Today we welcome author TJ Lockwood to share with us the journey that has led to the publication of her first novel Violent Skies.
It all began in a large electronics store. The TV demos were on the right, cashier tills on the left, and everything from headphones to video games on the shelves in between. I was one of those people who stood by the front door with a stack of flyers in their arms welcoming customers as they entered, and checking their receipts as they left. When you are up there for long stretches of time it is imperative not to let boredom overcome you. Time draws on longer than necessary when that happens. So, I observed the people as they went about their business. Creating a new world for this story was to keep me from falling asleep during the morning lull.
Violent Skies started out as a simple writing exercise on the Post-It notes hidden amongst the flyers I carried, and finished as a science fiction novel about how humanity has dealt with its always growing population. In the case of this novel, the answer was to build, which lead to the construction of twelve gigantic self-contained cities that exist in the skies above the Earth’s surface. Both Wallflower and Jace go on this journey to accept the world as it is. Along the way they meet others just trying to do the same.
As a kid, I used to take yearly trips from British Columbia to Oregon and back so choosing that route as the setting for this story felt like second nature. Many of the characters in the story were created because of one-liners some of my coworkers would say which I thought were absolute gold. At first there was a lot of playing around.
I mean, who names their protagonist Wallflower?
However, as the story went on, and the plot moved forward, it became less about the playing and more about doing justice to what I had put on the page. To put it simply, when I started this project it was an experiment, when I finished it was the beginning of a trilogy. The editing process was therapeutic. Publication wasn’t on my mind until much later.
I had toyed with the idea of serial novels and began using that model to create my own writing process. One chapter every seven days seemed fair when working over forty hours a week in a non-creative industry. Using this method, Violent Skies took thirty-three weeks to complete the first draft. The moment I finished the initial manuscript was when I started thinking seriously about my creative future.
Post-It notes became a novel accepted for publication in 2017.
I haven’t looked back since.
Violent Skies Synopsis:
THE FALL OF THE ELEVENTH CITY WAS WHAT SHOOK THE EARTH, BUT IT WAS MANKIND WHO BROUGHT THE WORLD TO ITS KNEES…
In a world overstretched in population and resources, the skies were meant to be the greatest beacon for innovation and freedom. The flying cities were constructed in a time of need driven by hope, and fuelled by ambition. The end results; however, cast an unintentional shadow upon those still making a home below. While the world above flourished the surface where mankind originated decayed into a wasteland. This is a story of a wanderer named Wallflower, a package named Jace, and their journey to move on and confront the echoes of mankind’s past. Out there the best way to solve a disagreement is with a good old fashioned bullet. Up in the skies or on the ground, it doesn’t matter, one can’t clean up a mess without making a bigger one first.
The Twelve Cities Trilogy #1 ~ Publication Date: 1 February 2018, Mecha Panda Publishing
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About the Author, TJ Lockwood
TJ Lockwood (Tiffany) was born somewhere along the west coast of Canada during a relatively mild summer in comparison to the ones which followed. An avid practitioner of the Martial Arts, she is always up for a friendly match or two when time permits. Her writing has and always will dive headfirst through the many portals of Science Fiction. She lives in Vancouver and enjoys the frequently rainy days common in the lower mainland. The honey badger is her spirit animal.
Led by Pondo, the big metal bear with a huge heart, Mecha Panda Publishing is a unique press located somewhere in Canada just a drive away from an ocean and one of the most dynamic cities in the country. Its aim is to create memorable content in digital, print, and audio mediums for everyone to enjoy. The main genre is Science Fiction, though Pondo may branch out from time to time.
The weekly podcast Pondo’s Playground looks at the art of storytelling, pushing boundaries and inviting curiosity. The story will go where the story is meant to go and the characters will trudge along like they always do. Join Tiffany, Steven and Jon as they explore the art of the story and dabble in genres that may be way outside their comfort zone.