Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview: Amanda Bridgeman (author of the AURORA series)

Each week throughout March I've be dedicating a blog post, be it in the form of a review, author interview, essay, or recap of the Aurora series by Aussie Sci-Fi author Amanda Bridgeman to celebrate the forthcoming release of the latest book in the Aurora series, AURORA CENTRALIS (book #4) - and today, my marks the last post in the official blog tour over here at Just A Guy That Likes To Read and we're going out in style with an interview! Many thanks to Amanda for taking the time to respond to a few questions about CENTRALIS and the series to date. 

You can read my review of AURORA CENTRALIS HERE.

author image(Josh) Your latest book in the Aurora series, AURORA: CENTRALIS continues to develop Welles, McKinley, Doc, Sharley and co. How much fun is it to write these characters and see them grow with each book?

(Amanda) It’s been awesome fun to write these characters! They’ve very much become family to me, and I hope they’ve become family/friends to my readers also.  As I write character-driven sci-fi, it’s really important that the readers feel like they know the characters but also that they fell they’ve seen them evolve and grow. We’ve now hit book four, and I think that if my readers look back on the crew as they were in Darwin, they will easily see the growth and change the characters have gone through, not only in their relationships, but in themselves also.

Your books comprise action, adventure, thrills, and deeply character focused plots. What draws you to telling these sorts of stories, and, in particular, to set them in outer space?

I’ve always loved a good drama and I’ve always loved action/sci-fi/horror, so for me it was about bringing all these elements together – with a little bit of romance – to create a story that I myself would want to read. I think SFF worlds, be it set in space or otherwise, allow the reader to escape from reality for a while, and we all need that sometimes. At the same time, realistic characters keep readers anchored to reality, and hence give them some familiarity. I see the Aurora books as giving readers the best of both worlds - a nice blend of realism and escapism.

Aurora: Centralis (Aurora 4)One of the elements to AURORA: CENTRALIS I really enjoyed was the glimpse into the future. The notion that these ‘jumbos’ go beyond the desires of a madman. Are these glimpses going to be more prevalent in later instalments to coincide with the ‘present-day’ setting of the books?

They certainly are. This series is leading up to a ‘big event’ which will occur in book eight - everything will come to a head in a life and death struggle on a massive scale (although there will be other ‘major events’ in the books leading up to this). Effectively the first four books represent Aurora: Series One, the next four will represent Aurora: Series Two (and ultimately if you want to break it down, Colonel Welles’ story could be considered the prequel!). Book 5 – Aurora: Eden – will be a stepping stone of sorts between the two series or story arcs. The last three books will see some time jumps, but readers don’t need to fear because Carrie, Harris and the Aurora team, aren’t going anywhere. The Aurora series would be nothing without them – so you can expect to see them there right to the end!  Although, whether *all* the members of the Aurora team make it through to the end is another thing….

Space, as you touched upon in your recent guest post on this blog, presents itself with endless opportunities in science fiction – how did you draw together the different aspects of the Aurora series to make it what it is today?

With regards to the world-building of the Aurora series, I basically took inspiration from just about everywhere: films, books, the news! I also work for a project management company in my day job, so I have a basic understanding about construction and town planning, which helped in term of some of the space settings. I wanted things to be a little raw and new for our characters in space; it’s very much the new frontier. If the setting was too advanced then there would be little room for the mystery I’ve worked into the plot. So keeping things less ‘advanced’ in that respect made it easier and more recognisable for readers.

Aurora: DarwinWho are some of the sci-fi authors you seek for inspiration or just to enjoy their stories?

In terms of local writers, some of the SF books I’ve enjoyed recently include: Nina D’Aleo’s ‘The Last City’ and ‘The Forgotten City’, Max Barry’s ‘Lexicon’, Marianne De Pierres’ ‘Peacemaker’. I’m also halfway through Keith Stevenson’s Horizon, which I’m enjoying. For international writers, I really enjoyed Ernest Cline’s ‘Ready Player One’, Andy Weir’s ‘The Martian’ and John Scalzi’s ‘Lock In’.

If you could sum up the Aurora series in a sentence, what would it be?

It’s the tale of two very different people, with one common goal: survival.

What’s next for Carrie Welles and the Aurora series?

Tell, without giving too many spoilers away, both Carrie and Harris have some serious work to do to pull themselves together after what happened in Centralis . . . Once they do, they need to focus firmly on their future, because if they don’t, the consequences could be devastating . . .

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