01 Mar 2015

Author interview with Science Fiction Author Marcha Fox

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What better to way to start the month of March than with an interview with a gifted author by the name of MARCHA FOX? 

Hello Marcha. Please tell us how you come to writing?

I was one of those fortunate people who had a mother who read to me.  Thus, I fell in love with the magic of books before I could even hold a pencil.  I wasn’t much older when I knew someday I wanted to write stories myself.  The first story I remember writing was when I was in 1st grade.  In 6th grade I wrote numerous science fiction stories about our teachers’ planet of origin.  Some things never change.  People should pay more attention to their childhood dreams because they comprise what we were programmed at birth to pursue but that often gets trampled upon by life and those around us.

How did you come up with your stories?

I went to a writers’ workshop many years ago where they talked about using the “What if…?” formula.  For example, “What if a _______ and a ______ decided to ______ and the result was _________?”  Even someone who is not inherently creative can use that formula to come up with an idea for at least a short story.  My premise was a teenaged girl getting jettisoned from a starcruiser in an escape pod which ultimately evolved from one to four full-length novels.  That’s what happens when your characters take over, various others come on the scene uninvited, and they proceed to virtually tell the story.  At a certain point, all I had to do was write it down.

You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?

That’s like asking me which of my children I love best!  Each child is my favorite in some way or another and the same goes for my characters.  It’s hard to choose between a telepathic walking plant, an obnoxious robot, various other alien creatures, some of which have psychic abilities, and then, of course, the humans who each have their own story, cultural roots and personality.  I suppose amongst the humans I lean toward Win Sendori as my favorite.  He’s probably the most complex and a little on the unpredictable side.  He has surprised me quite a few times from the moment he walked on the scene in “A Dark of Endless Days.”  He started out as no more than a clerk in the Cyrarnian equivalent of the local Ace Hardware store, but quickly became a main character.  You’ve gotta love someone like that!

Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?

Dreamcast copyWith a few adjustments for age, these are pretty close.

Creena:  Taylor Dooley

Dirck:  Jason Behr

Laren:  Josh Brolin

Sharra:  Wendy Benson

Deven:  Preston Bailey

Win:  ?? (Didn’t have the guy’s name on the site where I found this picture but he’s 100% my character)

Bryl:  Senna Guemmour

Troy:  Ben Bass

Jen:  Gerard Butler

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?

I suppose I’m like Creena as much as anyone because I’ve always been curious and wanted to know how and why things worked.  I was not as assertive, though, and thus wish I’d been more like her in that respect.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

First of all, this was never intended to be a tetralogy comprised of four full-length novels.  I had a basic story line but as the characters revealed themselves subplots developed that would often surprise me.  There were times when they would get themselves into such a mess that I had no idea whatsoever how they would get out.  When that happened I just started to write to see what they would do and they would eventually figure it out.  I suppose that’s something that only another writer can understand.

Since this is a series, is there one particular book that is your favourite over the others?

That’s another difficult question but my favourite is probably “A Psilent Place Below.”  That one nearly wrote itself and surprised me continually as the characters took over the story.  The caverns were first mentioned in “A Dark of Endless Days” but at that time I didn’t plan for them to become such an important part of the story, much less possess any mystical qualities.  There’s a lot of action, drama, suspense and pathos which is all somewhat dark and analogous to the caverns.  I even wrote a blog for my astrological website pointing out how this book possessed a strong Plutonian archetype theme.  Pluto is the modern ruler of Scorpio which is the 8th zodiacal house and includes death and rebirth, purging hidden corruption, and intense experiences among other things.

What is your main reason for writing?

It would be impossible for me NOT to write.  I have always done better expressing myself in writing, whether it was letters to friends, relatives and at times newspaper editors and Congress Critters, or creative expression.  I’ve been writing all my life and can’t imagine not doing so.  I can remember when the first home computers came out with word processors and how excited I was.  I wrote my first two books on a typewriter, the first one actually on a manual typewriter!  A former boss at NASA nicknamed me the “Mistress of B.S.” because it was so easy for me to put words on paper.  As noted, I’m a professional astrologer (much to the dismay of my college physics professors) and it figures that the muse of writing, Kalliope, is in an important place in my horoscope which explains a lot about my propensity for writing and the fact it’s part of my self-identity. 

