Author Interview for Born in Space: Unlocking Destiny

Author Interview for "Born in Space: Unlocking Destiny"

Jeremy Clift

What inspired you to write Born in Space: Unlocking Destiny?

"Born in Space" is set in a not-too-distant future where Earth is becoming unlivable and humanity has expanded into space in search of new resources and habitats. The novel delves into complex family dynamics, particularly mother-daughter and father-daughter relationships, and examines how the vastness of space and the passage of time affect these bonds. The mother is a biologist, who grapples with doubts and guilt about her career choices and their impact on her family. The story follows the daughter, Teagan Ward, who claims seven test-tube babies created in a space lab as her own. The claim sparks a battle against a powerful mining corporation and an unscrupulous doctor hoping to populate the planets. This conflict, focused on strong female characters, explores themes of sacrifice, romance, and redemption against the backdrop of interstellar politics and corporate greed.

Incorporating strong female characters was a deliberate decision to challenge the traditional male-dominated narratives in science fiction and to craft a story that resonates with a diverse audience. By exploring these intricate relationships and the personal struggles of the female characters, I hope to portray their experiences as both powerful and deeply human, making them relatable and inspiring to all readers.

Can you talk about the seven infants in your story?

My aim was to create a Sci-fi series, because I learned from attending various writers’ conferences that this was the way to go. Stand-alone books were less easy to market. The seven infants open the way to a common storyline and additional books. Even if we do not follow all seven, we can look at some combination of them, with different themes. The seven are central to the plot, representing hope and the future of humanity. The next book is about the mother’s seeds of life project. These babies were created through advanced biotechnology, and Teagan Ward, the protagonist, claims them as her own, sparking a battle with a ruthless mining corporation and the unethical doctor in charge of the program. The infants symbolize the potential for new beginnings and the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children, although it’s not certain that Teagan is the real mother.

What drew you to explore the idea of artificially conceived children in space, and what do you believe this adds to the wider conversation about the future of human reproduction?

The idea of artificially conceived children in space intrigued me because it touches on both the advancements in reproductive technology and the ethical questions surrounding the future of humanity. By setting this scenario in space, I wanted to explore how far we might go to ensure our survival and what it means to create life in such a controlled, artificial environment. This narrative element raises important questions about identity, belonging, and the rights of children born through such means. Solving how babies get born in reduced or zero gravity is one of the key issues for humanity if we want to populate space habitats and other planets. Although we are good at reproducing on Earth, it is not so easy in Space. I was interested in exploring how those conceived off-Earth might feel about a place they could see all the time from space but had never visited. Would they have a terrible craving to return “home”? Or are they really extraterrestrials, a new space being, a humanoid but having none of the experiences of the Earth. Maybe eventually what will be born is some sort of hybrid that mixes the emotions of humans with the resilience and sturdiness of artificial beings. This narrative adds to the wider conversation by highlighting the potential and the perils of playing with the natural processes of life, urging readers to consider the moral implications of our technological advancements and their impact on future generations.

The fugitive mother character seems intense; what drives her throughout the book?

Teagan has to be intense to propel the story forward. She gradually realizes she has a fierce maternal instinct and a deep sense of justice. Her determination to reunite with the seven infants propels her through numerous challenges, framed by her love for a somewhat unreliable, but handsome, artist. Her character and determination are what support her and carry her through. Her intensity stems from her deep-seated belief in doing what’s right and surviving, even if it means defying powerful adversaries and risking her life.

Your book features a conflict over asteroid mining; why choose this setting?

Asteroid mining is a plausible scenario in the near future as humanity looks for new resources beyond Earth. It serves as a perfect backdrop for the story, highlighting the economic and ethical conflicts that can arise in such a high-stakes environment. The setting also allows me to explore themes of exploitation and survival in a frontier-like context, where the rules are still being written. I address environmental themes by weaving them organically into the plot and character motivations, rather than presenting them in a didactic manner. The deteriorating condition of Earth and the quest for new resources serve as the backdrop for the story, influencing the characters' actions and decisions. For example, Teagan’s brother, Hunter, becomes a specialist in space junk removal. So, space debris is also a theme. By focusing on personal stories and the human impact of environmental degradation, I aim to trigger awareness in readers. The narrative explores the consequences of neglecting environmental stewardship through the lens of individual experiences, making the issues relatable and thought-provoking while highlighting the idea that exploitation of the moon and space is a pollution risk without due care.

