Who is Sally Ember ?
Sally Ember, Ed.D., is a published, nonfiction author and produced playwright (children's theatre, Crystal Dreams; Grading System for adults) whose sci-fi romance/speculative fiction, YA, New Adult and adult series, The Spanners, starts with Volume I, The Changes Everything, uploaded in e-book format by Smashwords and for sale December 20, 2013 at ebook retailers worldwide. Volumes II - X are planned. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is coming out in Spring, 2014, and the others are in various draft stages.
Sally also has short stories and articles published in Out of the Kitchen, a journal available in the 1980s in print format only. She has co-written, edited, and proofread many nonfiction books and worked for a some magazines in the early 2000's.
Sally, what inspired you to start writing?
I've been writing since I was in 2nd grade: stories, songs, articles, plays, in my journal, letters, emails, posts online; nonfiction and fiction. My first story, "Princess Why," was published in the school newspaper and I believed I would be world famous from that. I sat on the couch by our picture window that overlooked our busy street and had a view of the school parking lot day after day for months, reading, looking out the window regularly. I was waiting for the news trucks and reporters to arrive. They never did....
Well, I may become world-famous...just a lot later than that, and not from that! Help me get world-famous! That 7-year-old is waiting for her tiara!
What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!):
Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land was pivotal in my life as a reader and a writer. Read it when I was 15; re-read a few times since. Not knowing that, one of my reviewers, Alexander Crommich, compared TCE to that and just about made me fall off my chair in delight!
Your favourite genre and why?:
I love well-written, uplifting, inspiring sci fi, sci-fi/romance, and speculative fiction veering into fantasy (but without a lot of techno-speak, gnomes, elves, and dragons and definitely not a lot of battles). I like to visit other worlds, other versions of this world, and other universes that are written so well as to be captivating, seemingly "right here" in my life. Thanks to every author who has that gift, which I strongly aspire to acquire.
Tell us about This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series:
After several millennia of mostly secret visits and contact with Earthers, members of the Many Worlds Collective (MWC) Council decide that a liaison, dubbed the Chief Communicator (CC) must be contacted and that this contact must be made public in order to avert multiple types of disasters on Earth. The visiting members of the MWC come in hologram form to the selected CC (Clara Branon, 58, living in northern California) for the first time on December 21, 2012.
As a “Spanner,” Branon is one of millions of “Baby Boomers” who survive across two centuries and bridge the divide (hence, “Spanners”) between nonpublic and public contact with the MWC and many other major changes that occur during these decades.
This Changes Everything is the first of The Spanners series, which chronicles the public contact between the CC and the MWC and the impact of these contacts on Earthers and the MWC over the over 30 years that Branon is the CC.
Can you share a favourite snippet from your book:
From Chapter One, This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series,in which Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., first meets the visitors from the Many World Collective:
…my mind is racing through possibilities. They are aliens! I am feeling excited and intensely interested. I assume that if they meant to harm me, I’d be harmed, already, so I am rapidly becoming less scared. Brimming with questions and curiosity, I go right over to them.
My upbringing kicks in, maybe because they are around my dining table, and I ask them kind of automatically,"Would you like some tea or something cold to drink? Are you hungry?” Then, I laugh, and they make some noises that must be their ways of showing amusement; they aren’t here; they are holograms. They can’t eat or drink anything. Duh.
I sit down in my chair which they seem to know is mine because it isn’t blocked or occupied. I look towards them, expectantly, and realize I don’t know where to look. Only one of them has anything resembling “eyes,” and the other four do not even really have anything I would call a “face.” Still, reflexively, I guess, I keep my focus on their upper bodies’ uppermost sections and on the zeppelin’s middle.
I ask, “How may I be of service? Why have you come to see me?”
Does your book try to convey any message for the reader?
I strongly believe that Earth is in serious trouble, politically, economically, environmentally, socially: in every way. I do wish we could be rescued by stronger, more intelligent, compassionate, capable beings! How would things change if Earthers are certain that we are not "alone"?
