Title: Reign & Revolution
Author: Janine A Southard
Series: Hive Queen Saga #3
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Release Date: April 12, 2016
The Hive Queen Saga’s Thrilling Conclusion!
Rhiannon and her Hive have mastered space travel. Sort of. At least, they’re better at it. They’ve outsmarted kidnappers, survived severe oxygen deprivation, and heisted back their own ship engine from would-be thieves.
Since joining up, they’ve traveled further and further away from their home planet. But out on Yin He Garden Station (in Chinese-owned territory), home catches up at a physics symposium.
When Alan’s former research advisor makes an offer that’ll bring them home as respected members of society, Rhiannon knows she has to accept. But home isn’t exactly as she left it, and a hostile space fleet stands between her aging ship and her new/old life. Should she be running towards the fleet, or scurrying back into international space as fast as her craft can go?
1. What is the biggest influence/interest that brought you to this genre?
To cement the genre we’re talking about, I’d call The Hive Queen Saga a space opera adventure series. I’ve loved stories about space since as far back as I can remember, and action/adventure is my favorite element in every genre. So putting them together makes sense.
This particular novel, Reign & Revolution, was unexpectedly influenced by The Empire Strikes Back. (I try not to read similar books to whatever I’m writing while I’m drafting, so all my last-second influences are movies. For instance, the unexpected influence for Hive & Heist (The Hive Queen Saga, #2) was the French action film Banlieue 13.)
See, I knew from the beginning that Reign & Revolution would take place in two major locations (namely, the Chinese space station and the Welsh-colonized planet Dyfed), and I agonized over this. Can you write a book that completely changes settings halfway through? What does that do to the narrative flow?
But, as you doubtless know, ESB does this as well. It starts on Hoth, which is interesting, and then dashes off to Cloud City, which is even more interesting. All the characters have reasons to be where they’re going, and their desires intersect in surprising ways. So every time I worried that I was doing narrative fiction “wrong” because of my settings, I thought about ESB and made sure my characters had equally good motivations.
Of course, there’s a possibility I wrote Return of the Jedi instead, which also does the two-locations thing and which film critics tend to like less than its predecessor. But you know what? I like RotJ just fine, and I’d be equally thrilled to have Reign & Revolution be compared to it.
2. When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process(outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
Plotting is my favorite part, no contest. It’s all about possibilities and puzzles. What major events do I want to happen, and why do they come about? What motives drag my main characters from scene to scene? What am I missing that makes this progression of events make sense?
I combine the plotting phase with a weeks’ long outlining phase that results in pages of information. I end this period with character backstories, lists of who has the most to lose in any given scene, and lengthy descriptions of locations (so that the action in them makes sense). For Reign & Revolution, my pre-writing notes were 60,000 words (for a 90,000 word novel!)
Figuring out how things work appeals to me. After that, it’s a matter of getting all the interesting ideas across.
3. When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I gravitate toward space adventures—whether they’re full of hard science or are more space operatic. This genre has classics I’ve loved for years. (E.g., Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, Meluch’s Tour of the Merrimack, Niven’s “The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton” ß What, you thought I was going to say Ringworld for Niven? Hah! I thought I’d mix it up a bit.)
Recently, though, we’ve seen something of a resurgence of interest here. I’m so thrilled about these newer books. To name only a few of the authors from this decade: there’s Beth Revis’ Across the Universe (which I first heard of when someone compared my work to hers! Lucky!), Andy Weir’s The Martian (if you only saw the movie, you’re missing out), and Sabrina Chase’s Sequoyah series.
4. If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Hmmmm. I suppose I should pick someone who is brilliant at (1) setting scenes and (2) structural timing. But that’s all rational. Purely viscerally, I’m unable to stop myself from wanting: Octavia Butler. Her work is so varied and influential. She’s amazing at intriguing concepts that fit for both social and adventure/action themes.
5. Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
I would like to answer this question with a very confusing, “yes.”
When I was younger (age in the single digits, even!), I’d write beginnings of stories. Always beginnings, never middles or endings. I wrote everything, from science fiction to romance, from Choose Your Own Adventure to historical pirates. But then I stopped (except for school assignments and the odd story I couldn’t let go of).
I learned that I was a better editor than writer, and I did that professionally for a while (starting with an internship at Tor Books and then freelancing for the surge of online publishing houses).
Then in 2012, though, I got a day job writing fiction in the videogame industry. Until that point, I’d written a few short stories (maybe one every other year) and one novel (a space opera adventure, of course), but I hadn’t done much with them and I didn’t have confidence in my ability to write a saleable story.
Let me tell you, getting paid to write really increased my confidence level. Someone liked my work! Someone chose me instead of the zillions of other people who desperately want to write for videogames! And I was good at it.
Funny what a difference confidence makes. Since then, I’ve sold stories to large and small presses, published novels, and won awards for my work. My faded author-ly dreams might have stayed forever in the background if it weren’t for that little push.
Janine A. Southard is the IPPY award-winning author of Queen & Commander (and other books in The Hive Queen Saga). She lives in Seattle, WA, where she writes speculative fiction novels, novellas, and short stories... and reads them aloud to her cat.
All Janine’s books so far have been possible because of crowdsourced funds via Kickstarter. She owes great thanks to her many patrons of the arts who love a good science fiction adventure and believe in her ability to make that happen.
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Reign & Revolution #3