These are Frequently Asked Questions by the feedback I have gotten from Other Systems. These questions and answers are also found at the FAQ on the website http://other-systems.com and my main blog: http://zbpublications.wordpress.com
What inspired you to create Other Systems?
Other Systems was inspired by the Kepler Missions alongside many other factors. First of all, I tend to be interested in groups of people that encourage camaraderie and I like ships (both space and sea-faring) so I knew I wanted to write a book with a ship in it. Secondly, I was stuck with FamineLands 3 and wanted to do something really different. Thirdly, I find the idea of time dilation and how it effects families really fascinating. Finally, I wanted to write a book that my husband would really like and he’s a big science fiction fan.
Who did the artwork? (Cover and Act Breaks)
I did. I started doing some artwork for the website, then the editor liked it so much, she asked me if we could use it for the book. This was one of the fun things about working with a small press publishing company.
Do you identify with any of the characters?
Unfortunately, yes. I identify with all the characters at one point or another during the writing of a novel. By the second draft, all the primary and secondary characters start speaking to me even if they are not a point of view character. Mark changed his entire sub-plot.
Why did you choose to tell the story with the two characters Abby and Cole?
Abby was always the main character, but originally Cole’s parts were told by Harden and Helen. However when I looked over their chapters they all were repeats of Abby chapters just from their view points or they were too introspective. Since they did not add forward momentum to the plot ultimately they had to go. I loved the Prologue from Harden’s perspective, but it was so angry and emotional that it was hard to understand what was going on in the plot. The other reason I used Cole as the narrator is he looks at all three of his kids, the fleet, and what’s going on Kipos. Harden is focused upon himself and Helen is focused on protecting her brothers, running the ship, and everything else she has to do. Mark was never considered, but there is issues with his age. He starts the book at 6 and ages to 26, but he was certainly too young in the beginning to understand what is going on.
Finally, while Abby grew up on Earth and ages seventeen through nineteen during the course of the novel, Cole was an adult. He starts the book at 36 and ends it at 54 already a father of three. The difference in their perspectives is literally astronomical.
Is Abby (or go ahead and insert your favorite character here) based off you?
No. I will admit at times, however I do give my characters little bits of myself in order to make them feel more real. For example: Abby loves bubble tea. I didn’t bother going down to my favorite tea house and checking out the menu to pick something out for her, I just gave her my favorite flavors. (However she likes boba in hers, I do not.) As I said, Abby begins the book at seventeen, she identifies with her maternal ancestry Chinese side more than her paternal Scottish heritage. I am just an an average thirty something white lady. So nope she is not me.
(SLIGHT SPOILER IN THE NEXT QUESTION–IF YOU DO NOT WANT ANSWERS TO ANY PLOT POINTS DO NOT READ THE NEXT QUESTION and ANSWER! FORGET THAT YOU KNOW HOW TO READ! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!)
I totally understand why Helen took Abby in, but why didn’t Harden fight more to get rid of her?
Now, this is a funny question, because I actually originally wrote this scene. However it was cut very early in the 2nd draft (of 7) since Harden and Helen were no longer point of view characters.
However the other more pressing story-telling problem is that the argument is repetitive of the next chapter when we see Cole and Harden discussing Abby’s employment. Also by this point in the book, the reader already knows Harden loves his family and while Helen is second in command, she runs the ship in regards to personnel. So the argument really didn’t add anything new to the story.
(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT IS OVER!)
Alright so that’s my FAQ so far, if you have any other questions let me know and I will answer them on the website as well as here.