Saturday 30 January 2016

Author Interview - Pulse: The Trial (Book 1) by Ryan Crawford

Pulse: The Trial (Book 1)
Author: Ryan Crawford
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, Thriller
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 201 on Kindle
Language: English
Format: Kindle only

Book Description:
It’s been 100 years since the inter-galactic organisation known as PULSE intervened to liberate the women of Earth. Now purged of its male population, the women have embarked on a journey to take their place in the all-female cosmic society.

In order to enlist in PULSE’s renowned military, earthlings Stella, Faye and the rest of their class must face the Trial. Only a few human women have ever conquered the perils of this three day expedition across one of the most dangerous planets in the galaxy.

The girls must learn to work together in order to survive the threat of vicious alien beasts, scorching desert sands and icy mountain peaks, all while being hunted by an unstoppable and deadly foe.

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Author Interview

1. What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always wanted to tell a story with characters and locations of my own creation. When I was at school I used to write short stories all the time and leave them on the shelves for other people to enjoy, but I’ve never really tried anything similar in my adult life. After my daughter was born, I decided that between work and family life I wanted a genuine hobby to spend my own time on and attempt to spark my long lost creativity. This project grew organically from that desire.

2. Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to think, or hope, that my style fits firmly into the ‘page-turner’ cliche of writing. My goal is to gradually ramp up the pace of a story until it boils over. I want my readers to be out of breath when they eventually reach a pause in intensity. Or at least what they think is a pause before everything explodes again. What I enjoy most is the challenge of world-building. I confess to not attempting to cram in a colossal amount of exposition but instead attempt to fill in details over time and leave the readers with interesting questions and a thirst for more.

3. How did you come up with the title for your book?
From the start I wanted to use an acronym that would become synonymous with the series itself, so I admit to being guilty of reverse-engineering the name of the organisation PULSE - The Planetary Union of Life-form Salvation and Emancipation. The title of the book, The Trial, was easy enough as it really is the core conflict of the novel.

4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Definitely. Amidst the chases, the wild animals, students being hunted and the collection of aliens there is one singular driving force at the heart of the story. Friendship. I wanted to challenge the women in the story by pushing their relationships to the edge and often over it. I wanted to ask what it meant to be best friends with someone? How could that affect your relationships with other people? And how you see yourself reflected in their eyes. I’ve always thought friends and family are the most important things anyone can ever have in their life, so I had plenty of real-world examples to draw inspiration from.

5. How much of the book is realistic?
Well that depends on your perspective. I’ve deliberately left out the answers to questions I know will be asked come the end of the novel, so maybe things will become more ‘realistic’ once they have been answered. The truth is, this is something of an alternate reality universe. What if there are alien civilisations more advanced than us out there? What if women ruled the rest of the galaxy? What if they altered the course of Earth’s future by force? If the reader believes any one of these concepts to be possible, then the future I depict is entirely realistic.

6. What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading Throne of Glass, by Sarah J Maas. The protagonist, Celaena, is fast becoming one of my all time favourite characters. I can’t wait to finish it and jump on the next book in the series. Also, I found out after starting that a TV show is on the way! Great news all round for her and us fans.

7. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I don’t think I’m reading anything from anyone super new at the moment, though I’ve got a huge backlog to get through like everyone else. I have been reading the Omega Force series from Joshua Dalzelle which kicked off in 2014. He’s put out a phenomenal seven books in the series since then, I’m on book 5, and each one is as brilliant as the last. All self-published work too, he’s been a huge inspiration for my own journey.

8. What are your current projects?
As we speak I’ve just finished the second draft of Book 2 and begun the finer planning stages of book 3. Book 2 has been harder work than I ever imagined. Even harder than the first. Without spoiling anything, the sequel is much bigger in scope and variety than the first novel, which was focused much more on a single sequence of events and characters. It’s been an entirely different challenge but one I’m working hard at to make sure it lives up to the first. The third book, I’m going BIGGER again, so well … that’s going to be fun.

I’ve also got another idea still in its embryonic stage. But its got Superheroes. BOOM.

9. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
What didn’t I learn. First of all, I found out that a good story isn’t the only thing that makes a great book. Seems obvious I know, but just because interesting things happen in your book doesn’t mean its actually interesting to read. Figuring out how to write an important event without losing any of what makes it so engaging is seriously tough work. And there isn’t a magical solution to it, you just have to keep reading and keep writing so you learn more and more.

The other thing I learnt was that nothing is ever finished. Like ever. Just because it says ‘Draft 12’ at the top doesn’t mean its anywhere nearer completion than ‘Draft 5.’ It’s an ongoing process that can forever be tweaked. Even now when I read a paragraph from the published book I think, “What the hell is this you moron? That needs improving.” And I think thats one of the great things about writing. I could come back to this work in ten years time and dive right back in.

10. What were the challenges (research, psychological etc) in bringing your story to life?
One thing I struggled with at times was writing female characters. I’m a dude, in case you weren’t sure. So there’s a limit to how much my experiences actually overlap with those of a female. I found myself second-guessing how I had written many of the interactions. I had to do two things:
a) Convince myself that I’m not an idiot, I get people. Male and female.
b) Remember that I’m not writing about the women of today. The women in this book have been through something entirely different and as a result, behave entirely differently. In fact exploring this theme eventually became a key component of the novel as a whole.

I also had to check with my wife and friends that I wasn’t actually writing some horrific misogynistic tale. Because that would be less than ideal and I’m sure my wife and daughter wouldn’t be best pleased.

About the Author
I’ve always been a big time sci-fi and fantasy story lover. In fact, most of my childhood was earnestly consumed by weekend-long Final Fantasy marathons, movies I definitely wasn’t old enough to watch, and books borrowed but never returned to the local library. I had always wanted to create something but never seemed to quite be able to find the time and dedication to pull it off. Funnily enough, leading up to and subsequently after the birth of my now one-year-old daughter, I became ten times more efficient at managing my time.

This was my first attempt at getting an ebook together and ‘dayum’ that was hard. Between my day job and spending time with my wonderful wife and daughter, many months were spent toiling away to bring things together.

And so, PULSE was born. Stella will, of course, return, and I’m already hard at work on the next installment. Do get in touch with me via social media or my website. I would love to answer, and not-answer, questions you might have about the book and what is to come.

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