I’m interviewing Lance Elrick today, author of the Regina Shen Series, a YA science-fiction / dystopian series. Welcome to my blog!
Have you been writing for a long time?
I’ve been writing since I was eleven. We moved around a lot while I was growing up, including a stint in a boarding school in Brussels. Stories that I read and wrote seemed to anchor me. Writing has come in spurts with bursts of creativity interspersed with life and other priorities pulling me away. But every time I’ve gotten dragged away, I’ve come back better prepared and with renewed vigor for writing.
What inspired you to start a writing career?
At first, I enjoyed adventure stories and then thrillers and science fiction, in particular Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury. My first writings were inspired by stories I’d read that I felt I could match. One published story that had great promise but fell flat inspired me to write my first novel. Unfortunately, I soon learned that getting into someone else’s story and writing my own were quite different. My story was even flatter than the one that inspired me. It took many years of practice and development to get to the point I felt confident in my writing. Then I found inspiration in my many interests from history to science and social developments.
Is this your first series? If not, can you tell us about your first series?
Regina Shen is my second series. My first, the Rebel series, actually didn’t start out as a series. I’d written Rebels Divided, now the third book in that series, and one of the main characters bugged me to write her story. That became The Rebel Within, followed by The Rebel Trap. The series takes place after a second civil war divides the United States into a Federal Union that is predominantly female and a warlord controlled Outland in the mountains, since mountain people tend to be a fiercely independent lot. Because of atrocities committed during the war and technology that allows two women to have a child without a father, the Federal Union has gone down the path of ostracizing males.
Annabelle Scott is at odds with the Federal Union because they took her parents when she was little. Raised by an adoptive mother in the political opposition, she is expected to become a cop or a mechanized warrior supporting her regime.
In The Rebel Within, she rebels against being forced to capture escaped boys, including one she fancies. This puts her and her adoptive family at risk. In The Rebel Trap, her military commander gives Annabelle audio implants and video cameras to watch everything she does, which kicks her rebelliousness and risks to a new level. Then, in Rebels Divided, the local governor pledges Annabelle to the local warlord as part of a secret deal and Annabelle has to find common ground with an Outlander she’s sworn to kill. The series deals with the dilemma of following conscience at odds with what she’s told to do.
Why did you choose science-fiction as a genre to write in?
I grew up with science fiction stories, movies, and TV shows. I’ve found myself drawn to this genre because of the ability to speculate about our many potential futures. I like to explore the future implications of social and technological developments on people, the characters in my head. Science fiction in its broadest sense considers itself the big tent, bringing in traditional science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical time travel, and alternative history, all of which speculate about different worlds and different ways we can relate to each other. I find this to be an exciting place to write.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write because you have a passion for stories. Write because you have characters in your head that you want to share with other. Write because you have stories rattling around that keep you up at night because they need to be told. Write because you want to take the journey with your characters and believe others will want to come along.
Whatever you do, don’t write with the goal of striking it rich. You have a better chance of winning the lottery, though winning it through writing will be far more enjoyable, plus you can share it with your fans without impoverishing yourself. In writing, don’t copy what you believe will be popular if you don’t have passion for the stories themselves. Your readers can tell and you will be frustrated with the result.
Make sure you know where your story is going before you write, otherwise you could end up with a flat, or even circular story that doesn’t go anywhere. Don’t be afraid to experiment and test your boundaries. You are bound to grow from the experience even if that particular story doesn’t sing. An example is writing from the points of view of different genres and people who are on the surface different than you. When you stumble onto writers block, I find it best to frame the problem and move onto something else, letting my subconscious sort out a solution. It might not always work, but I find trying to bulldoze a solution never does. Then edit, edit, edit some more. Your potential readers deserve the best experience you can provide.
Do you have any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?
I’m working on several story ideas right now, more than I have time for. I’ve sketched out another novel in the Regina Shen series that people are asking for. I have two completely different alien stories I want to tell. Then there’s is a time travel story that shoots back into ancient history and a futuristic computer hacking story. That’s the short list.
About the Books
Regina Shen: Resilience
Outcast Regina Shen is forced by the World Federation to live on the seaward side of barrier walls built to hold back rising seas from abrupt climate change. A hurricane threatens to destroy what’s left of her world, tearing Regina from her family. Global fertility has collapsed. Chief Inspector Joanne Demarco of the notorious Department of Antiquities believes Regina holds the key to avoid extinction. Regina fights to stay alive and avoid capture while hunting for her family.
Regina Shen: Vigilance
Regina Shen is pursued by the notorious Department of Antiquities for her unique DNA. She jumps the Barrier Wall into the Federation to find her kidnapped sister. Stuck on a heavily-guarded closed university campus, she must use her wits to escape and rescue her sister without letting either of two rival Antiquities inspectors capture her.
Regina Shen: Defiance
Regina Shen has DNA the Federation believes can reverse a global fertility collapse. Rival Federation agents fight over capturing Regina to gain power amidst turmoil over who will become the new World Premier. Regina has to flee from Virginia through desert and wilderness to Alaska to hunt a treasure big enough to barter for her freedom and that of her sister.
Lance Erlick likes to explore the mysteries of intriguing worlds with remarkable, often strong female guides facing and overcoming adversity as they try to change their world. He hopes readers will enjoy his writing as they discover different worlds, going places they may never have been.
He writes science fiction thrillers, appealing to young adult and adult readers. He is the author of the Rebel series. In those stories, he explores the moral consequences of following conscience. He wrote the Regina Shen series—Regina Shen: Resilience, Regina Shen: Vigilance, and Regina Shen: Defiance. This series takes place after abrupt climate change with a new society under the World Federation. Lance is also the author of short stories and novelettes.
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