Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
With the third book in the Maelstrom Chronicles released this week, I’m honoured to have the opportunity to interview their author, Jody Wallace and to share her responses here – read on to find out more about this brilliant science fiction adventure and romance author!
Where did you get the inspiration for the book/series?
A few years ago, books about angels were getting really popular. Being an a-hole, I thought about how I could take the angel-character trope and mess it all up! Then, my next inspiration was a touch of Star Trek’s Prime Directive, where the protagonists can explore other worlds but they absolutely can’t trash, influence, or otherwise alter the native cultures.
And how to tie all this together and set it in a familiar environment? I imagined that our planet, Terra, was one where we were below the acceptable level of “aliens can treat us as technological equals,” but the aliens still needed to interact with us in order to save our lives. In order to do this, they pretended to be angels based on a conglomeration of various religious mythologies, as their sentient Ship calculated this would have less of a harmful effect on our developing cultures than letting us know what was really going on.
Needless to say, this didn’t go so well, and Terrans, being the pesky species that we are, found out the truth and wrecked stuff.
What is your writing process?
I’ve done fast-draft and I’ve done a book in two years. I don’t think I have a specific process, but if I force myself to meet a certain word count goal most of the days of the week, it keeps the mental faucet flowing. This is, of course, assuming all the humans and cats in my charge cooperate. Hint: they rarely do.
Do you write using pen and paper or on a computer?
COMPUTER! If I have brainstorms in the middle of the night or when I’m driving, though, I use my smart phone to take notes verbally in a text to speech program. Before smart phones could do that, I used to leave myself messages on my answering machine. If I ever wrote something down on paper, I’d just lose it in my cavernous pocketbooks.
Who is your favourite character out of your stories and why?
In the Maelstrom series, Ship has been a big favorite. The sentient AI is nearly omniscient and can create endless amounts of data storage as-needed using an organic matrix, so there are no limits on its ability to evolve. Ships in the Maelstrom stories are built by organic sentients and used as mechanical crafts for a time until their matrix develops enough that they are born” into sentience. At that point they start to develop distinct personalities and choose what type of Ship they want to be – military, population, research, and so on. Ship 1001 is a military ship with a bossy, nosy personality who butts into the lives of all its residents on a regular basis. Social interaction is vital to Ship, and it often gets “the feelz.”
If you were a character in your story, which would you like to be?
I’d want to be one of the medical doctors on Ship so I could cure cancer and other Terran ailments!
How and why did you choose the names for your main characters?
I don’t remember, to be honest, though I keep a series glossary with all the character names in it, including secondary ones, in alphabetical order. When I start to create too many characters whose names sound alike or begin with the same letter, I know where else to focus my imagination. I like shortish names for main characters, or at least shortish nicknames, because I have to type them a lot.
I seem to favor names with Js. No idea why J!
Thank you so much for answering my questions, Jody – and for writing such an enthralling series! Read my reviews of the books in the Maelstrom Chronicles by following these links: