Amy DuBoff is the author of the Cadicle series, a new space opera epic with elements of “Dune” and “Ender’s Game.” The third book in the series, Bonds of Resolve has just released on Amazon. It follows the adventures of telekinetic, Wil and his quest to come to terms with his fate.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25999160-bonds-of-resolve
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012HEKVPU/
Find out more about the Cadicle series here.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Amy and get the low-down on her books and love of science fiction.
JO: When did you first discover sci-fi?
AD: I grew up around sci-fi. My parents were a wonderful influence early in life, and I got exposed to the classics like Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation at a young age. But, I really started getting into sci-fi around fourth grade. I read Ender’s Game and got totally hooked on the genre.
JO: World-building is hard work and you’ve done a great job here. How do you even start to invent a whole world from scratch?
AD: It took a really, really long time, haha! I have always seen inspiration in everything around me–from personal life experiences to the worlds crafted by others–and those things have all become a part of my own creation. After years of taking in little ideas here and there, I felt the world growing in my head. It’s were I would go whenever I was idle–I would talk with the characters, play out scenarios, and ask challenging questions about how the society would work. In time, the pieces came together into what the story is today.
JO: How long did it take to write the three books, from the first dawning of an idea?
AD: I have been working on this series on and off since I was eleven years old… so almost eighteen years. Throughout middle and high school, I fleshed out what eventually became Veil of Reality (at the time, it was going to be Part 1 of a two-part novel). The general plot of that book is largely the same, but most of the dialogue and descriptions have been completely overhauled since then. In my late-teens, I wrote the first draft of what is now the first half of Architects of Destiny. In college and afterward when I started working, the book sat on a digital shelf for a number of years. When I met my now-husband a little over three years ago, I told him about the story and he encouraged me to start writing again. Looking at everything with fresh eyes, I knew I needed to change things quite a bit. I restructured the series as a trilogy and started filling in the missing parts. I completed a 114,000 manuscript and sent it to friends for a beta read. The overwhelming feedback was, “like it, but it feels like an outline.” So, I broke up the manuscript into three books and the beginning of a fourth, and then started augmenting each of them. Those three books are now Architects of Destiny, Veil of Reality, and Bonds of Resolve. But, it won’t be decades in between the next books! I’m hoping to write the subsequent volumes in four to six months each. It’s all outlined–just need to find time to write!
JO: Have the books evolved much from when you first conceived them?
AD: Oh yes! As I alluded to previously, this series went from a two-part novel, to a trilogy, to the seven-book series arch it is today. Aside from a big increase in scope, the underlying messages have changed a lot. As I gained more life experience, I started to see the world differently. The corruption of the Priesthood took on new life, and the love connections between the characters grew much deeper. I think I needed to go through some serious life experiences before I could write about the events in my story in a meaningful way.
JO: What was kernel this series grew from? Was it a character? An idea?
AD: The Cadicle series grew out of the characters that became Cris and Kate. Okay, I’ll let you in on the dirty secret… those characters were were initially inspired by Quinn and Wade from the ‘90s-tastic show “Sliders.” Yes, I have been a nerd since elementary school. The Tararian Selective Service was originally the Dimensional Secret Service (DSS), and the character story arch grew out of a profound dissatisfaction with the direction Sliders took in the latter seasons. As I started building out the world and larger story, things changed rather significantly!
JO: What is your writing process?
AD: When starting a new story, I like to just sit down and start writing to see where the story takes me. Normally, about halfway through, I’ll decide where I want it to go. At that point, I’ll go back to the beginning to make appropriate edits to set me up for the ending.
My Cadicle series is a little different because it spent so much time evolving in my head. I have the lives of all the characters completely mapped out already, so now it’s just a matter of breaking it into appropriately sized pieces to get the writing done. To make it more manageable, I wrote an outline of the key sequence of scenes for the first five books.
For each scene, I start with a general idea of what I want to accomplish–what plot points need to be conveyed, where the characters are emotionally, etc. I’ll run through the scene extensively in my head, playing it like a movie until I’m happy with the flow. At that time, I’ll write it down. If I’ve gone through this process, I find that my first written draft is pretty close to the final version.
JO: There’s a slightly gothic feel to the series – the dynasties, the swords, the telekinesis. It reminds me a bit of Dune. Was Frank Herbert an influence?
AD: Dune was a big early influence, definitely–but the level of underlying political, environmental and social commentary in that novel is something I can only aspire to one day achieve in my own work. However, whereas Dune takes place in the far future, I wanted to do something different with mine and keep it more contemporary.
My intent was to combine many of the elements found throughout science-fantasy in a unique way. Dynasties, swords and telekinesis take different forms in different stories, like lightsabers and the force in Star Wars. In my series, I sought to bring a quasi-scientific lens to those sorts of abilities by making it about electromagnetic energy manipulation.
JO: Why telekinesis?
AD: Short answer: because it’s super cool :-). Really, it’s always what I would have wanted as a superpower. I guess the abilities in the Cadicle story universe came out of thinking about the next phase of human evolution. Yet, when I started thinking about evolution, I also started thinking about what sort of abilities could have been lost. Looking at ancient cultures, there was a sort of attunement with nature and the planet that has been lost in modern society. Thinking through those two vantages, eventually I landed on the idea of humans being a divergent race of Tarans, and that Tarans had these extraordinary abilities that had faded away in the human population here in Earth.
JO: The dynasties are a cross between old European aristocracies and modern high tech corporations, which seems to me feasible for a civilisation that it old enough and technologically sophisticated enough to spread across stars. How did you come up with this?
AD: That really came out of the recent economic and political environment. The last names of high-power politicians have started to get pretty similar, and corporations keep merging into new bigger companies that are “too big to fail” and provide services that have become essential for everyday life (can you really imagine not having access to the Internet at this point?). And since the corporations provide financial donations to politicians, it’s really not a far reach to see them becoming one in the same. I know I’m not the only sci-fi author to use those ideas, but I like how it’s played into the universe I’ve created. But, it’s much more than that in my story–I wanted to merge political intrigue with military science fiction to chronicle a pivotal time in history on a galactic scale.
JO: If you could go on a diplomatic mission with the TSS, which planet would you visit and why?
AD: I’m tempted to say an awesome tropical planet where I’d be forced to sample to local cuisine and resort-like amenities–you know, just to make sure it lived up to its reputation for luxury… But, I think I’d come to Earth and blow the cover on what’s really going on in the rest of the galaxy :-). We all want to know what’s up with the “men in black,” right? I’d love to be able to tell everyone that interstellar travel was within reach!