Home » Author Interviews » Author Interview: Joanne Elder & SPECTRA

Author Interview: Joanne Elder & SPECTRA

Joanne Elder is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering Science at the University of Western Ontario. During her professional career, she spent several years in the aeronautical and nuclear industries, published numerous technical papers in the field of Metallurgical Engineering and presented at international conferences. She now resides in King City, Ontario with her two teen-aged children and husband. Spectra, Elder’s debut novel, and the sequel, Entity, were published by MuseItUp Publishing.

You can visit Joanne Elder’s website at www.sciencefictionthrillers.com.

Welcome to Between the Covers, Joanne. Why was writing Spectra so important to you?

During my engineering career, I published many technical papers. Never did I think my love for science fiction would pull me to write in that genre, but it did. It was a great new challenge to wrap my mind around, and in doing so, I found a passion. Writing a book is a true sign of dedication as you don’t realize any of the rewards until it’s finished and published. With Spectra published, in addition to its sequel, Entity, I feel a great deal of satisfaction.

What was the experience like writing Spectra?

Writing a novel is incredibly time consuming and requires perseverance to push the project to completion. I was determined to see it through to publication and worked diligently on it for the better part of a year. Needless to say, landing a contract with a publisher left me elated. It has been a rewarding experience all the way through and I now get to enjoy reading the stellar reviews it has received. RT Book Reviews Magazine recently gave it their rating of TOP PICK.

How did you come up with the title?

SPECTRA is a science fiction thriller about the discovery of a unique form of life comprised entirely of energy. The “entities,” as they are dubbed, appear as fine lights that flicker through a broad spectrum of colors. They’re discovered during a mining expedition to a new planet, which is later named Spectra after the beautiful entities.

Can you tell us more about your main character, Dean Weston?

Dean Weston is the flight navigator of a six-member mining expedition crew whose mandate is to survey new planets. On an expedition the crew discovers an intelligent, energy-based life form so unique they cause humans to acquire extraordinary intelligence for a brief period following exposure. Dean insists the entities remain secret for their protection as exposure to people is lethal to them. The crew agrees, some reluctantly, which is the catalyst for the catastrophic events that ultimately cause Dean’s life to crumble. Dean is ruggedly handsome, a tough customer in a crisis who can handle himself in the worst situations without breaking. He is also a successful academic, holding a degree in flight engineering with a minor in particle physics. Dean maintains a sense of humor even when faced with terrible circumstances, and he possesses high moral principles, choosing life over power and greed. You want him on your team.

What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?

Cunning and technically minded, Dean’s able to outsmart his way out of most tense situations. When things get out of control, his two years of military training can be called upon to muscle his way out. Slightly cocky and outspoken, he tends to push things to the limit and defy those in positions of power.

Are there any supporting characters we need to know about?

Ivan Campbell, the mining crew’s leader, is the polar opposite of Dean in temperament and Dean’s chief antagonist. Later moving on to manage the cutting-edge Lyra Particle Accelerator, Ivan is a cold, calculating sociopath who will sacrifice anyone and anything to satisfy his hunger for power and control. With his black hair, brown eyes and average stature, Ivan has the look, and most often the disposition of, a pampered English gentleman. He is jealous and disrespectful of Dean, whose qualities of bravery and resourcefulness Ivan could never hope to obtain. Ivan, somewhat lacking in intellect, will do anything, including the murder of those with knowledge of the entities, to covet the power of the entities for his own gain. Believing the entities may hold the secrets that define the spiritual basis of human life, he carries out a ruthless experiment on them.

Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?

A mining exploration crew has landed on a planet only to make a startling discovery:  life forms comprised entirely of pure energy. As the crew is exposed to the entities, communicating with them telepathically, they realize that these flickering lights are actually highly intelligent, self-aware beings. Like vivacious children, they are innocent and full of life. Most extraordinary is the fact that the energy field measured from the beautiful entities is the same as that surrounding the human body, a phenomenon known popularly as an “aura.”During the short time that the crew is exposed to the entities an unexpected side effect begins to take hold of them. One by one they are becoming gifted with enhanced intelligence and rapid healing abilities, but their presence is also killing the peaceful life forms.

What about page 65?

Many months have passed since the mining expedition to the planet Spectra, where the entities were discovered. The extraordinary intelligence that came about from exposure to the entities has long since dissipated and all the crew members have moved on to different endeavors.  Unknowingly, one of the Spectra crew members is about to carry out a laboratory analysis on a soil sample that has been deliberately contaminated with a deadly bacteria.

Now that Spectra has been published, what’s your next project?

The sequel to Spectra, Entity, in now available in ebook with print to follow, so I’m busy starting to promote it. In addition, I’ve started a third novel, another science fiction thriller, which I’m very excited about.

Do you have anything elseyou’d like to tell our readers?

Spectra is dedicated to my father and in his memory half the ebook royalties are being donated to Alzheimer’s research.

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