Why I love Science Fiction

The Oxford Dictionary defines Science Fiction as, “Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.”

I’ve been an avid science fiction fan since I was a little girl, though it is fair to say I was mainly into films and TV shows back then. I can still remember going to the cinema to see the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when I was only 8 or 9, and I was hooked on the Star Wars series from that point. My mom loves to recount tales of how I used to hide behind the sofa, with a cushion obscuring my face, as I braved glimpses at Dr. Who on the TV. She says I refused to allow let her switch it off, though it clearly terrified me! (On a side note, excellent parenting Mom!!)

I’ve been a voracious reader my whole-life, and I exasperate my husband as I constantly have a book in my hand or my trusty kindle by my side. However, I only got into reading science fiction as an adult. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was one of the first classic sci-fi books that I read, and it is still up there at the top of my list of all time sci-fi greats. Written in 1931 it describes a frightening vision of the future, and I think Mr. Huxley was ahead of his time in his thinking, and analysis. I also love The Hunger Games series; those books just blew me away.

When I first started writing fiction, in my early thirties, I wrote lots of chicklit/romance, and I secretly harbored an ambition to write crime/thrillers. Mostly because those were the genre’s I was reading back then. Around this time, I commenced employment with an IT company and my interest in technology piqued. Then I got sucked into the YA genre, and I’ve read lots of dystopian science fiction and for me, and my writing, it was organic from that point.

In 2010, the CEO of the company I work for gave me a book to read called the 2020 Workplace. It is written by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and is intended for human resource professionals like myself. Essentially it is about innovative ways to attract, retain and develop the employees of the future. It describes the future workplace in some detail and draws an analysis between technological advancements of the last ten years, and planned developments for the next ten years. To see how far we have advanced in such a short period is breath-taking, as is visualizing the future and how far we will develop technologically in my lifetime. While this book added value in my corporate life, it also set my creative juices flowing.

I love imagining what the futuristic world will be like, and trying to second guess how technological and medical advancements will shape the culture and society of the future. The universe is vast, and so much is still unknown and unexplored and as a writer, that opens up limitless creative opportunities. I am particularly enamoured with stories that are set in space and those involving alien races—I think it all stems back to my early childhood obsession with the Star War series. To think that regular space-travel is being realized during my life-time is truly incredible.

A good science fiction story for me (whether it is a book, TV series or movie) has to strike the right balance between technology and human emotions.  Particularly, showcasing how human nature evolves and deals with advances in technology and medicine, and the impact of that on human relationships and their environment. Unless it has a good mix of those things, it will not hold my attention for long. In writing True Calling I’ve tried to achieve these aims, and completely given in to my reader-sci-fi-geekiness.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of science fiction stories and with some interesting new releases coming to our cinema screens and bookshelves soon, I know I’ll have plenty to indulge my passion.

Star Wars

Fictional Worlds I’d love to visit

Morning everyone,

A blogger recently set me an interesting challenge: To identify the top ten fictional worlds I’d like to visit and why. I had great fun coming up with this list, and now I have a real bad case of travel-lust. 🙂 Reading back over my answers, I realize that in many cases my sole reason for wanting to visit these places is purely for the men that inhabit these fictional worlds. Gosh, I am so shallow! I just hope my husband never reads this!!

10Asgard – The visual depiction of Marvel-Universe-created Asgard in the Thor movies is stunning, and I’d like to say I want to visit for the scenery. But, really it is just so I can fit my hands around Thor’s bulging biceps.

9. Neverland – Who doesn’t want to go flying with Peter Pan and drop-kick some mean ole nasty pirates?

8. Jurassic Park – I’d love to see a dinosaur up close and personal. Once I lived to tell the tale that is!

7. Middle Earth – My youngest son is obsessed with the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies, so I’d lose major brownie points if I didn’t include Middle Earth in my list of fictional places to visit. Callum would have to come with me of course.

6. Forks – Okay, so I know it’s actually a real place (somewhere in northwest Washington) but I want to visit the fictional Twilight world so that I can dispense with Bella, and Edward can turn me into a vampire instead.

5. Avatar – I’ve always wondered what my Na’vi avatar would look like, and I totally want to have a hippy-60’s style-singing session under the Tree of Light.

4. Planet Novo – Getting to hang out with my own fictional characters, in the fictional world I created, would be seriously awesome. And I’ve always dreamed of going into space.

3. Narnia – These books were some of my favorites when I was a kid, and it was great being able to read them to my own children. Narnia is a classic fantasy land, and I want to hang out with talking animals, warrior rats and Mr. Tumnus. Plus Prince Caspian is hot.

2. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – I visited Harry Potter World in Universal Orlando with my family, and I’ve also seen the Harry Potter Tour in New York. I just can’t get enough of this fantastic world that J.K Rowling has created. Getting a chance to properly visit Hogwarts Castle, and to play Quidditch with Harry Potter is the stuff dreams are made of.

1. Star Wars Universe – I am a massive Star Wars fan, and I love all the worlds George Lucas created in this universe. My trip would have to include a spin in the Millenium Falcon and a major make-out session with Luke Skywalker. Then my life would be complete.

