Today the spotlight is on Tammy Salyer, science fiction author of the Spectras Arise series.
Contract of Defiance, Contract of Betrayal, Contract of War, and Conviction follow heroine Aly Erikson and her crew of anti-Admin smugglers through an ever-escalating glut of life-and-death adventures and the trials of a living on the side of liberty and freedom—whether they agree with the law or not—in the far future of the Algol star system. As former Corps members, most are no strangers to fighting and dissent, but more than anything, they want to spend their lives flying under the radar without control or interference from the system’s central government, The Political and Capital Administration of the Advanced Worlds. But the Admin's greed-drenched dualism of power and corruption has other plans, and throughout the series, Aly and her crew are reminded of one lesson time and again: when all other options run out, never let go of your gun.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you become a writer?
Hi Michael! Thanks so much for having me as a guest today to talk about that thing all writers bore the pants off their friends and loved ones talking about: writing.
Writing has always been a habit of my brain and fingers, and I’ve been writing journals, fiction, and nonfiction since I was a kid. When self-publishing took off a few years ago and it suddenly became easier to get works out to a whole ocean of readers, I decided to get serious and start writing for a bigger audience than myself. It took a lot of courage to get past that hump and “expose” myself (disclaimer: no children were harmed in this process) to more than my critique groups and friends, but it was also real incentive to hone the craft more. A writer who isn’t thinking about a real-life audience can have a tendency to just let the writing process be vague and meandering. So having an actual mode for reaching readers (outside submitting to the glacier-pace of traditional publishing) was exactly what I needed to motivate me to start regarding my writing skills to be as important as any other skill. I knew that if I was going to publish and make myself fair game for a wide spectrum of readers and criticism, I needed to make sure I was writing to the highest standards I was capable of.
How did you decide on speculative fiction?
I never made a conscious decision about what genre to write in; I’ve always preferred genre fiction to read personally, so it was natural for my first published works to be in the genres I loved. Horror, fantasy, satire, and science fiction. The mental exercise of dreaming up things that can’t possibly be real is such a fun challenge. We all have an innate tendency to daydream and take mental vacations beyond our quotidian experiences. I just like to stretch those vacations beyond the confines of known reality.
Your main works are in the Spectras Arise series, consisting of three novels and a novella. Was there any particular inspiration behind this series?
Up to when I started Contract of Defiance, the first novel in the series, I wrote mostly fantasy. But one day, the protagonist popped into my head, racing through the corridors in a running gunfight through a huge spaceship, and the idea was born. It took off on its own, and I essentially followed the breadcrumbs of ideas that kept getting dropped by my subconscious. If I had to point to any particular inspiration, I would cite all of the science fiction movies I loved as a kid, most specifically Aliens. Having been in the military myself, writing a series about disgruntled space marines came pretty naturally. After finishing the series, I felt compelled to fill in a few remaining events that the main characters had experienced before the series was set and wrote a prequel called Conviction. It’s free on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and at PayHip (links here - Ed.), or people can join my newsletter tribe for a copy, too. Any of your readers who love action and adventure in a space opera milieu should definitely check it out (and let me know what you think! I love hearing from readers).
What are you working on now?
I’m positively giddy about what I’m doing now, actually. In a major gear shift, I’m working on a trilogy that’s much more fantasy (back to my old ways), but still set partially in outer space. I’m about a third of the way through the first book’s first draft and am already outlining the subsequent two, though I haven’t titled them yet. How to describe it . . . ah, that’s the hard part. I’ll go with something brief for now: In an alternative universe ruled by immortal but flawed beings known as Verities, a human life is cheap and often carelessly destroyed in their wars for power. When the family of a Knight who took an oath to keep their secrets is lost to their whims, he takes a new vow: To exact vengeance.
I’m hoping to have the trilogy completed by the end of 2015, and the first book will likely be out in September.
I am an independently published speculative fiction writer and freelance editor. My fangirl goal in life is to sing karaoke with Commander Mark Hadfield and novelist Neil Gaiman aboard the International Space Station. But I’ll settle for digestifs and tea with them somewhere on Earth, too. Want early access to my future novels, review copies, news, etc.? Please join my newsletter tribe. You can always find me at my website, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!