Sunday, October 30, 2011

Interview with Lyon's Legacy Author Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

I had the pleasure recently of reading Sandra's novella, Lyon's Legacy. I posted a review of it at Operation Awesome yesterday, so go check that out if you haven't yet. For today, the lovely Sandra was kind enough to answer some questions for me :)

Sometimes being a geneticist isn’t enough to understand your family.... 

When scientist-in-training Joanna Lyon learns her rich uncle plans to have their rock legend ancestor, Sean Lyon, cloned, she’s disgusted. Uncle Jack pushed her into music when she was younger, and she hated it. So it’s particularly galling that he wants her to travel through a wormhole to an alternate universe and sample Sean’s DNA. She only agrees to go so she can secretly sabotage the project. But meeting Sean forces her to re-examine her feelings about her family, including her estranged father. Can she protect the unborn clone from her uncle, and will she have to sacrifice her career and new-found love to do so? 

MM: Give us the Twitter pitch :) What’s your book about in 140 characters or less?

SUA: A geneticist is sent by her uncle to an alternate TwenCen universe to clone the rock star she hates—her ancestor.

MM: What inspired the story behind Lyon’s Legacy

SUA: It was inspired by a friend’s story about a woman who heard the Beatles perform in the Cavern, a club in Liverpool where they performed many times before they became famous. I wanted to add a science-fiction twist to that, so I came up with the idea of a time traveler going back to the past to listen to a concert by a famous musician. I asked myself who she was, why she was there, and how she got there, and eventually I came up with Joanna, sent on a mission to get DNA and clone the musician. Instead of using the Beatles, I created a single musician who lived in Chicago in the early sixites to be Joanna’s great-grandfather, the man she’s supposed to help clone.

MM: What was the hardest part about writing this book?

SUA: The overall plot has been pretty much the same from draft to draft, but I did wind up changing some of the characters and the settings. Probably one of the more difficult things about writing this book was making sure the changes were consistent throughout the story. Another tough thing was figuring out what to do with this story. The story felt complete at novella length, but it’s tough finding markets for novellas. For a long time, I packaged this story with the sequel, which is a full-length novel in itself, but that was then too long. Publishing this as an e-book was a great solution for me, since word count isn’t so critical.

MM: What were the challenges you faced in writing this book?

SUA: I had to research many different things for this book, including plausible methods for time travel, spaceship design, 1960s Chicago, and fertility treatments.

MM: What books have influenced you the most in your life and writing?

SUA: In life, I would have to say Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. On one level, it’s the story of a man on a cross-country trip with his son, but on another level it examines the philosophy of science and the importance of Quality and gumption. For writing, it would be the Writers Digest series of books. They cover everything from Characters and Viewpoint to Plot to Scene and Structure.

MM: What is next for you? Can you share a bit about current and/or future projects?

SUA: I’m currently juggling several projects. I have two projects in the revision stage: a fantasy standalone novella called “The Fighting Roses of Sharon” and Twinned Universes, the sequel to Lyon’s Legacy. I’m currently drafting a fantasy novel called Scattered Seasons.

MM: Fast Fun Five:

  • Sweet or salty? Sweet! 
  • Panster or plotter? More of a panster, but working on my plotting. 
  • Ocean or mountains? Mountains. 
  • Morning person or night owl? Night owl. 
  • Shoes or bare feet? Shoes for medical reasons, unfortunately.
Thanks so much for joining us today, Sandra!

For more information on Sandra or to purchase her book, check out the links below :)


Pk Hrezo said...

THis sounds great! I love anything with time travel... and wormholes are fun too! I've always wanted to go back in time to Woodstock... just to hear all the great music. I'd be in heaven.
Congrats on the novella, Sandra!

Maria Zannini said...

You surprised me, Sandra. I would've taken you for a plotter.

Love the Twitter blurb. What a great way to give a sound-bite.

Congrats again!