How much research do you do when placing your characters in the future on Mars where you haven't been before? How do you know what it feels like?
I'm interested in the planets in our solar system and read a great deal about them through nasa.gov and space.com. The information on Mars is more than you think. I have been and seen dust storms so I know what they look like and what they are capable of.
Other planets I can dream and imagine what they are depending on the story I am writing. Whenever there is anything technical, such as Pluto's distance from our sun to tunneling, I research the subject as much as I can. The noise the old shuttle in Found The Lost Ones made, I heard that one night when we were camping near a railroad. What a racket.
How did you get the ideas that you used for the first, second, third, etc books?
I had just joined a writing class and since I liked science fiction, I chose that genre. In Similar But Not the Same I wanted a mirror look not just from the alien characters but from the future looking back on today's political manipulations. In Deflection A Race Against Time, once again I wanted the other side of stories that had political fronts. I also wanted to showcase a proud and well known Indian tribe in the southwestern corner of Arizona. The third, Crossroads A Moment in Time, was a half to tell story about the Depression our parents went through. It was a challenge to project the same occurrences, which were true, into the future. _Found The Lost Ones continue on the story of the aliens finding their long lost relatives. This became more of an action adventure tale and addressing the age old problem of slavery. Watch for Return There's No Easy Way coming out soon. It is like a part II to Found. When I wrote _Where Did They Go? for Nanowrimo, there is a message to all husbands to make sure your affairs are in order in case something happens to you. A lot of wives muddle through the bills, and the mechanics around the house after their spouse had passed away. I may be faced with that some day and that is why I wrote Where.
Fantastic. My last question is, what is the hardest thing you have to work at?
I'll have to say grammar. I was an average student in English classes and I never took journalism. But I have remembered some of the basic rules. I found two to three wonderful readers that know their stuff and help me correct the punctuation and other minor problems such as spelling. But the best device I have found to use is the free Grammarly program that catches what my readers missed. It's not easy being a reader. I can read the same passage four to six times and then I see an error. Your brain passes over what you think you read.
Thank you, and by the way, I'm sure your readers want to know what the A. stands for.
It's just my middle initial but when I began Similar, A. Nation was a reference to the characters on Mars building a new nation. Nation is my real married name.