• Mark Iles

How a Change of Genre Led to Success, with author Lucy Andrews

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

Lucy Andrews is a Science Fiction Writer, an area close to my own heart. With her novel, Crater’s Edge, released it seemed a great time to catch up and ask some telling questions.

Is this your first work, or have you had other work published?

Crater’s Edge is my first work to be published. Prior to this, I had tried writing contemporary short stories for women’s magazines, but didn’t have any luck with them. I eventually realised that I was writing the wrong genre: I wouldn’t normally read those sort of stories, or the magazines themselves for that matter, and I think that showed in my writing. Once I started on something different, I felt that I was on the right track. Crater’s Edge is the result.

Why scifi? I decided that if I was going to write a book, I would write something that I would enjoy reading myself. My favourite genres are science fiction and historical fiction, because the stories take the reader into settings which are very different from their normal everyday life. Travelling in time stretches the readers’ imagination in a way that contemporary fiction does not. I settled on science fiction as I have a fascination for dystopian themes and unusual environments.

Scifi is different from other genres because the author has to create the worlds and societies the story is set in, rather than using historical or contemporary settings they already know about. I’ve written a sequel to Crater’s Edge which is presently with publishers, and just started a third in the series.

How did you transition into writing? I’ve wanted to write since I was a child, but had to put these ambitions on the back burner to

pursue a career and make a living. The writing bug never went away and eventually I gave into it. I started by taking a writing course and wrote Crater’s Edge after completing it. To develop as a writer requires work and putting aside time to write as much as possible, taking constructive criticism when offered, and learning by reading other authors’ work. It’s important to enjoy what you are writing about as your enthusiasm will inject your work with energy, which keeps the reader engaged.

Are your writing ideas your vision of the future, or one you’d like it to be? The ideas I explore in Crater’s Edge are just one possible vision of what the future might hold and definitely not what I’d like the future to be! The book deals with a colonised planet and how society might be arranged to solve the problem of limited space inside domed cities. Things are not as they seem and there are a lot of twists and turns. I’ve tried to examine the consequences of the way the society’s been arranged through the perspective of the colonists, and examine the hidden influences on their beliefs and behaviour in the context of a traditional scifi adventure story.

Favourite authors and why I’ve got a number of favourite authors. I’ve read all of Philip K. Dick’s science fiction. His future worlds are fascinating and I love his short stories. I also love most of Michael Crichton’s novels – his foresight of how scientific advances might be used is wonderful. Additionally, I enjoyed reading Stephen Donaldson’s The Gap Series, Iain M Banks, and more recently Hugh Howey. I grew up reading Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov of course.

If you were to meet a famous author who would it be – and what would you say? That’s an easy question, it would be Hugh Howey. I love travelling and have incurable wanderlust and can't imagine a better way to go around the world than on a beautiful catamaran such as his. I'm sure that seeing and experiencing new places feeds the mind with fresh ideas that can be used in writing fiction. I would also love to ask him about his work, and where he got his ideas from for Wool and Shift. I’d ask, “Can I come with you?”

Given your love of scifi, given the opportunity would you go into space and perhaps live there? Another easy question: no. I have no desire at all to go into space. It’s far too dangerous for me, although I love looking at the pictures the International Space Station is putting out, and the photos from Mars. My space interest is restricted to museum visits, photos, and yes, I have touched the moon rock in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. Closer to home, I’ve visited the National Space Centre in Leicester as well.

Author Bio I grew up in the north of England and studied law at University. After working in the legal field in London for years, I needed a change and interrupted my career to return to University to study psychology. After obtaining my undergraduate degree, I did a research degree in Cognition and Neuroscience with the vague idea that it could lead to involvement with artificial intelligence. I quickly realised that designing ticket machines wasn’t going to be my idea of fun and ended up conducting research into visual perception.

I’m interested in the effect of environment on visual perception, such as the lack of gravity in space. It’s an issue which will become increasingly important as more people travel or live in space. I ultimately gave up the day job to write and now live in Brighton, East Sussex.

Blurb of Crater’s Edge The year is 2235 and Earth is colonising the planets. Three Crater’s is a city being built on the planet Taidor, in a faraway solar system. Work on the new city has nearly stopped, as deep underground strange accidents and power failures plague the site and the miners believe that the place is cursed. Kalen Trinneer is sent to investigate but finds that Three-Craters will not give up its secrets easily. Is the site really cursed? Do the answers lie in the other time zone whose population share the planet? Kalen's search for answers takes him on a dangerous journey where he finds love and betrayal, a journey that doesn't end until he eventually discovers the truth about himself, and the society in which he lives.

