Interview with H.G. Mewis - Author of the Science Fiction Dreams of the Queen.
H. G. Mewis grew up in the suburbs of Houston, near NASA. She loved reading and art from a young age and always knew she wanted to be an artist of some kind. However, life had other plans, and she ended up becoming a paramedic after her time in the army.
Interview with H.G. Mewis
|Author H. G. Mewis|
H.G. Mewis: Initially, I attended the University of Houston for my creative writing degree. Its creative writing program is rated as the second most prestigious in the U. S. I was enjoying the undergraduate program, but unfortunately, due to life and financial circumstances, I had to focus on gainful employment earlier than expected. I ended up finishing my degree in paramedicine.
As I worked heavy hours, twenty-four on/forty-eight off, learning how to become a top-notch paramedic and write medical/legal reports, fiction took a backseat. I did write medical articles for an online, continuing education for paramedics. It was well paid, part-time work which I enjoyed. I was also was hired as a paid content provider for an arts and crafts blog—500 words, twice a week. I’m also a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors.
Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
My main influences are H. G. Wells, Jane Austen, Barbara Hambly, Elizabeth Moon, Alexander Dumas, Jack Campbell, Jacqueline Carey, Jules Verne and George G. Williams (who was a Rice University English Professor, in my opinion, he wrote the best book on advanced creative writing- the first edition 1932 and the second edition 1954)
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
That’s easy! I was fifteen and had just read Barbara Hambey’s Darwath trilogy. I fell in love with her style and the concept, just everything. I knew then I wanted to write. In fact, I started writing right after and wrote all through Jr. high and high school, pages and pages of handwritten short stories and novels, which will never see the light of day (but lurk in my closet).
"I’m also a major 'pantster.' I don’t use notes or outlines."
Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
Well, because of my full-time job as a medic, it’s difficult to have any routine. I do try to get enough sleep, eat well and get a few miles of walking in at least every few days during my time off before I start writing because once I start; it’s hard to pull me away. I also try to get all my errands, housework and parrot playtime in beforehand. We have three birds.
I like to have something to drink and snack on nearby. I’m generally kicked back on the couch, because I can’t sit for hours on chairs anymore without pain. I herniated two discs in my lower back due to lifting patients and sitting can cause problems, even with plenty of breaks.
I’m also a major pantster. I don’t use notes or outlines. It’s all in my head, all the time. I used to make outlines and character sketches and profiles twenty years ago, and I found it stagnated my writing. I would sit down with all my lovely outlines and stare and stare and never get past the first chapter or two. Now I just dive in and invent it all en route. Some of my best scenes, dialogue and cliffhangers are all ad-libs. Complete surprises to me too!
What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
The easiest- ideas, ideas, ideas! I have so many clamoring to get out of my head! I’ll never have time to write them all.
The hardest- making time to balance my writing with the rest of my life. There’s still things I want to do, but the call of writing is very strong most days. I have to make myself stop and go outside.
"I really enjoy writing in various POVs because the same event can be viewed very different..."
Heather, please tell us a little about your novel 'Dreams of the Queen'.
The main character, Cass Baros, has been haunted by dreams since she was a teen and this pushes her to become an astrophysist and create a wormhole. She wants to find a way to get to this world she knows exists, but can’t prove. It’s her obsession, at the cost of her social connections and her health. She’s brilliant and driven.
Of course, she succeeds, but what she—with her scientific and military team—finds isn’t completely what she expected. She ends up finding great romance, at the expense of her lukewarm fiancé, and a whole lot of danger! There’s a lot of things going on, a lot of suspense and emotions between characters, mysteries about the aliens they meet and their world, and without getting extremely technical, I do my best to explain the speculative science I researched and used.
Cass is the main character, but I use several of the other strong supporting characters’ POVs as important counterpoints to Cass’. I break each POV into its own scene, except in a few areas, like the fight scenes, when it’s one full scene and I start in one character and clearly move through two or three characters during the action. No head-hopping, but a sense of ‘movie panning’ during fast moving scenes.
I really enjoy writing in various POVs because the same event can be viewed very different by different characters, all valid opinions. Changing my perspective and character voice is extremely challenging and exciting! It’s the best part of being a writer!
|Click to Read an Excerpt|
What inspired you to write the book?
