Interview with Veronica Sicoe, Author of The Deep Link

Today I’m hav­ing anoth­er guest: author and blog­ger Veron­i­ca Sicoe.

Veronica_Sicoe

Veron­i­ca Sicoe is a sci­ence-fic­tion writer born in Roma­nia, liv­ing in Switzer­land, and work­ing in the IT indus­try. She writes dark, far-future sto­ries with dead­ly aliens, dead­lier tech, and strange rela­tion­ships.

Con­nect with her on Twit­ter, Face­book, or vis­it her awe­some blog.

 
 

Now, let’s get down to busi­ness. 🙂

Q: Veron­i­ca, you final­ly fin­ished your first nov­el, The Deep Link. I know it is still in the works, even after a round of beta-reads. How was the expe­ri­ence from the begin­ning to the final revi­sions? How do you think you’ve evolved cre­ative­ly dur­ing this whole process?

THE DEEP LINK is my first com­plet­ed nov­el, which is to say that when I start­ed writ­ing the very first draft, I had no idea what I was doing. By the time I reached the mid­dle, I real­ized I had to first learn a damn lot about sto­ry­telling if this was to be any­thing close to a read­able nov­el. So I stopped draft­ing, read every­thing about writ­ing I could get my hands on (total­ing, mean­while, a good 50 books on the craft, not count­ing online arti­cles and blogs) and reworked my whole plot. I start­ed again, and this time I fin­ished the first draft and was ecsta­t­ic about it. Then I read it, and real­ized it sucked. So I ana­lyzed it again and wrote it again, from scratch. Then I edit­ed it for con­tent (plot, char­ac­ter arcs, etc.) adding wordl­build­ing ele­ments to it as well. Only then did I con­sid­er it wor­thy to be beta-read. And now that sev­er­al fel­low writ­ers have tak­en a stab at it, I am plan­ning yet anoth­er revi­sion.

I guess it’s need­less to say my learn­ing curve with just this one nov­el was very steep, breath­tak­ing and hum­bling. And I loved every step of it!

Q: Give us an insight into your main character(s). What does she/they do that is so spe­cial?

My pro­tag­o­nist, Taryn Har­ber, a young, head­strong woman who thinks she’s got every­thing under con­trol and needs nobody in the world, clash­es with an alien war­lord, Amharr, who’s noth­ing short of a geno­ci­dal, uncom­pas­sion­ate mon­ster. Their first encounter ends in them becom­ing men­tal­ly linked to each oth­er, forced to expe­ri­ence each other’s states of mind in real-time, forced to accept each oth­er in order to retain some sense of self. They’re not just vast­ly dif­fer­ent and alien to each oth­er, they’re soon tan­gled in a tor­tur­ous code­pen­dence that alters their per­son­al­i­ty and affects every­thing around them — poten­tial­ly chang­ing the fate of the entire galaxy. 😉

Q: Is there any­thing you find par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing in your writ­ing? Is there a cer­tain type of scene that’s hard­er for you to write than oth­ers? Love? Action? Racy? What is your least favorite part of the writ­ing process?

I can’t write fun­ny scenes. I find it extreme­ly hard to tick­le smiles and gig­gles out of my char­ac­ters, and/or the read­ers. It’s not that I lack a sense of humor (far from it) or don’t like humor­ous prose, it’s just that I haven’t yet gained the nec­es­sary skills to write fun­ny. I admit I haven’t real­ly tried either, but it’s most cer­tain­ly not an innate tal­ent of mine.

Q: What inspired you to write The Deep Link? How did you come up with the title?

The idea of an aloof, cru­el, and by all means per­fect killing-machine-alien, forced to live with the moods of an unre­li­able, dis­traught and some­times down­right unnerv­ing human, has formed in my mind long ago and has con­tin­u­ous­ly shapeshift­ed until I found the right char­ac­ters to express it. I can’t say exact­ly what sparked this idea, or when, just that it’s been with me for very long.

How I came up with the title? That’s eas­i­er to answer. I work in IT, more pre­cise­ly I test projects with online fron­tends. A “deep link” is a set of hid­den infor­ma­tion passed from a web page to anoth­er dur­ing the nor­mal brows­ing process, car­ry­ing data need­ed for the sub­se­quent page to work prop­er­ly. That’s also the basic idea beneath the Deep Link tying Taryn & Amharr togeth­er.

