Today, I’m interviewing poet and author, Margaret Fieland. I’m currently reading Margaret’s book Relocated, one of several books she has published. Margaret, tell us about your novel.
Relocated is about a boy who ends up on an alien planet where he gets involved with terrorists. His mother is dead and his father is transferred to the Federation base on Aleyne, a planet populated by dark skinned, humanoid aliens. He discovers a number of secrets about himself, and must process the new information in order to find his place in the world.
The aliens have psi powers: they can mind speak and have a truth sense. Psi is illegal in the Terran Federation, however. My aliens are the good guys, and they’re Black.
The aliens a somewhat different head shape and wider hands, but in addition I wanted to give them a distinctive skin color. I chose Black for a couple of reasons. It gave me another area of conflict to explore in the novel, and it played against stereotypes. And, yes, I was tired of the good guys always being White.
My middle son is in the army, and at the time I wrote the novel, he was stationed in Afghanistan. The desert setting, the Federation Guard base surrounded by a hostile populace, and the main character’s father being in the Guard came out of that.
It sounds like your book addresses some of the issues we face in the world today, a component many a successful science fiction novel shares. I am totally engrossed by Relocated. You’ve done a great job with setting up this alien world and the tension keeps me glued to the page. Tell us how it is you became an author. What was your journey?
I’ve written poetry since high school, scribbled down in notebooks, wrote verses for holidays, birthdays, and the like. Then in 2005 I wrote a poem I wanted to keep. The latest version always seemed to be on the computer I wasn’t on, so I found someplace online to stash it and the others I was writing.
One day in December of 2005 I was reading an e-zine I was fond of and noted that one of my poems fit the parameters of their poetry contest. The poem was accessible online, so I submitted it. I was a finalist, and, thus encouraged, began to work more seriously at my poetry, submitted several more poems, got them published.
Then I found an online writing conference, signed up for it, and hooked up with Linda Barnett Johnson. Linda had a writing community, but in order to join, I had to write fiction as well as poetry.
Up to that point, I hadn’t written any fiction, nor had I had a desire to. But I really, really wanted to join Linda’s poetry forum. I ended up getting hooked on fiction writing and wrote a story, a chapter book, about a boy who loses his mother in a fire. But I knew nothing about writing fiction, so I signed up for the ICL basic course. I spent over a year before I learned enough to beat the chapter book into shape. It was accepted by a small print publisher but is not yet available.
Although I’m a huge sci fi fan, and have been since elementary school, up until I wrote Relocated, I’d never written any. I was wary about the world building, so I decided I’d write a science fiction novel for NaNo. This was late September of 2010, and I spent most of the time from then until the beginning of November on the world-building and the characters. I sketched a rough outline of the plot. When I was writing, I’d plan the scene on my commute to and from work, get home, write it, then make notes for the next couple of scenes.
I was worried about making my word count, so in addition to the novel, I created a poet and wrote 30 of his poems. A number of them are included in the text of the novel. I dragged my feet about what to do with the whole collection, and I ended up self-publishing them. The collection, Sand in the Desert, is available both in print and as an e-book.
Seems you’ve been at this for a long time, and it shows in your writing. So what’s in the future? Are you working on anything right now?
Yes. While I was writing Relocated, I asked myself a question about backstory that resulted in another novel, and adult sci fi novel. Broken Bonds is coming out at the end of this month (July). I also wrote another YA sci fi novel that is due out in November. Both feature characters from Relocated.
I’m currently working on another adult sci fi novel that takes place right after the action in Broken Bonds.
Where we can find your book, website, and FB page?
Where to find me
Sand in the Desert: http://tinyurl.com/SandPoetryPrint
Broken Bonds: http://tinyurl.com/BrokenBonds
Margaret, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I’m always pleased to meet other science fiction authors. I can’t wait to read you next novel! Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Margaret’s e-book.