I had a dream about one scene and build the rest of the story around that. Many of my ideas come from dreams. I tend to dream very vividly, like watching movies which I’m not a part of and I never get to see the ending. Which is very frustrating! I also love H. G. Wells, and as I created the story, I paid a bit of homage to Wells. I have a lot of random bits of information and stories in my head from all my reading, movie-watching and non-fiction research. I love recombining it all to make something new.
Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
That’s not an easy answer. I’ve been mulling that over myself. Not just men or women, but it is rated mature since there’s language, adult situations, gore and sex because I like writing for adults and don’t like limits. But I also don’t like gratuitous scenes, so mine all serve a purpose either for the story, character development or emotional impact.
I’d say my target audience is anyone who prefers a well written, fast-paced, emotionally-charged, intelligent science fiction adventure with a good romance, all of which might actually make you think afterwards without being preachy.
It’s sci-fi and I explain the technical aspects rather than gloss over details; however, I don’t get so heavy into that it reads like a manual. My best friend was a test reader for me and helped keep the science from being too heavy handed. She generally doesn’t read sci-fi but said she really enjoyed DotQ, and not just because I wrote. She read it a few chapters at a time as I finished them, and kept bugging me to write faster, lol!
But it also has parallels between religion and science. Where does one end and the other begin? It has action and fight scenes, which I don’t gloss over (being ex-army I know how to write battles) It’s not just fluffy romance either. Their choices have consequences.
How would you describe the success of your book so far? (Sales, Awards, Reviews)
Considering it’s only been released since Nov 1, I’d say good. This is my first published book and getting noticed is the hardest part. But I have a small following, which I’ve built over the last two years, so this release has garnered a solid start. But it’s incredibly early and any real success will be measured over months and years as I release my following books. Really, I’m just happy to hear more than crickets!
So far the few reviews I’ve received on Goodreads and Smashwords have placed me at 4.8/5, so I have zero complaints there! But again, the true result will be seen once a greater number of reviews are given. Less than a month is difficult to judge.
No awards as yet, but I’ve entered a few ongoing competitions and have strong hopes *fingers crossed*
How long did it take it to write the book?
Approximately fifteen months. That includes all the ebook and paperback formatting and cove rart, which I did myself. The next book should be faster, hopefully!
Please, tell us where you self-published the book.
I used CreateSpace/Amazon for my paperback. Or you can purchase directly from me (which is cheaper and I’ll sign it) - [see Links below]
My ebooks are published at every vendor: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, Googlebooks
"Especially research how to format..."
How smooth went the self-publishing process? Any issues? What are things to look for when self-publishing a book?
Some parts were smooth, others were rough. I recommend doing all your research before you start publishing either ebooks or paperback POD books. Each format of ebook or paperback—epub, pdf, doc— require different ways of setting up to work in reading devices. Especially research how to format for Smashwords BEFORE you write because you might have to strip all you formatting out and start over to make it work in Smashwords’ meatgrinder.
The main things I look for are: Did they engage the services of an editor or beta? Every writer needs to either trade editing services or pay for them if you don’t feel confident with yours or find a grammar Nazi friend who won’t pull any punches and have them edit your work. If you’ve never had your work edited, it’ll hurt the first three dozen times, but it’s worth it.
"Learning how to edit (your work and others) is one of the best ways to improve your writing."
Did you hire an editor and/or Cover Designer for your book?
I traded editing services for DotQ with another writer I trusted. Learning how to edit (your work and others) is one of the best ways to improve your writing. But after you edit your work, always send if off to another set of eyes. Always. Always. Always. Two sets are even better: One with the goal of deep line editing, and the other with the idea of light reading for enjoyment to see how it flows and catching typos. I’m fortunate to have writer/reader friends and family who are painfully honest. If they don’t believe something works, they’ll tell me because they know I want my best work published. They know my ego can take a beating, after writing for so long, and wants to strive for excellence not sugarcoating.
