Under the Skin–Author Interview with E.B. Dawson

Today’s author interview is with the very talented E.B. Dawson, author of multiple terrific science fiction books including The Creation of Jack series. Book 3, Under the Skin, will be available to purchase on June 23rd.

Please pause to acknowledge the awesomeness of the cover.

You didn’t acknowledge it enough. Go back and do it again.

Okay, that’s good. Now, the synopsis:

After narrowly avoiding catastrophe on the world’s first space colony, humanity struggles to redefine itself. Logan, Druce, and the crew try to remain neutral. But tensions are mounting, and when Logan gets separated from the others, they will have to decide where their loyalties lie. As Logan’s longtime battle with her own identity comes to a head, she will find the fate of humanity lies in the balance.

 

And before we dive into the interview, here’s a little more about E.B. Dawson:

E.B. Dawson was born out of time. Raised in the remote regions of a developing nation, traveling to America was as good as traveling thirty years into the future. So, it’s really no wonder that she writes science fiction and fantasy. Her stories acknowledge darkness, but empower and encourage people to keep on fighting, no matter how difficult their circumstances may be. And as an avid philosopher, she infuses her work with Socratic questions. When not writing, she tries to make a difference in the world by showing love and compassion to those most broken.

 

For readers who aren’t familiar with your work, could you tell us about your “brand” in a nutshell? What specific qualities do you bring to your storytelling to make it unique?

I write character driven, action and adventure books in the speculative genre (scifi/fantasy/dystopian). Here is a list of things you will probably find in my stories:

  • Impossible odds
  • Heros/heroines who are tough because they embrace their weaknesses
  • Antagonists who are scary because you understand them
  • Politics
  • Good vs. Evil
  • Hope in spite of darkness
  • Culture/cross-cultural interaction

I tell stories with layers–the kind where you find new things when you re-read it. There are stories that you can put on a shelf and separate from your everyday life. And then there are stories that reach off the page, grab your heart, and make you look at your life differently. I like to think my stories are a bit more like that.

If Under the Skin were a summer blockbuster, and you were creating a trailer for it, what visuals and dialogue snippets would we see in that trailer?

Well, let’s talk about music for a second. You know that “Tron” trailer where it opens with the Daft Punk music and that deep, vibrating tone? Picture that over and over again. I’m just kidding. I would say…

Open with a rapid sequence of action shots from the ending of last book. Cut to a profile of Logan’s face. The only sound we can hear is her steady breathing. The camera pans around to look straight into her eyes. A soft track begins to play in the background (something peaceful but also a bit melancholy, probably with a cello solo) as we watch our characters adjust to their new life circumstances (ten points to me for avoiding spoilers!).

Druce: “There were a lot of lives lost up there…too many. And all for the sake of one man’s pride.”

A somewhat familiar face: “We’re like a bunch of sheep following our leaders over a cliff. If we don’t stop and pause soon, humanity’s gonna destroy itself. And maybe we won’t like what takes its place.”

Logan: “What do you think is gonna take its place?”

(Epic Tron music)

Andrei Emsky stands with his arms crossed: “You’re not the only one with altered DNA, or other enhancements.”

Logan: “I probably have more in common with people on this base than most people on Earth.”

Gregson: “So you’re just gonna declare war on everybody who’s different from you? I don’t see how that solves anything.”

Logan: “I promise I’m making the best decisions that I can.”

Montage of epic action shots…

Someone: “Please, don’t do this.”

Logan: “It’s time for you to fulfill your part of the bargain.”

Nigel Clayworth: “I guess it’s about time I paid for my mistakes.”

Sound of Gunshot.

Blackout.

What sci-fi franchise(s) would you say that Under the Skin is most similar to, and in what way is it like that franchise?

Tough question. My critique partner says it’s a mix of the new Lost in Space and The Expanse. Unfortunately I haven’t seen either of those. I think if you combined Ender’s Game with Star Trek: Voyager you might get something similar to Under the Skin. I say Ender’s Game because of some of the politics and characters. I know Star Trek: Voyager might be a controversial choice. You had these two opposing crews that had to learn to get along because they were isolated in the Delta Quadrant with little hope of return. That made for some fascinating character arcs. There was a sense of family, but there was also a sense of frequent, recurring conflict. I also think the show had a chance to examine some fascinating philosophical questions. There are also some other reasons, which are spoilers.

What are some of the themes you delve into in Under the Skin, and what do you hope your readers will take away from it?

Did you just ask me about themes? (Rubs hands together) How much time have we got?

Under the Skin examines questions of identity, loyalty, sacrifice, and how conflict can have a polarizing effect. It’s about dealing with the consequences of other people’s choices and sometimes having to watch your friends make choices you don’t agree with. I hope my readers walk away empowered to fight their own personal battles and to fight for their friends, even when things get tough.

What draws you to the sci-fi genre in particular, and what was the first sci-fi thing (book, movie, whatever) you remember reading, watching, etc.?

What I love about sci-fi is that there is always an element of “this could be our world.” It’s a reflection back on humanity. By projecting what humanity would do if they met aliens, if they had more technology, etc., we expose many of the issues we deal with now. It’s difficult to pinpoint the first sci-fi I ever watched. If I had to guess, I would say Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In your own words, how would you define the distinction between sci-fi and fantasy? In what ways do you think that they overlap?

They are both speculative fiction, so they both get to play with questions of “what if.” I also think they both offer avenues of escapism. But I think fantasy offers a bit more of escape, because at its core, we know fantasy is not real and these things could not happen in the real world. In general, I think sci-fi hits a bit closer to home because it is rooted in real science and technology. Granted, some sci-fi is so far fetched that it plays a similar role to fantasy, simply allowing the reader to escape into the realm of unrealistic possibilities. But a large amount of sci-fi has a grain of truth and reality to it that makes you look at your world a little differently.

What are your writing plans following the release of Under the Skin? Any teasers?

So many plans, so little time. First of all I want to say that there is a fourth book in the works. The Creation of Jack Book 4 will come out sometime next year. But I am actually writing two series right now. As soon as Under the Skin is released, I will be preparing for the release of The Citizen, which is book two in my fantasy series (Lost Empire). It is scheduled to come out this fall. Keep your eyes peeled, not only for a cover reveal, but for three short stories coming this summer! They focus on three of the characters from that series (Brett, Rodge, and Agatha). I’m super excited for them and for The Citizen. What I love about my Lost Empire series is that it is a fantasy series with a system of science in it. And although some of the characters cling to the science and try to explain everything by it, the fantastical elements are what drive the story. We saw a glimpse of that in The Traveler and we will see even more of that in The Citizen.

 

Thanks for stopping by the blog, E.B.! Readers, don’t forget that Under the Skin will be available on all major ebook markets on June 23rd! You can pre-order it from multiple sellers now. (Amazon pre-orders are currently unavailable for this title due to technical difficulties, but it will be released on Amazon as well.)

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