Book launch: "Trails Through the Fault Lines"

Today, I'm pleased to interview April Brown, a twitter pal of mine (@UncoveredMyths), in connection with the launch of her new book, Trails Through the Fault Lines. It's an adventure set in the earthquake-prone deserts of New Mexico.

TN: April, give me your elevator pitch for this novel. What's the hook?

AB: Amber and Alex track expanding quakes and volcanic eruptions across New Mexico. The Rio Grande Rift begins re-opening the inland sea that once covered much of this region. Together, with guides Livia and Corbo, they gather information to attempt to save as many lives as possible. Amber and Alex grapple with losing best friends and family. Their world tumbles faster than the Rio Grande swirls.

TN: It sounds like it's drawing on several genres. Do you have a specific writing style?

AB: A story idea will appear, and I'll make a few notes, maybe research a bit. At this point, I have no idea if the story will occur, or stay in the notes folder.

A few weeks, or months later, I make a few more notes, and research more. A few names may appear, maybe some background notes, some of which will change.

A few months after that, I make a one page general outline (that never stays the same). I also start a background and name list. Then, I research all I can before I start, making a labelled list of sites to find more specifics if needed. Usually, I write half the novel, then set it aside for a month or so. At that point, I re-read, as a first edit pass, and finish the rest of the novel, before moving into editing stages. This often involves more intense specific fact verification. There are several edit passes based on the needs of the novel. From the basic story, down to the nitty gritty sentence structure, and then the formatting issues.

TN: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

AB: I would have skipped the agent search, and created my book cover, rather than waiting on others. During the five year agent search, I managed to write 3.5 of the sequels, with 1.5 to go. Also, I waited on the cover design and had to change the publication order. By doing so, I may have missed a major marketing technique, as a series of such quakes were in the news at the original publication time.

TN: You've put a lot of time into this story arc. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

AB: I was always interested in writing. I enjoyed newspaper reporting, and yearbook recording. Then, I moved on to poetry. Writing is my way to connect with my past, present, and future. It's my only legacy to leave for others.

TN: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

AB: For this story, there were many challenges! Conflicting evidence in science reports means many scientists will not believe the Rio Grande will spilt up to Yellowstone. However, the evidence that it is occurring is there. There are traces in the rocks, the mountains, and the scientific reports on the area. How fast it will occur is anyone's guess!

Making the science entertaining for the non-scientist while not making it too fluffy for the scientific readers? That was difficult. I tried not to use too many technical scientific terms, which is one reason the characters are closer to twenty, when they would still be used to speaking to friends and acquaintances in less scientific terms about their work.

A third difficulty was that people expect romance in books, no matter how unlikely it would be in real life. So, allowing it to develop lightly, and naturally, was difficult. There are two very different relationships in this book: one almost cold and scientific, and the other, a more forced romance, based on social need of a culture that soon will not be. How these lead to the problems between later cultures created by the characters in these novels can only be discovered in the sequels. One point that unintentionally appeared in this novel is another social construct that has been in the news of late. One character, Corbo, always thought he was born in the US. That turns out to be not quite true, and it makes all the difference. He never had a birth certificate, and was really born a mile or so across the Mexican border. The US government, and the Mexican government say he doesn't exist. This thread wound it's way into the story five years ago, long before it was news.


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 "Trails Through the Fault Lines" by April Brown is available in ebook and paperback at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Smashwords. You can follow April on Twitter as @UncoveredMyths and at her website, Uncovered Myths.

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