Today's Darklight On... is with S.E. Gilchrist. Welcome, S.E.!
How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I love the idea of combining adventure/action with romance and danger. Plus, the lure of dreaming up my own worlds, rules, traditions and cultures is too strong to resist.
Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
A bit of both I think. My stories start with an idea or a situation, then suddenly the heroine springs to mind. I work on her story (both back and future) and from that comes a lot more ideas. I do a pile of research about now and sometimes, I have to do more as the story progresses. Usually I start off with these scratchy outlines and by about the third or fifth chapter I have to sit down and do some serious plotting plus working on more in-depth character outlines. Sometimes, I’ve got to go back and change a few things in the first draft of what I’ve already written before I push on with the remainder of the story.
You recently came 3rd in the Emerald (ST category). Congratulations. What was your finalist entry about?
Legend Beyond the Stars is a sci fi romance where a female soldier from Earth is kidnapped and sold to an alien race for research purposes. The hero has to make the hard choice of adhering to his orders or giving into his desire to keep her safe. Recently, I actually ended up changing the story slightly by placing the story in the future where Earth is now ruled by the United Earth Corporation and is a planet beset by global crisis both financial and climatic. My heroine, still a soldier, volunteers for duty with colonists in search of a new earth when they are hijacked and consequently comes into contact with the hero and his people (the rest remained the same). This gave me additional conflict for the heroine ie the need to return with info on an alternative earth like planet for her own people plus it gave me ideas for a future series.
Do have a favourite of your characters?
Do have a favourite of your characters?
I like the alien I invented, ‘Norman’ – he turned out to be an amusing and charming sidekick. Apart from him, I was quite taken with the hero, who pressed all my buttons, strong, driven, protective and in the end, prepared to sacrifice all for his love for the heroine.
Initially, I intended to write at least three books set in the Darkon world and I’ve done plotting outlines and character sketches for the other two. However, I’ve set them aside for the time being and am working on the first book in the Return to Earth series whereby some of the former colonists and some of the Darkon and their ally soldiers form a mission to offer a treaty to the United Earth Corporation. But, the space voyager is damaged in the final vortex and is knocked off its course. When they emerge into the Milky Way, it is to find an Earth 3,000 years in the future. So, it’s a futuristic, post apocalyptic dystopian story – is there such a thing?
What is your favourite part of the process of writing?
I enjoy doing research which I can get quite carried away with, but most of all, I enjoy the actual writing process. I love sitting down knowing that I’ve got all the information I need at my fingertips, my characters’ back-stories done and I can just write the dam story. Then, passing the finish line is fantastic, until I remember – now I have to edit and re-write. Ugh.
What can we expect from S.E. Gilchrist in the future?
My aim is to write all three books in both series and finish the series of erotic novellas I’ve commenced. These are set in Dark Ages Britain and contain fantasy elements. After that, there is an urban fantasy / paranormal about demons I’ve commenced plus a time travel set in Arthurian times with an alternative history bent.
Who are your favourite authors?
Way too many to list, as I will read anything apart from horror. But, in no particular order, Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Christie, Tolkien, Anne Gracie, Annie West, Karen Marie Moning, JD Robb, Tess Gerritsen, Susan Grant, Linnea Sinclair, Georgette Heyer, Dorothy Cannell, Matthew Reilly, Frank Herbert, John Birmingham, Karen Hawkins, Johanna Lindsey, Betty Neels, Theresa Scott, Erica Hayes, Susan Napier, David A Rollins, Patrick Robinson, Marion Lennox are the first to spring to mind.
What are you currently reading?
As I’m just back from the conference, I’ve about fifteen novels to read. They range from Deborah Challinor to Marion Lennox, ie just about all genres, so I’m going to be very busy.
Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?
Movies – The Lord of the Rings trilogy & the first 3 Star Wars movies. TV Series -- Dr Who and Firefly.
Do you have advice for emerging writers?
I’m still very much a beginner writer but I really believe in the following : make time for your writing if you are serious, set realistic goals and do your best to achieve them, educate yourself (learn, learn and learn) and become involved either on line or in a f2f group which is fantastic for motivation and help, just when you need it. (Making a plug here for own f2f group – NewMait Writers – yay!)
Thanks for joining us, S.E.
You can visit S.E. at her new website.