I‘ve only read one of the books so far. What is the idea behind your series?Star_Trails_3d_version_12714

In a nutshell, “Close families share everything.  Including consequences.”  Teenaged Creena, her brother, Dirck, and her father, Laren, have each made some decisions that splashed all over everyone else.  The story’s villain, Augustus Troy, is the plot driver in that he wants Laren, who’s a terralogist, i.e. planetary engineer, to help him achieve his despotic, world-domination goals. When Laren refuses Troy retaliates by orchestrating a variety of situations that assure that Laren and his family are as miserable as possible.  When he can’t coerce him into his employ and it’s clear his refusal stands firm, Troy vows to get rid of him completely so his talents can’t benefit anyone else. 

Troy’s game of cat and mouse of course affects the family, who is stuck in dire circumstances on a planet with lethal seasonal extremes which the meager structure they call home cannot withstand without major modifications.  Laren has a plan to fortify it, but he’s arrested on numerous bogus charges and thrown in prison, leaving teenaged Dirck responsible for looking after his mother and younger brother.  The family has been separated since Creena’s escape pod incident and she’s still trying to find her way home.  Throughout the series, their goal of being reunited as a family encounters one obstacle after another as they battle political intrigue, harsh weather, and even time and space.  So there you have it, over fifteen hundred pages comprising four novels in two paragraphs.  LOL.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?

The best is when you can’t type fast enough to keep up with the ideas coming at you.  The worst is that final edit when you’re trying to get everything connected properly, smoothed out, cleaned up and so forth.  Thank heavens for beta readers who help so much with that!

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

That has been very difficult for me.  When I really started marketing the series it was distracting enough that it took me much longer than planned to finish up the 4th and final book of the series.  Currently I’m concentrating on marketing and letting various ideas rumble around inside my head for my next project. 

What do you do when you don’t write?

Sleep.  LOL.  If I’m not working on a novel I’m writing a blog or doing an astrological reading, which I always do in writing since my clients are all over the world.  I prefer to do them that way (after all, I am the Mistress of B.S.) even though they take longer because it gives me time to think them through, make sure I didn’t miss anything, and then the client has something in writing to refer back to.

Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.

Being a physicist and NASA contractor engineer turned astrologer and science fiction writer is pretty odd.  As far as mundane, I love dark chocolate.

What else would you like us to know about yourself and your books?

Science fiction inspired me to ultimately obtain a Bachelors’ Degree in physics and go to work at NASA.  I hope that my books can do the same for the young people who read them.  I always was a little disappointed that I didn’t learn that much science from those sci-fi novels so I try to include some actual science in mine so they’ll learn something along the way.  I have a section on my website just for parents and educators with lesson and discussion ideas related to different parts of the book.  Science teachers looking for a project for their brighter students for extra credit could use these as well as homeschoolers.  Some kids are bored by straight facts and no context and my books bring them together.  Nothing would please me more than to hear someday that my books motivated someone to study science, engineering or math.

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

I know that it’s a major no-no to edit your own work but I have been forced to do so since I couldn’t afford to hire one.  I have a pretty good eye and if I set my stories aside for a while, in some cases years, I can go back and look at it objectively.  Most the time I don’t even remember writing it.  I like to do the final, final, FINAL edit on a print copy since it seems typos are easier to find there than on the computer.  I’ve done my own formatting as well.

I’ve read enough books which supposedly had an editor yet were loaded with typos, grammatical and punctuation errors to say nothing of plot inconsistencies to realize that having an editor was not a panacea.  I also take pride in my work and want it to be as good as possible.  I know that I haven’t caught everything, but then editors don’t, either.   This way I have no one to blame but myself if something got missed. 

I’ve been told that an editor would take out a lot of the science I have in my books as well which would defeat much of the purpose I have for writing them.  I’ve heard horror tales of working with editors as well, so I do it myself plus have some excellent beta readers who usually catch anything I miss.  I know I’d make an excellent editor and would love a job doing that, actually.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

It’s nice to be in control of your own work and its fate but it can be pretty lonely and depressing when you’re just learning, haven’t sold many books, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.  Learning the marketing side has taken me through the entire spectrum.  I enjoy putting together promotional material on Photoshop which is almost as fun as writing.  It’s a high when you see a 5-star review or an increase in sales but then a low when it seems everything grinds to a screeching halt and it seems futile due to so much competition.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

I love being able to express myself creatively via fiction and opinionwise in my blogs.  It feels good and I enjoy it tremendously.  My least favorite thing is finding a typo or mistake after it’s in print.

What is your advice to new writers?

The only way to learn how to write is to write.  I remember being told that everyone should throw their first novel in the trash and call it tuition.  While you can learn a lot about technique from workshops, books and writers’ groups, the only way to put it to good use is apply it.  Writing is a skill like math where you can’t learn it by watching, you have to jump right in and do it and you will naturally improve over time with practice.  I have numerous writing tips on my blog as well as a few where I recount my experience and how I got to where I am.  Time spent as a technical writer at NASA definitely had a strong effect.  The more different kinds of writing you pursue the better you become.

