Welcome to today’s guest, Santana Young, Science Fiction Author Extraordinaire! It’s good to shake things up a bit sometimes.
Santana young grew up watching science fiction and fantasy, her favorite being Babylon 5. She began writing at a young age for fun.
Santana currently lives in Southeast Ohio where she studies and recreates medieval history (Particularly, 13th-14th Century Mongol) as a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (S.C.A.). She also enjoys painting, drawing, music, and playing games with friends.
Santana holds a B.A. in Anthropology with research interests in archaeology, cultural anthropology, and early forms of humans.
- Tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Ohio with my husband where we like to do medieval recreation in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). I have a B.A. in Anthropology and love studying other cultures and history. I love channeling the things I learn into my stories as analogs to create big complex worlds.
- What made you want to become a writer?
My sister and I loved coming up with stories as kids. She started writing first, and like a typical little sibling, I followed suit. I continued to write over the years, but didn’t decide to publish until after my older sister published, and she encouraged me to share my work with others.
- What are you reading at the moment? Would you recommend it to readers of this blog? Why?
I’m currently reading Chasing Ghosts, the third book in the Judah Black series by E.A. Copen. I definitely recommend this series. The Judah Black series is an urban fantasy that features uncommon monsters, complex plots, and a female protagonist that also is a single mother.
- Tell us something about how you write? i.e. are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals?
I am definately a plotter. I’ve tried being a pantser, but I feel that my work is much more focused when I plot. I like plotting things out on Scrivener and mark them as scenes and sequels (an idea I got from Deborah Chester’s Fantasy Fiction Formula, a FANTASTIC read). I’m not super strict on it though. Sometimes in the process of writing, I feel something might need to go another way. I might think of a cool idea or a character will tell me. As long as I have a loose idea of where I’m going and major events.
I’m pretty flexible in my writing habits. I can write just about anywhere that I can take my laptop. I’ve written everywhere from coffee houses to in the back room of a recycling store. I like having something to sip on and maybe a snack on hand for when I pause to think. I can get into it enough that I’ll forget to eat or drink all day, and it’s a good way to make sure I’m getting something.
- Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book?
In the Arena, Duncan’s mother died in an attack on the colony they lived on and his relationship with his dad becomes sour. So sour that his dad sells him as a gladiator to a colony that recreates the parts of Rome that people romanticize. He’s told he can gain freedom if he earns enough money but is gaining debt from food and medical expenses every day. He makes close allies and friends who become his new family, particularly Mahmud “Mom” Kartal who teaches him how to fight. But he also has to grow up fast learning hard lessons from the galaxy’s scummiest people.
Duncan learns a secret during his time in the Arena that his mom took to the grave with her. It shakes his world and makes him desperate to get free so he can find more answers, preferably trying to find a way to take his friends with him.
Despite the darkness in Duncan’s life, he’s a fairly light-hearted, smart-mouthed kid. He’s always pushing boundaries. Even when he’s about to give up on people, he finds hope in dark situations.
- Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Do you have any other books in the works?
Yes. Book Two from the Chronicles of Everen Series, Liberator, I hope to have published later this fall. I’m almost finished with edits and hope to have betas reading it early next month. I’m also plotting and working on book three, Stigmata. There will be other books in the series, both as prequel series and side series, in the same universe. I also plan to do an Urban Fantasy series sometime later under the series title the League of Acquisitioneers. I also plan to write a book that will talk about how Anthropology can be used to develop cultures in science fiction and fantasy worldbuilding.
Where can we find you online?
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-arena-santana-young/1125983066?ean=2940154177969 (ebook)
Earth is gone…
The galaxy is at war…
But Duncan Alexander Greyson has more important things to worry about.
After the death of his mother, Duncan’s dad sells him into slavery.
Now he must fight for his life in a space-age coliseum, trained to kill by the worst humankind has to offer. He’s promised freedom but only if he can claw his way out from ever-mounting debt.
When a secret his mother took to her grave comes to light, Duncan becomes more determined than ever. He’s leaving Neo Roma. Even if it’s in a body bag.
As a guard escorted him to a cage, Duncan’s skin prickled from all the eyes on him. They studied him, gleaning what they were able from his every move and appearance. They sized him up like lions looking over potential prey. Any one of those gladiators was a candidate for the man who would end Duncan’s brief life. Any one of those gladiators could make Duncan a murderer today.
Duncan’s enclosure was along the front wall. The row of metal cages reverberated when the door slammed shut behind him. The man who escorted him tapped on the display outside of Duncan’s cage and walked away.
Wei was to Duncan’s right. Al was in the one on the other side of Wei. To his left, a stranger stared forward, gripping a lance in his hand. Nobody in the other cages talked to anyone. Is the not talking thing an arena rule or an unspoken rule between gladiators?
He laid his weapons on the floor and slid up onto the stool provided. With no one to talk to, Duncan had to wrestle his nerves alone as he awaited his fate. After a majority of the cages were full, people dressed in suits and dresses entered. They browsed around the men in cages like a stroll at the zoo.
Who are these people? Why isn’t anyone explaining anything to me?
Duncan glanced to Wei. Duncan cleared his throat watching a couple with a young boy looking over one guy a few cells down. Wei sighed. He noticed Duncan’s confused eyes on him. Wei slid off his stool and motioned for Duncan to meet him by the bars. “What’s going on?” Duncan whispered.
“Pre-show, people can pay a fee to come in and take a look. Those screens outside our cells give them information about your wins, losses, and any significant fights. It also tells them what kind of style you use and your betting odds. Spooners like to check us out so they know which to bet on. It also gets them closer to their quote unquote heroes. This is your first chance to make a good impression so stop looking like a confused greenhorn.”
Wei tramped back over to his stool and sat down. He returned to the important task of brooding like the others. Duncan paced back to his stool as the couple with the kid approached. They stopped in front of Duncan’s cage. The man wore a sunflower dress shirt and green tie. He tapped on Duncan’s screen. Way to keep with the Roman atmosphere with that shirt, buddy, Duncan thought with an eye roll.
“A dimachaerus!” The chest-high kid pointed at the swords on the floor, vibrating with excitement. “Like the Ottoman!”
Well at least someone’s having fun, Duncan thought. He looked around at the other gladiators, each perched on their stools like brooding statues. A smile crept across Duncan’s face. I should get people to like me, right? Who likes a guy that looks like he’s got the attitude of an angry badger?
“The Ottoman trained me.” Duncan was bragging but he guessed spectators expected bravado from their heroes.
The boy smiled wide and hopped up and down. “He spoke to me!”
“That’s nice. Don’t talk back. He’s not supposed to talk to us.” The boy’s mother gave Duncan a warning expression.
It didn’t seem like she was scolding Duncan. It was more like she was trying to keep him out of trouble, like he’d broken a rule someone forgot to tell him. Duncan sighed. I guess the not talking thing is a rule. It would have been nice if someone told me.
He went back to his stool and sat slumping forward. He listened as the man read a few things about Alexander the Great. “It’s his first fight. Not good odds.”
The man moved along, the kid waving goodbye to Duncan as they went. Well at least I won someone over.
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