So, today, I’m delighted to be interviewing my author friend, S.E. Anderson! We’re in a couple of the same writing groups, and I was delighted when I got the chance to read an ARC of her debut novel, Starstruck. It really is a fabulous read.
Firstly, let me introduce the book:
After an incident with a hot-air balloon causes college-dropout Sally Webber to lose her job, she sets off to find direction in her life. Crashing into a teleporting alien, however, is not on her to-do list.
Now she’s on the run from TV-drama-loving aliens, and things are just getting started. Zander won’t stop reeling her into life-or-death situations to save her planet, as he waits for his laser-wielding sister to search the universe for him. Though Sally isn’t quite sure if he wants to save Earth from annihilation, or just quell his curiosity of all things human.
Now she’s got to find lost alien emissaries, as well as a job, and stop the planet from getting incinerated in the process. But with Zander as her roommate, what could possibly go wrong?
“S.E. Anderson’s debut is a hilarious galactic romp with loving nods to Hitch Hiker’s Guide to Galaxy but with a voice all its own.
It’s quirky, fun, and utterly enjoyable.”
~Dragon Award-nominated author, R.R. Virdi of The Grave Report and The Books of Winter.
And my thoughts on this book?
So, I received an ARC of this book, and I absolutely loved it. It’s been a while since I read a science fiction novel that had this much fun and humour in it–it’s refreshing, entertaining, and so well written.
The writing itself brims with personality, and Sally is one of the most likeable characters out there. Plus she’s realistic too. All the characters are believable–even the aliens (and I loved how they popped up and added so much mayhem!). And the characters have pasts too, and we can see how their pasts are still affecting them emotionally. Very realistic.
One of my favourite things was the relationship between Sally and her best friend, Marcy. I loved how Marcy was super caring for Sally and looking out for her, pretty much all the time. Two very strong female characters–and they’re not in competition with each other/enemies like they are in so many other books.
And Zander! Well, isn’t he a breath of fresh air?
I’ll definitely be picking up the second book in this series. S.E. Anderson is a skilled writer, and Starstruck’s pages burst with personality, action, and humour. A must-read for science fiction fans.
Now, onto the interview!
Hi S.E Anderson!
So, firstly tell us three interesting things about yourself and your favourite totally weird fact.
Three interesting facts?
I can sing the entire elements song!
I was born in England, raised in France, but my parents are American.
I’m getting my degree in physics, but paying for it by doing graphic design!
Totally weird fact of the day – You see, we can’t send poops into space. They would instantly freeze and basically become space junk, which could harm the ISS like in the movie Gravity. Soooo they put it in a capsule, throw in their dirty laundry and trash, and shoot it towards the earth! It burns up on re-entry and never hits the ground. But one night, when you’re wishing upon a falling star… it could very well be falling astronaut poop.
And you just released your debut novel, Starstruck! I was lucky enough to get my hands an ARC and I absolutely loved it! Tell me, what inspired you to write this book?
My best friend, Joanna, actually. Seven years ago, one of my best friends and I were celebrating thanksgiving and lamenting the fact that Nanowrimo came almost only a year. We decided to challenge ourselves to write what we loved all year long, and create a series together. We decided to call it “Dimension Five” and settled on the names Stella (now Sally), Rand (Zander), and the Knife Girl (Blayde). Both of us brought to the table what we wanted to see more of in books: Scifi with a focus on the fun elements and strong female characters. Eventually, I did most of the writing and plotting, but I still owe the creation of the series to my amazing friend Joanna.
Sally Webber is such a great, relatable character! I loved how we saw glimpses of her past and her struggles. She seemed human. From the first person POV of Sally Webber, answer this question: What’s your biggest fear and why?
[Sally] My biggest fear is loss. I have trouble opening up to people, and when I do, they tend to leave my life. It’s hard not to take that personally. I’m afraid of losing the people in my life that I care about!
But rational fears? I am terrified of heights! I hate them, with a vengeance. Not sure why, though. I’ve just never liked them. And apparently I keep having to face heights over, and over, again. Thanks, universe.
Let’s talk about your aliens! I loved Zander and Blayde! Did their characters change much from your first draft to final draft?
Honestly? Not that much. Other than Zander’s physical appearance, which was tough to pin down, and their names, I always knew they would have the struggles they did. You’ll learn a lot more about them in the upcoming books, an I hope you like them even more!
And how long did it take you to write Starstruck from start to finish?
First draft? Two weeks. It was 25,000 words long and included Sally getting in a fight with a Hobo about not having any cigarettes, which ends with a gun fight. It took me seven years to work out the kinks and bring it to where it is now – actually readable, and hopefully enjoyable! I have to thank my amazing Editor, Michelle Dunbar, for working her magic too.
I heard recently that there are going to be many books in this series–yay! So, did you plan each book before starting the series, or has it evolved as you’ve gone along?
Yeah, it’s going to be very long – 15 books! But I’m not cruel… every book will have its own arc, and then share an arc like a TV show would. Five books could be considered a ‘season’, and have a nice rewarding conclusion.
This came from how Joanna and I wrote the books. I had sketched out the first ‘season’ and we wrote them in one go, over the course of six months, so we could print it in a volume using the free proofs we won through NaNoWriMo. While many details have changed in the next few years, the plot remains essentially the same, only fleshed out more.
When Joanna started to pull back from the series, it mainly became about writing a story that would surprise her! So the later books were a little less planed in advance.
What are you currently working on?
Too many things! I have a good draft going of book 5, but also a few other unrelated projects, such as a Scifi take on Wizard of Oz or even a Starstruck novella, that takes place in the two years between the last chapter and the epilogue.
Which authors have inspired you most?
Douglas Adams, by far. My hero! Such great books that really opened my eyes to science fiction. I also have to say Neil Gaiman, for his brilliant novels that defy categorization!
Are there any other genres you’d like to try your hand at?
YA fantasy, I think! I have a project I’ve been dying to write about… wait, no, I’m not giving this up! But there will be a project in the works soon!
Buy Starstruck here!