How did you create the antagonist in your story?

Howie Rich is the mining boss. His powerful mining corporation embodies the darker side of technological and economic progress. I wanted to create a multifaceted villain that readers could understand, even if they don't agree with their actions. The corporation's leaders are driven by profit and power, but they also face their own pressures and motivations, making them more than just one-dimensional bad guys. "Born in Space" updates the theme of resource power struggles by reflecting contemporary concerns about corporate greed, environmental degradation, and the ethical implications of technological advancements. In the story, the mining corporation represents modern-day multinational corporations, emphasizing the growing tension between profit-driven entities and the need for sustainable practices. The main participants are deliberately not national entities, overall, although country rivalries are still there.

The ancient crystal in your book—how does it fit into the plot?

The ancient crystal is a key element that ties the past to the future. It holds secrets that could unlock new technologies or even reveal the origins of the alien encounters in the story. The crystal adds a layer of mystery and adventure, serving as a catalyst for many of the events that unfold and challenging the characters to rethink their understanding of the universe.

Can you explain the significance to the story of the alien encounters?

Wait for Book 2!! They may reappear.

The alien encounters are crucial for broadening the scope of the story, building Teagan’s character, and emphasizing the interconnectedness of all intelligent life. The aliens in Book 1 are mostly benign and are a vehicle for Teagan to encounter different worlds. I’ve also got several animals – a dog, an octopus, a magpie, and an ant, They are foreshadowing different types of alien intelligence. Ants, for example, are amongst the most successful species on Earth. Maybe they have been successful elsewhere.

The theme of destiny is strong; how do you use it to develop your characters?

The idea is that bigger forces are at work. Destiny plays a significant role in shaping the characters' journeys. Each character grapples with their sense of purpose and the choices they must make. For Teagan, destiny is intertwined with her role as a mother and protector. The theme allows me to delve into how each character's actions, driven by their beliefs and desires, contribute to a larger narrative that they can't fully control but must navigate nonetheless. Destiny is a driving force in the lives of the characters. It shapes their actions and decisions, often in unexpected ways. Teagan’s journey is about embracing her destiny and the responsibilities that come with it. Each character’s arc involves grappling with their sense of purpose and the realization that their choices can influence the future.

The realism in your speculative world, which refers to actual events, gives it a sense of plausibility. How did you balance the science and fiction elements to keep it both exciting and believable?

Balancing science and fiction involved meticulous research and a commitment to grounding the speculative elements in real scientific principles and geopolitical realities. I drew inspiration from current space exploration technologies, environmental issues, and societal trends to create a plausible future world in which many parts of society are unravelling. By integrating realistic details, such as the geopolitical context, the mechanics of space travel and the challenges of sustaining life in space, I aimed to build a foundation of credibility. At the same time, I allowed room for imaginative elements that drive the story's excitement, such as advanced AI and novel technologies. This blend ensures that the narrative is gripping while maintaining a sense of believability that engages readers. The scenario is only a few decades in the future.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

It’s not easy transitioning from nonfiction writing to crafting fiction. It took me a long time to adjust from my previous role as a nonfiction writer and editor. Everyone says “Show, don’t tell,” but nonfiction authors are used to telling. So that takes time. It took me around five years to write “Born” and many rewrites. One of the main challenges was balancing the scientific and technical aspects of the story with the emotional and human elements. Ensuring that the futuristic setting felt realistic and believable while keeping the characters' struggles relatable was a delicate process. Additionally, weaving multiple plot threads, including the mystery of the crystal and the alien encounters, required careful planning and execution. Writing "Born in Space" was a complex process that took several rounds of editing and versions over a number of years. Balancing the intricate plot, developing multi-dimensional characters, and integrating scientific accuracy with imaginative elements were some of the main challenges. Ensuring that the story remained engaging and relatable while addressing profound ethical and philosophical questions was also a significant task.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

It’s about love, family, and the beauty and fragility of Earth. The journey of Teagan and the other characters highlights the power of unity and love in overcoming adversity. I aim to convey that adaptability and courage are crucial in navigating the unknown and that personal growth and ethical choices can lead to profound transformations. Ultimately, although the book is about space and the exploitation of resources in low earth orbit, it is also about the beauty and fragility of Earth. I hope the story inspires readers to value their relationships, believe in their capacity to make a difference, and think critically about the future of humanity.

Ultimately, I hope the book inspires them to think about what it means to be truly human in an ever-evolving world of AI and advancing technology.

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