys, including one she fancies. This puts her and her adoptive family at risk. In The Rebel Trap, her military commander gives Annabelle audio implants and video cameras to watch everything she does, which kicks her rebelliousness and risks to a new level. Then, in Rebels Divided, the local governor pledges Annabelle to the local warlord as part of a secret deal and Annabelle has to find common ground with an Outlander she’s sworn to kill. The series deals with the dilemma of following conscience at odds with what she’s told to do.