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Interview: Joanne Elder, Author of Spectra

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A member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, Joanne Elder received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering Science at the University of Western Ontario. During her professional career, Ms. Elder spent several years in the aeronautical and nuclear industries, she published numerous technical papers in the field of Metallurgical Engineering, as well as presented at international conferences.

Joanne Elder currently resides in King City, Ontario, with her two teen-aged children and husband. Spectra, is Ms. Elder’s debut novel, followed by the sequel, Entity, both which were published by MuseItUp Publishing.

Readers can learn more about Joanne Elder and her works by visiting the following links:

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Website

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

In Spectra, murder and betrayal consume Dean Weston’s life as he struggles to stop the genocide of newly discovered energy-based life forms so unique they cause humans to acquire extraordinary intelligence for a brief period following exposure. As genius edges toward insanity for those exploiting the peaceful entities, a ruthless experiment goes awry, leading to the creation of an evil capable of redefining human existence.

Dean, the story’s protagonist, maintains a sense of humor even when faced with terrible circumstances, and he possesses high moral principles, choosing life over power and greed. Ivan Campbell, is the polar opposite of Dean in temperament and Dean’s chief antagonist. He is a cold, calculating sociopath who will sacrifice anyone and anything to satisfy his hunger for power and control. He is jealous and disrespectful of Dean, whose qualities of bravery and resourcefulness Ivan could never hope to obtain. Ivan, somewhat lacking in intellect, will do anything, including the murder of those with knowledge of the entities, to covet the power of the entities for his own gain. Believing the entities may hold the secrets that define the spiritual basis of human life, he conducts ruthless experimentation on them.

Spectra would appeal to those who enjoy science fiction or thrillers.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

Spectra is a science fiction thriller about the discovery of a unique form of life comprised entirely of energy. The “entities,” as they are dubbed, appear as fine lights that flicker through a broad spectrum of colors. They’re discovered during a mining expedition to a new planet, which is later named Spectra after the beautiful entities.

Being published with a smaller press has some advantages including having some say in the cover art. After signing a contract with MuseItUp Publishing they sent me a cover art form to fill out with my ideas. The cover artist followed it exactly and did a fantastic job.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

“Dean, wake up!” The strong smell of alcohol and vomit hung like a heavy fog. As Matt glanced around the morbid scene, he became overwhelmed by a shocking realization. He got to his feet, hunched over like a man three times his age and slowly inched away as he captured the full extent of the horror.

He stiffened as a cold chill ran up his spine. The scratches on Dean’s face were deep and just starting to crust over. A large knife lay within inches of his fingers. His hands were bathed in thick red blood, and the Eskimo carving he’d given them rested to the side of Karen’s contorted head. Her eyes painted a picture of her last few moments of life, and her silky black hair formed a mat in the red congealed sludge. Matt stood silently in shock, unable to move.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I’m continually blogging, as a guest and on my website, as well as keeping up with social networking through forums, my facebook page and twitter @JoanneElder. I’ve also done some advertising. Undoubtedly, the best promotion for Spectra came when RT Book Reviews Magazine gave it a rating of TOP PICK, which they give to very few books. Here’s what they had to say: “Elder creates a unique universe and fills it with dynamic characters, making this novel an exhilarating experience. The tension mounts to a fever pitch as the antagonists eliminate their prey one by one.”

What is a typical writing day like for you?

I like to start early, when I’m fresh and imaginative. When my creativity grows stale, I take my dog for a long walk. That usually cures even the worst dose of writer’s block.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

Without a doubt, hanging at the cottage with my family, reading a good book, and jumping in the lake when I get too hot. With the cool fall air, those days have been replaced by reading by a crackling fire and taking long walks with my dog.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

Many readers gravitate to the big name authors, some of whom have adopted ghost writers to do much of their writing. I find books written by less known authors, including debut authors, are often of higher quality. After going through the process myself, I know how exceptional a book must be for a debut author’s work to be considered for publication. After all, their name will not generate sales, only the quality of their work.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

Sadly, the author I’d most like to meet passed away seventy years ago. Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, was my grandfather’s cousin. Her novels were some of the first I picked up as a kid and I remember hearing stories about her from my father. She was an incredible person who wrote herself to fame in an era when woman’s accomplishments were rarely recognized. She is a true inspiration to any writer.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

Entity, the sequel to Spectra, was just released by MuseItUp Publishing, and I’ve turned my attention to writing my third book, another science fiction thriller. I have yet to give the book a title, but it centers on the misuse of nanobots, which are tiny machines injected into the body to treat disease.

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

Since my father passed away in 2008 after suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, I’ve become passionate about doing something about this terrible disease. Spectra is dedicated to my father and in his memory half the ebook royalties are being donated to Alzheimer’s research. Earlier in the year I also organized the Author’s Fight Alzheimer’s fundraiser in Toronto, which was a book signing with over twenty authors with the proceeds going to the cause. The theme was to promote reading to keep your mind active as a defense against the disease. We raised over $4000.00.

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