Welcome Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, my friend and fellow blogger in the Blog Ring of Power. Sandra started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn’t been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon’s Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story “A Reptile at the Reunion” was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons.
She is a founding member of BroadUniverse and a long-time member of the Online Writing Workshop for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her current day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she’s also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.
Don’t miss the rest of her interview:
Part 1 @ Dean – Tuesday, April 23
Part 2 @ Terri – Wednesday, April 24
Part 4 @ Emily – Friday, April 26
PART 3: THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Where do you get your story ideas? Everywhere. I get ideas from everyday situations, from things I read, from things I’m interested in, and even writing challenges. I need lots of ideas because I find the best stories come about when I mash two or more unrelated ideas together.
Do you have a specific writing style? I use too many semicolons for fiction, at least according to my editor. On a serious note, I like writing in first person so that I can give the narrator a strong voice—sometimes with an attitude.
How do you deal with writer’s block? It depends on the cause. When I first started writing, I sometimes got stuck when I wasn’t deep enough inside the characters’ heads. I’m better at that now, but sometimes I don’t know what should happen next in the story. Then I may write out in the manuscript ideas about what could happen and the implications of those events. Writing the ideas down helps me focus instead of frittering away time on Internet games. And sometimes I’m just physically/mentally exhausted and need to recharge. Of course, I tend to get a spurt of writing energy right at bed time.
Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)? Although I have tried outlining, I invariably wind up ignoring the outline and pantsing the plot.
Do you use critique partners or beta readers? Why or why not? I use the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror as a place to find crit partners. Crit partners are essential for catching things you can’t notice because you’re too close to the story.
How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do? On one level, life is research; I mine everyday experiences, sensations, and emotions for tidbits for my stories. Since I write science fiction, I read a lot of science news stories, looking for ideas I might want to use to extrapolate a future world. I also read a lot of non-fiction to learn about other cultures and settings. The Internet can be handy for looking up specific facts I need on the spot.
Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.—I did pursue traditional publishing for this project, but it really wasn’t a good fit for a traditional publisher. The first book in this series, Lyon’s Legacy, is a novella, which is a hard length to sell. I considered combining the two books into one volume, but that would have been too long. Self-publishing provides me with the control I need to tell this story the way I feel it should be told. I found a freelance editor and cover artist, but I did all of the formatting myself.
Is your book in print, ebook or both? Both
Please let us know where can your readers stalk you:
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/SandraUlbrichAlmazanSffAuthor
Paul Harrison always wanted to play Hamlet, but he never expected he’d live the role first.
TWINNED UNIVERSES: In the aftermath of a family tragedy on 21st century Earth, Paul discovers he’s the clone of Sean Lyon, his great-great-grandfather and a famous TwenCen musician. Suspecting his mother’s death was no accident, Paul comes up with a plan to trick the answers out of the great-uncle who had him cloned. But in order to make his plan work, Paul needs help from Sean himself—and Sean’s time is running out in the TwenCen universe next door. Although Paul’s family lives on the spaceship that travels between the universes, he’s never been allowed on TwenCen Earth. Now, with the help of his friends, his disguise-creating holoprojectors, and a quantum quirk, Paul must make his way to Sean while evading other time travelers who fear he’ll change the history of the TwenCen universe. If Paul is to achieve justice, he must not only risk his own life, but the wormhole connecting the universes. “To be or not to be” was a simple question in comparison….
You can buy TWINNED UNIVERSES at: