1. I have read some very complementary reviews of your book that have me very excited about reading it. Mainly, readers are impressed by how original the story is so I have to ask, how did you come up with the idea for Legacy?
*blushes* The readers continually humble me with their kind words. It overwhelms me, to be honest.
Originally, LEGACY was an untitled story concept that was outlined for an online multi-player RPG (role-playing game). The video game — my husband planned to program — was going to feature a vast world and a complex storyline I would write, reflecting the lives of scientists who were reconstructing society while also terraforming/homesteading a new planet. A few months after this epic brainstorming session with my husband, I left my job and decided to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming an author. I commandeered the RPG story idea and turned it a new direction while maintaining the integrity of some of the original concepts.
I wanted a strong theme and decided on, “Is an individual the product of their community/environment or of themself?” To explore this idea, I paused and listened to the messages being told to the tail end of Gen X and the Millennial Generation. There is this expectation that we must be organic and live as nature intended, going back to our roots; but also embody the age of technology and strive for higher education, satisfying an ideal of a refined, civilized, mechanized future. Such a mind boggling expectation of extremes. We, as a society and culture, romanticize both notions and in doing so, I feel, have placed an extraordinary burden on this present youth culture that is nearly impossible to satisfy. It is an age of transition.
I thought of all this information and decided that I wanted to gift the Millennial Generation with a story they could identify with. Their generation’s story is one that reflects a fight to preserve the past while embracing the future. And to reflect this struggle, I chose to mash-up two extreme fictional cultures in sci-fi/fantasy that I believed reflected these polarized expectations: an agrarian utopian Medieval community vs a Cyberpunk near dystopian future. And what better way to show a reconstruction of society and a collision of cultures than through preparations to colonize Mars. LEGACY does not boast a fast pace. I intentionally slowed it down to make it more realistic and believable, similar to literary fiction, and to ensure the characters popped off the page…after all, the goal of role-playing is to become the character 😉
Well, after tears, tantrums, the consumption of far too much coffee, and begging my characters in the most pathetic fashion to speak to me…I go to Pinterest. I wrote a blog about exactly this experience called “Characters Go On Strike, Demand Better Pay” (http://www.selahjtaysong.com/characters-go-on-strike-demand-better-pay/). Simply, I have decided that the best way to overcome writer’s block is to saturate the mind with words and visual images that reflect such words. For example, one of my boards on Pinterest explores the Emotional Expressions of Characters (http://www.pinterest.com/jesikahsundin/emotional-expressions-character-writing/). I find a photo that reflects a specific emotion and then I consult a thesaurus for synonyms that I then caption below the imagine. It not only builds vocabulary, but usually the explored emotion and body language sparks an idea that turns into a scene or helps me understand my character’s point-of-view. And before I know it, my fingers are happily typing again.
Sure 🙂 I am a vocalist and attended a performing arts school when I was 13-14 years old. Also, I love to garden. My soul comes alive when my fingernails fill with dirt and my eyes take in all the lovely, green growing things. And, I am part of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) and enjoy every opportunity dress in medieval garb. My sons are in their Youth Armored Combat program and participate in tournaments from time-to-time. Gaming is a favorite hobby of mine as well. My husband and I love to play table-top games.
Presently I am absorbed with ELEMENTS, book two in “The Biodome Chronicles”. After I finish this series, I plan to write an entirely different series with an entirely new cast that is set in an alternate reality, currently titled “The Last Forest Kingdoms”. I am going to continue in the vein of my Ecopunk Lit roots and explore a story about various forest kingdoms connected through forest portal doors that are on the verge of extinction due to bio-environmental nano-tech warfare testing. This series will combine elements of high fantasy, alternate reality cyberpunk science fiction, with traces of steampunk woven in. I hope it works! *bites nails*
My dearest friend, Melissa, who has been by my side for twenty years, is always the first person to read my story. Not only do we share an epic friendship, but she is a talented writer and journalist. She always gives me the best feedback and encouragement.
Absolutely! The biodome residents are live action role players (LARPers), testing to see if role-playing can foster a socio-psychological condition that is conducive to confined and isolated living.
(A) I spend too much time…stalking Facebook and Goodreads, LOL.
(B) I have always wanted to learn…how to play an instrument proficiently.
(C) If I could go back in time, I would tell my 16-year old self…Embrace your punk geekiness, love yourself, and don’t try to please everyone. You can’t. Listen to that still, small voice that has always led you down a path that reflects who you truly are and push away all other voices. I have a destiny and it is mine and nobody else’s.
(D) The funniest person in the entire world is…my husband, Myles. Nobody makes me laugh like he does. And I love it when he laughs, too, because his smile still makes my heart race, even after all these years.
(E) The world would be a better place if…everyone understood how lovable they really are. I think all the madness, hurt, and agony this world knows is because people strive to be loved or prove they are lovable. If we could collectively work towards building relationships with a foundation of unconditional love, just imagine how powerfully wonderful and beautiful this world would be.