Curbing curiosities, or an interview with Aileen Erin author of Off Planet (and a giveaway)


off planet

Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles #1)

By: Aileen Erin

Publisher: Ink Monster LLC

Publication Date: March 19th, 2019

In an all-too-plausible future where corporate conglomerates have left the world’s governments in shambles, anyone with means has left the polluted Earth for the promise of a better life on a SpaceTech owned colony among the stars.

Maité Martinez is the daughter of an Earther Latina and a powerful Aunare man, an alien race that SpaceTech sees as a threat to their dominion. When tensions turn violent, Maité finds herself trapped on Earth and forced into hiding.

For over ten years, Maité has stayed hidden, but every minute Maité stays on Earth is one closer to getting caught.

She’s lived on the streets. Gone hungry. And found a way to fight through it all. But one night, while waitressing in a greasy diner, a customer gets handsy with her. She reacts without thinking.

Covered in blood, Maité runs, but it’s not long before SpaceTech finds her…

Arrested and forced into dangerous work detail on a volcano planet, Maité waits for SpaceTech to make their move against the Aunare. She knows that if she can’t somehow find a way to stop them, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe.

There’s only one question: Can Maité prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

1) What is on your desk or where you write? What do you need to write? Do you have a writer’s survival kit?

I like to write in a comfy spot, so I’m rarely at a desk. I need music, specifically listened to via my Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Basically, I have to be comfortable and able to block out the real world so that I can sink into my story. Also, caffeine and Cheetos have been known to help. 😉

2) What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a panster? Which do you prefer: drafting or revising?

I love to brainstorm using the Post-It easel pads and a ton of different colored markers. From there, I get the meat of my story and its players. I try to write out each major player’s backstory, their goals, motivations, and conflicts. From there, I use Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet and 40 note cards. I only use about one sentence on each card to describe a scene or plot point. Once I’m done with all of that, I pretty much put it aside and don’t look at it again until I’m almost done with my first draft.

I like to pause after I’m done with Act 2 to make sure that everything is set up properly and ready to be paid off in Act 3. I usually do a couple rounds of Act 1-2 with my developmental editor before finally writing Act 3. Then I’ll do at least one more round of edits with my editor on Act 1-2, and 3 rounds on Act 3.

I love, love the first draft of Act 1. That’s always my favorite to write. Act 2 is the WORST. It takes forever and there are always so many twists and turns and revisions as I try to make it the best story that I can. It makes sense that it takes the longest because it’s the “meat” of the story, but I still always feel like it’s the hardest to get through. But I come from a film editing background, which means that editing—in any form—is one of my true loves. So, aside from writing Act 1, I love editing the most. Revising that first draft until it shines is so much fun!

3) What is your number one writing tip?

Write every day. And my very, very close second tip is to never end the day at the end of a chapter or scene. Always write at least a few sentences into the next chapter or scene. It really helps to keep the writing flowing.

4) Describe you book in 5 words or less.

Suspenseful scifi with a kick-ass heroine. <– I couldn’t do it in less than 6. And is the hyphenate cheating? 😉

5)  A book goes through a lot of different versions and rounds of editing before it’s complete.  What are some “fun facts” or behind the scenes info you can share about the characters from your book or the world you created for it that may or may not have made it to the final draft of the book?

In my first draft, Maité actually gets drafted in the SpaceTech Armed Forces. It ended up being part GI Jane, and for me, got a little boring. So, I deleted about 60K words. That was PAINFUL.

Also in my first draft, Maité didn’t know she was a halfer (half-Aunare). She learned it at the end of Act 1. I found it to take away some of the tension, and also, made her seem a little slow that she didn’t know who she was. So, I deleted that, too.

Aaaand, Lorne came to Earth instead of Declan, and the book had a lot more romance. But once I got rid of the first two things on this list, I realized having him come didn’t make sense. Don’t worry though. Book 2, all that romance is coming back, and it’ll be worth the wait.

6) Do you have a special story, a discovery you made while doing research, or an innocuous thought that grew into something bigger that is behind your inspiration for OFF PLANET?

I was living in Albuquerque while my husband was producing the first Avengers movie. While I was there, so close to the air force base and Spaceport America, I started imagining the world of Off Planet. The deeper I got into it, the more fun I had with the world-building.

7)  Who was your favorite character to write and who gave you the most trouble?

My favorite character is Maité. And I think the dynamics between her and Lorne and Declan were the trickiest for me to manage. I wanted that first time she meets Lorne to be pretty powerful, but there’s so much going on, that I couldn’t take too much time with it.

8) If you could ask a character of your choice from OFF PLANET one question what would it be?

I would ask Lorne what he’s been doing while Maité’s been fighting for her right to live on Earth.

9) What scene from the book are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?

I think the scenes with Lorne are the ones I had the most fun with. When you get down to it, I love a good romance. So, those are always my favorite.

10) Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish the book? Or a scene that made you very emotional?

The scene at the end where Maité sacrifices herself to get everyone away from SpaceTech was tough. To get in the headspace where she is so desperate to get away that death would be welcomed was pretty intense. And then when she wakes up but had been wishing for death, that also was one that made me a little emotional to write.

11) What are the top five things we should know as a reader before starting OFF PLANET (about the main character, their love interest, the antagonist, their world/home town, their situation, etc)

-It starts out in a futuristic Albuquerque, NM, in a world where the world’s governments have failed, and corporate conglomerates have taken over.

-SpaceTech—one of the biggest conglomerates—found a source of fuel called lucole on the moon of the planet Abaddon. They’ve used that fuel to take everything over.

-The Aunare are an alien race, more technically advanced than Earthers. They used to have a very amicable relationship with Earthers, but once the Aunare made it clear that they wouldn’t share their tech with SpaceTech, relations became hostile. Leading to a violent and deadly purge of Aunare living on Earth and SpaceTech owned colonies.

-Maité is half-human, half-Aunare. She’s the daughter of a powerful Aunare, stuck hiding on Earth with no chance to escape.

-It’s only a matter of time before SpaceTech finds her, and when they do, it will be war.

12) What is next for you? What are your currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on two books: Lunar Court, the eighth book in my Alpha Girls series, and Off Balance, the second book in the Aunare Chronicles.

Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican, and 100% nerd–from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass.
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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. The author image, info, giveaway, and more were provided by Xpresso Book Tours.

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