Here are some answers to questions people often ask about Embassy and my writing life.
1. How did you come up with the idea for Embassy?
- It's loosely based on a true story. Much of the inspiration comes from an internal journey that I went on in my early college years.
2. How do you pronounce...[insert name here]?
- Arman =Are-min
- Glacia = Glay-shuh
- Ladia = Lah-dee-uh
- Olivarr = Oh-lee-varr
- Undil = Oon-dill
- Belvun = Bell-voon
- Narviid = Nar-veed
- Hologis = Holluh-jiss
- Perihelid(s) = Pair-heel-id(s)
- Orvad = Or-vahd
- Daliona = Dal-ee-oh-nuh
- Bechi = Beck-ee
- Dreiden = Dray-den
- Marakuri = Mar-uh-curr-ee
- Kailun = Kye-loon
- Kiruni = Keer-oo-nee
- Cacha = Kah-shuh
- Hossiard = Hoe-zee-ard
- Selayche = Sea-lake
- Lisha = Lee-shuh
- Kilache = Key-lock
- Relico = Rell-ih-ko
- Tahani = Tuh-hah-nee
3. How old are the characters? (Embassy/Resonance)
4. What exactly is the Embassy Program?
- Arman: 20/21
- Glacia: 20/21
- Ellin: 24
- John: 25/26
- Michael: 26/27
- Victoria: 30/31
- Lucas: 33
- Officer Remmit: 30/31
- Orcher: 54/55
- Captain Fallsten: 50/51
- Captain Blitner: 108/x
- Rand Harmat --/29
- Lon Kelvin 21/22
- Kile Arlington --/20
- Allison Vetch --/27
- Baxter Krebs --/38
- Trey Talbot --/26
- Olivar Cresson --/33
4. What exactly is the Embassy Program?
- An interplanetary coalition that promotes interplanetary codependence. Although a few of the older societies on certain planets are self-sufficient, some, such as Undil and Narviid, still rely on others for survival, because the planets literally cannot sustain anything but human life. So there's food, supplies, explorers, and ambassadors constantly being flown between the planets in order to literally keep the human race alive and well wherever they go, overcoming every obstacle the universe can throw at them.
- Long story short, these humans are pioneers of the final frontier, and humanity's continued survival is the core mission.
5. What is terraformation?
- Terraformation, literally speaking, means "Earth making." Let's take Mars, our friendly neighborhood red planet. Right now it's a dusty, cold, lifeless landscape with hints of past Earth-like activity. Well, say we start pumping gases into its atmosphere, start synthesizing water and catalyzing the soils so nutrients can form. Over hundreds-to-thousands of years, Mars' atmosphere would heat up, flora would spring up (grass, trees, plants), and--provided we accounted for human biology, people could live on Mars just as they do on Earth.
- In Embassy, all of the planets have been terraformed in some way, or are in the process of being terraformed to accompany human life. Daliona's terraformation was the lasted only a couple hundred years since it was already a pretty suitable place for life, second only to Rygin, the first interstellar planet humanity settles (in my book series). Planets like Undil have been in the process of terraformation for hundreds of years, and still can't support anything but humans.
- Belvun was similar to Daliona (they were discovered at the same time, actually) in the fact that it was already pretty habitable, some things just needed to be tweaked so humans could live there. It already supported a range of wildlife, though. But Belvun also became a sort of testing ground for experimental terraformation projects....which, consequently, led to its current crisis.
6. Why aren't there intelligent aliens?
- While I believe other intelligent life is out there, somewhere in the galaxy, I didn't want to bring that into this series.
7. Will you write a prequel to Embassy? What's it going to be about?
- Oh hellz yes.
- The final days on Earth. Who left, and why they did what they did. In fact, that pops up in Resonance.
- I'm seriously excited to write the prequel.
8. How many books will there be in the Recovery series?
- 4 main books (Embassy, Resonance, and their two sequels)
- 1 novella
- 1 prequel
- Maybe more, but that's what I'm definitely writing.
9. How old are you?
- I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22.
10. I wish Hologis was real.
- Me, too.
11. Do you reread your books?
- I read Embassy 14 times all the way through while I was editing it, not to mention the fact that I read some chapters 50+ times. I love the story, but it'll be a long, long time before I go back and read it front-to-back again.
12. What's do you wish you change about the series?
- I would take out Ladia and Arman's relationship, just take Ladia out of the story completely. In hindsight, Arman's father should have died on Belvun during that whole evacuation, and the story should be about Arman overcoming his mental isolation by accepting his duty to the Embassy and going to Belvun for closure. Same end result without the cliche he-loves-her/he-loves-her-not subplot. That would flow along with the themes of the series (especially Book 2). I didn't intend for Embassy to be a love story. It's supposed to be Arman opening himself up to the fact that he's missing out on life and he needs to be the one to make the change.
- That being said, should Embassy ever be made into a movie, that's what I would want the plot to be.
- I'd also given more relevance to the situation on Belvun. Some might argue that there isn't enough "weight" given to the fact that Belvun is literally burning up around it's society. But I think because Arman is so removed from that situation, he doesn't feel the impact. Like, if you don't live somewhere, you can't understand what's really going on until it directly affects you.
- Think about California/the southwest United States. There's that whole drought, and wildfires are peaking higher than ever before. People on the East Coast aren't affected, so we can see it in the news, but we don't understand the duress of people fleeing their homes, or of crops dying from the drought. Until the consequences reach us, we shrug it off.
- You'll see this in Resonance. There's a conference scene where an ambassador shows orbital imaging and real pictures/videos of the chaos as it grows. He understands what's going on, and everyone else is like, "That sucks, we'll do everything we can." That's what the main plot of the series revolves around, is the concept that sometimes we're so far removed that we don't see the real problems and don't act as quickly as we should. We see these things as conspiracies or agendas rather than life-threatening situations.