Published author of academic books, articles, and book chapters and post-apocalyptic “woodpunk” fiction, S.A. Gibson turns his passions for learning, artificial intelligence, and human communication into accessible worlds of wonder and fascination. He lives with his wonderful wife and their beloved Dachshund-Chihuahua in Southern California, where he is currently working toward a Ph.D in education.
How would you describe your story in one sentence?
Thank you for allowing me to speak to your readers, Leticia. The daughter of a Gullah farm owner allies with a warrior from the Library to protect her family’s land in the future post-technology Southern United States.
What inspired you to write your story/characters/theme?
This is the first story I’ve written with an African and African-American centered story. I wanted to explore parts of my heritage and see how a story might read that is set solely in one ethnic community. After learning about the unusual dialect spoken by African-Americans in some parts of the Gullah areas of the Carolinas, I worked on crafting a tale centered on their survival after the fall of modern civilization.
Which authors have influenced you?
I read Andre Norton and the other Golden Age science fiction writers. More recent writers that I actively seek to emulate include Lindsay Buroker, Carol Van Natta, and Rachel Bach.
Which are your favorite literary genres?
I most often read hard science fiction. Sometimes I read detective mysteries, and I have to admit I have read a fair smattering of cozy mysteries.
What makes a book/story special for you?
I enjoy conflict between characters. And, I love characters who live ordinary lives, but must rise to meet unexpected challenges. These characters begin the story with a simple history, and end the book having accomplished incredible things.
Where do you live? Did your hometown/country/culture influence your story?
I have lived my entire life in California. Either in the San Francisco area or Los Angeles area. Aspects of my fiction stories reflect a desire to challenge the culture I grew up in the United States. I am old enough to remember when we were starting to convert to the metric system. But, that change was never carried out. Most of my stories are set in America, but use kilometers, liters, and kilograms.
How long did you need for writing this book/for your first draft/ for your revision/editing process?
The first draft of a book takes me about six months. Editing is an exhausting process. It often takes another six months for editing and proofing.
Did you hire a cover artist/editor/proofreader?
The cover illustration was produced by Aaron Radney. He is a talented new artist who has a sweeping vision. The drawing was a collaboration based on ideas about the story. Set in a library with the two main characters, it reveals some of their traits in a still image. Rachel Bostwick turned the art into a cover for this book. I have been working with a wonderful development editor, EJ Runyon. I can’t express how valuable it is to work with a good editor. She encourages me to take my writing to a whole new level. I love creating stories and driving the characters to meet difficult challenges. My editor helps make the stories a more immersive experience for the readers.
What have you learned while writing and publishing? Did unexpected things happen?
It is fascinating how the story will change as you write it. Some characters decide they want more page time. Some plot stories become more important than you planned. Going with the flow is part of the process of writing fiction. I faced the challenge that many authors face, needing to improve the quality of my writing. I required coaching and editing help to improve my stories. Next, I learned that marketing, for me, is even harder than writing. It is an important job to rise above the many other book titles out there.
What helped you to get inspired and overcome hurdles along the writing of your book?
The types of stories I tell require continuous research. I am always finding new ideas, information, inspiration, and unfortunately distraction in my search to describe my semi-fictional world. For example, in this story, I wondered how to describe the sailing ship that would be used. Researching the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eagle gave me information to fill in a scene in the book.
What would you do differently on a next project?
I am becoming more of a plotter, and less of a pantser with each book. I want to know where the story is going, and which characters are needed for each scene. While the story will change during the writing process, I find it helpful to have the whole story laid out, at least in outline form.
Best piece (s) of advice for first-time writers?
Probably two separate pieces of advice. Be clear on the genre you want to write in. Marketing is difficult. It is almost impossible for new writers to get started in selling books. It is important to think about what will happen to your baby after you have invested a year into creating it. If your targeting of an audience is good enough, you may have some success. The other task for new writers is to review the product you are going to bring to market. Does the writing meet expectations in the genre? Has the editing been done? Are the characters well developed, and does the dialog make sense? Remember, you want to deliver a good experience to your audience.
Where can readers contact you on the internet? Do you have a blog/website?
I have a blog at https://gibsonauthor.wordpress.com/ Also, I’m on Facebook at GibsonNovel
What are you planning to write/publish next?
I am working with my editor on a sequel to Feeling a Way. This story is an epic collision between the native Americans and a horde of invaders from Asia. This book titled, A Final Way is available for pre-order at Smashwords.
Win the ebook of Asante’s Gullah Journey by S. A. Gibson from Amazon. (Participant must reside in the United States and be 18+ years of age)