Sue Ann Bowling
Q: How did you come up with your story?
It’s grown so gradually I’d have a hard time tracing its history, but the universe of the story is at least 50 years old and the characters have grown (and changed) with it. The hard part was picking out portions that would have a good story arc. (Yes, portions; the sequel is already written, as is a trilogy set a couple of hundred years after Homecoming.) Parts grew after I started writing, and some of the characters simply decided to go their own ways as I wrote. The basic idea–that Humans are the result of hybridization with an alien species–is not new, but I have combined it with what is known of human evolution (e.g., my hybridization takes place in Africa at about the time of the DNA roots of modern Homo Sapiens and only a small fraction of our DNA is alien.) And my story is really about our cousins who followed their alien ancestor into space before the last ice age.
Q: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve told myself made-up stories for as long as I can remember, but I was too busy with research and teaching to write anything down until a few years before I retired. By that time I had a computer, the stories in my head insisted on being written down, and I found that once I had written them out they quit bothering me. The people who read them on my computer were enthusiastic, and I finally decided that I wanted to get them out before I die. I enjoy building planets–professionally, I am a physicist specializing in geophysics and atmospheric science, with secondary interests in geology and genetics, so I have the background to make them work. I did rather ignore relativity, but that’s because it’s just about impossible to have an interstellar plot if you don’t have simultaneity.
Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? Why?
Probably still a scientist–I’m very much a “run and find out” kind of person. Possibly more into geosciences, genetics or astronomy. I didn’t care for the fund-chasing part, but I did enjoy writing popular science articles for the Alaska Science Forum. (I plan to recycle one on the history of fireworks for my blog the 4th of July weekend).
Q: Favorite genres to read?
Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Noir, Sci Fi/Fantasy, popular science non-fiction
Q: What are your pet peeves?
People who approach me from the side and assume I will know they are there. My peripheral vision isn’t that good any more, and neither is my sense of balance.
Q: What is something most people don’t know about you?
That I’ve written a science fiction book, but I’m trying to get the word out on that. People who know I’ve written a book often don’t know that I used to breed and show Shetland Sheepdogs.
Q: Where else can we find you, other titles, or anything else you’d like to share?
My blog’s at Homecoming and I are both on facebook. One or the other of us is also on Twitter, MySpace, Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing, any of which can be clicked through to from my website. Homecoming is available from a few bookstores (ask for it) and online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble in hardcover, trade paperback and e-book format. My hard and popular science bibliographies are also on my author website. I also have quite a popular website on canine coat color genetics. http://bowlingsite.mcf.com/Genetics/Genetics.html