::Hears the knock at the door::
Ah! I believe our guest has arrived. I’d like to introduce you to Julian, a wonderful fellow I met over on Facebook in one of the best groups I’ve come across (the SciFi Roundtable). Julian, do you mind getting things started by telling us a little about yourself?
Sure – Hi I’m Julian St Aubyn Green, and I’m an author from Australia who likes to write science fantasy novels. For a while I struggled with my genre and just said it was Spec Fiction.As for age, I’m old enough to know better, wrong side of forty, take your pick. As far as any other info, if you’re curious you can visit my website I’ll try and preserve my International man of mystery vibe
::chuckles:: I bet that provides a lot of experience to draw from when you’re writing then. Or do your stories take on a life of their own?
I’m a huge planner. Very logical, and then I start writing and the character come along and kick sand in my teeth. They want to do their own thing a lot of the time.I’m still looking for the support group for that.
If I hear of one, I promise to point you at it. It’s always interesting when the characters take off, and drag you along.
What started you on your author’s journey?
Well I worked in finance for many years, but always been a bit geeky. Dungeons and dragons and tabletop RPG’s sort of thing, but got bored playing in other people’s worlds. Along came family, and that sort of squeezed the time I had to get a group of friends around a table. So I moved online with my gaming into Play by Post games.
Anyway, working in finance I got a fairly unique view of 9/11. And on the 10 year anniversay, this idea snuck into my head and wouldn’t go away.
So I built a game out of the idea, and while the game died, the idea’s, about Freedom and Control. About hope and the choices that we make…those idea’s stuck around.
And were going to drive me insane if I didn’t write them down
Another gamer-turned-author? I keep running into those. I thought we were a rare breed.
Yup – we like stories
::Looks away innocently:: For some reason that sounds too eerily familiar.
When the stories started getting impatient, did you have one that was more demanding than the others, or did you have to “pick straws” for which one to write first?
Oh, definitely no need to pick straws. It was this story idea that grabbed me by the brain and wouldn’t let go. I’ve tried to write a number of times in my life. I guess what I really needed was just a really gripping story. Of course Ideas still happen as a story evolves
True that! Do you ever find it hard not to get lured down another rabbit hole while you’re working on one of your projects, or are you one of the lucky ones that can work on several at once?
I do lot’s of projects, but I like to vary them so they stay fresh. So right now it’s gardening, learning about PR and marketing, A couple of arty type things as I’m going to conventions. As for writing, I tend to stay working on the word mountain. I looked at the number of words when I started this story and I’m thinking it will be half a million when I’m finished.So No, I tend to stay focused and not get distracted.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed at the size of the project you’re working on?
Nope. Planner remember? One foot in front of the other until all the steps are taken. Besides…it’s fun. We always do fun stuff, and if I’m having fun, hopefully the readers will too.
::Chuckles:: I can’t dispute that. Without the element of fun, things seem to turn into text books.
Do you ever include any of your experiences in your books?
Um…kind of. I was a weird nerd when I was younger, I also liked doing adrenaline type things. So some of the things in the books I bring my own experiences in. But mostly it’s about characters and how they interact. That’s people, and as an author, I’m a people watcher.
Have you ever included scenarios in your work that have been fictionalized from observations in real life?
Well, I find flawed characters interesting. So some of the characters have my flaws, O.O, and some of them have flaws from…other people, but it’s about how those flaws interact…particularly when set against a backdrop of stress and conflict. But I don’t really base my scenes on real interactions, most of them are too fantastic.
Makes perfect sense. Not to mention, authors put their characters through scenarios that aren’t quite legal in many cases.
Do you have any authors that have helped influence what you write, or the way you put your books together?
I have a large well loved bookcase full of them. Yes I am a purist, I love the smell, weight and feel of a book in my hands. I could take you a picture, but you’d immediately notice the Pratchett Expanse, the Jordan Byway, The Martin Alcove, The Gemmel Lane, The Eddings Avenue, The Heinlein Nook, The Lackey Overpass, The Feist- Lynch- Riley- Rothfuss Conglomeration.
Hmm, sounds like I need to come take up residence for a bit. Many of those are old friends of mine as well.
Going back to your comment about being a planner, do you feel that has helped develop you develop a unique writing style?
Author voice is one of those things that happen with practice and revision. I’ve been told I have a very easy style, and the planning I think certainly helps with that.
I’m a panster, so no comment from my particular pea nut gallery. It does lead to the next question, however. Do you have a snippet or teaser you can share?
Juliet could hear the alarms again. Although familiar, the dream was anything but comforting. It was always jarring: a recurring nightmare.
In her dream she was small, just seven, not seventeen, and she could see their faces. Her brothers and sisters, all strikingly dissimilar in appearance but sharing the same young, cherubic, guileless eyes and open expressions. Juliet liked India’s shoulder-length blond hair much more than her short, dark pixie cut. Her own dark brown hair barely covered her surgical scar.
She liked Alpha’s smattering of freckles across her button nose. Freckles were cute. Delta had the most amazing green eyes. It wasn’t fair that a boy had eyes like that. They had tiny flecks of gold among the pale green that shone when he smiled at her. But mindsharing meant she knew that her siblings thought she was pretty, with her elfin jaw and big eyes.
They sat in a circle, passing the foam ball back and forth. The rule was that they couldn’t use their hands, only the Gift. They didn’t want to drop the ball. Bad things happened when they dropped the ball. The bright red ball floated towards her slowly when the first harsh sound broke her concentration and her hands involuntarily covered her ears. She fumbled the handover from Delta and her eyes widened in horror as the ball fell at her feet.
No, not again, I don’t want to see it again. Please.
