Today’s interview is with one of my favorite indie authors of all time, Brittany Willows! Brittany contacted me a few months ago to review her novel, The Calypsis Project, and since then it has become one of my favorite books. I wasn’t into science fiction very much before I read her novel, but it completely converted me. She knows how to create remarkable worlds and has a full grasp on them so that the reader doesn’t ever get confused. That being said, I am so happy to know her and her work and am excited for you to meet her as well!
Basic Author Questions
1) What is the first memory you have of writing?
I think the first time I actually wrote a story was when I was around eleven or twelve. And funnily enough, what I wrote was the very first version of my current series. It was vastly different back then, though. Much more fantasy than science fiction, and the characters were supposed to be some sort of wingless dragons in a world devoid of humans.
2) Which authors inspire you, and why?
Greg Bear, Joseph Staten, Jay Kristoff. All are brilliant writers in their own right, with unique but equally intriguing styles. I love the way Greg Bear describes everything with such grandeur. I love Joseph Staten’s world building and attention to detail. And I love Jay Kristoff’s characters, his dialogue. All of them have helped shape my own style over the years, and I am so thankful to have found their books. They absolutely brilliant.
3) What is your favorite genre to read, and why?
Science fiction, hands down. I’ve always been intrigued by space, and I really enjoy reading about the fictional worlds and technology and creatures people come up with. Post-apocalyptic is a close second for the survival aspect and the fact that they are very character-centric stories for the most part,. And I especially love when the two genres are mixed.
4) What is your favorite genre to write, and why?
Science fiction/post-apocalyptic again, and for pretty much the same reasons as above. I enjoy building worlds, creating new species, and playing with fancy technology. But I also love destroying those worlds, throwing characters into the hear of the disaster, and seeing how they fight their way out of it.
5) What are you currently working on?
First and foremost, the sequel to my debut novel: The Calypsis Project. It’s currently in its second round of edits (which I am very nearly finished), and will soon be off to the beta readers. However, on-and-off while I’ve been working on that, I’ve also been tinkering with a prequel novel set a few decades prior to the main storyline.
Questions regarding “The Calypsis Project
1) How did you get the idea for “The Calypsis Project”?
From the Halo games, initially. I got into the series when I was seven. After the second game came out when I was around nine, I became so enthralled by the story and the characters that I decided to craft my own fictional universe. It started out as a video game idea and grew from there. Eventually, I realized that was perhaps a little too ambitious for a then-preteen me and decided to take it down the novel route instead. Between then and now, it has changed a lot. I’ve read a lot more, played a lot more games, and learned from all of those stories. They’ve definitely helped to shape the story for the better.
2) Why did you choose to make the novel about war?
More than anything, I think that simply stems from the original video game idea. I played a lot of shooters and war-based RPGs as a kid. Still do. And those games have also contained some of my favorite stories, which greatly influenced the storyteller in me. Plus, who doesn’t like aliens and space battles? ;D
3) How many books are you planning to have in this series?
Quite a few! The number has actually grown a fair bit recently. The Echo-Alpha duology (the main storyline) consists of two books. I also have two other novels planned, a series of short stories, and a couple of novellas. So readers can expect much more from this headworld in the future!
4) How did you come up with the physical characteristics for your alien race in the novel?
A 3D animated cartoon called Dragon Booster served as my initial inspiration for their designs. They started out as wingless, quadrupedal dragons. From there, their designs just kind of grew on their own—evolved as I developed the story.
5) How long did you work on “The Calypsis Project” and form the idea for it?
I actually just hit my ten year anniversary of working on the project in June last year! I started it all the way back in 2005, when I was just a kid. It’s come a long way since then, and there were many times where I almost gave up on it, but I was determined to get it out in one form or another. So in 2011, I sat my butt down to work on the novel, and at the end of 2013, it finally hit the digital shelves. And I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to have it published. It’s amazing, and the response has been so rewarding.
I’m definitely looking forward to where this ride takes me next!
Brittany can be found at the following links:
Her deviant art page has a lot of art that she created for her novel, and they are absolutely beautiful! They help the reader picture the characters and the story better.
I hope that you enjoyed her interview and are interested in her reading her work! I can’t wait for the sequel to come out, and I am sure that it will be just as amazing as the first.