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Please tell us and our readers a little bit about yourself.
based author who writes mainly in the science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal
genres, although I may break that rule from time to time. Apart from writing,
my greatest passions also include fabric and stitching; I create bags, corsets
and clothing in the vintage, retro and alternative style. UK
Describe your book series in a sentence to convince us to buy it.
Be prepared for a journey, an expedition that draws together fringe science, psychic powers, alternate dimensions, time travel, past lives, folklore, consciousness, conspiracy and ancient wisdom, in a soap opera for the soul.
What was your inspiration behind ‘Seven Point Eight’?
It amalgamates all the things that interest me and that I’ve read about, including psychic powers, the universe, ancient wisdom and technology, quantum physics, mysticism, conspiracy, the universe. I wanted to create a highly ambitious series that encompasses life, the universe and everything, in an epic story revolving around five principal characters.
The concept revolves around visiting other worlds via the power of the mind, so you don’t need your physical body. Through consciousness alone, it’s possible to explore not only the universe, but your own spiritual heritage. The series involves a group of extraordinary people, and their quest for the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.
How many Chronicles will there be?
There are five in all. The First Chronicle came out about eighteen months ago, The Second Chronicle has just been released, and The Third Chronicle is scheduled for next year, no specific release day yet.
Each book will feature a main character on the cover, with the story involving them in a significant way. The first book depicted Tahra, as she is the key to beginning this whole journey in many ways, while the second one depicts Max, because I think his story arc is central to the action in the story, and links the character in a very dark and sinister way.
The Third Chronicle will feature Ava and in this book, her purpose and secrets will be revealed, as will her enemies and allies. I have something really wonderful planned for her, although it’ll change her life in ways she may regret. The Fourth Chronicle focuses on Paul to a large degree, because there’s a chunk of his life he hasn’t told us about, and it will be pretty explosive for the people concerned. Finally, The Fifth Chronicle concludes with the focus on Sam, his demons and dilemmas, plus, it wraps up all the story threads and mysteries running throughout the series.
I have some great story arcs lined up for all the characters, they’d better hold onto their hats!
What’s next after this?
In 2013, you can expect to see Seven Point Eight: The Third Chronicle, plus a soft sci-fi/ fantasy tale for Young Adults entitled ‘Hox’. You may also see an anthology of short stories, a novella for children, and a venture into screenwriting.
Why science fiction?
I like geeky science, but I also love the grand and epic scope that sci-fi offers. Speculative fiction really stretches the imagination and whole creative process, plus you can integrate all kinds of technology, while examining the moral aspects of it. There are many movies and TV series in this genre that remain favourites too, such as Star Wars, Contact, Star Trek, Star Gate, and Fringe.
From your writing, I’d say you're a believer of aliens/ other life-forms out in the vast expanse of space? Is that true?
Yes, it’s far too big a universe for us to be alone, that’s such a waste of space! I believe there’s a whole host of physical and non-physical life forms out there that we’re ignorant of. The universe is teeming with life at different levels.
The cover of the book is really awesome. Did you have any inputs on it?
I had a strong idea of what I wanted to achieve, although the difficulty lay in communicating that, so I highlighted some images that inspired me. Colour is an important element, as each book cover will reflect a different energy. The Second Chronicle uses red to convey action, passion, determination, but also anger and ambition. It’s also the colour of the base chakra.
If your book got turned into a movie, who would you select as your actors?
Seven Point Eight is written in the style of a TV series, with a complex and epic plot full of numerous story threads. If I had rich pickings, I’d cast Michael Fassbender as Dr Paul Eldridge, Henry Cavill as Max Richardson (with a bit of age added), Dianna Agron as Ava, and Nicholas Hoult as Sam. The cover girl for The First Chronicle is
actress, Monique Candelaria, and I’d love her to take the role. New Mexico
Have you based any of your characters on someone you know, or real events in your own life?
No, the characters and story are products of my imagination, and the research I carried out for the underpinning science in the book. There may be elements of my own personality entangled in the characters somewhere, and influences from people I’ve met or known in my life. However, I never set out to encapsulate any one person in each character.
Who do you admire most in your life?
I admire people who follow their own path, regardless of what society thinks. It takes a lot of courage to do what you know to be right, rather than just following the crowd. Strong and successful women also inspire me, and people who stand up to the shortfalls of the system. Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and The Occupy Movement stand against the immoral and greedy nature of our governments and banks. I believe in liberty, creativity, and spirituality.
Who has been your greatest inspiration from other writers, if any?
I think there have been many influences throughout my childhood, and as I moved through adulthood. Initially, I always loved The Narnia Chronicles and had a geeky passion for Star Wars, covering both the fantasy and science fiction genres. Through my teenage years, I was an avid reader of Stephen King books, although some of works could be considered as ‘drawn out’, as the market is in favour of tighter plot and pacing. He can be a bit hit and miss.
