Welcome to another blog tour, this time concentrating on the recent release of CRYO II: A Changed World by G. Wakeling. We have an interview with the author himself, as well as an excerpt at the end, and places to find the brilliant new sequel to CRYO: Rise of the Immortals.
So, let’s hear from the man himself:
Thought I’d be random and try to ask you questions you may not have come across yet (knowing my luck, though, you probably have). So, here we go.
Many science fiction authors started their writing obsession in somebody else’s universe, in the form of fan fiction, as I did with Star Trek. Did you yourself begin this way? Which universe did you play in? Have you ever had the desire to go back to the material, and try to submit it?
I actually never dabbled with fan fiction at all, I just leapt straight into the novel writing process. However, I’m a big gamer, particularly with MORPG’s, and I spent A LOT of time in Star Wars Galaxies. Through the process of gaming, writing out story-arcs for RP characters and even writing diary-entry type blogs, I’d say I used the Star Wars universe to help develop my skills.
What made you choose this particular story over, say, more traditional starship-on-an-adventure story like Star Trek? Did you always have that story in mind, or did it evolve from something else?
As with most of my stories, they always morph into something else. John and some of his podmates WILL get into space; it’s just that a lot happens first. I love the starship genre, but I’m equally aware that a lot of great stuff has already been written. That means that anything new has to be fresh and bring a new angle if it’s really to do well – in my opinion, anyway. The universe I’ve built around CRYO is pretty vast and Earth is only a small speck. There are a couple of hints in A Changed World about a larger galactic community but, as yet, they’ve not come directly into the storyline.
How much of yourself is in the stories with the characterisations, mannerisms, and so on?
There’s A LOT of me in John. I suppose I used him as my escape to the future, knowing I can’t get there myself. I often watch all these incredible space shows – like the recent live from the ISS shown in the UK – and feel simultaneously excited and sad. Excited about how vast space is and what could be out there, but sad that we’re pretty behind on real space exploration. By the time that happens, I expect I’ll be dead. So, of course, I write this into a novel instead. John is desperate to see the stars and in his world, cryonics makes that possible.
What authors inspire you as both an author yourself and a reader? Do they have any influence over your own writing?
There are a couple of authors I love, both as a writer and a reader. Firstly, Kim Stanley-Robinson and his Mars trilogy. Reading those books opened my eyes to the detail that novels can take. I mean, it almost reads as if it’s a historical guide to the colonisation of Mars, despite the fact that it’s fiction. I love J. R. Tolkien too, and his world building, though I’ve taken some ‘what not to do’ points as well, i.e. don’t spend three pages describing a character putting down a cup of tea. I also love J. K. Rowland. Her writing really progress through the entire Harry Potter series; something most writer’s will probably pick out. But it’s her creativity that I take away. Every single aspect of the Harry Potter story was meticulously thought about so this incredible world could be created.
Tell us about CRYO II. Where does it fit in the series, and what is happening to the characters after the first book?
CRYO: A Changed World takes place immediately where Rise of the Immortals (Book 1) breaks. A small fraction of the saved podmates set out to explore their new Earth a little more, so I took the opportunity to develop people like Anne, Franz and Amity a little more. When you’ve got a large cast of characters (i.e. 50 CRYO survivors) it’s hard to juggle everyone. This way I was easily able to further the story without readers (and myself) getting bogged down with WAY to many people. There’s some new faces too, so be prepared for some alien entities.
What was the hardest part about writing CRYO II? Any specific scenes or maybe a character?
I think the hardest part was trying to fit in all the little world building features without them become too detailed to drown readers but yet not too subtle that they’re overlooked. A lot of things mentioned will come into play in later books, so it’s important they’re mentioned….like a little trail of breadcrumbs for later. But it can be hard to find when, where and how much to write on particular things, such as the vast beasts traversing the plains of the new Earth.
What is your process when writing? Do you have certain habits, certain times of day you can write?
I’m a complete pantster for starters, meaning that though I have a basic plot with essential milestones and scenes in my head, most of what appears on the pages is a completely improvising story, i.e. written as I go along. I’ve tried to write detailed notes, but as most writers know, characters don’t tend to stick to these.
My main aim these days is to just sit down and writer 1,500 to 2,000 words every day, no matter what’s happening. Procrastination is my biggest enemy, it always has been, so sitting down to write and treating it as a job is vital if anything’s to be written.
What’s your favourite writing food and drink? Does it help to get you in the mood? Or gives you energy to keep you going?
TEAAAAAAAAA. I find it easy to forget to eat when I’m writing, but I have to have tea. If I had it my way, I’d have an IV line straight into a vein. Luckily, I have an understanding husband who potters back and forth refilling my cup. ;D
What music do you listen to, if any, to help you write? A lot of authors, myself included, listen to movie and video game soundtracks that helps shut out everything else, is this true for you?
