Author Interview: Chrystalla Thoma - Rex Rising
Welcome Chrys! It's great to have you!
Hi dear Mary, thanks for having me today as your guest!
Tell us a few things about yourself.
I’m from Cyprus, speaker of Greek and eater of mousaka. I’m married to a wonderful Costa Rican, marine biologist and poet – Carlos. I am a reader and a writer, and my whole life revolves around these two things, which amount to just one: stories. I’ve had many different jobs, always centered around language: language teacher, translator, editor, writer. In the last ten years, I stopped writing fiction in Greek and only write in English, as I have come to realize that the English speaking public is more interested in the genres I write (mainly fantasy and science fiction) than the Greek one.
What do you do in your life outside of writing?
Currently I just left my very stressful job as magazine editor and scientific collaborator of an international patients' organization, and am returning to my life as freelance translator. What else do I do? I visit my family a lot (I was away from Cyprus for many years and am only now catching up) and friends, go to the movies and read, and spend time with my husband visiting ruins and museums and exploring the countryside.
What's the best book you've read recently?
You mean, apart from A Sign in Blood?
*G* Thank you! But what else?
Let me think. Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series. Wonderful, detailed worldbuilding, unforgettable characters – and talk of angels (let’s just say I have a small obsession with angels and all winged beings). I highly recommend these books.
I love those books, too. Do you write short stories as well as novellas and novels?
Yes, I write all lengths. Originally, I found writing short stories a tough challenge. As a reader, I usually find reading longer stories more satisfying. Since I am a reader above all – as part of my need to escape reality – I guess this makes sense. But recently I find myself drawn to short stories, both for reading and writing. They are a different species, and I love the challenge of creating a world in only a few pages, as opposed to the hundreds of pages of a novel.
Which is your most recent writing project?
Rex Rising, Young Adult Science Fiction novel. The story is about Elei, a young aircar driver in a world where parasites create new human races. He leads a peaceful life — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side. Pursued for a secret he does not possess and with the fleet at his heels, he has but one thought: to stay alive. His pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, although that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he hardly knows in a mad race against time. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret – a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known – or die trying.
How much worldbuilding did you do before you wrote your book?
A lot. To me, worldbuilding takes up more time than writing a story (in most cases). Of course, that is also due to the fact that a lot of plotting and creating the story is intertwined with building up the world and history behind the actual story. For Rex Rising, the world building goes back many years before the story was jotted down. Many aspects of worldbuilding came to light before Elei was born. The world of the Seven Islands for instance was created around 2000 and the many ramifications of the origin of this world will come to light in the sequel (coming out toward the end of this year). The role of parasites became evident to me around 2006 when I was reading a lot of scientific articles and books on this topic, as well as on epidemics and viruses. The street violence and gangs were an aspect I worked on during the years I lived in Costa Rica, where I saw some of that violence and poverty live.
When's your next book coming out? What's it about?
I am currently writing the sequel to my novel, and it is called “Rex Cresting” (Book Two of Elei’s Chronicles). The story picks up exactly where Rex Rising left of. Still recovering in hospital on the north coast of Dakru, Elei is convinced that his part in bringing down the Gultur is over. Rex has infected the other race and their dictatorial system is starting to collapse. Not every Gultur, though, has been affected, and on top of that, inside Elei’s body, Rex has matured and goes through another transformation. Elei isn’t sure he can survive Rex’s new strength — but that is the least of his worries, as the Gultur descend on him again.
If you could have a meal with just one of your own characters, which would you choose?
I love all the characters of Rex Rising, but right now I’d love to have lunch with Elei so that he can tell me the rest of his story without interruptions! I am generally a plotter – I like to know where my story is going as I am writing it, and as a rule I have the conflict and the solution more or less set in my mind while I am writing. Nevertheless, my characters tend to talk to me while I daydream or write, and tell me things about themselves I never imagined. They take on a life of their own and sometimes, as a result, the story changes. I feel that Elei has a lot to tell me if only I pay attention...
I know that feeling! Where can one find you on the internet and read your stories?
Chrystalla: You can follow my ramblings and read about my writing and stories here: http://chrystallathoma.wordpress.com
You can watch the book trailer here:
Or check the book out at Amazon US | UK | DE or Smashwords.