It’s author Norma Hinkens on my blog today. She is the author of The Undergrounders Series. You can visit her at her website http://normahinkens.com/
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in County Donegal in Ireland, land of legends and storytelling. Ireland has a long and rich literary history stretching back to the Celts, and to this day you don’t have to go far to find someone who can entertain you with a good “yarn” over a pint of Guinness.
Discuss your newest book.
The Undergrounders Series (Immurement, Embattlement and Judgement) is a sci-fi dystopian thriller trilogy set in a world in ruins after the earth’s core overheats and a ring of volcanoes around the globe erupts. The main protagonist is Derry Connelly, a sixteen-year-old girl who survives, along with her brother Owen and a band of Preppers, in an underground bunker system. The scorched earth is patrolled by cutthroat gangs of escaped subversives, but that’s not the only problem. Mysterious hover ships operated by clones extract adolescents for their DNA in a bid to replenish the population. When Owen disappears, Derry strikes a deal with the murderous subversives and leads a dangerous mission to get him back. If you like a fast-paced apocalyptic tale, with a gritty complex heroine, and twists you won’t see coming, then The Undergrounders Series is for you!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always loved reading and writing. It was how I expressed myself as a child and all through my teenage years, pouring out my heart in poems, short stories and songs. I was always the kid who got elected to tell the scary bedtime stories at sleepovers.
What are your current projects?
I’m finishing up Judgement, the third book in The Undergrounders Series. In my head I’m already working on my next series which falls into the space opera genre.
What books have most influenced your life?
1984 by George Orwell shook my world when I first read it and I have never forgotten that Big Brother is watching. That book spawned my interest in the dystopian genre. I also read every concentration camp escape story I could get my hands on, Escape from Auschwitz to name but one.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve always been fascinated by regimes and resistance movements, and the heroes who emerge from atrocities. As an author, I find it intriguing to place characters in dystopian, post-apocalyptic or sci-fi settings and watch what unfurls inside them as they go head to head with staggering odds. After spending several summers in Idaho, and learning more about Preppers and survivalists, the idea to plant Derry Connolly in a bunker community of homesteaders and mountain men took seed and The Undergrounders Series was born.
Why do you write?
Despite the pen-pusher lows that are an inevitable part of the journey, writing fires me up and makes me come alive. Maybe it’s a power thing. I can give my characters their hearts’ desire and take it away from them in the very next scene. What other career allows you to kidnap and kill at will without being arrested for it?
All joking aside, I write because writing is where my passion and strengths intersect, and creativity is an integral part of who I am. Art has the power to move another human being and in my opinion that is worth striving for.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Derry is one of those individuals for whom life is not worth living if you can’t live free. She isn’t some “chosen” one with special powers. Instead, she overcomes her limitations and fears, and reaches deep inside herself in order to lead a rebellion against a regime’s horrific abuse of power.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Getting older and realizing it’s now or never! I don’t want to go to the grave with my song still in me as they say.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Treating it like a real job where you have to show up at a certain time and put in your hours on a daily basis. It’s all too easy to throw in a load of laundry, start answering emails and jump on Facebook, and before you know it all your time has been swallowed up with trivial pursuits. Once you commit to the discipline of treating your writing time as sacred, you can make real progress in terms of the quality of your craft, and the quantity of writing you produce.
What do you do to get book reviews?
Mostly crawl on my hands and knees over broken glass to find them! It is very time consuming to research and reach out to appropriate book bloggers who are often inundated with requests. I’ve also done a couple of Blog Tours which have garnered a handful of reviews. I listed my book on NetGalley for a month, and I’ve offered a free copy of my book in exchange for an honest review in a couple of Facebook groups I belong to. Organic reviews are the icing on the cake.
What’s your view on social media for marketing?
The jury is out on this as I am still building a platform and have yet to determine what is a really good investment of my time. A Facebook page is a must if you want to try Facebook advertising at some point.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
If you are certain writing is where your passion and strengths intersect, don’t take your eyes off the goal. Put your shoulder to the wheel and throw your whole heart into mastering the craft, and taking incremental steps toward publication. Dogged persistence will get you there in the end, and the talent you have honed along the way will be your staying power.
A. J. Chaudhury is a young author from India writing mostly in the fantasy genre. His historical low fantasy short “A Song of Blood” releases shortly. Click here to download his fantasy novella “The Drabird” for free.