I always listen to soundtrack music too….things like EVE ambient music, Battlestar Galactica, Mass Effect or The Descent…if I’m writing a particularly chilling scene. I feel that it helps me get not into the mood of a specific scene, but also for the tone of the book. For example, I also write a fantasy series. For that I often listen to the Harry Potter soundtracks…but they don’t work when I’m writing science fiction at all.
Lastly, do you have plans for the future in regards to your books? Is it going to continue into a long series? Or do you have ideas for other books?
There’s a definitive end to the CRYO series, but I plan to write more books within the created universe. I’m expecting John’s story to be 4/5 books long and I’ll also be bringing out some short story collections about the podmates’ journeys before they were frozen. We know how John arrived, but what about Evie, Anne, Viktor and the others. After that I want to explore some of the other worlds and creatures that will be unveiled in later books of this series.
And now a sneak peak from the book itself, from Chapter 6 (entitled “Civilisation”)
There was a rustle ahead of John, and he acknowledged Nathan with a nod as the man pulled a branch out the way and held it so it didn’t whip back and hit John in the face. He was about to walk past, when Tone and Amity stopped dead in their tracks, freezing on the spot. There was another rustle, and John looked around and realised that it wasn’t coming from any of the group. Viktor put a hand to his lips, carefully dropped his backpack from his shoulder and pulled out a knife. A grin spread on his lips.
“We’re having rodent for dinner tonight,” he whispered as he gently leaned across to John, taking one foot off the floor and placing it down with extreme care so as not to make a sound. However, it wasn’t an agouti that scurried out of the leafy vegetation of the forest, but a small individual with an amphibious face. There was a moment where it stood there, frozen to the spot, its eyes flicking between John and the others. Then, it very carefully lifted a leg and began to back away, its slender arms reaching out behind it to move branches, its eyes still firmly fixed upon the group.
“Grab it!” Nathan yelled, letting go of the branch and allowing it to whip back into John’s face with a bolt of pain. John screeched as the hard bark smacked into his cheek, knocking him backwards. He clutched his face and scrunched up eyes with his hands as he cursed loudly, the extreme stinging like a fire bolt across his skin. At the same time, a shrill squeal filled the air as Nathan leapt towards the small creature in front of them. John opened one of his watering eyes to see the tiny figure turn and bounce away with Nathan and Tone in hot pursuit. Any thought of silence had been forgotten now, and the two men crashed through the undergrowth as they rushed after the alien disappearing through the trees.
“No dinner for us then,” Viktor said as he wrinkled his face, before obviously deciding he didn’t want to miss anything and plunging after the creature as Nathan and Tone had done. Anne followed suit, screaming for the men not to hurt the creature, and John was left behind with Franz and Amity.
“That’s gonna hurt,” Franz muttered as he drew John’s hands away from where he was still cradling his face.
“It hurts now,” John mumbled, realising that his lip was stinging as he spoke. He put a finger to his mouth and pulled it away to see blood.
“Here, use this anti-inflammatory cream,” Amity said as she rummaged in her bag. “It’ll keep the swelling down.” She reached over and wiped John’s face from the top of his left cheek bone to just below his lip with a sterile wipe, before handing him a small tube of cream. The cloth was bloodied when she drew it away, and John realised he’d split more than his lip.
“Ain’t too bad,” Franz said. “Peanuts compared to this.” He drew up his shirt and grinned towards John, happily revealing the scar that was forming across his stomach and covering the hole where the dart had penetrated.
Another squeal rang out through the trees, immediately followed by the unmistakable cry of Anne.
“The cream can wait,” John said, shoving the tube into his pocket and running in the direction of the sound. His heart was pounding as he dashed through the undergrowth. Not again, not again, not again. Another howl rang out, this time a man’s, and he was filled with dread as he rushed towards the scene. They couldn’t lose more people, he couldn’t lose more people. As much as it pained him to think about it, those who died last time had just been pod-mates, nothing more. These were his friends, his comrades, the people who had become his family. Natalia was already gone, he couldn’t lose more.
Anne yelled again and John found another burst of speed and threw himself through the forest, unperturbed by the branches that slashed at his already bloodied face. He could see figures up ahead, a crowd of people standing in the trees. He rushed faster towards them as he saw Anne screaming and throwing herself towards Nathan. He was crouched on the floor and her fists came down on him hard, pummelling his back. Viktor was heaving her away, and she kicked out with her legs, sending a heavy strike into the side of Tone’s face as he leant down to help Nathan to his feet.
“You bastard. It did nothing to you,” Anne shrieked as she struggled in Viktor’s arms.
“Get that bitch away from me,” Nathan hissed, before spitting and splattering the forest floor with red. It seemed that Anne had landed more than just one kick.
Viktor dragged Anne further away, pulling her head around to look at him and telling her to calm down. Meanwhile, Tone heaved Nathan off the ground and hauled him to where the roots of a large tree rose out of the ground like sheets of corrugated iron. As the group was pulled apart, John’s eyes moved to the floor, and as he stumbled onto the scene, he looked down and saw the motionless body of the slender and mottled alien.