Thanks to Mari Collier, another of my fellow Creativia authors, for agreeing to take part in this interview. You can find Mari online by clicking on the links below:
Amazon author page: http://bookShow.me/B00BGTT09Q
Facebook: Twisted Tales From A Skewed Mind https://www.facebook.com/Twisted-Tales-From-A-Skewed-Mind-124947397618599/
1. What gave you the idea of combining science fiction with the Old West in your Chronicles of Maca series?
The story started in the Old West in my mind and I wrote the first chapter and killed off everyone but two characters. My one older brother thought it hilarious that his baby sister did this. I quit writing on it, but in my mind it kept playing. So I started again and realized the one needed his Uncle. It grew from there as the main character had mind powers that humans do not possess. The Uncle was not strong enough to control the character. He needed a stepfather. He couldn’t have a stepfather until I resurrected the mother from the Comanche attack arranged by her Justine husband.
2. Tell us about the sixth book in the series, your work in progress.
Captain Jarvis and his crew discover that the De’Chins’ mining asteroid has been invaded and the De’Chins’ space vessels destroyed. The Thalains attack. Rescue the De’Chin woman and take a Draygon captive. Lorenz, the Earth/Justine mutant must use his mind to make the prisoner reveal the Draygon location. It is discovered the Krepyons have become their allies. Thalia, the Betrons, and the Golden One of the Earth MacDonald Corporation join in the attack. Upon their return, Beauty the leader of the Sisterhood escapes and kills the Maca of Don’s daughter, and then the son of the Maca of Betron. She and her counselor (wife in Earth speak) disappear, helped by the hidden Sisterhood. The Kenning Woman discovers the hidden Book of Gar and nearly dies in the cave beside Ayran’s foul Lake Bliss. It takes Daniel, JayEll, and Medicine to rescue her and JoAnne, the first rescuer. The hunt for the killer continues, but the Sisterhood kills their own rather than betray them. It is discovered that the Sisterhood has become embedded in the Houses of Medicine and Ishner, but the rules of Thalia preclude invading the continent of another House. Llewellyn, Maca of Don, and his Earth/Mutant claimed (adopted) son plan their own revenge against Beauty. She will die just as Lillie died at her hands. JayEll proclaims himself the new Martin and he and the Kenning Woman plan to wed.
On one of his preaching trips, the Kenning Woman’s vision states that Ishner is bleeding for their true Maca. The hidden Sisterhood promptly uses a stinger to destroy the Kenning Woman’s family’s home. Her father is a son of the former Maca of Ishner. He reveals that JayEll is probably his son. Incest tis forbidden on Thalia just as it is on Earth. The Thalians are ready to invade Ishner to confiscate the rest of the stingers when the people of Ishner attack the Sisterhood. Riots and fire break out. The Sisterhood holds the Guardian, Counselor, and Director of Ishner hostage. Captain Daniel and troopers are sent to Port Issac to quell the riots and Captain Jarvis and troopers are sent to rescue the hostages in the city Iconda. During the fighting, the true Maca of Ishner will be revealed. The question of JayEll’s genes will be settled by Medicine.
3. You’re starting a new family saga, ‘Earthbound’. How is this family different?
I’m not starting it, I’m still writing it. Earthbound is the first book of my series, Chronicles of the Maca. MacDonald, or Llewellyn, Maca of Don, as he is named on his on planet is part Thalian and part Justine. His Earth wife, Anna, had married a stranded Justine and produced four children with Toma. MacDonald and Anna have one child that lives. Mina is Earth, Thalian, and Justine. MacDonald will adopt Anna’s third son Lorenz, who is Earth and Justine. One of the things that prompted me to put westerns and science fiction together was when I had catechism lessons at the age of twelve through thirteen. When explaining the spread of faith in this country, the Pastor explained that the Germans had gone into Texas before it had become a state. He created a love of Western history that has never died.
4. How long have you been writing?
I was about eleven or twelve when I started writing a story about a family destroyed by a Comanche raid in Texas prior to the Civil War. That story evolved into Gather The Children, but Anna and MacDonald kept insisting I write their story. My older brother’s laughter at the idea of his baby sister writing a tale that killed off most of the characters meant that I put that story to the side for many years. I wrote for the Audubon Advocate when I was thirteen reporting on what neighbor visited what neighbor and any birthday or engagement party. I kept writing short stories through high school and early marriage. I did sell a children’s story to Jack and Jill, but went to work for a weekly paycheck when I realized that writing for a newcomer would not pay a mortgage or a new car payment.
5. Who is your favourite author?
Will and Ariel Durant, the authors of The Story of Civilization. Yes, I’ve read all eleven volumes. Some more than once.
6. Which social media works best for you as regards promoting your books?
So far it has been Facebook.
7. Do you believe there could be life on other planets?
I was always of the opinion that since the Almighty God made this planet with beings on it, there could be any number of planets with beings. I do not limit God. It wasn’t until I was introduced to someone who worked on the Project Blue Book that convinced me that there are other living beings out there. Our government has not been completely honest about things. Why didn’t that person say anything? He did on a You Tube interview. He would lose his retirement, his health insurance, and all records of his military service would be obliterated.
