Today I have an interview with author Sean Sousa. His first book, Flash, is currently available, and more books in the series will be coming soon.
What inspired you to become a writer?
For me, it was getting over fear, and finding the “right idea,” that finally got me going. I knew I had some talent in writing, from school assignments and fun stuff I’d write now and then, but for some reason I was afraid to develop it. I think it’s a common struggle – sometimes we don’t want to develop a skill because we don’t like what we make with it, or we’re afraid we won’t enjoy it anymore. I believe we’re specifically made to accomplish great things in life with our gifts, so we can’t be afraid of them. Once I grasped that, and came up with the concept for The Forever Saga, I finally decided to write the first draft of Book 1 – Flash – and not worry about what it initially looked like; it could always be edited and improved later.
Is there any specific message you hope readers take away from your story?
The Forever Saga: Flash takes place in present day, and contains elements of both sci-fi and fantasy while remaining a very human story. There’s a family struggling to mend itself. A father fighting to overcome his troubled past. A young man trying to win over the love of his life. And an underlying theme of hope and redemption. At heart, Flash tells the story of a father and son who seek to mend their family in a world of giant robots and ancient tyrants. The sci-fi frames the novel, but compelling human drama is the crux of the series.
What kind of research did you do to write this book?
Although The Forever Saga is a primarily human story, there are science fiction elements to it that required nearly a full year to research. As an author, you always want to root fantastical things in reality to achieve that suspension of disbelief. For me, I studied stuff like nanotechnology, the organization of famous armies throughout history, green technologies, and even far-flung stuff like electromagnetokinesis (the concept of using electromagnetism to move objects). It wasn’t just creating stuff for Flash; it was building a world for the entire series to live and breathe in. Hopefully, the time spent researching adds a believable sci-fi quality to my writing, that will also highlight the human drama.
Which of your characters is your favorite?
During the editing process for Flash, the character of Slava Konstantinov was a thrill to write. As a close friend to one of the protagonists in Flash, Jason Renney, Slava is this college senior who coats every situation with humor, blunt honesty, and sarcasm – he makes up an Olympics of sorts for Jason’s birthday that involve chugging milkshakes and competitive photobombing, after all. He grew up with adopted parents he doesn’t like much, and he never knew his birth parents, so he has lots of reasons to hide behind his own hijinx. Deep down, though, he’s searching for a purpose to his life, and while he’s content to help Jason throughout the novel, Slava is going to find that purpose. He’ll always cause hilarity throughout The Forever Saga, but he’ll also become his own man in the process.
How do you find people to read and review your book?
I started by Googling “book bloggers” and found sites like the Book Blogger List and others, which list the top book bloggers, as well as provide lists for specific genres. I contact the reviewers at the book blogs I find, pitch my book to be reviewed/featured, and provide resources (e-book editions of my novel, jpgs of myself/my book cover) if appropriate. One of the best resources an author can have is a master list of book bloggers to contact and develop relationships with.
How do you deal with negative reviews?
I actually just received my first 1-star review on Amazon recently. It was posted by “Anonymous,” and I could tell they had a strongly negative reaction to the book. Who knows? Maybe I owe them money! But after awhile, you can tell which reviews offer constructive feedback, and which ones are just blowing hot air. I ascribe to the idea that critical people are never leaders – they can influence and inform, but in the end they’re just sitting on the sidelines, nitpicking at the people who are actually taking risks and playing the game. Perspective like that helps me take bad reviews in stride.
Do you read reviews written about your book?
I do! I have received so many wonderful reviews – and not all of them were 5 stars, either. As I write this, there’s sixteen 5-star reviews of The Forever Saga: Flash on Amazon, and the feedback I gained from Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, and others has been invaluable. If someone is speaking objectively about your work, there is much you can learn and apply for your future work.
Anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank readers for checking out this interview, and to encourage them to learn more about my series at www.theforeversaga.com. I appreciate the support and look forward to greater things ahead!
Sean never planned on writing a novel – that is, until the idea for The Forever Saga came along. He first conceived it as a video game design concept, then a screenplay, and finally a written work of fiction. His debut novel, The Forever Saga: Flash, marks the end of one six-year journey toward publication, and also the beginning of another: to bring his stories to a worldwide audience.
His dream is to see fiction inspire positive social change in the world, calling attention to issues of social justice and mobilizing his readership to meet the needs of those afflicted.
Sean resides in Southern California with his wife, Shelley, and when he is not writing further adventures about the Renney family, he is usually up to socially acceptable mischief with his friends and family.
Long ago, the first reign of Grigori Geist nearly destroyed the Earth.
Returned from exile, Geist is secretly rebuilding his kingdom beneath Antarctica, assembling his robotic Vaucan race to war against mankind. Only one obstacle remains: the war hero known as Brian Renney.
Yet Brian is losing a battle against his fears. Scars of heart and mind linger from his days in Vietnam, fueling his failures as husband and father. This embitters his youngest son, Jason – a star athlete torn between pursuing the love of his life, and meeting the demands of a father who is far from the storied army captain he once was.
And all the while, Geist is coming for them.
In this dark hour, Brian and Jason encounter a war to end all others… and an unexpected ally who, once meant for evil, shall forever be a force for good.