Interview with #Sci-Fi author Merita King

Hi, Merita! Thanks for stopping by my blog so my readers can meet you and learn about your cool books. J

Hi Becki, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’ve loved science fiction since I was a young child growing up with Star Trek and my parents’ love of all things connected with space. Whether it was fiction or science fact, if it was about space, the planets, and the universe, they absorbed it and passed on that love to me. I deeply regret being born at a time before space travel is a normal daily event. I have an adventurous spirit and would go into space without a second thought, if the chance came my way.

I can remember being a very young child and looking up at the sky and wondering why my real family left me behind on this planet, and hoping they were coming to get me soon. They never did, but I still have that feeling that I belong out there. I cannot go there of course, but in my books I can. Having grown up on a diet of space opera movies, TV and books, it was a foregone conclusion that it I ever wrote a book, it would be space opera. Eleven books later and I’m still enjoying exploring my very own universe.

When building my alien worlds, I am inspired by movies I’ve seen in the genre, rather than books I’ve read. I guess I’m a visual person, and people often say my books read like movies, that they ‘see’ a movie in their head as they’re reading. I like that, I’m happy that happens. It is very important to me that anything I invent in my future universe, gadgets, gizmos, diseases etc, have a basis in today’s known science fact. I research and begin with a known fact, then build from there. I feel that this helps to make my worlds believable for the reader. The great thing about space opera is that you can invent stuff, but if you’re too fantastical you risk losing your reader’s attention.

I’m autistic and live inside my head more so than those who don’t have this condition. Interacting on a very deep level with my imagination is necessary for my mental health, so I find connecting with the flow of creative force, very easy. Away from writing, I enjoy making Native American inspired beaded pow wow fans, and I’m a crazy cat lady in training. I live alone in Hampshire Southern England.

How old were you when you wrote your first story and what was it about?

I was around 12 or 13. It was a paranormal ghost story that I thought was a fantastic plot idea, but I did not have the knowledge or ability to actually write it and make the best of it. I showed the first few pages to my mother, who roared with laughter at my spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, and I was thoroughly put off trying for years.

Another time, after reading my mother’s copy of The Claw by Norah Lofts and loving the story, it inspired within me an idea for a novel. I have never written that story, but I still have the idea in my head so I might one day.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes, I’ve known since my teenage years that I wanted to write a book. When I was young, I did not have the education or skills to be able to write well, so it never happened until I was well into middle age. I firmly believe that everything happens at the right time, so it was not meant to be back then. When it’s meant to be, it happens and it happened for me in June 2011.

Where do you get your ideas for a story?

They just drop in to my head. Sometimes I will read something or see something on tv and that will be the catalyst to spark off this creative download. I then make sure I write the basic idea in my little purple notebook so I don’t forget it. That book has plot ideas, titles, character names, all sorts of stuff that I don’t want to lose or forget, and as I use them in books, I cross them off.

What’s your writing process? Do you create an outline before you begin your tale?

I do basic character outlines, and I do mean basic. I have the name, age, marital status, basic physical appearance, planet of origin, job, and their reason for being in the story. I call this document, the Cast List, and it also contains details of gadgets and gizmos I include in the story, and location details (planet names etc). I also do a basic plot outline, which consists of a few sentences outlining the main event, any pertinent events leading up to it, and the resulting after effects. This is purely to make sure I don’t lose the idea and not to ‘manage’ my writing of the story at all.

When I start to write, I just sit down with my cast list and plot outline and begin to write. I am one of those writers who let my characters lead the way. My belief is that it is their story, their lives, and they know how they want it put over better than anyone else. If I try to impose my will upon the story, they always change it anyway, so I don’t bother now. I know my characters know what they’re doing, so I try not to get in the way.

You write mostly sci-fi stories. When my parents were married they were the directors of the UFO Investigator’s League, so I grew up around the whole aliens and flying saucer craze. Do you believe a UFO really crashed in Roswell and we’re being visited by aliens?