Fascinated by physics, multiple timelines/multiverse concepts, alien life and psi phenomena, family relationships, world affairs and the environment, and unrequited/requited love, I have incorporated all of these themes and topics into my sci-fi novels.
I also believe in the inherent intelligence and value of all species, so interspecies communication between equals both on Earth and off-planet becomes central to the Series.
What inspired you to write this series?
I'm not sure exactly what "inspired" me to write this series. One night in February, 2012, I was awakened by a very clear voice that said: WRITE. I went to the computer, hearing sentences and seeing scenes in my mind. Five hours later, most of the first Chapter, all of the summaries for all the Volumes, and the Chapter outline for Volume I were drafted. I kept going from there and finished the first draft of Volume I, over 80,000 words, in 8 weeks.
I feel very driven. Part of the reason is that I identify a lot with Clara. The line between fiction and nonfiction is very blurred in these Volumes, intentionally, and my life seems that way sometimes as well. I'm curious as to what the readers will decide is "real".
Who are your target readers?
I place these novels in the sci-fi romance/speculative fiction genres, targeting adult, YA and New Adult audiences. Buddhist, physicists, sci-fi/speculative fiction readers, paranormal romance readers, aspiring/actual UFO-logists will all like this series.
The narrative is unique in that it includes history, poetry, literature, music/lyrics, science and technological advances, paranormal skills, law and government, Buddhism and other religions, meditation, social-emotional intelligence, time and space travel, interspecies communication, and social/futuristic depictions of the Earth, post-MWC public contact.
Any tips for aspiring authors?:
I still consider myself an "aspiring author," I suppose! The tips I provide and use myself are usually having to do with the types of perspectives I bring to first drafts vs. subsequent drafts and revision, and each requires a different point of view, in my opinion.
Being wide open, allowing it all to flow and not self-censoring for first drafts work best for me. Except for typos or wrong words, I just write and do not revise. Then, I usually let is sit for a little while and write other things before returning to it for a first look at the first draft from a revision point of view.
I tend to write backwards a lot, meaning, the best or most importart of a sentence or section, or even the book, are not written first or initially placed at the beginning. I am now in the habit of "flipping" sentence pieces, chapter sections, entire chapters, until I find the right sequence.
My drafts go through many revisions,as I said,but some are very minor. Some are major. At several points, I re-arranged almost all the chapters: working with multiple narrators, timelines and topics allows me to do that.
Another tip: if you know your grammar, sentence structure and/or spelling are not up to professional standards, you HAVE to get a professional editor. I can't tell you how many uploaded excerpts, even titles and blurbs, I stop reading because of typos, poor grammar and just bad writing, even though I enjoy or think I would like the topic, plot or characters.
Important: Don't use sexist, racist or outdated language
Upcoming news and plans for the future?
Volume I, The Changes Everything, has been uploaded in e-book format via Smashwords and is available there and on iBooks, nook and Kobo for pre-orders 11/5- 12/19 at half-price ($1.99). Release date at full price ($3.99), to all retailers, is 12/20/13. Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, narrated by young adults and new adults exclusively, is in the final revision stages and set to release Spring, 2014. Volumes III - X are in various draft stages.
I change my books based on readers' suggestions! Also, I would be delighted to visit your Book Club or class if you are using one or more of the books in The Spanners Series. Ask me to co-develop curricula, projects and activities for your group/class members!
I am experimenting with CROWDCREATING sections or entire upcoming Volumes of The Spanners Series. If you'd like to participate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com and tell me a little about what Volume or portion you'd like to help create! Put "CROWDCREATOR" in the subject line.
I'm being interviewed LIVE on BlogTalkRadio's SciFi station, by Will Wilson, 11 AM EDT, 12/27/13, and available in the archives after that: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks
Please write a review and give This Changes Everything a rating on SMASHWORDS, iBooks, Kobo, nook, whatever retailer you use for ebooks, as well as many other sites that bring readers to this book: http://authonomy.com/books/55074/this-changes-everythingAuthonomy,
Many thanks to Sally for sharing with us. For more info on Sally and her writing, check out the links below.