10 questions for sci-fi author Keyla Damaer
" A coward is not the one who is afraid. It’s what we do about fear that makes the difference." (From K. Damaer website)
1) How was it to publish your first book?
I published The Parallels Book 1 of the Sehnsucht Series in 2017 when I thought it was ready for the public. It wasn’t.
I had two fellow authors reading it. They both suggested a revision. Then, my other half tried to translate it in Italian, our first language, but pointed out the same issues my colleagues had. So, I reviewed it, basically rewrote it. I’m not talking about the plot, that didn’t change in the least. I’m talking about the basics about writing we forget after school, like story structure, passive voice, etcetera, etcetera.
In March 2020, I published the second edition, after learning my lesson: don’t click that magic button until you have a wrapped up product.
2) What was the inspiration for "The Manderian Halden"?
The Manderian Halden is an anthology of short stories and introduces the reader to the world of the Manderian people, reptilian aliens in a constant fight to conquer more space to solve an old problem: overpopulation due to how fast they reproduce. Inspiration came from several sources, starting from reality, and ending with Star Trek.
3) From where do you draw inspiration?
I draw inspiration from basically everything. A picture, a song, news headlines, dreams, conversations with random people. For instance, I was watching the news when I was inspired about one of the final scenes in The Parallels – Book 1 of The Sehnsucht Series.
4) How do you connect with your readers?
I set up a newsletter back in 2020. I didn’t want to, and for a year and a half I struggled to keep up with it. I didn’t know what to talk about. Then, I discovered my voice and used that. Now, I have fun every time I have to wrap up the next newsletter. It’s almost that time of the month (no, not that one), and I can barely wait. I have so many things to talk about to my readers.
I’m also on all major social networks, but mostly on Facebook.
5) What is your favorite book (I'll allow three)?
The Silmarillion is at the top of my list. I’m a great fan of Tolkien, so of course I read all his books and many books about him, but The Silmarillion amazes me every time I read it, and I lost count of how many times I did.
The Darkover Saga by Marion Zimmer Bradley reintroduced adult me to science fiction, although it’s more fantasy than sci-fi.
Last but not lease, The Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco, a masterpiece of Italian narrative. Then, everything I read about Eco is a masterpiece, fiction and non-fiction.
6) Do you read outside your writing genre?
Absolutely. I read almost every genre. How can one know what they like and what they don’t if they don’t try? I definitely know what I like. Fantasy and sci-fi are at top, followed by thrillers.
7) Did a book ever make you cry/mad?
Some part of the Silmarillion make me cry ever single time I read them, like the story of the Trees, or Beren and Luthien, and Turin. The latter is such a tragedy.
Mad? Yes, but I can only think at one book that made me mad. A Feast For Crows by Martin. It was like two in the morning, and I couldn’t put it down, until Tyrion killed Tywin Lannister, my favourite character. I wanted to threw the tablet across the room. Never recovered from that loss, and I didn’t enjoy the following book as much as the previous ones.
8) What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? I’ll be obvious here. It’s marketing. I studied it in school and never liked it, never understood it. I still detest it and I know it’s a pit to throw money in in which I don’t want to fall unless I know what I’m doing. I don’t, so I don’t do ads. 9) How do you select the names of your characters? In many ways. The last stunt I pulled out, was asking to my subscribers in my newsletter. I asked two questions about the short story I give for free to those who subscribe. There was a drawing and two winners because I needed two new names. I usually pick up a word in any language I know, smash it, move around the letters and that’s it. I have to try speaking a name while munching a cookie. I heard it’s a good way to find weird names. My characters are mostly aliens, so I do need weird names.
10) What current projects are working on? This is a little teaser for readers.
After publishing two sequels of my first book, I’m working on Book 2 and 3. Technically they're one book in two parts, that’s why I’m working on them at the same time. Book 2 is final draft, ready for my critique partner. I’m still working on Book 3, but I’m half away through. However, I’m quite slow in my editing process. So, I don’t know if I will be able to have them ready before 2024. Probably not.
Bonus question. Is there something you want your readers to know if you could talk to them face to face?
I can’t think of anything, but if I ever had to talk to my readers face to face, they could just ask what they want to know. They already can by subscribing to my newsletter. It’s not face to face, but fewer things are these days post-covid.
If you want to know more about Keyla, or purchase her books head over to her website:
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