As for the cover, I did the graphic art, but I’m a complete noob at photoshop. I have a type of ‘Photoshop Elements- the missing manual’ which I speed read as I work. I’m mostly happy with DotQ’s cover, but I’ve found a few indie cover artists which I’ve bookmarked and will probably giving a call for my next book. Assuming I don’t make drastic improvements in my PS skills!
"Trade or pay for skills..."
Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?
Trade or pay for skills which you know you can’t achieve at least good to very good results. Some readers will forgive bad cover art or mediocre editing, but many more will burn you for it. This is your baby. You’re taken months, maybe even years to write it, take the time and/or money to put the finishing polish on it before you send it out in the world.
As an Indie Author, you represent a grand tradition of publishing that has finally come full circle from famous people such as Benjamin Franklin. Don’t go half way. Whether or not you sell a ten or ten thousand, become famous or not, the point of self-publishing is to be heard by an audience, to have freedome. They deserve your best. Give it to them.
Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
Yes! I’m working on several. The sequel to ‘Dreams of the Queen’, titled ‘Nightmares of the Queen’. I’m also working on two fantasy books: one with a post-apocalyptic romance fairytale theme called ‘Fairytale Apocalypse’ and the other more of a medieval adventure with a bit of male/male/female romance called ‘Of Men and Magic’. It’s the first time I’ve written a love triangle or a male romance, so this should be fun! It’s also a bit of homage to Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ because all the plans go awry. I also have an idea for a psychological thriller in first person and a historical fiction which will take quite a bit of research. I’m considering a fluff romance too, just to lighten things up. I could probably write a 50K fluff very quickly.
Are you planning to move forward as an Indie author or are you looking forward to have one of your next books to be traditionally published?
At this point, I plan on staying Indie. I was approached a few months ago by a small publisher about DotQ, but they couldn’t offer me more than I was doing for myself. I grew up in the 80s with the dream of being traditionally published, so there’s always the possibility that if an awesome contract was offered to me I could be tempted, but I really don’t see any publisher offering me the kind of terms I’d want at this point. But… never say never, right? I think a valid career can be created through both ways of publishing. It’s about what’s good for each writer.
"I have this amazing vision of the Espresso Book Machine printing books on demand from a digital à la carte menu of millions of books..."
Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
No. I have this amazing vision of the Espresso Book Machine printing books on demand from a digital à la carte menu of millions of books—past and present, obscure and best-seller, indie and trad.—coupled with a full service coffee house. People could order any book, have it printed right there in a few minutes and read it with their latte.
I think if Indie bookstores support their local writers now by stocking books they enjoy and helping market them, they’ll be helping themselves. People love to meet authors. When they can support local artists without spending outrageous money, many will do so. Indie bookstores need to take advantage of this trend and so do writers. I’m doing this now by marketing my book to local bookstores. Who knows what will happen.
Do you write full-time or do you have a day job?
I would love to write full-time! But not yet. I have a day job as a paramedic, and it comes with an amazing pension. So even if my writing career takes off, it’ll be a tough choice because I can retire in 8.5 yrs with a pension for life. If I quit before then, I can’t get my pension for 18+ years. Optimistically, if my books take off, I’ll just have to balance everything as best as I can for another 8.5 years. LOL!
How can readers connect with you?
My website, Twitter, Goodreads.[see Links below]
Thank you very much for the Interview, H.G.
About the Book Dreams of the Queen
|Click to Read an Excerpt|
Her team's journey will take them to the edge where science and religion blur. Passion and love, genius and madness, jealously and danger enough to cause the death of worlds awaits them...
- "It's science fiction that also feels magical. The characters were realistic, with believable motivations, and could imagine the new universe clearly.[...]"
- "The characters were all very real and the world was almost visual. I kept forgetting this was (technically) a sci-fi book because it truely does have an almost magical feel too it (then again, what is magic but unexplained science some might say *grin*). I would highly suggest this to anyone.[...]"
Links to the Author and the Book
Link to the Author's Website
Connect with the Author via Twitter: @jinx1764
Connect with the Author via Goodreads: HGMewis
Buy the Book Dreams of the Queen via the Author directly & signed
Buy the eBook Dreams of the Queen via Smashwords (all formats)
Link to the eBook Dreams of the Queen on Amazon with Excerpt