by Tony Kay, Artist First Radio
Click on the logo to listen to Camilla’s radio interview on Artist First
or download the podcast below (mp3)
Courtesy Artist First Radio
December 19, 2011
by Verity Linden, Curiosity Quills Press
CQ: I had a chance to sit down (virtually) with quite an exceptional woman – Camilla Stein, author of the Space Scrapers sci-fi series.
A truly multi-talented writer, Camilla happens to be a multilingual specialist with degrees in Humanities, Linguistics and Education. She also holds a certificate in Herbal Medicine and is an apprentice in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
On top of all that, Camilla owns a multimedia image consulting agency, Golden Globe Media and is a volunteer assistant for various charity and awareness projects.
Among her favorite science fiction authors are such renowned masters as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury; she is also closely familiar with and holds high works of prominent Russian sci-fi writers such as Kir Bulychev, brothers Strugatskies and Alexander Belyaev, and Japanese sci-fi novelists, manga, anime and screenplay writers – namely Sakyo Komatsu, Takumi Shibano and many others.
Camilla Stein has a particular affinity for Flash Sci Fi, but also writes on other subjects such as autism awareness and social issues, as wells as doing film reviews.
At present, she is working on a series of short sci fi stories, a new sci fi novel, a non-fiction book and a war novel.
So, let’s jump right in, why don’t we?
CQ: Space Scrapers follows a consistent cast with an over-arching storyline. What made you decide to tell this trio’s tale in a succession of story stories, rather than a traditional novel format?
CS: I never thought of it as a novel. The series began a year ago with two random stories and eventually developed into a collection. In the beginning it was all about Ian. Then I thought it would be nice if he had a friend – Mbwana – and Ava just happened, she sort of stormed into the series. I continued creating more stories as more characters were introduced into the plot. For instance, Dr. Teig, he is a very peculiar type of scientist. I needed to give him more room for action, which meant more stories.
I have plans for a sequel which could be a novella, most likely.
CQ: The book is set in the 4th millennium, and paints humanity as having progressed to greatness up till the 30th century then destroyed its achievements in hedonism and laziness. What inspired this, and do you see any real-world parallels?
CS: History of mankind is marked with such ups and downs, civilizations often crushing from incredible heights, with an advanced level of technology. We are now approaching another such hiatus, perhaps we should think a little harder about consequences of our actions. We are not alone and we are responsible for what we do.
CQ: Despite being inter-gallactic in scale, the story touches on several human cultures from across the world. What is the root of your interest in, and apparent desire to represent, different cultures?
CS: Do you remember MJ’s ‘we are the world, we are the children…” I strongly feel that we, humans, are all interconnected and should be embracing each other with open arms, bonding and learning from each other. In current world there’s no place for animosity and apartheid. We are a family.
CQ: What draws you to Sci-Fi as a genre, and would you want to write in other genres in the future?
CS: Space exploration and science have always intrigued me, and science fiction gave me both. I do write in other genres, particularly I have a non-fiction book in pre-production, and a war novel which is based on real events. Still, science fiction is my home!
CQ: Which writers do you think have most influenced your style?
CS: Isaac Asimov, definitely. I hope to have developed a style of my own, but I do look up to great masters.
CQ: Is there any particular message you want readers to come away with after reading Space Scrapers?
CS: Nothing lasts forever, nothing should be taken for granted. Appreciating our time with each other today, in the now, and being involved with each other as a human race living on this small blue ball we call home, is what science fiction is always about. Space Scrapers is no different.
Thank you very much for your questions, Verity. I hope you’ll also enjoy the series!
CQ: And thank YOU, Camilla, for your time!
Her book, Space Scrapers, sends readers on an exploration of 4th millennium Earth, exotic interstellar locations, and oh, so human nature. Her story chronicles the exploits of treasure hunters Ian, Mbwana, and Ava as they cross the universe in search of technology and ancient artifacts. When these peculiar and flawed heroes discover a plot to destroy the universe, they risk everything to save it.
Courtesy Curiosity Quills Press.
December 19, 2011
by David Wisehart, Kindle Author
Camilla Stein, author of Space Scrapers, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Space Scrapers?
CAMILLA STEIN: Space Scrapers is a collection of sci fi adventure stories with elements of horror. The series is about a trio of bounty hunters who stumble on several artifacts that lead them to discover something bigger and much more dangerous. They are confronted with their own ego and personal issues, and have to make survival choices. In the end, they show remarkable strength of character that I admire in people in real life. Space Scrapers comes with a bonus, the story called ‘Gaia’s Children’. It’s an almost lyrical ode to the preservation of life.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
CAMILLA STEIN: The best part of being a writer is the chance to give birth to babies as many as one would want. I first imagine my characters as children, I write down their names and think of their lives, their journeys, their dreams. I let them grow in my head from their terrible twos to their teens and into adulthood—then they fly out of the nest.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
CAMILLA STEIN: My ideal reader is the lover of science fiction and someone who’d want to try walking in other people’s shoes, to get to know them, to find out what it takes to fight a battle of another person. DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
CAMILLA STEIN: I started writing when I was ten. My teacher would read my stories in class and during school events. We also had a small theater and I wrote and directed plays.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
CAMILLA STEIN: It’s funny actually. Sometimes I have to drop everything or even wake myself up at night to get a thought or a nice line on paper, before I lose it. I always know how the story ends before I know how it starts. My agent tells me I invent universes on a whim, that’s been her perception over the time that we have worked together. When discussing a new story, I’d often start making things up right off the top of my head, get completely carried away. I really do not know where all this is coming from, but I love channeling the energy that drives the process.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
CAMILLA STEIN: I am a huge fan of Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Sakyo Komatsu and Kir Bulychev, and screenwriter Gene Roddenberry. Also my very dear master Leo Buscaglia who was not a science fiction author, but dedicated his life to teaching people about essentials of love and being human.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?
