Hello, again. This is L.M. David interviewing Crystal Dawn, author of Planet Amazon, The Rebirth. Welcome to my little hole in the wall. Let me start this by offering Crystal an apology and a thank you for being such a good sport. For those who read this, this building has a resident vampyre pest. Unfortunately, security was at the far side of the building chasing a lead when Crystal arrived and Preston chased her through the halls trying to … well, bite her. I am grateful he was not successful. He’s like an intelligent rat in a maze. No matter how many times we set traps, he manages to avoid them. Thanks Crystal for being a sport and not leaving.
Okay, let’s begin.
Q. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A. Well, my mother was German and my father was a career Army man from Texas. I and my two brothers were born in Army hospitals in the U.S. We lived in Germany briefly when I was a small child before the family moved to an Army base in Maryland. We moved again while I was in Elementary School and settled on a farm in Northwest Arkansas. I had a job working as a maid at a hotel in a nearby tourist town as a teenager and then in a factory for five years. After that, I went to a junior college, earned an Associate degree, and eventually went to work for the federal government for twelve years. I currently run a small, local property management company and write in my spare time. I have always been an avid reader of any literature, but have a special love for science fiction/fantasy.
Q. As a child whose father was in the military, where did you like living the most and what is your fondest memory?
A. I have always loved Germany and I loved being there as a child. We were able to visit my grandparents often and my Opa (grandpa), lived near the Black Forest when he was young. He was a masterful storyteller. My Oma (grandma) was a domestic queen. They were the perfect grandparents to help develop a young child’s sense of adventure and curiosity. My fondest memories are of my grandparents and especially my Opa. He used to give me chocolate and tell me stories.
Q. In your book, Planet Amazon, the lead character is an Army Colonel. Is there a reason why you wanted her to be in the armed forces?
A. I think the military background gave her many of the skills she would need to go to the wild, war torn planet of Amazon. She needed the type of skills: fighting, strategy, survival skills, and leadership that a military officer would have. In addition, she needed support for her project so she could find her way to Amazon.
Q. Are there any similarities between you and your character, Andrea Staton? If so, what?
A. I think every writer gives their characters some qualities and experiences from their own lives; either theirs or those of someone close to them. I had a creative writing teacher once tell me that the easiest way to tell a believable story was to use your own experiences and sprinkle them liberally throughout your writing. Some of her experiences may be similar to some I’ve had but she achieved the highest levels of accomplishment in everything she did. In some ways, I think she is someone to look up to and be more like. She is strong, capable, intelligent, and tries to see the best in others. In other ways, her life becomes so complicated after she goes to Amazon; it is easy to feel sympathy for her.
Q. How far in the future does your book take place?
A. My book isn’t really set in the future. She goes from our Earth to Amazon and has no way of knowing if it is the same time there or not. She thinks the doorway can change times, but she isn’t sure.
Q. There is mention of a “hidden door”. Why was it hidden?
A. The doorway on our side was on the lost city of Atlantis. She had to find its location under the ocean. The army then had to build a dome around it and excavate the city to find the doorway.
Q. Is there time traveling in Planet Amazon?
A. No, she hasn’t found any evidence of time travel yet. But it is an interesting possibility.
Q. How difficult is it to write science fiction?
A. If you are inspired, any writing is easy. I had bouts of extreme inspiration, mixed with dry spells. I think if you love to write, it’s easier to write than it is not to.
Q. Briefly describe the planets and inhabitants of those worlds that you created.
A. Amazon is a little smaller than Earth, tropical or subtropical everywhere and inhabited by Amazon warriors. They are much like those in Earth’s old legends and mostly female. A queen who is beautiful and their best warrior rule it. They were once highly advanced, but now they are nearly like our medieval times. They have mostly male slaves.
Gallegos is the planet that they are at war with and they regularly raid Amazon for slaves. A cruel king that has a taste for attractive Amazon warriors rules it. He rules with an iron fist and even his own people hate and fear him. It is slightly larger than Earth and has a similar climate. They have mostly female slaves. It is on this planet that Andrea learns a secret. This secret explains her attraction to certain men.
Q. Who is your favorite character?
A. I guess I relate best to Andrea. She followed her dream instead of settling down and having a family life. Most people think about the path they didn’t choose. She doesn’t seem to do that until she gets a chance to have everything she gave up for her dream. She has a complicated personal life, but she does have a chance to develop the type of relationships and bonds she always had to avoid before because of her relentless pursuit of her dream. On the other hand, the men she meets and gets close to are all very special as well.
Q. If your book was turned into a movie, which actress would you get to play Andrea Staton?
A. She is such a dynamic person, maybe Angelina Jolie. She has some similarities to her character in Tomb Raider and I thought she was great in that.
Q. Is there a sequel? If so, what’s it about?
A. I hope to write a whole series of Planet Amazon and the next one will start where the Rebirth ends and continue her journey out into the Gemini galaxy.
Q. You are a self-published author. Why make that decision?
A. I gave it a lot of thought, I received some good feedback from my beta readers, and my family gave me a lot of support so I decided to just do it. It may not be the right decision for everyone, but I still think it was the right decision for me. It leaves my options open and I can still take other options later if I choose.
Q. What has been the hardest part about self-publishing?
A. Self-publishing in itself has been easy. Now we have to deal with most of the marketing and the hard part for any author, waiting and watching for results.
Q. What advice do you have for those still working on becoming a published author?
A. If you love it, don’t ever give up on it. Join a writer’s group so you can get advice. It’s a good place to give and get encouragement. You never know what might make the difference.
Book Blurb From Planet Amazon, The Rebirth:
Andrea Staton, an Army Colonel, dedicated her career and her life to finding the hidden doorway from Earth to the planet Amazon. She is expecting an advanced world that she can learn from, but she is surprised by what appears to be a primitive world that is at war with Gallegos, the closest planet to them. As she negotiates her way around Amazon, Gallegos, and further into their galaxy, she learns secrets that unlock the past not only of these worlds, but also of Earth and specifically her own ancestors. She must learn to be a warrior and to deal with the men here who she finds very different and much harder to resist than the men from Earth. Can she choose between the men that pursue her or will she choose to pursue the elusive man that resists the attraction they share? During her journey, she finds that not only can one person lead to great change, but also that sometimes you can’t fight fate.
Author of Planet Amazon the Rebirth
Author Page: Facebook.com/pages/Crystal-Dawn/378841472210002
Good Reads Profile Page: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/17351230-crystal-dawn