Friday 30 June 2017

Interview with Author Marie Kammerer Franke

Today I have a wonderful interview with science fiction and fantasy author Marie Kammerer Franke, who chats about her writing and her book, A Charming Nightmare. Enjoy!

Interview with Marie Kammerer Franke

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Sure! I’m originally from St. Paul MN, but I grew up all over; Chicago ILL, St. Louis MO, St. Petersburg FL, finally settling in Upstate NY.  I have 2 boys (which any parent of boys knows that if you have one, you have about a thousand adoptive children…so I tell people I have 6 boys).  And have been disgustingly happily married for 15 years.  We live in the country, farmland as far as the eye can see (yes NY has grass, and trees, and farms, and mountains…and SNOW, holy mother of everything do we have SNOW)

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

A Charming Nightmare is a science-fiction book.  It is book 1 in a series of 4.  It follows Aylin through time and space (a taken against her will from the present day).
40,000 years after Earth’s demise we are still trying to settle. That’s what the survivors are called now, settlers. Survivor, by the way, is derogatory word. So are words like gadget, computer, and machine. Those are people. We evolve into them, and something in the mechanics that make up a human is killing. That’s where I come in, not intentionally mind you, but forcibly by our distant descendants. They could be a little more hospitable, and offer a tissue when telling you that your family, job, hairdresser, and newspaper boy are all dust. But they don’t. So you compromise; you translate children’s books for scientists who cannot read or write its written language in hopes of curing their diseased parts, and in return they back you up when you start a war to end all wars on their front lawn. Sounds fair, right??

Do you have a favourite character? If so, why?

I adore Aylin, the way she sees the world in front of her.  She is snarky and never steady on her feet, everything is new to her and she’s looking for a way to connect, something that is familiar.  It just happens that you, the reader, are all that she has, and she spends time talking to you as if you are right there next to her.

Why did you decide to write in the science-fiction genre?

Scifi is what I grew up on, my father used to watch carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’ every weekend, he would fill in quiet moments with facts and discussions on things that are so much bigger than us.  I grew up in a house filled with Nova, Doctor Who, and Star Trek.  Which was perfect for a child whose hobbies included daydreaming, and all things make believe. When I was an adult raising my own children there was no other lifestyle than a fandom and books for me to use as a parenting tool.  My boys would listen to their mom read A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as their bedtime story, or make them sit through Neil Degrasse Tyson’s ‘Star Talk’.  Don’t even get me started on the day they published the first pictures of Jupiter Cassini took!

What is the hardest part of writing science-fiction?

I would have to say the hardest things about science fiction is knowing when to stop.  When writing A Charming Nightmare I kept going until it was over 1500 pages long (and if I hadn’t forced myself to walk away it would probably be close to 8000 pages by now).  There are so many ways that the story can turn, so many possibilities, people, planets, things…and in a science fiction world NONE of them are wrong.
I physically had to divide the book into 4 complete novels, stand up, send book 1 to my editor and cover artist, and then walk away.  Even today, running through book 2 I have to sit on my hands so not to add, or take the story in a completely new direction, because science has new discoveries.

Who is your intended readership?

ACN (as we fondly nicknamed it), covers a wide variety of readers; it is first of all science-fiction with a side of fantasy, but it is also Aylin’s story of finding herself-a coming of age, so it could fit into NA, it is also a fandom based off of everything I grew up watching, and has a side of romance.  I can tell you it’s not intended for children, or even YA, Aylin is very brazen, she likes her four letter words.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

On my page I talk a ton about starting out, the process to see what’s the right fit for you; traditional or indie. I went with being an indie writer, solely because I have a hard time giving someone else control.  Too many times I have been told by big agencies to change my book, or a character.  I have been asked to take my scifi novel and turn it into scifi erotica…ummm…no thank you.
As an indie a lot of truthful advice is hard to hear; things like ‘I can’t wait to get a copy’ is just another way to congratulate someone-don’t over order your own product just because the bank teller said she couldn’t wait for it to come out.  Grandma is your only true sale.

What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?

When I’m not writing you can find me hiking; my husband and I have a thing for hiking waterfalls,  and eating tacos…ok, that last part about tacos is more my thing. 
I also took on being the head costumer for a local high school, who just wrapped up an AMAZING showing of Les Miserables.  They are now diving head first into the world of Shakespeare with A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
And when I have a free weekend or to you can find me judging robotics for some NYS FIRST Lego League competitions.

Are you working on another book?

While all 4 books in ACN are finished, my editor seems to think grammar counts.  So I’m taking her notes and going back through Sister’s Lament.  Sister’s Lament is darker, more out of my comfort zone in characters and situations, so much so that grandma has been warned; she can own it, but she’s not allowed to read it.  Sister’s Lament is scheduled to be released March 2018.

You can find A Charming Nightmare on

Author Bio

Originally from St. Paul MN, Marie moved a lot growing up allowing her to see some amazing places, which for a child who loved to daydream was heaven on earth!  After settling, she missed traveling and would come up with her own ideas of what a place would look like, taste like, smell like.  She would create the people living there in her mind, carry on conversations with them, learn their traditions, fumble through their make believe languages, until one day the US or earth as a whole wasn't enough (she blames her father and his Doctor Who obsession.). She started fantasizing about entire new worlds and galaxies, the aliens that lived there, the entire "what if they use ice cream as soap instead of dessert" ideas of a new races' comprehension of items we take for granted.  

From this and the bedtime antics of her children, she started writing, and writing, and creating until everything that was a daydream became suddenly very very real.  That is how A Charming Nightmare (The ACN series) was born.

For more on the author, check out her Website


Stephanie Barr said...

I honestly thing most books are a mix of genres. What's the fun of fantasy and/or science fiction without humor? Or romance? Or adventure? Or real pathos?

I say own all the genres your book is.

A. F. Stewart said...

Very true, a good book is a good book. Thanks for stopping by.

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