I’m in two minds about Roswell. I’m English so I don’t know a huge amount about it. I do however, firmly believe we have been, and still are being visited by alien beings. I would love to meet an extra terrestrial being and be taken to their spaceship, it would be the coolest thing ever. I was born in totally the wrong century; I should have been born five hundred years in the future when hopefully, space travel will be an every day thing. That is of course, on condition we haven’t nuked the place by then.

Can you tell us about your latest book?

It is called The Trials of Nahda ~ Sinclair V-Log PA884/R and is the third in my series, The Sinclair V-Logs. The series is the personal video logs of Samelan Sinclair, Freelance Law Enforcer with the Inter-Galactic Law Enforcement Agency. In this book, he is sent to capture a scientist who has absconded with one of his people’s most valuable ancient artifacts. Once his target is located, Samelan follows him to the neighboring planet and enters into a nightmare experience that almost breaks him.

What’s your next project?

My current project is the fourth in The Sinclair V-Logs series. In this book, Samelan returns to his home planet of Sigma Prime to help find and capture the killer of one of his law enforcement colleagues. This is the first time we meet Samelan on his home turf without much of the stranger things he experiences while patrolling the galaxy in his ship. It is also the first time we see him working as part of a team rather than him being able to be his own boss, and the team dynamic adds to the plot in many ways. This is the most dangerous of his experiences so far, and one that puts his life in very real danger. He has to battle his own inner demons as the case unfolds and exposes him to the darkest side of man’s nature whilst searching for the worst serial killer Sigma Prime has ever had. This case changes him permanently.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard thus far?

If you have an idea to write something, you must get it out of your head and on to the paper. You will never write anything if it stays inside your head and never sees the light of day. The mistakes, spelling errors, grammatical errors, plot holes and continuity errors don’t matter. You can tidy all of that up later once you get it out of your head.

If you can spend a day with anyone—dead or alive—who would it be and why?

Wow that’s a hard question to answer. Do I pick a writer I could learn from, a childhood celebrity crush, or some current eye candy? To be totally truthful, the people I would most like to meet are fictitious characters that I feel a connection with.  If it has to be a real person, then I’ll pick the actor Dwayne Johnson simply because he’s the most gorgeous man on the planet. At my age, after everything I’ve lived through, I deserve to be totally selfish for a day and indulge my celebrity crush.

If you can ask the universe one question, knowing you’d get an honest answer, what would it be?

My question would be, “what is my reason for having to live this life, my mission here?”

Months ago, you adopted a wonderful soul. Tell us about him and how he has changed your life.

Yes, I got a cat and named him Samelan after the main character in my series, The Sinclair V-Logs. He is a beautiful striped tabby with greeny gold eyes and a five o’clock shadow around his mouth. It has made such a difference to me having him in my life. To come home to someone who is pleased to see me, who comes to the door and greets me, is a real salve to a lonely soul. We all need to be needed by another living soul, and he fulfills that for me.

Just For Fun:

If you were stranded on a deserted island and can only have 3 things, what would they be?

My cat, for company and to keep vermin down. A large knife is a must for building shelters, preparing food and all manner of tasks. One of those fire starting things with a stone and a scraper would be good too. I really can’t see me rubbing two sticks together for long before getting bored and giving up, and eating raw food is not going to happen.

If you discovered a time machine, knew that it worked and how to activate it, what time would you go to and why?

Easy peasy, I would go five hundred years into the future to see how technology had progressed, whether we had got into space properly yet, and how we had evolved as a species.

If you knew tonight you were going to die, what would be your last meal?

Lobster, followed by tarte au citron. I’ve never had lobster but always wanted to try it. It’s a bit expensive so I’ve not yet indulged. I also love anything lemon, but it has to be sharp. I can’t bear citrus flavoured things that are made of sweetened pap.

If you had to choose between being a werewolf or a vampire, which one would you pick and why?

A vampire because you don’t become a hairy creature, then end up naked and miles from home. At least vampires keep their clothes on and can remain elegant.

Good answer. 

Okay, I’m done torturing you. LOL. Not so bad, right? 

Thanks for allowing me to visit with you, Merita. I wish you the best.

It’s been a pleasure Becki, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog.