After finally reading Ice Red for last week’s review (it was so much fun, what on Earth or Mars was I waiting for?) I was very glad to get the chance to ask Jael a few questions about her marvelous combinations of science fiction and fairy tales. After the interview, check out her take on Jack and the Beanstalk (I found a bit of Pinocchio too!) in today’s featured review, Ladder to the Red Star.
1. Hello, Jael! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, thanks for having me today. A little about myself? Well, I grew up on the American Great Plains, went to school in the Midwest, and now live in beautiful New England with my family and my enormous collection of houseplants.
2. Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?
I am definitely a plotter. My books are all based on classic fairy tales, and so I have a plot laid out for me before I begin writing. My task each day is to figure out how my specific, individual characters are driven to enact this plot. For example, my new release Ladder to the Red Star is based on the tale of Jack and the beanstalk. Jacques, the hero, must ascend the space elevator cable to the space station floating high above the Earth in order to steal a valuable item from his greatest enemy. But what drives him to do such a thing? My challenge each day is to write my characters in a way that makes them real people as well as archetypes.
3. In your guest post last week, you talked about why you love science fiction romance. But what inspired you to combine Snow White and Mars for Ice Red?
I decided to combine fairy tales and science fiction because I wanted to use these mythic stories to explore what the powerful technology we humans have invented might mean for us culturally and as individuals. Arthur C. Clarke once said that advanced science is not much different from magic. Enchanted mirrors become video screens, golden eggs become valuable data spheres, but the human drama surrounding these artifacts remains the same. I began my Once Upon a Red World series with a retelling of Snow White because that was the first fairy tale I ever read, the one that dug deepest into my mind. With Book II, Ladder to the Red Star, I went with the tale of Jack and the beanstalk, a classic hero’s journey. With each new fairy tale I reinvent, I try to delve into what these stories have to tell us about our basic humanity, no matter how much science may change us.
4. Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?
There are many more fairy tales to be retold in my Once Upon a Red World series. Next up is the story of Devi and Bianca’s father and his estranged lover Sita. This book, based on the tale of Patient Griselda, will look further into the Aurora project, the corrupt plot endangering the Solar system. Stay tuned.
5. Play the casting game; if one of your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the characters?
This is a difficult challenge for me, because I try to write my characters to be so specific in looks and personality that it’s hard to picture them as any one else. But…I’d have to go with Chris Evans as Jacques, and the beautiful, blue-eyed Indian actress Aishwarya Rai as Devi.
6. And what’s your favorite scene in Ladder to the Red Star?
My favorite scene varies, but right now it is the scene in Devi’s flat when Jacques is recovering from an intensive medical treatment. He’s so wounded and yet so adorable, and Devi is striving so heroically not to pounce on him. I just love the tension between and within my hero and heroine in this passage.
7. Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
I loved reading from very early on, but the first author who really made an impression on me was C. S. Lewis. To this day I remember hanging out in my closet for hours, trying to get into Narnia.
8. What is your favorite thing about the writing experience and why?
Seeing my books on the bookstore sites like Amazon and iBooks. It gives me a shiver every time I see it.
9. Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I think maybe Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. That book took me for a ride that was just so much fun.
10. Book you’ve faked reading:
Les Miserables. I got through three chapters before giving up and just watching the musical.
11. Book you’ve bought for the cover:
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. That creepy half-face staring out at me sideways gave me the most delicious nightmares for months.
12. Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know to ask.
Due to my martial arts classes, I can break a wooden board in half with my fist, elbow, heel, and forehead. If ever a wooden board attacks me in a dark alley, I’ll be prepared.
13. Morning person or night owl?
Night owl. I function best at two in the morning, enveloped in silence and vibrating with caffeine.
14. Coffee or tea? (because I couldn’t leave it at 13 questions!)
Coffee. It is the nectar of life, the font of creativity, and the reason I get up in the morning. However, all my Martian characters drink tea. Humph. Martians.
Jael Wye grew up on the American Great Plains, went to school in the Midwest, and now lives in beautiful New England with her family and her enormous collection of houseplants. For more of Jael’s unique blend of futurism and fairy tale, don’t miss her ongoing series Once Upon A Red World.
Jael will be awarding an eCopy of Ice Red to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. So check out the rest of the tour at Goddess Fish Promotions!