Secret Matilda seized by the Consortium while creatures invade and revolution ignites the edges of space. What were some sources that guided this novels direction?
One of the ideas that held fast to me was how would an oppressive government that had shortchanged its military handle an invasion and a burgeoning revolution at the same time? One of the more recent historical examples I researched was how the Chinese National government handled the invasion by the Japanese military during World War II, and how this fomented the revolution fronted by Mao Zedong. Another example I read up on was the Russian Empire during World War I and after for context. My story and characters are not an analog of these events, but they both made for good examples to work from.
Something else I had to research heavily and modify to fit my story was how would a nomadic people exist in such a ‘world’. An obvious example is the Romany people, but I also dug into the Sami people of Norway and Russia. Other pieces came from the gatherings of ancestral family groups where trade, marriage and the like would occur. Human history is rich with information, and I can never know enough.
On a more fun note, I had already done tons of research on tardigrades you know… because you do. To be honest, that was the part I was most looking forward to, and ‘Surprise!’ it was my favorite part to write.
What were some challenges you felt were important to defining your characters in this story?
Some of the challenges I wanted to showcase was how the crew of the ship each have their strengths and weaknesses and how those play into their decisions. How would each of them respond in a highly tense situation? How would each of them respond to capture or dealing with the unknown in human society? In the end, it was important to me to show how they truly work best as a team… as a family.
Equally challenging was how would Galena make sense of what is happening to her? She isn’t alone under the skin of her body or in the confines of her mind. This was easily the hardest part to write for me, but also one of the more interesting.
Another thing I wanted to highlight and give some precedence to was Jacquotte Delahaye. We’ve only come to know her a little bit, from being born on the Matilda and living her life onboard. But there is more to her. This book gave me the chance to flesh out more of her story.
What has been the most surprising reader reaction to your series?
One of the more interesting reactions to me over the whole story is how certain characters seem to resonate with different readers. It’s been a fascinating experience talking with readers and how some really like one character and not like another only to get the reverse from the next person! As the story has unfolded, some of the readers have warmed to the ones they didn’t like or at the very least, seem to understand them. I mean I love them all, and I know some of them are not very likable folk… at all. So, it was a lot of fun to learn this.
But one of my favorite responses is that moment when the reader realizes that all of the chapter titles and all of the book titles are song titles from Luli’s playlist. It makes me grin like a Cheshire cat every time!
What can readers expect in book five of the Matilda series?
What wouldn’t you expect? More action! More adventure! More mystery! Some answers! New tarnished bits of the universe to explore! And finally, the story of the Matilda will come to a close.
The real question is, with only Galena on Jacquie’s mind, will a dead engine stop her? Will the alien invasion get in the way? Will the revolution be a roadblock? Can anything stop her and her intrepid crew? I can’t wait to find out!