Who are your favourite authors?

Ceri London and Martha Fawcett are two of my favorites.  They write phenomenal science fiction and as authors we share many of the same standards and challenges.  They are awesome individuals and I have tremendous admiration for their creativity and work.  Another favorite is Catherine Asaro, who like myself has a physics background.  There are several other authors too numerous to name whom I admire as well and have taught me so much.

What makes you laugh?

I have a pretty dry sense of humor.  I enjoy movies such as “Young Frankenstein,” “Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail,” “Ruthless People,” “A Fish Called Wanda” and a host of others.  My grandkids and cats do a good job of making me laugh as well.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

Physicist Richard Feynman.  He was not only a brilliant scientist but a fascinating person with a great sense of humor.  He had the ability to bring complex principles into terms that anyone could understand.  His “Lectures on Physics” series helped get me through college when the textbook simply didn’t explain things well enough for me to grasp.  His book, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” is one of my all-time favorites.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

“The Descent” by Kevin MacLeod.  He has numerous pieces available for free use in book trailers and so forth and I really like that one.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I consider it very carefully.  Sometimes it’s nothing more than someone’s subjective opinion but it’s always interesting to see it through another’s eyes, even if you don’t agree.  I find that when criticism is constructive it can really help you discover bad habits you may have in your writing.  Once they’re pointed out, you can make a conscious effort to avoid them in the future. 




Beyond the Hidden Sky

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Hidden-Star-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B005JQNN2M/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-the-hidden-sky-marcha-a-fox/1112260474

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/509500

Kobo Link: http:/store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/beyond-the-hidden-sky

Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3911767

Book Bubble Excerpts

Excerpt 1: Consequences Can Bite  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2861/

Excerpt 2: Decisions, Decisions  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3131/

Excerpt 3: Thinking Like a Robot  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4599/

Excerpt 4: A Terrifying Alien World  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4632


A Dark of Endless Days

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Endless-Days-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B007X5V1TE/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-dark-of-endless-days-marcha-fox/1112742769

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/511336

Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/a-dark-of-endless-days

Create Space (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3937890


Book Bubble Excerpts

Excerpt 1:  Listen to your inner voice:  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2735

Excerpt 2:  UFO Lands at Hill AFB:  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3228

Excerpt 3:  How does it work?  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3754

Excerpt 4:  Mingling with Earthlings:  https://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4741


A Psilent Place Below

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Psilent-Place-Below-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B0082CW8QC/

Barnes & Noble Link:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-psilent-place-below-marcha-fox/1120000574

Smashwords: https:/www.smashwords.com/books/view/511348

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/a-psilent-place-below

Create Space: (Print copy): https://www.createspace.com/3991023


Book Bubble Excerpts

Book Bubble 1: The World of Psi:  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2752
Book Bubble 2: Thoughts Become Things: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/3589/

Book Bubble 3: A Quieter Hero: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4698/


Refractions of Frozen Time

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Refractions-Frozen-Time-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B00RWKN6MA/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/512160

Create Space:  https://www.createspace.com/5055000


Book Bubble Excerpts

The Fickle Finger of Fate  http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4602/

Commandos Raid the Caverns http:/www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4666/

The Heart of the Scorpion: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/stream/4730/


Star Trails Compendium (Includes terms and definitions as well as background information on Cyraria)


Social Media & Internet Author Contacts MarchaFoxpix

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6481953.Marcha_A_Fox

Author Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor

Author Website:  http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/startrailsIV

Blog Page: http://marcha2014.wordpress.com/

Tumblr:  http://startrailsiv.tumblr.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/marcha-fox/86/440/326/

Google+:  google.com/+MarchaFoxAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kallioperisingp/

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZsgOqTmtMFutwU3lt4RByQ

Bublish Author Page:  https://www.bublish.com/author/view/3111

Visit Cyraria in Realm Explorers: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com/2015/02/realm-explorers-part-xxxv-visit-cyraria.html

MARCHA FOX MarchaFoxpix

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6481953.Marcha_A_Fox

Author Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor

Author Homepage:  http://www.StarTrailsSaga.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/startrailsIV

Blog Page: http://marcha2014.wordpress.com/

Tumblr:  http://startrailsiv.tumblr.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/marcha-fox/86/440/326/

Google+:  google.com/+MarchaFoxAuthor

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kallioperisingp/

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZsgOqTmtMFutwU3lt4RByQ

written by
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany in 1970 as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ is his first published work. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.
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