Interview with Author AK Shelley
It is a great pleasure to welcome AK Shelley author Star Knight Errant: Thrust.
Welcome AK to The Adventures of the Everyday Fangirl and thanks so much for taking the time out your busy schedule to help us get to know more about you and your new story better!
What prompted you to write in this genre and who or what inspired you to?
This story was the cumulation of several separate threads in my life. For years, I’d wanted to write a romance to fulfil my membership requirements for Romance Writers of America, but I had few inspirational ideas that fit the form of a traditional romance, especially when it came to an HEA (happily ever after).
I’m a huge fan of speculative genres—science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories. I’ve been writing fantasy for years under a different pen name (Angela Shelley) and had always intended to write scifi one day. Then with the climate of the past couple years, in which science is not held in high regard by many people, it just seemed an important thing to elevate. It’s where I wanted to put my energy.
And, this particular story came to me in a dream, of all things. I dreamt the first scene almost exactly as it’s written—with the blue, axe-wielding Devants, non-responsive AI, the superhero, and all. When I woke, I had a bit of a eureka moment. Finally, the romance I could write!
So I wrote it for all of my friends at RWA who’d encouraged me over the years—Louisa Bacio, Kathleen Harrington, Dax Varley, Tara Lain, and many, many others (too many to list). And then I entered the story in two contests, mostly because I’d also promised these people I’d enter something as soon as I could (last year, they expanded rules for many unpublished writers’ contests to include those who’ve published but not in that particular genre—prior to that change I was over-qualified to enter). When the story won both contests, I was amazed. As a result of those contests, I sold the story to an editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’m very grateful people enjoy this crazy dream story as much as I do.
What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer and do your characters reflect some of these attributes?
Remaining sane as a writer—that phrase makes me laugh! Like writers, as opposed to any other profession, have a particular challenge to remain sane. I have heard talk of a high number of writers fighting depression or anxiety. However, these problems are prevalent in our society overall, and I don’t believe writers have any special affinity toward these particular difficulties. I have noticed some writers tend to have especially big egos, though. Many tend to reify themselves as author, or best-selling author, or award-winning author. Then when they don’t find the success or accolades they believe are deserving of that label, they become upset. They forget that are not the label. So being aware of the pitfalls of ego is helpful for a sanity-check.
The key for success in any career, I think, is to hold the primary reason that convinced you to enter the field like a flame in your heart. The highest motivations are those centered around helping others, and they will give you energy to complete your task even when you don’t succeed. Of course, if your reason for writing is primarily selfish—to become famous or wealthy—then that won’t be much help when you encounter obstacles, which we all do, from time to time.
And then, beyond that, it can help to remember everything in this life is impermanent. Everything about this life comes together and falls apart. Life is just like that. Writing isn’t outside of that. You can’t cling to it. You need to come to a space where you are at peace with what you do and who you are. Sometimes that will include writing. Sometimes not.
Writing can be a powerful tool for spiritual development. But like all tools, it is neutral in nature. You need to wield it in a positive direction for it to have a positive result.
What kind of research did you have to do for the novel, series or set of stories that was different from others?
In my previous stories, mostly fantasy, I researched mythological creatures, climate change, and magical systems. So they were completely different from this one. Here, my research has been about what we know of Mars, the solar system, and the Andromeda Galaxy. Speed of light, space travel, stuff like that. And since I’ve been a fan of scifi for a long time—I’ve even done a little science journalism, much of what I write stands on the information I’ve gathered in the past. There is also a bit of a magical element hidden in the romance, and that research was based on some non-western traditions of spiritual development and healing through intimacy.
What else do you want to share about Star Knight Errant?
I am happy to share this teaser trailer and blurb for Star Knight Errant!
When newly-divorced Martian Air Science Engineer Cass Hedley takes a dare to use her new Home Artificial Intelligence system for a night of fun, there’s only one man she can imagine spending time with: her school-girl crush, the legendary comic book hero Star Knight Errant. She imagines strong hands, hard abs, and bubble baths, but her black market AI has another idea: an illegal fight club that will only end in the companion’s—or her own—death.
When Evander Mór transports to an unknown desert planet, he’s not surprised. Transport clones disappear often enough to not cause alarm. Back home on Exeter, his origin will see his cloning data didn’t arrive at Station Alpha and he’ll send another. Meanwhile, he’ll figure out what backwater he’s found himself on and enjoy the company of this gorgeous, sassy scientist. And apparently destroy a house AI bent on murder. But when things get hotter than a supernova between him and Cass, he discovers he’s only got 18 hours to stop the AI, convince her he’s more than fiction, and find a way to cross the gulf between galaxies to bring her home with him.
Star Knight Errant: Thrust, is expected August 26, 2019 through The Wild Rose Press.
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