Welcome Leighgendaries to the eleventh edition of 10 Questions With…
Today, our guest is:
Rysa Walker is the author of the bestselling CHRONOS Files series. Timebound, the first book in the series, was the Young Adult and Grand Prize winner in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
Rysa grew up on a cattle ranch in the South, where she read every chance she got. On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stop light.
She currently lives in North Carolina, where she is hard at work on the series finale. If you see her on social media, please tell her to get back into the writing cave.
It’s time for:
10 Questions With Rysa Walker
1.) What is something that many people might not know about you?
I really don’t like to talk on the telephone. I make exceptions for my sister and my mom, but other than that, I keep phone conversations short and avoid them when possible. This is most likely a remnant from the horrible few weeks that I spent as telephone solicitor when I was young, broke, and couldn’t find other work. If there’s a more soul-sucking job in the universe, I can’t imagine what it would be.
2.) What inspired you to write your first book?
I was a history professor before I quit the day job to write full time and I’ve been addicted to science fiction (well, pretty much *all* speculative fiction) since I was a kid. It was probably inevitable that I’d end up writing a time travel series. I’d been working sporadically on Timebound (which was originally called Time’s Twisted Arrow) for several years while teaching history and government online. In 2012, I got ticked off at my employer and stopped doing a lot of the little admin and course development tasks that were devouring way too much of my time for way too little money. That summer, I finished the book and self-published it. I also entered it into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013, and that was literally the smartest thing I’ve ever done. The book won the Grand Prize and was republished by Skyscape in January 2014.
3.) Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I could try to be original, but it would be a lie. Might as well just confess that it’s Stephen King. He pulled me into his world with Carrie and I’ve read pretty much everything he’s written. The Stand and The Dark Tower series are among my favorites. I love King’s characters and the deep sense of humanity that shines through in so many of his stories. There are only a few I haven’t liked, and they’ve generally been short stories or really bleak works like Pet Sematary, which I flung across the room after reading the last words. (Very glad that was in the pre-Kindle era.)
4.) If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Well, it wouldn’t be Stephen King. I met him once, and the words that came out of my mouth made absolutely NO sense. It was a bizarre fangirl moment, and he looked at me as though he thought I might be an Annie Wilkes in the making. I still blush thinking about it. My idol and I totally blew it. So, hmm…let me see…Mark Twain. Definitely Mark Twain. I read his Letters From the Earth when I was in my teens and it made me question a lot of my own preconceived notions about life, religion, and the general state of humanity. But truthfully, I’d probably screw that one up, too, and end up looking like a blithering idiot.
5.) What book are you reading now?
Books, actually. I’ve usually got at least three going. Just finishing up The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey on Audible. I’m almost finished with the second book in Amy Bartol’s Sea of Stars on my Kindle, and next on tap is Ann Christy’s Strikers. In addition, I’m reading a lot of non-fiction books prepping to write my new series that debut in 2016.
6.) Are there any new authors that have captured your interest?
Lots and lots. Aside from my Stephen King habit and the occasional traditionally pubbed book on Audible, I tend to read on the Kindle and a lot of the books I read are in the Kindle Unlimited program. We have a lot of readers in my house and they zip through enough books that it’s very much worth the $10 a month. Many of the writers in there are indies and I’ve discovered some excellent science fiction and young adult books. I loved A.G. Riddle’s Departure. On the young adult front, there are several fun reads coming out in the next year, including Jacqueline Garlick’s Lumiere, Janet Taylor’s Into the Dim. If you’re looking for good science fiction, I suggest checking out some of the many authors in the Future Chronicles series. I’m also looking forward to the second book in Theresa Kay’s Broken Skies series and the final installment in Tracy Banghart’s Rebel Wing trilogy, both of which are excellent YA sci-fi.
7.) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
That’s a tough one, but probably not. If you’d asked me *before * I finished the last book of The CHRONOS Files, I would have said yes, without hesitation. The change is that I would have simplified things from the beginning, because the last book and the last novella were difficult to write, due to a mix of timelines and perspectives. But now that it’s over, I’m glad for the complexity. I think my readers enjoy a (mild) time travel induced headache when they try to sort things out. But I am kind of glad that the next series will not be time travel.