Q: How impor­tant are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on lik­ing the way it sounds or the mean­ing? Do you have any name choos­ing resources you rec­om­mend?

I love pick­ing the names for my char­ac­ters from “rare names” lists from the inter­net. I search, for exam­ple, for uncom­mon Ital­ian boy names, and pick those that res­onate most with the character’s per­son­al­i­ty. Most­ly it’s just a gut feel­ing.

Q: This book is a part of a tril­o­gy. Tell us a lit­tle about it. What are your thoughts on writ­ing a book series.

It didn’t start out as a tril­o­gy, but as I reworked the plot, I real­ized it had too much poten­tial for esca­la­tion to be con­tained in one book. As the char­ac­ters grew as well, they just begged for more space to devel­op.

I don’t plan to write series or trilo­gies in the future. I want to write stand­alones, but I’m quite cer­tain that the sto­ry­worlds I devel­op will haunt me and I will even­tu­al­ly end up writ­ing addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al for them. Maybe short sto­ries.

Q: Tell us some­thing about your writ­ing habits. What does your writ­ing process look like? How much research do you do? Do you have a spe­cial time to write or how is your day struc­tured? Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Do you work to an out­line or plot or do you pre­fer just see where an idea takes you? Do you have a spe­cif­ic writ­ing style?

My writ­ing process is unor­ga­nized. I don’t write in a spe­cial place, or at spe­cial times in the day, or wear­ing the same sweater. That would total­ly make me crazy. 🙂 I write when­ev­er I have time; most­ly on my PC, or the one at work, dur­ing breaks or down­times, and use many dif­fer­ent pro­grams from Word to Scriven­er, and even email. Despite this “chaos”, I write my sto­ries in chrono­log­i­cal order. I’ve heard of many writ­ers writ­ing scenes out of order, as they “come to them”. I can’t do that; to me, the sto­ry evolves in a cer­tain direc­tion, char­ac­ters (d)evolve a cer­tain way, and I can’t go back and forth with­out los­ing the under­ground cur­rent that dri­ves those changes.

I don’t aim for cer­tain word­counts, except maybe on NaNoW­riMo. I aim to fin­ish a cer­tain scene by time X, or by lunch, or what­ev­er, depend­ing on how full my sched­ule is.

I always write with an out­line. I’m a plot­ter to the core. But I nev­er plan any details, only major plot points and char­ac­ter arcs, right up until the ending—which nev­er ends up being what I ini­tial­ly planned. So in a way I do write organ­i­cal­ly, but based on a clear out­line. Which makes me a hybrid, or mutant, or some­thing. What­ev­er works.

Q: What made you decide to sit down and actu­al­ly start some­thing? Do you recall how your inter­est in writ­ing orig­i­nat­ed?

I’ve been writ­ing sto­ries ever since I could write. I had my own type­writer when I was ten, and wrote lit­tle sto­ries and poems and scripts for my play-ses­sions, in which all my stuffed ani­mals and face-wear­ing toys were cast in roles and sent into their destruc­tion. Ha. I’ve always favored tragedy and hor­ror to all oth­er forms of sto­ry­telling.

Q: What is your favorite theme/genre to write about? What draws you to this theme/genre? Where do your ideas come from?

My favorite gen­res are hor­ror and sci­ence-fic­tion, to read, watch, and write. My fas­ci­na­tion with hor­ror far pre­dates that with sci-fi, but the lat­ter has hit a deep nerve with me, and it draws on my love for sci­ence, tech­nol­o­gy and very large, open set­tings. And what is larg­er than a whole galaxy as your stage? Or the whole uni­verse? So much room for devel­op­ment, so much poten­tial for dis­as­ter…

My ideas usu­al­ly form around char­ac­ters, around peo­ple in ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tions, around the tremen­dous poten­tial of the human mind (or alien mind) to expand or col­lapse into mad­ness.

Q: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors. For your own read­ing, do you pre­fer ebooks or tra­di­tion­al paper/hardback books?

I read far less than I’d like to, and it’s some­thing I’m con­tin­u­ous­ly work­ing on. But my favorite writ­ers are def­i­nite­ly Dan Sim­mons, Peter Hamil­ton, and strange­ly enough, Franz Kaf­ka.

