Interview with YA author Branwen O’Shea

Author Branwen O’Shea is here today to chat about her new young adult sci-fi novel, The Calling, Book 1 in the Finding Humanity series.

During her virtual book tour, Branwen will be giving away a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. For a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.

Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her previously published works include contributing to a nonfiction yoga book, wellness magazines, and her published science fiction novella, Silence of the Song Trees.

Welcome, Branwen. Please tell us about your current release.
The Calling is a multiple POV novel that crosses the genres of sci-fi, post-apocalyptic hope punk, adventure survival, and visionary fiction. In a future ice age, humanity emerges from its subterranean haven to discover they’re no longer the dominant species. The characters’ lives (three humans and two aliens) crash into each other in unexpected ways when faced with climate change, sickness, and their own tendencies for violence.

From the book’s back cover:
Humanity’s wake-up call.  Answer it or face extinction.
When Bleu’s little sister shows symptoms of the deadly Sickness, a strange vision directs him to leave humanity’s subterranean haven and seek the cure on Earth’s glacial surface. Joining the expedition team, Bleu expects extreme temperatures, not a surface ruled by ingenious predators.

Rana and her fellow star beings have co-existed with Earth’s top carnivores since the humans disappeared.  But when her peers transform into Crowned Ones, the final stage of star being development, she fears remaining Uncrowned like her parents. To prove her worth, she undertakes a dangerous mission—contacting the hostile and nearly extinct humans.

But Rana’s plan backfires, and Bleu’s team retaliates. As war with the more advanced star being civilization looms, both Rana and Bleu separately seek a way to save their people.

What inspired you to write this book?
In my day job, I work with teens, and they often express feeling hopeless about the world’s future and feeling powerless to change it. While seeking a way to help them with this, I began having powerful dreams where Rana, one of the alien teen characters, began telling me stories. As strange as it sounds, this series is based on the adventures she shared.

 

Excerpt from The Calling:
A bloodcurdling howl pierced the darkness nearby. Bleu startled, and the rover lurched to the side, the treads grinding against the ice. In all his years of secret studies, he’d never considered studying animal vocalizations. Anything, including the Undescended, could be making the howls beyond the range of his snow rover’s headlights. As much as he had longed for this world, he was lost here.

As he scanned the inky horizon, a large dark blob drew his gaze to an elevated area of ice. Did it move? He narrowed his eyes, straining to confirm reality. Just get to the camp. Just get to the camp.

It moved.

“Base, something’s out here…pacing on a hill above me. I’m maintaining course, but I’m going to have to pass below it. Should I change course?”

“You heard Commander Savas. Shoot it as soon as it’s in range. Continue course.”

“Continue course. Got it, sir.” Bleu hastily checked his gun, wishing for Stamf’s longer-range rifle. It’s not close enough yet…

His hand tightened on his gun. I don’t even know what it is, and I have to kill it? The rover sped along as his indecision churned within him. Trust your instincts, Bleu, his mother had said. It lured us, Savas had said.

In his mind, Bleu replayed Neviah’s terrifying video footage. That creature could be stalking him right now. Orders were orders. He raised his gun.

 

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m currently editing the second book in the Finding Humanity Series and drafting a space opera/ reluctant superhero novel that’s a follow-up to my novella, Silence of the Song Trees.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve written stories since I was in kindergarten, but I don’t think I ever truly considered myself one until I booked a weekend retreat to be alone and write without family obligations. That helped me solidify my commitment to being a novelist.

Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work as a licensed mental health therapist, homeschool my kids, and write novels. Writing is one of my greatest joys, and I squeeze it in and make it work. I would love to write full-time, but I also get a ton of story ideas from interacting with my kids, our friends, and my clients. A balanced life is what is most important to me, and writing will always be a part of that.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can write anywhere, as long as I can sit and have my laptop or a notebook handy. It’s a skill I’ve developed as a mom. You have to be creative about being creative, lol. My preference is to have coffee, a snack, and cats nearby, but those are certainly not necessary.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was in kindergarten, my mom read me a book about the United Nations. I got it into my head that I wanted to be an ambassador, but to her horror, I wanted to represent extraterrestrials rather than my country. I was a weird kid. My other goal was to be a doctor and I did go to college and study biology and chemistry. Writing always seemed like a fun thing, but I never heard of it as a job or career until I was older.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Have fun, be kind to each other, and trust your intuition.

Links:
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