Pro Talks: S. Usher Evans

Posted April 19, 2016 by BAMF in Features, Interviews, Pro Talks // 1 Comment

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Here at BAMF we are always looking to shine the light on authors and their books. And what better way to do so than to hear about a book than from the author themselves? That’s why we have started our Pro Talks Feature where we interview an author about their book(s) and get the down low on characters, plot and anything else they want to share with us about their life as an author! You can find your next great read here.

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About The Book

Pro Talks: S. Usher EvansThe Island (Madion War Series, #1) by S. Usher Evans
Published by Sun's Golden Ray Publishing on April 26th 2016
ISBN: 0986298174
Pages: 260
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Prince Galian is third in line to the throne, but prefers his place as a resident at the Royal Kylaen Hospital. When his father urges him to join the military to help reclaim their colony, Galian is forced to put aside his oath to Do No Harm and fight a war he does not believe in.

Across the great Madion Sea, Captain Theo Kallistrate dreams of a day when she is no longer bound by conscription to fight for her country's independence. But when the Kylaens threaten, honor and duty call her to the front lines to fight off the oppressors.

When an air skirmish goes wrong, both Theo and Galian crash on a remote island hundreds of miles from either nation. Grievously injured, Theo must rely on Galian's medical expertise, and Galian must rely on Theo's survival skills, to live another day in a harsh and unforgiving terrain.

Can they put aside their differences long enough to survive? Or will the war that brought them to the island tear them apart?

The Island is the first in a new romance trilogy by S. Usher Evans, author of the Razia series and Empath.

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Today’s guest is …

S. Usher Evans discussing THE ISLAND

BAMF: Describe THE ISLAND in 10 words or less.

S. Usher Evans: A prince and pilot from warring nations trapped together.

BAMF: What genre do you find yourself writing in most? Is this the same as what you read the most?

S.UE: I like to think I write mostly fantasy, but when I look at my published works thus far, it’s sci-fi. Surprisingly, I don’t read a lot of science fiction, so I don’t know how Razia ended up in that genre. But I tend to get scenes and plots and characters, and figure out genre when I’m ready to publish. This flies in the face of every single bit of conventional wisdom (read in your genre!), but when you’re writing to satisfy yourself, your expectations of success are different.

I am a sucker for special-girl-saves-kingdom fantasy and snarky-girl-saves-world urban fantasy. I don’t care that it’s been done a billion times, I eat it up. Om nom nom.

BAMF: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

S.UE: I just want to make enough money to live comfortably. Writing is my full-time job, and to be honest, I have to force myself to stay away sometimes. For the foreseeable future, I’m publishing 4-5 books per year in different series. I’m about halfway finished with the first book in my next series, a young adult contemporary fantasy. I’d always seen that as three or four books, but now I’m leaving it a little more open-ended. After that, I have a bunch more fantasies and a superhero story that I’m chewing on right now.

BAMF: What was your favourite scene to write in THE ISLAND?

S.UE: The first scene where Theo wakes up on the island after she’s crashed. She’s severely injured and Galian (her mortal enemy) is walking just fine and starts taunting her a little. Then, to her surprise, he saves her life. Galian, of course, believes every life has value, and he’s fascinated by Theo’s reaction to him. We see them exactly as they are—him, optimistic bordering on naive, her, fiercely patriotic bordering on suicidal.

BAMF: What advice would you give to your younger self?

S.UE: The same advice I give myself every day: Worry is a downpayment on a problem you probably won’t ever have. The past two years have been tumultuous—quitting a job, moving cross country, selling everything I own, buying a new house—and every step of the way, I’ve been scared about the unknown. But I am trying to learn to trust myself. I have handled everything up until this point, I can handle everything else.

BAMF: Who was the easiest character for you to write in THE ISLAND? Why do you think this was the case?

S.UE: No bones about it, I am firmly #TeamPrinceling. Galian is more like me, and has a lot of my thought processes about people. We both believe that people are good until proven otherwise. We believe that everyone’s life has value, and everyone’s voice should be heard. But we both suffer from a privileged upbringing that clouds our judgement and skews reality. Even as Galian learns that the world isn’t so cut and dry as he thinks, he still maintains his optimism. I like to think that I’m keeping mine as well.

BAMF: The underlying conflict in THE ISLAND is war. Do we see this tension affect the characters and their choices?

S.UE: One of my favorite lines in the book, from Galian’s perspective:

“While we’re on the island, the only war is between us and the elements,” I said, looking down at her. “And I need you on my side, Theo. And you need me on yours.” With a heavy sigh, I watched the pink sky above us. “If we ever get out of here alive, we’ll worry about everything else.”

Theo and Galian become allies because they have no choice to become allies. If they’d never landed on the island, they never would’ve met and they never would’ve dropped their figurative cannons long enough to actually listen to each other. When they finally get onto the same page, they become human to each other. To me, the first step towards finding peace between people is to find the other side’s humanity.

BAMF: You have written in both Science Fiction (RAZIA series) and Fantasy (EMPATH, THE ISLAND). Can you please tell us how you decide which genre to write a story in?

S.UE: I hate genres because I never know where my story goes. The Island is fantasy only by the broadest definition (there’s no magic), but fantasy seemed like the best place to put it. I write stories then categorize them later.

BAMF: In the RAZIA series, Lyssa is a fire-cracker. How did you get into her mind to bring her to life?

S.UE: When I was fifteen, I saw Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie. I thought to myself, “Gee, I want to write a character that bad-a.” Thanks to some anime influence with Cowboy Bebop, the whole idea of the piracy game came to life as well. At first, Lyssa had her life together. Everyone already respected her and she was just going around kicking major butt. But as I grew older and encountered my own difficulties in a job where I was the only female—and usually the youngest to boot—those struggles were incorporated into her story.

The biggest change that happened to Lyssa over the years was the development of her abandonment issues, thanks to her father leaving. It really does overshadow everything in her life, from her overcompensation to the way she high-tails it whenever someone gets too close. I like to think that Razia is less a science fiction adventure, and more about one woman’s journey towards becoming less screwed up.

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About S. Usher Evans

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in Pensacola, Florida, she left the sleepy town behind for the fast-paced world of Washington, D.C.. There, she somehow landed jobs with BBC, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Television before finally settling into a “real job” as an IT consultant. After a quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided consulting was for the birds and rekindled a childhood passion for writing novels. She sold everything she owned and moved back to Pensacola, where she currently resides with her two dogs, Zoe and Mr. Biscuit.

Evans is the author of the Razia series, Madion War Trilogy, and Empath, published by Sun’s Golden Ray Publishing.

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