8. Would you have liked to live in the Old West of the 19thcentury?
Oh, hell, no. The work alone was a killer. Just consider carrying bucket after bucket of water to fill up a tub. That doesn’t take in using a cone agitator and bringing the firewood to keep the water hot. There was no medical response to anything, and the diet was rather restricted to what you could grow, preserve, or hunt. I do not want to live without hot water on tap or lights that come on with a flick of the switch.
9. You grew up on a farm in Iowa with no modern amenities. How did you cope with no electricity, hot water and central heating? Did your neighbours have modern amenities?
We did have running water (cold) in the kitchen and in the washhouse. That meant we did not carry buckets of water, but the galvanized tub was for bathing. One wore the clothes all week and changed on Saturday before going into town. There were also special clothes for Sunday. There was no electricity in our section of Iowa until 1950. Some like my father, refused to have it installed. One neighbor did have a bathroom, but most of them had outhouses until the 1960s. I loved going into town to see an Uncle or Aunt, or the long trip to Council Bluffs to my brother’s house where there were such things as electricity and bathrooms inside.
10. Were children expected to work on the farms from a young age?
Of course, they were. My parents were a bit lenient. They didn’t expect it until one was nine-years of age. One neighbor even had their six-year-old son driving a tractor. My parents were horrified at that as it was far too dangerous for a child. We walked to school whether it was sunshine, rain, or snow. It was what my parents had done so we could do that too. We were going to a one room public school. There were two outhouses there: one for girls and one for boys. Two of the eighth graders would take the bucket and walked to the closest farm for the water for the day. We all drank from the same cup. That horrified the County Nurse when she visited our school. We all had to bring in our own cup after that.
11. Do you remember anything about being so ill as a child that you were near death?
Yes, it was so difficult to breathe, that I decided not to fight to get the air out of my lungs anymore. I don’t like to go into that experience too deeply except to say I was walking down a murky, gray tunnel towards the wondrous golden light. Instead of the freezing cold in my bedroom, the warmth radiated outward from the golden place as I neared. Just as I stepped out of the tunnel and the light flowed around me a voice said, “You do not belong here yet. It is too soon. Go back.” The scene vanished and I was back in my bed, layered between two feather beds. By the way, Mama had made the feather beds from the ducks that we had.
12. Do you believe in the power of prayer and positive thinking?
I believe in prayer to the Lord. I am not silly enough to believe that every prayer will have a “yes” answer as I do not know the plans of the Almighty. Prayer is the Christians way of meditation. The term positive thinking leaves me baffled as I have always been an optimist.
13. Do you suffer any ill-effects from working ‘like a man’ on the farm as a child?
Oh, heavens no. It just meant that when I was working, I would not accept the fact that men received a higher salary than I was receiving. I was quite capable of doing their work. I did secure the job after proving I could go into the worst areas of Phoenix and collect money. There is a huge difference between $249.00 per month and $600.00. At least there was in 1973.
14. Do you feel as though you’ve missed out on a childhood through working on the farm?
How could I have missed out? We weren’t working ten hour days. For us it would just be the morning or afternoon. When we were in school, we just had the chores before we left and some of the chores before dark. We had an entire quarter of an acre by a creek with wild flowers, elderberry trees, willows, and prairie grass as our private playground. I could make up all sorts of stories to enact. In the evening after dinner there were board games, puzzles, and, of course, we learned pinochle at an early age. Papa always read the comics to us and he would laugh harder than anyone else. Mama taught us how to play the piano, and, of course, there were always huge dinners after church at Grandma’s house. I could go on about the reunions and old clothes we children had to play “dress” up.
15. You married while still a teenager. Do you think it’s best to marry early and be young parents, or to wait until you’ve seen the world and gained life experiences?
I think that depends on the person. Lanny was always “old” according to his mother. I had been earning my own living since I was sixteen. In theory, it should have been a disaster. In reality, I can count the quarrels we had on one hand and inside it still hurts that he is gone home and I am still on this Earth.
16. Where do you consider is home? Iowa, Arizona, Washington, or California?
Home is wherever I am living. I would not, however, choose Washington as a place to retire. I chose the desert.
17. When living in Washington you worked for Nintendo. What did your job entail?
I was an Advanced Super Agent in their Correspondence section of the Consumer Call Center. That meant I could take phone calls for all problems from set ups to game play. I also read in the letters, later the email, and routed them to the files for response. I was also one of the letter writers for all problems, and I did the entering for the Elmo Folio Views in the Correspondence section so other Correspondence people knew what and how we were to respond to certain situations. We were also expected to play the games (all of our cubicles had game devices and we could check out games) that we played when not busy at something else. Nintendo also gave us each system for the home and the game to master.
18. Where will you travel to for your holidays this year?
Nowhere. I’ll be right here in Twentynine Palms, CA.
19. What’s number one on your bucket list?
You will think this strange, but I do not have a bucket list. Perhaps it would be nice to see Oak Creek Canyon again.
20. What’s your favourite song?
That is difficult to say. It is difficult to choose between “Just As I Am” or “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Another favorite is “Your Cheating Heart.” I also love “Bolero”. Of course, “Heartbreak Hotel” is right up there too. That pretty well gives away my age and era, doesn’t it?
Thanks for taking part, Mari. If any authors/publishers would like to answer 20 of my questions, please contact me on my website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk with some information about yourself.