3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, April 29, 2016!
Fourteen-year-old Spencer discovers an extra-terrestrial girl hiding out, living in his house. Mandy is lost and alone after her jet crashed and the pilot was captured. She asks Spencer to rescue the pilot from Edwards Air Force Base and help them get home with the one thing their civilization needs to survive. On the run from drones, attack helicopters and fighter jets, his family finds out what the ETs are really after and fall into crisis. Can he still help her get home?
Exclusive interview with the author:
1) Thinking back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer?
When I first started writing, I didn’t know rewrites and revisions would be a bigger part of writing than sitting down and letting a story flow onto page. As I do rewrite after rewrite on the script for the movie version of my book “Circle,” I want to change the book, too. Movie making is more collaborative than writing a novel alone and I really adore some of the ideas from others who are working on the movie version.
It’s so much fun to edit stories as well as spew the first draft onto page. Wordsmithing is delicious. I’m grateful for the time I spent as an editor so that I could learn to revise ad nauseam, and I’m grateful for the time I spent as a pilot so I could add those exciting details to my flying scenes.
Whenever I get tired of rewriting a scene for the 100th time, looking for that elusive perfection, I remember that the script for Jurassic World was in rewrites for 10 years! It must have worked because Jurassic World is the #4 movie of all time at the box office.
2) If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?
I’d like to discuss how crazy glowing puppies and kitties are. Genetic engineering has taken some strange turns lately. Scientists have inserted jellyfish genes into dogs and cats to make them glow in the dark. They’ve added spinach genes to pigs in an attempt to make ham healthier to eat. What? We can’t eat vegetables? I guess it would be useful if our pets glowed…
In my book “Circle,” everything is genetically engineered on the planet Circle but I like the ideas of making fur from cell replication rather than ripping fur off animals. I won’t tell you what they make their clothes from or how they build their houses on Circle, but I think we could come up with some better ideas here on Earth than making crops that can withstand dumping more pesticides on them. Like changing the DNA on my legs so they don’t grow hair. I hate shaving!
Genetic engineering is just one aspect of the book but I find it a fascinating discussion. Transgenetic species started on Earth without many people even noticing we were blending animals, plants and humans.
Because of the hints of science in “Circle,” it’s read in middle schools that need STEM curriculum. Science is now incorporated in English classes and science classes look for novels that will excite students about science. I didn’t study science until after I graduated from college – I didn’t know what I was missing. It’s cool stuff!
3) When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?
My parents would fly to grandma’s house in a little single-engine airplane. They had more children than seats so I was put in the baggage compartment. There was nothing to do in this dark place, so I wrote stories and started my first book at nine. (You can see pictures on SydBlue.com.) I wrote my entire childhood, took English and writing classes in school and college and continued to write after that. While I worked as an editor at publishers and magazines, I spent the weekends writing. As I worked as a commercial pilot, I wrote. All that experience was very helpful and gave me a deeper understanding of the way the world works, I guess you could say. Flying a plane is fun but writing is the greatest thrill of all.
4) How did you get the idea for the novel?
I got the idea for the novel when I was editing at a tech publication. I learned that the Earth has gotten brighter since we’ve paved over the land. Pavement reflects more light than dirt. I thought, “Wouldn’t be neat if we just showed up in someone’s telescope”? And then I thought about penpals emailing each other from their own planets. What knowledge could we gain from another world on a completely different system? I didn’t contemplate the system that Circle would use before I started writing. It just came out in the first draft and then I refined it with research and had scientists actually check my science. I like sci-fi based on reality.
5) How do you come up with your character names?
Mandy’s name has a special meaning. Her full name is Mandala, which is a circle. Her planet is called Circle because its biggest issue is bio-degrading materials too fast. The circle of life from growth to decay, like recycling, is sped up. Mandy has a unique relationship with her planet and a few surprises about who she really is.
The 1st lines of the book are “Mandy didn’t have a last name. She didn’t need one. Where she was from, everyone knew who she was.” Because Mandy is the only child on her world, she knows everyone there. This is why she greets strangers on Earth with her unique greeting. I love Mandy’s open heart and try to be like her, to see our world through her eyes. You can see what readers say about Mandy at my channel: YouTube.com/c/SydBlue.
About the author:
Syd has had over 40 articles published, screenplays optioned, supervised writing staffs at a half dozen publications and a news service, and produced an award-winning documentary, TV shows, commercials and short films. She is also a commercial pilot. Visit Syd online at SydBlue.com.
3 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, April 29, 2016.
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