Today's author interview is with fellow Phoenix Fiction Writer E.B. Dawson. She's just published Until the End, the fourth and final book in her Creation of Jack series. Now, to my shame, I have yet to read this series, but I'm hearing all kinds of amazing things about it…and really, just look at this cover.
Until the End (The Creation of Jack, Book 4)
After the Mechs are neutralized in a devastating battle, Logan and Druce consider changing their priorities as they rebuild their lives. But the emotional and physical trauma of recent events begins to catch up with Logan, and she starts to fear that her final battle will be to maintain her own sanity.
The team is broken and breaking more. While some fight to bring back what was lost, others seem to be compromising what they believe. In the face of an uncertain future, each one of them will have to decide what choices they want to define them in the end.
Will Logan be left to fight the greatest battle of her life alone?
Click here to find Until the End on the ebook provider of your choice.
About the author:
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. Now she writes science fiction and fantasy to make sense of her unusual perspectives on life. Her stories acknowledge darkness, but empower and encourage people to keep on fighting, no matter how difficult their circumstances may be.
On to the interview!
We’ve talked in past interviews about your writing process, but since you’re coming to the end of an era in your series as a whole, I’d like to focus more on the big-picture strategies you use. How did you plan out this series? Did you have a fairly good idea of how the arc would unfold from the beginning, or were there a lot of surprises?
Great question with a complicated answer! Technically I am “wrapping up” two series this year. The final installment in my fantasy trilogy Lost Empire will release in October. I planned out that series in much more detail than The Creation of Jack. This may sound strange, but the plot is much more central to Lost Empire while The Creation of Jack is much more an exploration of themes and character choices. The plots of the books in Lost Empire are also intricately connected into an arc, while the books in COJ are more episodical. They definitely connect and build on each other, but each has a distinct ending.
All that being said, no, I did not have all four books planned out from the beginning. But I did have instincts about where I wanted to take certain character arcs. I wrote one book at a time, while purposely leaving threads that I could pick up on in future.
I’ve asked you this question in regard to individual books before, so let’s kick it up a notch. What was the biggest obstacle in your journey to getting this series finished and published, and how did you overcome it?
I have a history of pushing aside my writing when “real life” gets busy. I published books 1 and 2 during a convenient lull. A few months later I took a position that was basically three job descriptions combined into one. It would have been easy to push off writing the third book until later. Committing to a writing/publishing schedule and sticking to it amidst “real life craziness” was extremely difficult. A similar thing happened for book four. I got it drafted okay, but my editing process kept getting interrupted with a million other projects and distractions. A series really is a long term commitment and it really can take an incredible amount of work to put out a series at a regular pace, with the same amount of quality. The accountability and encouragement of my critique partners has been a game changer. In addition I would say the discipline to even do a little work every day (a couple hundred of words, or a page of edits) has made a huge difference.
Who is your favorite character in the Creation of Jack series, and why?
I mean Logan is the obvious answer. She is the reason the series exists and I love her with all my heart. She is the kind of hero I would have loved to see in fiction when I was in high school/early college. I enjoy female protagonists, but honestly I don’t relate to them very often. According to Myers Briggs, only 2% of women have my personality type and maybe that has something to do with it.
I started writing her eleven years ago, so we’ve really been on a long journey together and it has been incredible to be able to write her growth arc over the series as I myself have grown. This may sound strange, but it really is special to take a character you admire and have her face the very struggles and issues you are most afraid of, and work through them with her and come out the other side feeling braver. Every book in this series has been that for me.
What would you say was most influential in drawing you to write in the science fiction genre? Was it a particular author, book, movie, etc.?
One of my favorite authors, G.K. Chesterton often talked about how we grow blind to what is familiar to us and have to learn to look at things as if we are seeing them for the first time to really appreciate them. It’s what artists do when they paint family objects and landscapes in unusual colors or styles. It is what speculative fiction does very well. Science fiction in particular tends to be much more purposeful about asking philosophical questions. I’m not sure if I would have ever considered writing science fiction myself, though, if I hadn’t read Ender’s Game. I related to Ender Wiggin on so many levels. I adored the psychological and philosophical questions woven through out. It was about the age where I was too old for children’s books, but hadn’t found a lot of adult books I liked. I’m pretty sure my aunt had just given me and my sister a collection of Christian romance novels, which I was thoroughly unimpressed with. Ender’s Game hit all the right notes for me and encouraged me that the stories I wanted were out there, I just had to find them.
When it comes to either the end of a book or the end of a series, what do you think is the most important responsibility of an author? How do you balance between your own desires for how the story should play out and what your readers’ expectations are?
You have to set yourself up for the ending from the beginning. A good author guides their readers hopes and expectations. You guide them from the very first page. Subtext and foreshadowing are your friends. You can make the journey as long and hard as you want, but you have to deliver on everything you promised. I don’t see a conflict between what I want and what my readers want. The first half of the book is dedicated to making sure those things line up. Once in a while I do wonder about the “what ifs.” What would happen if this character made a different choice? I think I used to wonder about that sort of thing a lot more. But I also have a very strong gut instinct for where the story needs to go, and what events would reinforce the themes. I say it’s an instinct, but it’s also very much something I have learned from my favorite stories.
What major theme (or themes) do you most want to see readers take away from Until the End?
I want them to feel empowered, even if the circumstances of their lives aren’t ideal. Until the End is all about facing the evil in the world, accepting your responsibilities, and helping your friends fight their battles.
Care to give us any teasers for what might be coming next from the Creation of Jack universe? You can be as vague as you like. 😀
Yes! I have three spinoff novels planned which I am really excited about, but they are being pushed back a couple of years. One would take place during some of the events of these first four books but from an unexpected perspective. The other two would take place after. Their tone would be a bit different due to the different focus of characters, but there would be some very fun crossovers and cameos from the characters we know and love. I’ve also toyed with the idea of a short story or two. They may pop up when you least expect them, so keep your eyes open!