As Juliet looked to the white-coat, she expected him to press the button, to feel pain explode in her head like thousands of tiny needles burrowing into her.
That was what happened if she dropped the ball, or couldn’t pop the balloon, or snuff out the candle or perform one of a hundred different tasks. Pain. If they got through every task, if they answered all the questions on theory, they got something nice, like a piece of candy or a toy. But not today. She’d dropped the ball. Today she got the pain. She curled her shoulders, trying to make herself smaller.
Instead, a harsh klaxon assaulted the air and no pain followed. The white-coat looked at the ceiling, head cocked to the sound, face uncertain.
“Stay on the carpet,” instructed the white-coat sternly.
All the children blinked as their neural tech registered the command. He picked up the phone that hung in the corner and pressed the handset against his ear, frowning. He muttered to himself, jiggling the button on the top when there was no dial tone.
“Someone’s coming,” whispered Alpha, peeking out from behind a curtain of red hair at the others in the circle.
The group turned to look at the doors, ball forgotten. So often Alpha knew things before they happened.
“What?” demanded the white-coat. He walked across the small room towards the door, withdrawing a shinkari pistol from his pocket as he did so. His other hand stretched out for the handle when the door blew inwards. He took the brunt of the blast in the chest, knocked unconscious as the heavy metal door crashed into him. He slammed against the wall, crumpled and bleeding.
A handsome Asian man lowered his booted foot with a smile of satisfaction on his face. “Told you I could,” he quipped to the tall, attractive black woman at his side, as if in answer to a dare. She raised her weapon and hustled into the room as the children watched, silent and motionless.
“By the Monarchs. China, there are kids here. What is going on?”
“What? But—” China stepped forward with a look of dawning horror on his face. His features turned pale as the blood left his face. ¬¬
“What are you kids doing here?” The woman demanded, her voiced stressed, one hand white-knuckled on the rifle she carried.
“We live here. What are you doing here?” Foxtrot asked, brushing his hair from his face to look at the imposing woman fearfully.
“You live here? You’re the secret project?”
Juliet could feel the woman’s violet eyes on her. She was looking at her scar, the only one that could be seen because of her hair cut.
“What did that bastard Mycroft do to you?” she demanded.
“Sarge,” China swallowed. “There’s no time.” There were unshed tears in his voice as he tugged on his partner’s arm urgently.
The children all looked at them in confusion as she responded stubbornly. “I’m not killing kids, China. We’re getting them out. Come with us. Now,” she commanded the group.
Juliet shook her head with the rest of her siblings. No. It’ll hurt if we leave the carpet without permission.
“They’ll slow us down. Sarge,” the Asian man implored, holding a gentle and familiar hand against her cheek. “We won’t get away ourselves. We’ll die if we don’t go. The timers are running. I’m going to kill my father when we see him.” He swore heatedly.
As the large dark-skinned woman looked at the small group of children, her eyes settled on Juliet. She was the smallest. Juliet knew what the woman was thinking. She could feel it. “We can’t leave the carpet,” she pleaded urgently. “We’re not allowed.”
As the big woman strode forward and picked her up she started crying, anticipating the pain. But it’s not my fault, she thought bitterly as hot tears splashed her cheeks.
The others started crying as well. Delta’s green eyes spilled tears freely as he watched Juliet carried away from them. They weren’t allowed to leave the carpet.
Alpha looked at Juliet, slung over the woman’s shoulder as she turned to leave. Alpha had tears streaming down her face and Juliet heard her sibling mindspeak. ‡You have to go. Don’t be afraid, you’ll survive. Remember us, Juliet. Remember all of us.‡
How did she do that? Alpha knew things before they happened.
That last glimpse, she’d never forget: slung over a shoulder like a knapsack as the pain started and the woman broke into a run. Sharp pain stabbed into her head while her tears blurred her vision.
Except the middle remained clear.
A tear-curtained tunnel burned into her memory, with her brothers and sisters still sitting on the red carpet while alarms split the air.
“How long?” Her kidnapper barked, at a full sprint down the corridor with Juliet curled in pain and whimpering like a wounded animal over her shoulder.
“Three minutes,” huffed the man, trying to hold in a sob and effortlessly speeding past. “Then Mycroft’s science experiment goes up in flame.”
Jay screamed as fresh pain exploded in her head and the nightmare finally released her. She opened her eyes and a dark rage narrowed her vision, reality mirroring the dream. She reached out with the Gift, intent on destruction.
Ooh, now I’m drooling.
Where do you hide out on the interwebs, so I can stalk… erm… follow you and discover more about your work? [My profile is over here.] [And don't forget Twitter]
And the last question…
Do you have anything published?
Suffrage: The World Keys
A group of rebels travel across realities to steal something precious. What would you do to take control of your destiny?
There is something hidden on Earth. A secret so immense it’s worth killing for. In a race against time, five travelers arrive, hunting a key that will change the balance of power in their world.
Jay’s birth father is a monster. He destroyed half her world and established a twisted version of utopia from the ashes, ruled by the Five Monarchs. But his blood flows in her veins, giving her power beyond any human. She has to prove that she’s not him; that she’s better. With the help of her teammates, she has to stop him from destroying her adoptive family and her world by finding the one thing that can make her his equal. But will the world key make her a monster, too?
Dr Stanford Ellis, an American scientist, is tasked with understanding these travelers. What does their arrival mean, for his country and the world? He must unravel the mystery before it’s too late.
Little do the travelers know, they were followed to our Earth. The Walker King has come seeking the rebels, and will let nothing stand in the way of his revenge. Freedom comes at a price.
Thanks. Definitely be checking this out in a bit.
Julian, thanks for stopping by today. It’s been great getting to know you a bit better.