Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Chrystalla Thoma

Welcome to this final Same Six Questions interview of 2011! What a long strange year it's been! Today's guest is science fiction author Chrystalla Thoma. Welcome!

Hi Andy! Yes, my name is Chrystalla Thoma, and I’m a Greek Cypriot. Bouzouki music is part of my upbringing, as is smashing plates and drinking ouzo. I own no cats (alas! not yet), I drive a hybrid energy car (Toyota Prius!) and currently work as a freelance translator. I studied languages and speak 5 of them (Greek, English, French, German and Spanish). My favorite cuisine is Indian/Thai, and I am addicted to chilies, especially jalapenos!

The Same Six Questions

1. Have you published a book yet?

I am very pleased to say I recently published Rex Rising, a Young Adult, Science Fiction novel (available exclusively on Amazon and free to Amazon Prime members). The story is about Elei, a young aircar driver in a world where parasites create new human races. He leads a peaceful life — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side. Pursued for a secret he does not possess and with the fleet at his heels, he has but one thought: to stay alive. His pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, although that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he hardly knows in a mad race against time. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret – a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known – or die trying.

I am currently writing the sequel and have published a novelette set in the same world.

2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think I was about ten when I made my first pathetic attempts at writing stories, but it wasn’t until I was thirteen or so that I wrote my first novel and the idea lodged itself in my head that I would work as a writer when I grew up. A few years later, I was told firmly that being an author is not a job, and that I should get my head down from the clouds and think of studying for a real job. Duh. This I did, and only found myself revisiting my dream long years later. I still work doing other “real” jobs, but I do hope some day soon to make my childhood dream come true and become a full time writer.

3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?

Oh, yes I still have it! I wrote it when I was twelve, and it’s a (hold your breath) 700 page, medieval fantasy novel! Unfortunately, my mother tells me it’s my best piece of fiction so far :( I hope that isn’t true, lol.) It’s a wordy epic following the adventures of Taran, a young man, across a country heading to war, told from multiple points of view, with head-hopping and lots of telling, including also many Tolkienesque poems and songs. I am saving it because it really was a turning point for me as a writer. After all, I proved to myself I could write a novel, which was an amazing thing. It is handwritten and I even made a cover for it back then! (I guess I always was an Indie at heart...)

4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

When I was sixteen, I wrote a short fantasy novel (in Greek) which won the national young author prize in Cyprus and was published. I guess that was the first time I ever saw my words published in a book, and it was a great moment. But I still didn’t think I could ever be a professional writer. I think my reluctance to accept my true “writerly” nature also comes with my geographic origin: I used to write in Greek, and I’m not even sure there are any professional writers in Greece. Maybe they are – but just how many copies can you sell to 11 million people, most of whom don’t ever read fantasy and science-fiction?

So, to finally answer your question, I guess my first “I can do this!” moment came when I started having short stories (in English) accepted in literary journals and my YA Urban Fantasy Dioscuri was accepted for publication by MuseItUp publishing last year. That was a revelation.

5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

This is a tough one... I guess it would be Kalaes, from my novel Rex Rising. I admit I find him fascinating, and he’s, well, quite handsome... *blushes* You know, he’s got this wild black hair and two longer, braided strands hanging on one side, and gorgeous dark eyes, and a wide grin, and lots of tattoos. But he’s too young for me, unfortunately (only about 19 years old) – and I also don’t want to cheat on my husband who is my favorite person in the whole world!

Kalaes is a very intriguing character. He’s been through a lot in his past, but he hides his traumas behind a cheerful facade and won’t talk about it (not even to me!), so I need to get him out of his shell and have a long discussion with me. I really need to get to know him better because I’m also writing his story, which forms a prequel of sorts to Rex Rising.

6. It's a dark and stormy're alone in the house...there's a knock at the open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?

*wonders what would make her do that* Hm. Legolas? Aragorn? Brad Pitt as Achilles? No, wait, you said “scream” not “squeal”. I got it now, lol:

It’s a snake. A huge, undulating, hissing snake. I have a deeply-seated fear of snakes and all slithering things, including fish and worms. They used to haunt my dreams a lot in the past, now they’re either gone, or I don’t remember my dreams anymore. Which is just as well. :)


Thanks for stopping by today, Chrystalla! For more of Chrystalla's writing, be sure to check out her blog, Facebook Page, Twitter, and Google+. Be sure to check out the trailer for her book here.

My first guest of the New Year will be Borislava Borissova! See you on the other side!

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