Excerpt Kalen hesitated for a moment and then followed Jorge and the others who had also begun

walking. In the dim light, the rows of troughs stretched out interminably in front of him with no end in sight. The humming sound radiated from the distance and he wondered what was causing it. It was getting louder with the dawn. The stillness of the plants in the grey light, the strange smell, and the odd humming tore at his nerves. He walked silently with the others between the lines of containers. Gradually, the light brightened until he could see the true colours of the plants. As the sun rose, the leaves of the bushes transformed from a greyish green to a deep emerald and under the leaves, deep pinkish globes hung from long yellow stems. Farther on, the plants changed and he saw that some of the troughs also contained clusters of purple pear-shaped vegetables nestled amongst tendrils growing thickly around frames. Kalen switched his flashlight off, but the end of the row was still too far away to see. He looked up at the same time as Sera. “Oh look! The sun!” she exclaimed. High above them the transparent roof of the dome arced in a vast curve a kilometre or more above the surface of the crater. Low on the horizon, the first beams of the early dawn seared through it, burning reddish orange as if thrown from a fireball. The rays from the orange disc reflected off hexagonal facets in the dome roof, creating spots of dazzling brightness. Kalen instinctively turned his face towards the sun, luxuriating in the warmth on his cheeks after the coldness of the caves. Sera did the same, while Lars stood with a smile on his face and Jorge watched impassively. “Why isn’t the roof smooth?” Sera asked. “I’ve never seen a dome like that.”

“It’s been designed to maximise the heat from the sun,” Kalen said. “We can also tell our direction from the sun now.”

“Maybe, but I think I’ll continue to rely on my navigation kit,” Sera replied, laughing.

“Now we’ve got a bit of daylight, I’ll try and get a better view,” Kalen said, pulling himself up the side of the nearest trough and clambering onto it.

“We’re in the middle of a huge plantation,” he reported, standing up amongst the bushes.

“There are hundreds of rows of plants and I can’t see the end of them. The rows aren’t all the same. Some of the containers are different shapes and in the distance I can see larger bushes. The rows nearest to us have rectangular troughs arranged in straight lines.”

The troughs were filled with damp earth and Kalen bent down to rub a little of the soil between his fingers and sniffed it. There was a sharp sour edge to the earthy smell and his hands began to sting and redden. He rubbed the soil off his hands and dabbed them with water from his pack before climbing down. They continued walking between the troughs but Kalen had a nagging sense of anxiety and he tried to work out what was making him uneasy. He’d seen no access points for people and when he looked around he couldn’t see any walkways or other structures for the maintenance crews. There were only the troughs in rows and even the gap they walked along had the rail running down its centre, protruding from the ground, which he constantly tripped over.

The sun still hung low in the sky, like a giant golden orb. Above the dome’s roof, the sky was clear blue and Kalen could see no sign of the dust storms that usually made it hazy. The troughs and plants around him stood motionless in the thick atmosphere and there was a heavy silence only broken by the humming that was getting louder.

“Can you hear that noise?” Kalen said. “It’s getting closer.”

“Best keep going then,” Jorge replied.

“Just a moment, let me have a look.”

Kalen turned towards the direction the sound was coming from, climbed up the side of one of the containers again and stood upright. He went cold. In the distance, row upon row of vegetation moved about haphazardly. Branches, leaves and stems shook and trembled in disturbed vibrations and, as Kalen watched, another quiescent row suddenly erupted into twitching violence. He caught a glimpse of something large moving quickly between the rows of bushes. He estimated it wouldn’t be long before it reached them. “We’ve got a problem. There’s some kind of machine going down the rows and it’s coming towards us. We’re going to be right in its path.”

“How far away is it?” Jorge asked.

“I think we’ve got a few minutes, but we need to get out of here. Run!” Kalen swung himself over the container’s lip and jumped down.

For a brief moment, the others stared at him, as if they hadn’t understood what he had said, and then they began running. Kalen ran after them, catching Sera up easily, the pervasive humming filling his ears. He looked about for somewhere to go but the troughs stood in a continuous line and the end of the row was still out of sight.

Ahead, a huge machine suddenly came into view gliding towards them. Skimming effortlessly on the metal rail that ran along the ground, its massive rectangular frame filled the whole width of the gap between the tubs. A thick strut rose out of the machine to intersect a cross bar that swung over the troughs of plants. Huge tanks rested on the crossbar, secured to tracks running high above the lines of containers. Strong jets of liquid squirted from the arms onto the vegetation sending it into a quiver of frenzied movement.

Sera screamed, “It’s going to crush us!”

Buy Links

US Amazon : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07771GBBN

UK Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/162526674X

Media Links

Facebook: https://facebook.com/LucyAndrewsAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LAndrewsWrites

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