Author: Tabitha Lord
Narrator: DW Draffin
Length: 8 hours 15 minutes
Series: Horizon, Book 1
Publisher: Wave Equation Media
Released: Oct. 25, 2018
Genre: Science Fiction
Caeli Crys isn’t living – she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers – full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
Tabitha’s HORIZON series has won seven independent book awards including the prestigious Writer’s Digest Grand Prize in 2016. She has short fiction published by World Weaver Press, Electric Athenaeum Magazine, Grimbold Books, and more. Tabitha is also a partner and senior writer for Book Club Babble, and a managing editor for the Inkitt Writer’s Blog. She lives in Rhode Island and is married with four independent-minded and creative kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable black lab. She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a Waldorf school where she now serves on the Board of Trustees.
DW Draffin is an actor and narrator in San Francisco. He has founded his own science fiction theater company, sold screenplays to New Line and FOX2000, and narrated the books of authors he idolizes.
Q&A with Author Tabitha Lord
- Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
I met David, the voice actor for Horizon, at World Con in San Jose. He picked up my book, browsed through, and asked if it was on audio yet. I’d investigated audio a couple of times and never followed up. I knew I was missing out on a huge market share and potential audience by not offering my books on this platform. David said he worked with ACX and was open to the royalty split option. It’s incredibly easy to use ACX and the process went very smoothly.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give him any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
David and I worked really closely and very well together. Something to think about when turning a novel into an audiobook is that audio is its own medium. Similar to translating a book to a screenplay or film, there is an interpretive element to changing forms, and you need to trust the artistry of the professional doing the work. So, I talked with David about each of the characters, gave him my insight as the creator of those characters, but trusted him to bring them to life in the best way he knew how for the audiobook. When I received the rough cut, I did give him notes, and he was happy to have them since he really wanted me to be happy with the results. I’m thrilled!
- How long have you been writing? How did you start?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I loved to write stories as a child. In fact, when I was sorting through some of my grandma’s things after she passed, I came across a whole collection of poetry and stories I’d written. It was very sweet. In my previous job, I’d written some ad copy, blog posts, and done some editing for school publications, but I had very little time or energy for creative writing, and I had that crippling notion that I couldn’t write a whole book. Then, while I was in the middle of a work project, I just sat down and started writing my first book, Horizon. I remember the exact day. I was spending the weekend with my best friend. I woke up early, sat on her couch under a blanket, and opened my laptop. Nine months later, I finished the first draft. Being a mom, the significance of that timeline isn’t lost on me!
- What are the challenges of writing in the science fiction genre?
With science fiction, or any kind of speculative fiction really, it’s the writer’s job to convince the reader to join them on a journey, to a believably unbelievable world – a world we’ve created. To do that well, we have to make “rules” of magic or science or witchcraft or whatever, and we have to be consistent with them. I think successful world building is one of the biggest challenges in writing science fiction. When it’s done well, it’s seamless. When it’s done poorly, it pulls the reader right out of the story.
- How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on the way they sound, or the meaning?
For me, naming the characters and places in my stories is a really important, almost sacred activity. Sometimes I’ll just use a name I’ve always loved, but often they have additional meaning. For example, Caeli’s name is derived from the Latin word for sky, and some of the mountain ranges and bodies of water on her planet are taken from Greek words (my undergrad degree is in Classics). Her planet, Almagest, is named after the astronomical manual written by Ptolemy around 150 AD. When I’m looking to name cities on a particular planet, I’ll look up obscure towns in foreign countries and use those. Honestly, I think I have a little too much fun with the whole naming thing!
- Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention?
One of the first scenes in Horizon shows Caeli saving Derek’s life with her empathic/telepathic healing powers. I was an EMT for many years, and worked in the ER for several more. I’m actually a medical school dropout, but that’s a story for another day! It was important for me that Derek’s injuries, and Caeli’s approach to healing them, be accurate. BUT, if I had been out there in the middle of the wilderness instead of Caeli, well, that would have been pretty disastrous for Derek! I imbued Caeli with all the magical healing powers I always wished I had.
- Tell us five random things about you!
Oh gosh, this is fun! I always turn to the “About the Author” page at the back of a book to get some insight into my favorite writers, but the info there is so generic! So, this will be more fun…
- When a book is too suspenseful, I get stressed out and read the ending first. I always go back and read it through, but this takes the edge off so I can relax and enjoy the story without worrying about the end. I know it’s cheating!
- I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for my 40th birthday. It was very, very hard. Not Everest hard, but still a huge physical and mental challenge.
- I’ve been married for 25 years. My husband and I were young and broke, but four kids and a lot of work later and we have a pretty terrific life. And my children are some of the finest people I know. I’ll take a little credit. In our house there aren’t many rules, but the important ones – respect, good manners, and personal accountability – are non-negotiable. Honestly, though, they are their own people and just came into the world full of awesomeness.
- Zombie apocalypse or alien invasion? This is a serious debate in our house, and we discuss contingency plans for both.
- I’m a huge sci-fi fan. Star Wars remains my favorite movie of all time and I consistently beat my children at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. It’s not even a fair fight.
- Who do you consider your main audience?
I’d definitely recommend the series to fans of space opera, or lighter sci-fi. But I’d also say that it’s a human story, painted on a science fiction canvas, and to tell it the way I wanted, I had to worry less about genre and more about authentically creating my characters and their worlds.
The relationship between Caeli and Derek, the two protagonists, is central to the story. I didn’t want to water it down, or put less of a focus on it to please a segment of my audience who prefer more of the hard-core sci-fi. On the other hand, I didn’t want to lose or disappoint those readers who were counting on a sci-fi action adventure.
Ultimately, my goal is always to tell a good story, and I think readers and listeners are willing to give something a try if they believe that’s what they’ll get. My characters face threats, they fall in love, they lose loved ones, and they have an epic adventure! Even readers who generally don’t lean toward sci-fi might find something that resonates with them.
- How do you find time to write? Do you have a set time you “get away” to write?
I’m hyper-organized, and if someone really wanted to mess with me, hiding my to-do lists and notebooks would send me into a tailspin! Seriously though, I work with a calendar and plan out my time so that I feel proactive instead of reactive, and I can ensure that I’m attending to my priorities first. But really, there’s never enough time until you decide to make the time. Once I commit to writing a new draft, I protect my creative space fiercely. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about effective habits, my personal rhythms, and the amount of time I need in order to have a productive creative writing session. I plan my schedule with this information in mind.
- What’s next for you?
Horizon is the first book in a trilogy. Infinity released in 2017 and we’ll be producing the audiobook next month. Equinox, the final book in the series, is set to release in May 2019 and will be available on all platforms, including audio. I’m excited and a little sad to bring this series to a close. I’ve been working on it for over six years and it’s both thrilling and disorienting to finally see it finished.
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