Today I have with me Ellen Larson, who's here to discuss her current work. You can find the other parts of her interview at the links below:
The Writing Life--Theresa--9/19
The Creative Process--Emily--9/20
Words of Wisdom--Vicki--9/24
Tell us about your new book—what is it about—and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?
In Retrospect, the dystopian murder mystery, will be available about December 11th from amazon.com. Because Five Star’s main market is libraries, it will only be in a few book stores. Or you can attend my book launch, 2 PM Sunday, December 8 at the Somerville Public Library, where the book will be available at a discount or via a raffle.
Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?
The fun of In Retrospect--and the challenge--is that the book is dystopian science fiction through and through, but shaped like a traditional murder mystery. Merit, my sleuth, is a professional investigator--or at least she was before her city was invaded and occupied by a supposedly peaceful neighboring state. She survived because she was attuned for time travel, a technology that the invaders covet. Forced to work for her enemies, she investigates the murder of her former General--whom she despised because he surrendered prematurely. The suspects include the General’s lover, the resistance operative who was once sent to assassinate the General, and Merit’s psychiatrist, who seeks power through the manipulation of the weak.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
It was extremely difficult to maintain a strong forward-moving plot given its unconventional structure (for example, the beginning of the book is also the end of the book) and the numerous flashbacks (the literary equivalent to time travel) to three different time periods: Merit as a child learning to be a Retrospector; Merit as an adult, falling in love and finding success; and Merit as a soldier and resistance operative during the war.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?
My favorite subject. I was lucky enough to reconnect with an old friend, artist Mike Sissons, shortly after In Retrospect was accepted by Five Star. Mike has always been a fan of my writing, and--total coincidence--was looking for some really good descriptive writing that he could illustrate as practice for a course he was teaching. He did an amazing book trailer (www.inretrospectbook.com/trailer.html) and generated tons of art related to the book. The good folks at Five Star suggested that we use his art for the cover, which is great, because now the cover, the trailer, and the postcard and bookmark art are all integrated.
After 20 years working as a substantive editor in Egypt and the US, Ellen Larson was recently named editor of The Poisoned Pencil, the YA mystery imprint of Poisoned Pen Press. Ellen, who lives in an off-grid cabin, also writes. Her fiction has appeared in Yankee Magazine, Bloodroot Literary Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (Barry Award finalist), and Big Pulp. Her dystopian mystery, IN RETROSPECT (Gale-Cengage, Five Star), will be out December 2013.
Former elite operative Merit Rafi suffered during her imprisonment at the end of a devastating war, but the ultimate torment is being forced to investigate a murder she would gladly have committed herself. In the year 3324 the Rasakans have attacked the technologically superior Oku. The war is a stalemate until the Oku commander, General Zane, abruptly surrenders. Merit, a staunch member of the Oku resistance, fights on, but she and her comrades are soon captured. An uneasy peace ensues, but the Rasakans conspire to gain control of the prized Oku time-travel technology. When Zane is murdered, the Rasakans exert control over Merit, the last person on Earth capable of Forensic Retrospection. In Retrospect is a good old-fashioned whodunit set in a compelling post-apocalyptic future.
Goodreads author page:
What format is your book(s) available in (print, e-book, audio book, etc.)?
In Retrospect: print (hc)
Measure of the Universe: print (tp), ebook
The Hatch and Brood of Time (reprint) - Feb 2014: print (tp), ebook