I love good books, but I’m not a fanat­ic read­er, and any means to tell a good sto­ry is a wel­come means to me. I love good movies equal­ly much, or short sto­ries, actu­al case reports and non-fic­tion books. As long as my mind is stim­u­lat­ed, and my imag­i­na­tion can unfold, I love it.

For my own read­ing, I much pre­fer ebooks. I can read them any­where on any device, at any time (Late­ly, I only find time to read when I bring my daugh­ter to bed, so I have to read in a dark room, and make no noise; a Kin­dle is per­fect for that.).

Q: To you per­son­al­ly, what are the main advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of self-pub­lish­ing against being pub­lished or the oth­er way around?

I find it fas­ci­nat­ing (per­haps “strange” is the bet­ter word) how obsessed writ­ers all over the world are with get­ting pub­lished tra­di­tion­al­ly. Sure, it’s nice to be paid up front and have a whole team of edi­tors prune your work for you free of charge, but that whole “you’re not a real writer if you don’t have some publisher’s logo on your book’s spine” men­tal­i­ty is sim­ply stu­pid. It’s like an urban myth per­pe­trat­ed con­tin­u­ous­ly, and I find it unnerv­ing that so many still fall for it nowa­days. Of course, if peo­ple can self-pub­lish with the click of a but­ton, a shit­storm of bad and awful books con­stant­ly rains upon the inter­net, but read­ers decide on their own what they want to read, and they can always say NO, or YES to any book they please. I don’t see why tra­di­tion­al­ly pub­lished authors should ever feel threat­ened or ashamed or annoyed with self-pub­lish­ing and its con­se­quences. The more books, the mer­ri­er.

As to my own choic­es — I see the advan­tages in both paths, and to me these are:

  • For tra­di­tion­al pub­lish­ing, the free-of-charge ser­vices of com­pe­tent peo­ple, like edi­tors, copy edi­tors, cov­er artists, mar­ket­ing teams, review­ers, etc.
  • For self-pub­lish­ing, the free­dom of not hav­ing a con­tract with oblig­a­tions and dead­lines, the keep­ing of all of one’s rights, bet­ter roy­al­ty per­cent­ages and the pos­si­bil­i­ty to “update” one’s pub­lished books or pub­lish in any for­mat you want.
  • Q: How do you see your pub­lish­ing jour­ney with your first nov­el / tril­o­gy?

    For this tril­o­gy, I will most like­ly choose self-pub­lish­ing sim­ply because I real­ly don’t want to write the sub­se­quent books to a dead­line. But for the next nov­el I’m writ­ing, which is a stand­alone set in anoth­er sto­ry­world, I will go for tra­di­tion­al pub­lish­ing. I’m curi­ous to see how it all works out.

    Q: What are you work­ing on now? What is your next project?

    I’m work­ing out the kinks on a new nov­el, that’s not part of the TDL tril­o­gy. I plan to begin draft­ing it this Novem­ber, as my NaNoW­riMo project. It will be a hor­ror sci­ence-fic­tion stand­alone nov­el, set in the far future, with a micro cast of just two char­ac­ters. Okay, maybe three, if you count the ram­pant alien mon­ster that stalks my pro­tag­o­nist. 😉

    Q: What else have you writ­ten? (*Include books, novel­las, short sto­ries, poems, blogs, awards or any­thing of inter­est.)

    I’ve writ­ten a few short sto­ries which are avail­able online, and a whole lot of things which I will nev­er show any­body. 🙂 You can read those sto­ries on my blog, if you like.

    Q: How can read­ers dis­cov­er more about you and you work?

    You can check out my blog (veronicasicoe.com), or find me loi­ter­ing about on Face­book and Twit­ter. I also have a Google+, LinekdIn, Goodreads and now an Ello pro­file, but I’m not real­ly active on those. 

    Thanks for inter­view­ing me, Jeno.

     
    Thank you for par­tic­i­pat­ing, Vero. 🙂

    ~~~

    New release? A give­away par­ty? Let us know! Want to do an inter­view or a guest post for my blog and join the fun? Click here.

    Jeno Marz
    JENO MARZ is a science fiction writer from Latvia, Northern Europe, with background in electronics engineering and computer science. She is the author of two serial novels, Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements and Falaha’s Journey into Pleasure. Marz is current at work on a new SF trilogy. All her fiction is aimed at an adult audience.

    2 Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    %d bloggers like this: