They say ignorance is bliss, but at what cost? Aliens have made contact with Earth and Humans are having a hard time digesting the new reality. Weak and unprepared, Earth is immediately plunged into intergalactic chaos. As the governments of the world scramble to incorporate aliens into political and religious texts, the everyday citizen struggles to live day by day.
Dawn Among the Stars, set in a time of war and upheaval, follows three humans as they deal with their inner demons, while adjusting to the suddenly changing world. With Earth in the middle of an intergalactic war, Kayin, Henry, and Melissa must follow separate paths to reclaim their planet.
An Interview with Samantha Heuwagen
Samantha Heuwagen’s debut Science Fiction/Fantasy novel, Dawn Among The Stars, will be published on May 21st, 2018 by Trifecta Publishing House. Prior to the publication, I was able to interview Samantha about her novel and her writing process.
Question - Please describe what the book is about.
Samantha Heuwagen - Set against the backdrop of intergalactic politics and war, Dawn Among the Stars follows the stories of three Humans as they struggle to understand the universe on a cosmic scale.
Kayin has a rough start when the Shielders, a potential alien ally for Earth, come out of hiding and into the public consciousness. Not only does their very existence cause her trouble, her panic attacks threaten to derail her everyday life. Can she overcome her mental health issues or will she be swallowed up in a political mess?
As for Henry Rickner, he wishes he could take back all of his mistakes in life, starting with his choice to leave Kayin. Yet he finds himself within the chaos of war as he tries to reunite with those he holds dear.
Melissa Pebbles only has one goal: to keep her family safe during the attack. She will do anything to make sure she and her family make it through whatever challenges are thrown their way. While Melissa fights to keep her family alive, she learns that family is more than just blood.
Can these three work with the Shielders to save Earth or will they lose the only home they’ve ever known?
Q - Share a teaser from your book.
SH - Aliens are real and living on Earth will never be the same.
Q - What’s the story behind the title?
SH - Dawn Among the Stars was originally the series title, but we worked together to switch it around. I’m very happy with it and I think it portrays a hope for the future in the book.
Q - No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.
SH - Alien sex… Hold on, it’s about to get steamy in here.
Q - Tell us about your favorite character.
SH - My favorite character has to be the sassy and smart, Kayin Aves. She’s a feisty Latina that isn’t sure she should trust these aliens that pretty much showed up out of nowhere, but she isn’t given a choice when she’s taken off planet to fight for Earth. I love that she’s true to herself and even though she struggles through panic attacks and PTSD, she’s willing to do what it takes to reclaim her home.
Q - If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?
SH - Unlike Kayin, I would want to get to know the La’Mursians. I think I’d want to see what their world was like and get to know them on a deeper level. I’m a therapist, so I always have questions up my sleeve and getting to know Space in such a unique way would be so interesting!
Q - Are your character based on real people, or do they come from your imaginations?
SH – I think all the characters have a little bit of me in them sprinkled with personality quirks from the people around me. Gotta keep it interesting!
Q - How long did you take to write this book?
SH - Several years, but I did take a few years off while I was in graduate school. I only started taking it seriously a couple of years ago.
Q - What kind of research did you do for this book?
SH - I had to look up a few locations and destinations in the US as well as some logistics in space.
Q - What did you remove from this book during the editing process?
SH - I removed the word “had” so many times I never want to see it again!
Q - Are you a plotter or a pantser?
SH - Pantser for sure! I can’t plot everything out or I’d get bored.
Q - What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?
SH - I make myself laugh a lot, so when I’m writing and I bust out laughing it just feels good. It might never be funny to anyone else, but at the end of the day I’m not writing for everyone else. Sometimes writing takes a toll and is very serious, but if I can laugh through it, it makes the process that much more enjoyable.
Q - What is the most challenging part of your writing process, and why?
SH - Finding time. I have to schedule my day in such a way that I can meet with all my clients (I’m a sex therapist), be present for them, teach (I teach at Kennesaw State University), and sit down to write or edit something. Luckily, there are 24hrs in a day or I’d be sunk!
Q - Can you share your writing routine?
SH - I write in my home office mostly, though I’ve been known to venture out to my local teashop. I light candles, turn on my salt lamp, blast some music usually by Sleeping at Last, and get to work–– oh and can’t forget the tea!
Q - Have you ever gotten writer’s block? If yes, how do you overcome it?
SH - No. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t. Why push myself until it hurts? That’s no fun.
Q - If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
SH - Oh yes, girl, you’re going to be an author! How insane is that?
Q - How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
SH - Does my second book count? It’s on the way to publication, I just have to finish it!
Q - Do you have any writing quirks?
SH - I need tea or it isn’t happening!
Q - Tell us about yourself.
SH - I’m a bilingual sex therapist in Atlanta, GA. When I’m not doing therapy I teach the class, Love and Sex at Kennesaw State University.
Q - How did you get into writing?
SH - While in graduate school I needed more self-care options. I started rewriting Dawn Among the Stars because it felt good and slowly I realized I had something special I wanted to share with the world.
Q - What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
SH - I love doing yoga, hiking, and hanging with friends.
Q - Apart from novel writing, do you do any other kind(s) of writing?
SH - I’m a blogger. You can visit SamanthaHeuwagen.com and read my thoughts on mental health and how to live your best life!
Q - Share something about you most people probably don’t know.
SH - I hated words when I was younger. Being diagnosed with two learning disabilities I thought writing and reading were for other people. I’m so shocked this is where I am today, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Q - Which book influenced you the most?
SH - Though it’s problematic, Gone With the Wind had an ending that still haunts me to this day! Come on Scarlett get it together, girl!
Q - What are you working on right now?
SH - The follow up to Dawn Among the Stars, Fading Starlight.
Q - What’s your favorite writing advice?
SH - Practice, practice, and then practice some more.
Q - The book you’re currently reading
SH - Eternal Bloom, fifth installment of The Ruby Ring Series by Chrissy Peebles.
Samantha Heuwagen is a sex therapist, author, and activist in Atlanta, Georgia. When she’s not doing therapy, she teaches the class, Love and Sex, at Kennesaw State University. Her debut novel, Dawn Among the Stars, will be released in May 2018.
Links to Samantha