CAMILLA STEIN: Gone with the Wind. I am in love with the story and how Margaret Mitchell had written the novel. I wish I had lived in the ’30s and had created something similar, but perhaps with a little sci fi twist, giving Rhett Butler an alien identity.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
CAMILLA STEIN: My agent and I are just getting started. I worked hard over the past year to establish an advanced platform for me as a science fiction writer. I guess the key would be in continuity, attention to the market’s ups and downs, and in using every window out there to market the product. Twitter, Facebook and other outlets prove to be invaluable.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
CAMILLA STEIN: To save the trees. I am looking into eco friendly cost efficient POD options for my book, using recyclable paper and solar energy to power printers, but Kindle already offers me a short cut and more so a very rewarding, direct interaction with my readers.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
CAMILLA STEIN: Do your research first. Be very self-critical, look at all angles you can think of. Be ready to swallow several bitter pills as you go. You have to have your work edited by a professional, regardless whether you yourself are an editor. Work on your book’s presentation, cover design. Write down a marketing plan and don’t be afraid to reach for your goals, be daring. And most of all, stay with your passion, do what you love doing and be good at it.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
Courtesy Kindle Author.
April 30, 2011
by Brigitte Thompson, Writers in Business.
Brigitte Thompson/Writers in Business: Welcome to Writers in Business. Please tell us about your current projects.
Camilla Stein: I’m working on a series of short sci-fi stories based on a selection of completed stories that I wrote in the past and a number of new sketches. The series can be divided into two parts – Flash Sci Fi stories of no more than 1,000 words that are being published on my blog, and regular science fiction short stories. An example of Flash is SUITS, a little psychological teaser. Morning Dew is the story that marks the launch of a series with a recurrent character – Ian, the bounty hunter. He is going on some exciting adventures! There’s a plan for an eBook. It will be announced on my blog and my Facebook page.
Another short sci-fi story, titled Gaia’s Children, that stands apart from previously described ones has been now completed. It’s a post-apocalyptic space exploration story with an intriguing twist and a time line of 1200 years. It presents challenges we might have overlooked in our current stage of development as a civilization. This story will be released in the eBook format as a bonus for the eBook of stories about Ian and his peers. The story has a customized cover art by a professional artist, to read more about this story please go to Gaia’s Children. The story is currently undergoing book-to-script adaptation.
A new science fiction novel is intended to be fully developed 300 A4 pages of text. Currently, the book has been mapped, the characters have been drawn, the book’s geography has been determined (I have real star charts!) and the first chapters have been written. This novel will have it all – aliens, FTL, some amazing gadgets, and of course a love story. The book has a distinct Japanese sub-theme. Something very unusual and unpredictable is going to happen there.
The non-fiction book is an autobiographical collection of my Autism-related reflections and my own haiku. It will tell a true story.
A war novel is a project that I began in 2008 at the peak of the research I was doing on a related subject. The book is based on real events and centers around a friendship between two women who experience a modern-day war that affects their lives on many levels. It’s a story of perseverance and a deep human tragedy.
Brigitte Thompson/Writers in Business: Wow… you are certainly busy – and have such a creative mind! I’m a huge sci-fi fan. I understand Morning Dew is referred to as ‘cozy horror’. This is a new term to me. Can you elaborate?
Camilla Stein: ‘Cozy horror’ is a completely new innovative technique that is designed to disguise horror elements inside the story. At the moment, I am unaware of any standard methodology for the technique. There’s room for an experiment and a total creativity blast here. I suggest exploring the entire spectrum of tools in the English language, not limiting horror paragraphs to descriptive epithets no matter how colorful. Sometimes a surprising effect can be achieved by an unusually employed stylistic device. I like establishing an element of horror in the finalé, in or near the climax.
Speaking of Morning Dew in this context, a juxtaposition of the setting that is introduced in the very first paragraph of the story to the reality on the planetoid creates a chill that doesn’t really wear off, instead it is being reminded of in the last few lines when an artistic detail is employed to seal the effect.
There’s some speculation going on the web whether cozy horror can be classified as a subgenre or not. I think it can, but it also is a matter of personal taste, and some readers and critics might feel a hardcore horror story that only lacks a few blood stains here and there is too cozy already, while for others it is a complete elimination of graphic imagery that makes it cozy.
Reader’s Question (from comments): Can you explain what you mean by book-to-script adaptation?
Camilla Stein: To answer the question about book-to-script adaptation, although Gaia’s Children is a short story because of its length not being enough for a novella, it is treated as an eBook and is written in a descriptive format that covers a timeline of 1,000+ years. It’s a work of fiction with appropriate to fiction elements. While the story was in the making, I recieved an opinion that Gaia’s Children should be made into a screenplay, a film script. Having analyzed its final version, I decided to give it a try and worked on character breakdown, now looking into fitting the timeline into this new format. I am thinking of 40 to 50 pages of script (one page equals one minute production on the set) aiming to have the script written for television.
Courtesy Writers in Business.
Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.