So one of the first people who I followed when I joined the blogging world and one of my first followers was Christa Yelich-Koth, a science-fiction graphic novelist. To celebrate the publication of her latest book Illusion, I have had the privilege to interview her. Let’s get on with the interview:
Q:So Christa, what inspired you to become a writer?
A: I always enjoyed reading when I was young. In middle school, I loved the creative writing portion of class where we got to write our own stories. In high school, I worked on a collaborative book series with two of my friends. From that sparked the story of ILLUSION, in which I saw a scene involving a young woman named Daith who woke up on a space ship with no memories. I wrote the scene down and knew that if I wanted to find out what happened next, I’d have to write more. While writing ILLUSION, I would come in and tell a coworker of mine the scenes I’d written the night before. After several weeks she asked “when are you going to publish this?” It opened a whole new world to me. I’d never really thought of becoming a published writer until that point.
Q: Out of all different genres of novels to choose from, what made you decide to go with science-fiction?
A: Science fiction is one of the only genre’s (the exception being fantasy) where I can make up anything I want. Without being bound by Earth rules, I can create worlds, peoples, abilities, and stories that couldn’t happen otherwise. It gives me absolute freedom to let the story unfold how it’s supposed to, without any restrictions.
Q: Your first comic, Hollow, is a 5 star rated book on Amazon.com. Did yyou every expect is to become so successful?
A: Haha! Not at all. HOLLOW was a really exciting graphic novel I did with illustrator Conrad Teves. I had no idea it would take off the way it did. I didn’t realize that the concept of free will versus happiness (which is the premise) would appeal to so many readers. Add to it the mix of the Matrix meets War of the Worlds and I was amazed, and humbled, at the positive response. One of the great things on my end was I was able to do a follow-up series, HOLLOW’S PRISM. Without the support of the fans, I would not have continued on with the story, and I would have never have created Squee and his band of tinnybots! (They are super adorable. 🙂 )
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for your characters in Illusion?
A: I’m not really sure. I get flashes of scenes more than anything else. Once I write that, the characters start to take on a life of their own and I’m just along for the ride. What’s always surprising to me is when readers find parallels to real people or other characters. Though I have to admit, even though Daith is the main character, I’ve had a lot of readers really enjoy Trey’s journey.
Q: What made you choose graphic novels as a way to produce your works?
A: I originally wrote HOLLOW as a short story. It was fun, but it lacked something that kept it from being a sought after story. I reread it and found that if I added a visual component, the story could really shine. So I entered the world of graphic novels and comics—a world I was pretty foreign to I might add. I did my research, spoke with many other artists and writers, found a good illustrator, and worked my butt off. The finished product, HOLLOW, is something I never thought would come from a girl who only likes to write novels!
Q: The plot of Illusion is so unique and original. What gave you the idea?
A: First off, thanks! Truth be told, I didn’t know what the plot was going to be. I’d had a completely different idea around why Daith had no memories and what was the big secret about who she is. But as I wrote along that story, it got harder and harder to write. It was then I realized I couldn’t MAKE the story go where I wanted it to go. So I backtracked and let the story flow where it wanted. “Where it wanted” was a fast-paced, psychological adventure with a kidnapped woman with no memories, but special abilities, a captain of a ship who feels the burden of everything, but makes logically insane choices along the way, and a memory specialist, who can sense people’s emotions and yet is emotionally constricted from a recent loss in his life, which makes him terrified to rock the boat.
Q: As a final question, what other works can we expect from you in the future?
A: There is a second novel, IDENTITY, (out in 2016) which follows Daith after she’s chosen what to do with her life in ILLUSION (either search for the truth about her past or stay on the ship and use her abilities to help balance the galaxy’s unrest.) It introduces someone from her past who knows the truth about who she is and how that could conflict with the choice she made in ILLUSION.
I have REVENGE, ((tentatively out in 2017)) which is also part of the Eomix Galaxy Books collection, that follows a side character from IDENTITY, Ness Opute. Opute must give up his identity to infiltrate the organization of the woman who murdered his wife, although what he doesn’t know is that he is not the only one on the hunt.
In the fantasy department, I’m working on a YA series called The Land of Aia, first book: DREAMS, which follows Bekk, a sophomore who’s being plagued by resurfacing childhood dreams and how he must deal with them.
And, a reader favorite, the first in my detective series (and the only non SF/fantasy I’ve written), SPIDER’S TRUTH. This story follows Boston P.D. Detective Sean Trann as he faces off with a serial killer who he was able to stop the year before, but has come back with a personal grudge against Sean.
So there are all my questions out about Illusion! I hope you all had as much reading it as myself and Christa did. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and make sure to check out Christa at http://www.christayelichkoth.com and order her book!
Thanks for reading!
Christa Yelich-Koth is the author of graphic novel HOLLOW, comic book series HOLLOW’S PRISM and upcoming science fantasy novel ILLUSION from Buzz & Roar Publishing. She has staffed and led a workshop at the Southern California Writer’s Conference, been a panelist at MiniCon, and was co-founder of Green-Eyed Unicorn Comics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is http://www.christayelichkoth.com.
ILLUSION can be purchased for pre-order (with an exclusive pdf schematic of the Horizon spaceship), at http://www.buzzandroarpublishing.com/our-books.