8.) Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’ve just finished up work on a short story called “The Gambit,” which will appear in the upcoming Time Travel Chronicles, due out at the end of the summer. It’s part of the ongoing Future Chronicles series edited by Samuel Peralta. My story is from the perspective of Saul Rand, is one of a select group of genetically-engineered CHRONOS historians who study the past firsthand. Convinced that he can create a better future than random chance and human blunder, Saul’s main challenge is circumventing the system’s safeguards—and he thinks he’s found the perfect opening move. In this short scene, Saul and a newbie historian, Katherine Shaw (who CHRONOS readers will recognize as Kate’s grandmother) are on their way to investigate a prophecy by female evangelist Jemima Wilkinson (also known as the Publick Universal Friend) concerning a strange weather phenomenon–New England’s “Dark Day,” May 19, 1780.
From “The Gambit”:
“So, you were at Jemima’s so-called resurrection?” Katherine’s voice is a little shaky, and she steals a glance at me from the corner of her eye. It’s the first time she’s had the nerve to ask a direct question.
“Well, not at the resurrection itself. Just at Jemima’s sermon the following Sunday. I’m sure the resurrection would have been more fun to watch, since it took place in her bed…” I wag my eyebrows suggestively.
As I suspected, innuendo is even more effective at bringing on her blush, but the sly grin that follows close behind is a surprise. “You weren’t supposed to be married back when you met her in 1776. Why didn’t you arrange an invitation to her chamber?”
“Um…because that would have blown my cover as an aspiring celibate.”
“It’s your third trip to this region. If that cover’s not already blown, you must be slipping.”
Her comment almost causes me to miss a step. I’d classed her as pretty, but vapid. She apparently catches my near-stumble, because a tiny little smile sneaks onto her lips.
We trudge along for another ten minutes or so. Katherine picks up the pace when she spots Judge Potter’s residence, known locally as The Abbey, up ahead. I’m not sure if the family calls it that or not.The villagers seem to be using the term ironically, possibly mocking Judge Potter for taking Jemima in and building a separate wing for her to hold services.
“Don’t get your hopes up,” I caution Katherine. “It’s farther than it looks.”
She sighs and slows back down. The hike up North Road is less than two kilometers total, but between the dark, heavy clothes of this era and today’s unnaturally thick and humid air, it’s not a pleasant walk. I set a stable point on my last visit, just outside the barn, and we could probably have jumped in without anyone noticing. But the Potter family would have found it odd if visitors popped in out of nowhere, looking fresh and unruffled. Better for one of the field hands to spot us coming up the road.
Instead, we jumped in near a tavern and booked rooms at the inn in Little Rest. That village will morph into Kingston in a few decades, then South Kingston, with two or three other mergers and name changes along the way until the whole area is gobbled up into the Greater Boston district of the EC in the 2200s.
Katherine sniffs the air. “How can they not tell that’s smoke?”
I wish she’d go back to being too shy to ask questions. “It’s only a faint trace. Could you pick it out, if you didn’t know?”
By this time tomorrow, the sky will be nearly black. The residents of Little Rest are already edgy from the strange weather, but tomorrow it will tip to full-fledged panic. They have no way of knowing the darkened sky is due to low-lying clouds combined with smoke from a massive forest fire in an uninhabited region of Ontario. Scientists won’t figure it out for over two centuries. In this era, people simply flail about and search for some way to appease their gods.
Their reactions don’t interest me, although I’m a little curious about what Jemima thinks. Does she really believe in prophecy? Or is she the clever con artist her enemies depict?
9.) If you were to get rid of one state in the US, which would it be and why?
This one is going to get me into trouble, Preston. I’ll interpret “get rid of” as kicking them out of the union, rather than the more extreme option of erasing them. I can’t say Florida or Alabama, because I have too many relatives in those states, even though both of them occasionally do things that make me want to put them into an extended time out.
So, I guess it’s adios, Texas. Many Texans seem to want to leave anyway. But I think we’d need to offer to airlift the residents of Austin out of the new Republic of Texas, because they probably aren’t going to fare too well.
10.) A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
He says: “No go on the Alamo, Roy. We’re going to have to look for another venue.”
Silo the Penguin is here because he’s just discovered that the Republic of Texas isn’t the best place for a gay penguin wedding.
Go ahead, pimp whatever book you want:
The latest installment in the CHRONOS Files series, Time’s Mirror, is all decked out and ready for action on Kindle.
Coming soon to Audible!
Giveaway: Rysa Walker would like to giveaway a signed copy of Timebound or a $10 Amazon Card, winners choice. All you need to do is answer the following questions in the comment section:
What is your favorite sci-fi villain?
The giveaway will run until Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 8:00 pm (est) and is open to anyone in the world. Good luck.
I would like to thank Rysa Walker for taking the time to be part of 10 Questions With… and for pimping out her book. I hope you enjoyed her interview as much as I did.