Sirens Call Publications recently released d.k.snape’s debut Middle Grade novel – Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One. As the first in a series, we decided to take the opportunity to sit down with d.k. and learn a little more about what makes her tick. Pleasant as always, she let us into her newly created world of science fiction and fantasy…
Welcome d.k., why don’t you start off by telling us about yourself?
I breathe to stay alive. And I make up stories to stay sane. One of my brothers remembers me keeping him enthralled, casting my own imaginative slant through stories to explain the happenings in our world as we grew up. I made a mistake several years ago. I prayed to the Muse. Since then I have been bombarded daily, sometimes hourly, with new story ideas. Everything I hear, watch, taste, or feel can bring a story idea. Like I needed any help!
I live in the country, far from civilization with my darlin’ hubby, two of my four children, a dog and a glaring of cats. Other animals come and go. Including a skunk who has decided living amongst our cats is an easy life.
What made you decide to become a writer?
Stories have always called me to, invited me to step out of reality and into their worlds. But other authors’ worlds weren’t as satisfying, somehow, as the worlds I built around me to explain life’s idiosyncrasies. And I wanted to remember them, so I wrote them down. Voila, a writer was born.
What is Kin Ship about?
Have you ever thought maybe, just maybe, we humans didn’t start here on Earth? Did looking out at the star-studded sky fill you with a feeling of homesickness? Like you belong somewhere up there and everything in you just wants to go home? That somehow, somewhere, our early ancestors might have had an accident and become stranded on this lonely planet at the ends of the galaxy?
Well, Kinship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One is the story of our ancestral race finding us after many millennia. The story is written from my main character’s, fifteen-year-old Marnie, point of view as she is ‘retrieved’, with her parents, her brother and a community of humans, and given an extraordinary offer by alien residents of a baby of that behemoth worm orbiting the moon.
What is the one thing you’d like readers to know about Kin Ship before they read it?
I believe in aliens. I yearn to meet someone from another planet, someone without human genetics, a real, honest to gosh off-earth being. I cannot believe humans evolved on the only world in this vast galaxy where life canlive. All of our countries, everywhere on Earth have so many myths of aliens descending to Earth. I watch TV shows about archaeologists finding pictures on cave and building walls showing what could be space persons, everywhere in the world.
I believe so much, I wrote a story about them – aliens from another world, finally finding us.
What is your writing process? Do you consider yourself to be a planner or a pantser?
Can I say both? I’d say I’m more of a quilter. Yes, I plan part of my story. But stories have a way of becoming alive too. So my planned scenes are intertwined with ideas that I never plotted out.
How would you like readers to see Marnie?
Marnie is fifteen when the story opens. She is focused on learning, becoming someone professional one day when she grows up. She has a strong personality, not a girl who has to fit into a group. She’ll make her own group, thank you very much. Sure, she wants to fit in with her peers, but she isn’t driven to mold herself into the ‘in’ crowd’s description of right and wrong. She wants acceptance on her terms.
How would you like readers to see the Euskadaz?
My aliens, the Euskadaz, are an ecological people. They believe in recycling and reusing. After all, how much raw materials are there in space? They tour the galaxy in a giant marsupial Beigorri worm-like being, picking up communities to settle on new worlds, opening up the galaxy to a human-like population.
How would you like readers to see Topher?
Topher is an independent, strong, farm-raised teenager. He loves playing sports, but knows his help is needed on the family farm, so he is very family oriented. He’s the older brother, used to looking after a gaggle of younger siblings, so I’d say he is caring and used to coaxing kids into learning and helping out. He is not pushy, he doesn’t make fun of anyone just because he can. And Topher has to find his own limits. He will not accept being fenced in.
What is the hardest challenge that you have faced as a writer?
