Recently, I finally got the chance to finish reading a trilogy I started awhile back. I was hooked into it. I feel this is one of those trilogies that will just stick with you. I had some questions that I was really curious on though. So I took the time to contact the author and ask if I could pick her brain for a little bit. To my surprise and happiness, she said yes! I figured, why be selfish? Why not post it for you all to see!
Tell us about the incident that inspired the Harvest Trilogy.
I will never forget that day. It was January 6, 1995. It was noon. During that time, my old blue Chevy truck had died, and I was working for the now defunct Builder’s Square. It was my day off and I was on my way to pick up my paycheck. My mom came to pick me up from my apartment. It was a mildly cool day. No clouds in the sky. I remember I was leaning on the passenger window, kind of tired still. I noticed two bright glares reflected in the glass. Thinking it was probably two F-15s from nearby Randolph Air Force Base, I glanced out. What I saw were not airplanes. I didn’t know what they were. I reached over and hit my mom on the arm to get her attention. I kept saying “Turn around!” She looked over and saw them too. She didn’t want to turn around, but I finally convinced her. We U-turned and came back around to park on the side of the road (Schertz Parkway just past the corner of Live Oak Road). Back then, there was nothing there but cow pastures. Hovering over that pasture were two massive, spherical-shaped objects. They were not moving at all. They were silver-ish, reflective. They did not have a single window, light or identifying writing/decals/logos…nothing. Just smooth. They also made no sound. As we watched with our mouths hanging open, the one on the left went straight up so damn fast it was like the blink of an eye. Still no sound, and no disturbance in the air. The one on the right began to move slowly away from us toward FM 3009. It went just beyond a line of trees, and then it went straight up and disappeared. I didn’t know what to think. I was in shock. My mom was in shock. I wanted to call someone right away, but my mother was adamant we not try and report it….because she figured people would think we were crazy. I tried to point out we weren’t alone. At least one other car had driven by. Surely they saw them too. But no. It took me years before I finally contacted MUFON and filed a report. They were thorough in their questions, but I do not know what ever came from their end, whether or not they investigated by cross-referencing against other possible sightings that day.
Does the incident still impact your life today?
The first year afterwards, I was pretty scared because I lived only about 2 blocks from the sighting. Honestly, I was afraid to go to sleep at night. As time went by, the fear faded, and my imagination began to bubble over with story ideas. Those ideas evolved into The Harvest Trilogy.
Has it had any impact on your mother at all? How has it effected your relationship with your mother?
My mom still tells the story. Yep, the woman who said don’t tell anyone tells everyone! Mom and I are very close. This was our weird shared experience, but we’ve always been close. The question we ask ourselves, though, is why we saw these…objects? I think it’s just human nature to try and find meaning in what happens to us. For me, it led me to question just about everything I’ve ever been told in biblical teachings. My dad was Catholic, and my mom is Baptist. Both were fairly non-practicing. My grandmother (mom’s mom) was a very religious woman. When I had questions, I’d ask grandma, and she was never offended if I didn’t buy into some of the teachings. She was pretty cool about that. As time went on, my viewpoints evolved, and I’m no closer to any answers, but I’ve boiled things down to some simple philosophies – our time here is short. When you wake every day, try hard to treat people as you wish to be treated. Be kind. Do no harm, and understand that no matter how hard you try, you’re going to stumble and fall. Just get back up, and try, try again.
How long did it take you to write the trilogy?
Harvest was the first book. I began writing it in 2009 after I reported the incident to MUFON. I finished the story in a college Creative Writing Class. My professor told me I should publish it, so I did. I really didn’t know what I was doing back then. This was during the infancy of Amazon’s self-publishing. The idea for book two, Celluloss (which is re-titled as Hybrids), came to me in 2012. I had to do some fun research in biology, military weapons, and the history of Schertz to bring this tale home. I felt that since the sighting was in my hometown of Schertz, Texas, the story needed to come home. I admit I had fun bringing epic military/alien battles to places I see every day. This story became incredibly vivid in my mind. But book three, Census, is just off-the-charts crazy! I didn’t plan for it to twist off into a serial killer/murder mystery. I blame the characters. John Hester came along, and he was just charming, way too smooth, and just a little ‘off’. And he had a story to tell…two towns over from my hometown of Schertz in neighboring Marion, Texas.