So there you have it! What about you? Are any of your favorites included? What fictional world would you most like to visit?

 

 

True Calling Paperback GIVEAWAY

Afternoon all,

How do you fancy winning a copy of my exciting new YA sci-fi romance series True Calling? In celebration of the forthcoming release of the paperback version of True Calling, I have partnered with Goodreads on a special giveaway. Head over to www.goodreads.com and enter the competition to be in with a chance to win one of ten signed paperback copies that are up for grabs. The giveaway ends on October 31st so don’t miss out.

Best of luck!

Siobhan.

It started with a dream

A few people have asked me how I came up with the idea for my novel, True Calling, so I thought I’d share my story with you.

It all started with a dream. Just not my own.

The funny thing about dreams is that they’re so obscure to the point of not being real that we tend to overlook them and the potential message they’re trying to deliver. Or at least I know that’s what I used to do. But I’ve had cause to think about dreams a lot lately and I truly wonder whether our dreams have the power to change our lives (and I’m not just speaking metaphorically).

I first got hooked on the Twilight series in November 2009. My sister-in-law, an avid YA reader, had been raving about the books for the best part of the previous year. And unless you lived under a rock or on a different planet there was no way of avoiding the phenomenon. The first Twilight movie had surfaced in 2008 and you couldn’t avoid Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart in the midst of such obsession, they were everywhere. I paid zero attention to the hype: Not interested, far too old for all that malarkey, vampires meh… Then I came into the sitting room one day and my eldest son was watching Twilight on Sky movies and I got instantly sucked in (excuse the pun). Therein was the start of my obsession with Twilight, which would later translate into an obsession with YA fiction and teen movies in general.

So, I hear you ask, what’s this got to do with dreams? I took to my obsession—as I do with everything else in my life—with total dedication and determination, and I had a hunger for all things Twilight. I wanted to find out everything about the series and the author, so I checked out Stephenie Meyer’s website and (we’re finally getting to the dream part) I watched an interview with her where she explained about the now infamous dream that started it all off. In case you’re one of those people who was living under a rock or on a different planet, she apparently had a dream one night of a vampire boy with sparkly skin and a human girl in a meadow. She was so transfixed by the dream that the next day she started writing a vampire-human love story and Twilight was borne. Or so the story goes. When I heard this, I was instantly intrigued.

Now I know that a lot of authors have said they were inspired by Stephenie Meyer—she’s a very inspirational woman—but I think the affect she had on me was slightly different.

I wondered a lot about her ‘meadow dream’; probably more than was normal to. Who sent her that dream? And why? And did someone (or something) plant that seed knowing full well that it would lead her on a path to a significant life-altering experience? And what are dreams anyway? A malfunction of our brain? An unconscious message from our inner selves? A medium for receiving messages from others? My thoughts jumbled around like this for weeks, and my idea started to grow from this silent analysis.

So I started writing my own story, and as I did, I thought more and more about the power of dreams. And was it the dream itself that fuelled the life-changing moment, or the actions of the person receiving the dream? How many of us have had dreams that we dismissed outright without a second thought? And what if those dreams had been given to us for a purpose, and we had failed to recognize and grasp that opportunity?

And as someone who didn’t actually often dream that much herself; I started paying more attention when I did. I began to keep a notebook and pen by my bed, and would fervently scribble in it when I woke up after a particularly vivid dream. Then there were other nights, where ideas for my book came thick and fast during the witching-hour. Now I wouldn’t call these incidents ‘dreams’ in the real sense of the word, but I repeatedly experienced ‘light-bulb’ moments as I drifted from a conscious to an unconscious state of mind.

That got me thinking about the creative mind and whether there is a connection between dreams and creativity?  Why is it that when we quiet the brain there is often a tendency for a flurry of thoughts to swarm our mind?

So I did the next logical thing: I googled it, and discovered a whole world on the internet devoted to dreams, their meaning, common dream themes, how to decipher same. It was only then that I realized how big of a deal dreams are and how fascinated people are by them.

As I considered all of this, the ‘dream’ theme within my book became the pivotal force driving the development of my plot and characterization. And I’d love to tell you more, but I can’t, for fear of inadvertent spoiler alerts. It’s sufficient to say that the dreams in my novel, True Calling, are powerful and impactful, but they’re not always the sum of what they appear to be.

In my most-recent inner debate, I’ve thought about that other definition of dreams. The notion that dreams are aspirational and that if we are determined enough, and work hard enough, and possess the utmost self-confidence and self-belief, that we can turn those dreams into reality.

Then I realized that I had come full circle. And I thought wouldn’t it be amazing if my (non-literal) dream did come true. And all the more so because I have been writing about dreams, and it was musing about someone else’s dream that set me on that path. Only time will tell I guess!

Dreams are still a mystery, in every sense of the word.

So that’s the story of how I came to write the True Calling series! What about you? Have you ever had a really bizarre dream that set you on a particular path? Or have you ever had a dream that you ignored, and then wished you hadn’t? Or did someone else’s dream inspire you like it did me? I’d love to hear your dream stories!