More recently, I would say Star Trek, Lost and such programmes encapsulate the storylines and human interest themes that I like. One of my favourite films is ‘Contact’ with Jodie Foster, and in my first book, there are a few tiny little tributes to it. Screenplay writing is a major interest of mine, and at the moment, I’m studying the pilot scripts for Lost, Fringe and V. ‘Seven Point Eight’ would make a fantastic TV series.
When did you know you would be a writer?
I was always known for writing stories when I was at school. The teachers would read them out to the class and at age 12, I expanded an English class assignment to a novella about my class being stranded on a desert island after the cruise ship sank. It was rather Lost-esque, with giant rabbits and aliens, but the class mostly enjoyed all the interactions between the characters, as they were the stars!
Since then, I’ve written a few more novel length books, but I wanted my stories to have maturity so I waited until I was much older before I put one out. I think it’s best to write with the wisdom of experience, of relationships and of people. It creates stronger characters and enriched interactions between them. So in conclusion, I think writing has always been in my blood.
Marie, was the research for the novel huge or hard?
Once I’ve highlighted the needs of the plot, I tend to take notes from the books and web pages I’ve read, indicating how it fits in with my story. Smaller details and any location research are often researched as I progress through the book, reflecting where I need more detail. It can be quite difficult to capture the feeling of a country or city if you’ve never been there, but I find there’s plenty of information online, such as tourism sites and YouTube.
What are the best aspects of writing?
In many ways, I’d say the second draft is the most pleasurable, in that you’re not faced with a totally blank page. At this stage, you can really lay down the more emotional aspects of the story, such as the character’s thoughts and feeling in each situation. It’s where you really cut the diamond. I enjoy writing both action sequences and relationship interactions, one because you get to create dangerous and exciting situations where you can kill characters in highly imaginative ways, and the other because you can really touch the soul of the reader, creating joy or heartbreak.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Like many writers, I find sections of a book where it doesn’t flow so easily and when you’re staring at a blank page, it can be frustrating. The final read through can make you want to gouge your eyes out, so it’s handy to have something else to work on for a bit.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Most of The Second Chronicle, I wrote at home although in the spring and summer, I get cabin fever. There’s a great little tea and coffee shop in
Nottingham, where I can plug in my laptop and enjoy a
cultured and chic atmosphere. When I need to get out of the house, I take everything
It is often said that if you can write a short story, you can write anything. How true do you think this is?
A short story is a brief concept, the pacing, plot and character development differs greatly from a novel, in that the it’s very concise. Character development is often quite superficial because there’s no time to present much of a back story. A novel builds the plot and character through a longer series of scenes, and it’s much harder to correctly pace and present each element of the story. There’s so much more to keep a handle of. A screenplay is different yet again, as it has a specific formula, plus, it’s much tighter. It relies on a lot of show as opposed to tell, everything must be styled very visually, using action and dialogue. A stage play or radio script is another matter, something I don’t write.
Any advice to aspiring writers?
Don’t rush; craft your story with care, patience and above all, passion. Pass it to a variety of people to read in beta form, and ideally one or two people you don’t know very well, so you can get a more unbiased opinion. Take on feedback and appraise your work with honesty. Then after it’s published, be prepared to work extremely hard promoting it. See it as a journey and enjoy the ride.
Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I’ve always been a staunch advocate of paperback books as you can curl up on the sofa or in bed with them, but e-readers such as the Kindle make an excellent case for the digital age. E-books are often a lot cheaper, so you can afford to buy more reading material. I prefer my Kindle for fiction, but still use paperbacks for research or reference.
What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I’m not sold on them, as many just look homemade using PowerPoint. I think you can end up marketing the trailer instead of the book.
Do you write under a pen name?
Not at the moment, although I intend to write more general fiction for women under a pen name, to keep my genres separate.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Of course! Writing feels so cosy in a pair of fleecy PJs!
What are your pet peeves?
What are your pet peeves?
Poor spelling and terrible grammar. I hate it when people keep writing ‘gawjuss’ instead of ‘gorgeous’, and ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’.
Stupid people becoming famous for no reason seriously bugs me too. We should celebrate each other for contributing something of value, not for being dumb.
Cats or dogs?
I like the independence of cats but also the loyalty of dogs.
White wine or red?
White, or rose. Red wine is too rough :-/
Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning and late afternoon, tea in between or at night.
Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?
Chocolate :-p However, I prefer the really extravagant Ben & Jerry flavours.
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Porridge, with a mug of coffee.
Laptop or desktop for writing?
Laptop. It keeps you warm in the winter!
If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
I wouldn’t want to be deserted with anyone famous, their vanity, superficiality and ego would annoy me so much I’d punch them, and they wouldn’t be able to do anything useful anyway. Give me a soldier, musician, and comedian any day. The first to build shelter and hunt, the second for the soul, and the third for laughter.
Where can your readers stalk you?
Subscribe to Marie Harbon on Facebook
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I’ll be posting articles about UFOs, the supernatural, and ancient wisdom on my blog, some of which relate to the theory behind Seven Point Eight.