In today’s author takeover, I am joined by author Marie Kammerer-Franke, who is talking about how her debut novel, A Charming Nightmare, came to life.
Over to you Marie …
How did A Charming Nightmare come about?
One night before bed I listened as my two children argued over which book mom was going to cliff note to them that night. Ready for the “I love you, goodnight” part of bedtime mom said “Once upon a time…” To which instantly my eldest screamed, “The world blowded up!!!” And in an explosion of giggles and jumping from bed to bed I started the story of how the planet we call home ‘blowded up‘, while those two monkeys screamed a list of everything that ‘blowded up‘ along with the world (bedtime, and cooked carrots making the top of that list).
That event was A Charming Nightmare’s big bang. Each night the two listened as mom talked about the sole survivor of a planet‘s destruction. They listened as the girl, Aylin, was kidnapped by a time traveling alien. They both put in their two cents, changing the alien’s powers, creating new worlds and species. They participated until, like all children have tendencies to do; they grew up. Too old for mommy to tuck them into bed, too mature for mommy to kiss them goodnight. I realized that Aylin, her kidnapper, Catch, and the rest of their new Earth were being ignored by my kids, just like “Where the Wild Things Are” was by me years before.
Years went by, I stared at so many scenarios typed on a computer screen using Aylin. She didn’t fit, didn’t belong on those pages, she didn’t say the right things, or have the correct hero in her life. The cat had my tongue, I couldn’t remember who she was or where I knew her from. Aylin was just the character I used when writing, always. That changed when my son asked if I remembered her from their bedtime stories, if that’s why I used her name in everything. Oooooooo! I started over (again) this time placing her in the right surroundings, recalling all the stories my boys and I created when they were toddlers. Just like it happened to them, I aged her, I aged Catch, and aged the situations, the verbiage, the conversations and the meanings, so now my boys can re-open Aylin’s story as adults.
What sets it apart from other science fiction books?
I like to think that I’m a little different from your traditional science fiction writer. I have to think that, it’s what I have been told by some very critical ‘thank you, but no thank you’ agent responses. I’m too different, not sci-fi enough, too laymen, not technical enough. Perhaps I should stick to romance stories, seeing as how my heroine is a romantic at heart.
Can you expand on that? What were they so critical about?
While I truly enjoy science fiction, and I love, love, love story telling. Aylin speaks to you, she doesn’t understand this world that she has been thrown into any more than they understand her antics. So she talks to you, the reader, as if you are right there in front of her. When creating Aylin I mixed myself with Doctor Who’s quirkiness, and Douglas Adams descriptive humour. The worlds were created using Carl Sagan’s lessons on Cosmos with a side of Bill Nye the Science Guy. But mostly she’s a woman, the average New Yorker, who wants nothing more but to have someone or something ‘normal’ once again. She completely “girlies up” the genre, putting lipstick on sci-fi norms. Not your experienced hero tromping through galaxies fully aware of their purpose or mission. She trips, falls, and stumbles her way through everything, much to the annoyance of her captor. He IS, after all, what we picture a hero being; strong, brazen, something not to be messed with, completely technical and skilled, and she messes with his entire image.
Rejection is how you became an indie author?
An unexpected door opened by the name of Mortal Threads. Mortalthreads.com is a small team working hard every day to create clothing, accessories, and home décor for quirky innovators and nerdy fandoms with a bold voice. Not the usual place for an author to call home! But they saw all the professional criticism as a positive and ran completely with it, creating Mortal Reads solely for A Charming Nightmare. I couldn’t have done any of it without them in my corner pushing on the send button when I was too scared or asking “why not, who says?” when I said I can’t.
Want to do a shameless plug for A Charming Nightmare, give us a blurb and where we can find it?
40,000 years after Earth’s demise we are still trying to settle. That’s what the survivors are called now, settlers. Survivor, by the way, is derogatory word. So are words like gadget, computer, and machine. Those are people. We evolve into them, and something in the mechanics that make up a human is killing. That’s where I come in, not intentionally mind you, but forcibly by our distant descendants. They could be a little more hospitable, and offer a tissue when telling you that your family, job, hairdresser, and newspaper boy are all dust. But they don’t. So you compromise; you translate children’s books for scientists who cannot read or write its written language in hopes of curing their diseased parts, and in return they back you up when you start a war to end all wars on their front lawn. Sounds fair, right??
You can get a copy at
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Currently, my editor (another amazing lady who is ACN’s second mother) and I are diligently working through development to the remaining three books in the ACN series: Sister’s Lament, Another Word for Ledge & The Brink of Almost.
Any last words for other authors who are as you said “scared to hit the send button?”
Being an indie writer in my favourite genre has been a whirlwind, completely and totally insane, and most nights are sleepless plugging away at it all. I used to think that writing the books was the hardest thing I would have to do on this journey, now I KNOW that it was the easiest. But I wouldn’t change a moment of it, so my advice to anyone is believe in yourself, in your piece, don’t sell yourself short. If you adore your characters, message, style then selling it (and yourself) is so worth the blood, sweat, and tears.
Your journey has certainly been an interesting one; any other authors with any tips for getting published or how to deal with rejection? Let us know in the comments below.
And, if you’d like to provide me with a guest post, drop me an email via the contact page, using #AuthorTakeover as the subject.
Have a super day folks!