Today’s author is a fellow Canadian who enjoys traversing worlds in a variety of genres but is here to chat about her debut science fiction novel, The Calypsis Project.
Please give Brittany M Willows a warm welcome.
- Can you tell us a bit about your novel, The Calypsis Project?
Certainly! It’s a military science fiction novel set in the midst of a war waged between the United Nations Planetary Defense and an alien organization known as the Drocain Royal Empire. Told from both human and alien points of view, the story follows an unlikely team on their mission to save the galaxy.
And here’s the blurb:
The year is 2438. Ten years ago, an ill-fated encounter on a human mining colony triggered a devastating war between the United Nations Planetary Defense and an alien organization known as the Drocain Royal Empire.
After a decade of fighting with no sign of a conclusion in sight, the men and women of the UNPD find themselves faced with the reality that mankind’s very existence could be at stake.
When Corporal Alana Carmen stumbles upon an encrypted communications device, she learns there is more to the conflict than a simple war-for-worlds. But to uncover the truth, she must make allies of those she once considered enemies.
And now, the fate of the entire galaxy may rest on the shoulders of a single alien warrior . . .
Following a public shaming at his own Coming of Age ceremony, Kenon Valinquint enrolls in the Drocain Royal Empire with the hope of one day redeeming himself. Unbeknownst to the young Drahkori, this decision has set in motion a staggering chain of events that could very well change the direction of the war, and the known history of the universe, forever.
- The Calypsis Project is the first novel in a series. Did you set out to write a series or did you simply realize at some point that your story was too big for one book?
I set out to write a series. A trilogy, to be specific. But I ended up squeezing the main storyline into a nice tight duology instead, because I didn’t have quite enough material for three books based on this specific story.
However, I do have several other books planned for the series. Aside from the main duology, I have two other novels, a collection of short stories, and a couple of novellas planned. So I won’t be leaving this little fictional universe any time soon!
- How much planning did you do before actually starting the first draft of The Calypsis Project?
A lot. This story has actually been with me for . . . almost eleven years now, in some shape or form. It started out as a video game design all the way back in 2005, so everything from then until 2012 was pretty much planning. Long-time development. It’s changed drastically over that time, and I was ecstatic when I finally realized where I wanted to take the story.
- Can you give us a brief rundown of your writing process?
I was a total pantser with my first book. Just hopped straight in and made it up as I went. Nowadays, I like to write up a rough timeline to follow, then jump in to the actual writing part. After the first draft is done, I go back and fill out any scenes I summed up, then move on to the first round of revisions. Then it’s just editing, editing, and more editing until it’s ready for publishing.
I also do that thing people tell you not to do, which is editing as you write. Personally, I find it helps. It cuts down on the amount of fixes I have to face later. Plus, I usually have a pretty solid idea of the story in mind when I’m writing it, so I don’t skip out on any details (meaning I don’t do “skeleton drafts”).
- What is the hardest part of the writing process for you and how do you make it easier for yourself?
I think it’s a tie between the first draft and the first round of edits. There’s not a whole lot I can do to make either stage easier, except take my time, think things out, and maybe sprinkle some Youtube in between writing/editing sessions. 😉 Sometimes reading another author’s book also sparks my motivation.
- Do you believe in writer’s block? Why/why not?
I do, because I’ve experienced it. To me, writer’s block is when you are experiencing a lack of motivation or you’re simply too exhausted to write. Or when you write yourself into a corner and you literally block yourself from proceeding with the story. The latter can be solved with some edits to the preceding content. The former issues are rather a lot harder to tackle, because sometimes you just can’t muster that energy to write.
- Why did you decide to self publish The Calypsis Project?
I like freedom. I like to be 100% in control of my projects at all times. That was the main allure of self-publishing. I also just wasn’t keen on the idea of waiting around for a publishing house to accept my book, because I know it can take anywhere from months to years for that to happen, and I wanted to get it out there as soon as possible.
- Do you hope to eventually work with a publisher or are you planning to self publish all of your novels?(I’d love to know why/why not)
I have considered becoming a hybrid author in the future, after I’ve made a bit more of a name for myself. I like the idea of having one foot in traditional publishing and one in self. It would still allows me to have freedom with some projects, and it’d be nice to have that little boost from an established publishing house.
But that all depends on how fast I write and which projects I don’t mind waiting on.
- If you could give an aspiring writer only one piece of advice, what would it be?
No matter how much you hate your writing, or hate writing in general, keep moving forward. You’re not alone. We’ve all been there at some point or another. Sometimes it gets easier the more you write, and other times it simply gets easier to accept.
Either way, if this is really something you want to do, just don’t give up. It’s worth it in the end. I promise!
- What are you working on now that readers can look forward to?
The sequel to The Calypsis Project and the final installment in the Echo-Alpha duology, Rebirth! It’s nearing the final stages of editing, and I’m gearing up for a big release (the biggest release I’ve done, anyway). And if all goes according to plan, it should be hitting the digital shelves this October!
Brittany M. Willows is a self-published author and freelance digital artist living in rural Ontario, Canada. She has been creating fictional worlds for over a decade, spanning such genres as science fiction, post-apocalyptic, fantasy, and steampunk.
The Calypsis Project is her debut novel, and the first in a series of the same name. The final installment in the main duology, Rebirth, is slated for release Fall/Winter 2016.