What lead you to writing a sci-fi series?
Personally, I think it’s a bit funny how I wound up writing a sci-fi series. I wrote one story and that was supposed to be the end of that. Still, this particular story wouldn’t end. The next thing I knew, I was publishing a second installment and still, there seems to be no end in sight.
Have you always been a fan of sci-fi?
I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi. I was the kid who fell in love with Star Trek after hearing that introductory “… to go where no one has gone before.” for the first time. I fell in love with the works of Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven, Anne McCaffrey, and Isaac Asimov as an adolescent. Their works inspired me to write my own sci-fi stories
The idea of a generational ship is one that has been used in a lot of sci-fi, what inspired the ship of Hegira?
I remember having a conversation with a fellow writer a few years ago. We were bouncing ideas back and forth off each other, trying to decide what to write next. I remember asking what if I write a story that took place on a ship that was as big as a planet? You know, like 5 times the size of the Earth? When I think of Hegira, I think of massive ships like Moya from Farscape but Hegira is on a far grander scale, almost impossible for me to even accurately picture in my mind.
Although your main character is a citizen of the ship Hegira, for Starchaser most of the action takes place on this strange planet. What inspired the creatures that inhabit it and the terrain of the planet?
The teruun are creatures that show up throughout the Hegira universe, often in the most unexpected places. At some point I wanted to put a bit of focus on their planet of origin. In Slumfairy, we learn that Laila has already left Hegira. Starchaser was the perfect opportunity to tie those two things together, Laila’s mission and the teruun’s planet of origin. As for the terrain and other creatures, I figured a flying creature’s habitat needed to have dizzying heights and even a hostile forest’s plants needed to be feisty. The creature that attacked Laila, I wanted it to have that power and fearsome mystique of a dire wolf, but it also needed to be alien.
In Starchaser, we see Laila's desire to become the commander of the ship. Is this desire born from being of lower birth and the pain that's been inflicted on her by Brother to achieve something thought to be out of her station or does she have another purpose?
Laila wants to take ownership of something. Unconsciously, she wants to take back herself—the self that has been abused and controlled for as long as she remembers. For Laila, taking control of Hegira is her path to freedom. Plus, it would be sort of giving brother the finger. He wants control of Hegira so badly, yet piloting Hegira is the one thing that he cannot do. Only in this respect, does Laila feel she is his superior.
Will we see more of Sumida in the next installment?
Yes, there will definitely be more of Sumida in the next installment
Can you tell us what's in store for the next book in the series?
After completing Starchaser, I realized that I’ll need more than a short story or novelette to paint the picture that I have in mind. I decided to start working on a novel instead. The novel is still in the beginning stages and it will be some time before I complete it, but I feel that this is the way to go with this series.
Are there any other books coming soon not in this world? Can you tell us about those?
I have one short story titled “The Darker Side” which will be coming out in Tachyon Node Magazine quite soon. I also have a science fiction short story that might be in an upcoming anthology.
Thank you for your time and letting our readers know a bit more about this fantastic world you've created.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about my writing and share a bit of background on the characters of the Hegira series.
To learn more about Tonya and her works, please visit her website.