What were your thoughts and feelings while writing it?
My thoughts as I write anything are always surprising, but what surprises me the most is how the characters take on a life of their own, and in the middle of writing out their dialogue, they throw monkey wrenches into my plots. That’s when I have to adapt and regroup. I’m trying to take the story in one direction, and then one of the characters drags me in another. But what was foremost in my mind was pretty simple — keep it real, keep it within the realm of possibility. That’s what makes it terrifying.
If you had something to tell a reader who was interested in this trilogy, what would you say? Why?
I think I’d ask them first if they believe there is intelligent life out there. Have they ever seen something they just can’t explain? And finally, what do you think would happen if alien life forms decided to finally, formally make contact? Would they seek connection with us or our destruction? Then I’d tell them my own experience, and explain how it led to The Harvest Trilogy. Nothing like a good, speculative discussion. One thing I believe is that it would be the height of arrogance to think we are the only intelligent life in this universe. There is surely more out there, far more advanced, and hopefully friendly.
How do you see the trilogy impacting your readers?
I sure hope it leads to some deep thoughts, and even deeper conversations. I would hope if any of them were traveling to and through Schertz and Marion, they’d look up some of the locations, take a little tour of my old high school, (Samuel Clemens), Schertz Park, grab a burger at the Dairy Queen, and then drive on down the road to Marion to visit the meat market that helped inspire the plot in Census. Try out their beef and deer jerky….I would do the same for the Twilight novels. One day, I’ll make my way up north and check out Forks.
How is this different than other books that you write? Or is it different at all?
Well, this trilogy was inspired by a true event whereas my other books are all straight from my imagination. As a multi-genre author, I think I have writer’s OCD. Way too many interests, but perhaps that’s because I’m a reader first. My Checkpoint, Berlin Detective Series was inspired by my travel to Berlin in 2010. I fell in love with the city, and I was born in Germany (Wiesbaden) so there was some personal connection there, but nothing sci-fi. My Angelic Hosts Series is really me exploring my evolving thoughts on religion. My archangels are pretty awesome and unexpected. Gabriel is terribly rebellious, but you can’t help but love him. As the series progresses, I’m pushing boundaries, probably some that a few people won’t like, but all within the realm of possibility. Again, thought-provoking. I do that in the Checkpoint series, too. Push boundaries, and include taboo social issues. So, different, and yet, there is a theme. Even my stand-alones challenge mainstream ideas from my vampire, Mark Anghelescu, in Darkest Communion to my star-crossed lovers, Wade and Melissa, in Waiting a Lifetime. I’m either making social and political points or asking my readers to entertain the idea of “What if…” You know what would be even more fun for me is to ask readers what they got out of a story? What’s their take? I’d love to hear that.
Do you have anything else to add about this trilogy or any of your books at all? Anything at all you’d like to add here?
Yes! Yes I do. I referenced it further up, but here is where you will first behold the new covers for Books II & III, Hybrids (new title) and Census! All transition will be complete by October. This series is also available on audio for those who love to listen to a good tale.
If you love UFO and First Contact stories with a dark edge, this is the series for you. It’s recommended for 17+ for some language, and in the first book only, some adult situations.
Also, I’ll be writing a spin-off series in 2017 starring a character from Census, Agent Roger Otis. This series will be along the lines of The X-Files, but with my own personal strange and outrageous storylines.
Any advice to fellow writers out there?
Write! Don’t talk about it, do it. And then get a good editor, one you love who will polish things up so you can present your diamond to the world. Be prepared to learn everything about marketing because no matter how great your story, unless people know what it is, and where to find it, it’s just another book among millions. Be original, be bold, and just do it. Begin with what you know.
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