Today we're talking with Elizabeth Lang, author of The Empire
FQ: I see in your bio that you have a background in the IT industry. Did you pull this story or draw on your background to create the very interesting dialogue regarding the scientific aspects of this novel?
Being in the IT industry and a computer analyst has a great deal to do with how I think and write. Being analytical, or over-analytical, is a blessing and a curse.
FQ: Have you been or are you attending the local, regional sci-fi conventions? I know that Dragon*Con, which is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy will be held Labor Day weekend. Will The Empire have a booth?
Surprisingly, I've never attended sci-fi conventions, though I've always been a sci-fi fan. That is about to change. A friend of mine, who is familiar with the convention scene, and was involved with Ad Astra in Toronto many years ago, will be introducing me to a few this year. I will be attending Ad Astra in April in Toronto and Polaris in July in Richmond Hill. Whether I will have a booth…not at Ad Astra, but I will be checking out Polaris.
I am also scheduled for a book-signing at BEA North America in New York this year at the IFWG Publishing booth.
FQ: In a way this book is extremely political and mirrors some of our own real every-day problems (i.e. Republican vs. Democrat). Such as when the Admiral speaks about the fact that humanity cannot afford mass freedom, does this ring a bell with you politically in our own culture?
When I wrote the book, I didn't have any particular political agenda, but I was interested in exploring the idea of 'the end justifies the means' from various angles. Perhaps, unconsciously, I was influenced by what was happening in our world.
FQ: When Adrian is speaking about the project, it is very Oppenheimer-'esque.' Were you thinking that perhaps Adrian was the next...bringer of death?
Certainly. Oppenheimer and other scientists who advance humanity's understanding of the world around us, but their research is used for terrible things. In the pursuit of progress, do we think about the implications of what we're doing?
In the book, Adrian was brought in to finish the neutron wave project, but from the beginning he personally objected to its purpose. Unfortunately, in the Empire, scientists have no say in how their research is used, so he decided to do something drastic.
FQ: How did you decide to go for the sci-fi? What do you find especially rewarding about writing in this genre?
I've always been interested in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. I like the freedom to create alternate worlds in order to explore different themes. For instance, the Empire isn't an evil regime, at least it didn't start out as one. The people behind it had the best of intentions because of the situation they found themselves in. But in fighting evil, issues arose and they chose a certain path, slowly and inexorably.
The leaders didn't wake up one day and decide to oppress their own people. The decisions started subtly, unavoidably and for the purpose of saving humanity, but centuries later, that slide has resulted in the Empire that Adrian knows.
FQ: You were able to weave so many different characters into this book, from romantic (Kali and Adrian) to hysterical (Bryce), to frightening (Sester)...can I assume that you are an avid reader to include so many genres?
I used to devour books as a kid, but when I write, other than for a sci-fi backdrop, I never have any specific genre in mind. I create the characters and the scenarios and drop them in and see where they lead me.
FQ: Your characters and dialogue, theme and plot, were so engaging I have to know when Book II will be on the shelves!?
I am actively working on Book II, which is called, The Rebels, and Book III, The Andromedans. I am aiming to finish The Rebels by the summer and The Andromedans by the end of the year. As for when they will be published…that will depend on my publisher.
Each sequel will explore the Empire from different perspectives and through the eyes of the three main characters, Adrian, Kali, and Bryce. One new main character will be introduced in The Rebels who will be at loggerheads with Adrian. But, of course, who isn't he at odds with…
FQ: Thank you for your time. Again, I was very much pulled in like a tractor beam to your story from page one and I wish you the best of luck with the continuing Empire saga.
You're very kind and thank you for your interest. It was a pleasure.