Stories can go their own way, outside the bounds I had planned. Sometimes way outside. The hardest thing I found as a writer is pruning my stories. Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One, grew in totally unexpected ways. Sure, some of what I wrote and then cut will be used in part four. Maybe. I cried as I cut my story back, taking out parts that although imaginative and exciting, just didn’t move the story along. Pruning those ideas away felt like cutting off fingers and toes of my poor little tale.
In your opinion, what sets Kin Ship apart from other books of the same genre?
I noticed that right now there doesn’t seem to be many space science fiction stories about girls on the market.
I gave my aliens, the Euskadaz, a language. I didn’t make one up. I decided to use one of the isolate languages of Earth. A language our own linguist experts cannot find a previous language for. My Euskadaz use biological aids as often as possible: their Tempods are sentient, their spacecraft is a sentient, space-swimming creature and my readers will discover other beings performing tasks in my world. I don’t have any real fight scenes, and definitely no weapons of mass destruction on board. Other stories in the genre have mechanical spacecraft, made up languages, and belligerent, warring aliens. My Euskadaz are a peaceful people. Their main aim is to find pioneers to settle interesting worlds they have discovered, so their race can develop new and interesting things from the raw materials those new worlds bring. Maybe I can call them a benign conquering race, settling the galaxy with settlers who owe allegiance to them, taking over the galaxy by peaceful means.
Are you reading anything right now, or have you read anything recently that is worth mentioning?
I read constantly. Usually I have a fun book, a research book, a history book and a biography or autobiography book on the go at all times. Can’t have too many, I always say.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite novels?
Favorite authors? I don’t think I have enough space to list them all. When I was very young, under ten, I read all the classic animal heart-wrenching stories. I read all of Tolkien’s stories by the time I was twelve – and I’m not talking just about the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. He has some great other stories too. LatelyI love reading Jim Butcher books. His Dresden series is an ongoing wonderful tale with delightful twists and turns in every new book. Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemaris beloved and her Fairy Godmother series is a hoot. Anne Bishop’s tales, in three separate series now, thrill me. I think I read everything Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley ever wrote, I like them so much.
How do you define success as a writer? Have you been successful?
Success as a writer… hmmm. I write under more than one name. I let my first stories free to find homes on the net in 2010. The first one I ever sent out found a home with the first publisher I sent it to. Talk about a complete surprise. Took me days to get the smile off my face. To me, getting the validation of having a publisher actually like my work enough to publish, that is success.
Now, I’ve written several novels. Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One, is the start of my middle-grade series. I have two more parts finished, part four is well on its way, part five has been spread-sheet plotted and the rest are in my head. When those books find readers who want to read more in my world, then I will consider myself totally successful.
Do you have words of wisdom about writing that you want to pass on to novelists and writers out there who are starting out?
Oh yes. The words I needed to hear years ago, when I didn’t know if I had whatever it takes to be a writer.
Never give up. Read, dream and write. No subject is too much, or too little to write about.
What should readers walk away from your books knowing? How should they feel?
I hope my readers will look up at the stars and wonder if we really are alone in the vast galaxy. I want them to believe there is life on other planets, that one day, maybe in the not-so-distant-future, we will be visited. And I want us to welcome those strange aliens, learn their language, offer to go back and visit their homeworld.
I put lots of scientific facts in, so I hope a few of them soak in. And I offered snippets of information to, maybe, start my young readers on a quest to solve Earth’s pollution.
We believe in life on other planets. We believe they visit us from time to time. What if life also evolves in the vast empty space between galaxies, among the very stars themselves? What would it look like? What would you do if it showed up in our skies?
Marnie is your average teenager. She goes to school every day, hangs out with her friends, and tries to stay out of trouble. One morning, while suffering through another boring class, her world is turned upside down when two intergalactic strangers come to collect her.
And it’s not just Marnie’s world, but her whole family’s too. It seems that random kids and their moms and dads have also been scooped up and taken to the hidden mountain valley far from their homes. No one knows why they’ve been selected or what’s really going on…
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