Ken Lizzi is an attorney and the author of an assortment of published short stories. When not traveling – and he’d rather be traveling – he lives in Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife Isa and their daughter, Victoria Valentina. He enjoys reading, homebrewing, and visiting new places. He loathes writing about himself in the third person. He’s here today to chat about his science fiction novel, Under Strange Suns, and about his writing process.
Welcome to BloggerNews, Ken! Tell us, were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?
My nose has always been glued to the pages of a book. I read omnivorously, whatever I could get my hands on. Science fiction has always been just one love among many.
Tell us a bit about Under Strange Suns, and what inspired you to write such a story.
I am a fan of the Sword-and-Planet genre, as pioneered by Edgar Rice Burroughs. But modern audiences grow and uncomfortable and shift in their seats when the hero of the story simply wakes up on another planet with no explanation for the transition. I wanted to write a novel with a self-consistent, plausible means of transporting my protagonist to another world. And that in turn drove the plot of the novel.
How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?
I wrote an outline. I like to have a map of where I’m going. Getting lost can be fun, but it’s also time consuming.
Who is your target audience?
My ideal reader is looking for an engrossing adventure tale.
What will the reader learn after reading your book?
It is safer to stay aboard the spaceship.
I endorse rent-a-muse.com. Consistency is the company byword. Their rental muses require only that you plant your butt in the chair and write, consistently, and in exchange the inspiration is guaranteed.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
Nearly three years.
Describe your working environment.
The thing is, I can write almost anywhere. I wrote Under Strange Suns in a tiny courtyard in Mexico sitting next to a rumbling washing machine, in coffee shops, in pubs, in airports, and in various rooms at home. Once I focus, my physical location is irrelevant.
Do you write non-stop until you have a first draft, or do you edit as you move along?
A bit of both. I lean toward chugging along until the end, but I do find myself going back to tinker, mostly during the first few weeks of a new project.
As a writer, what scares you the most?
Silence. Lack of feedback, even negative feedback. After all the time and energy expended on a project, I fear most that no one will read it.
What is your opinion about critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one? Do you think the wrong critique group can ‘crush’ a fledgling writer?
I think a critique group is a wise investment of time for a short story writer. It becomes less valuable, and more logistically difficult, for a novelist. And the drubbing suffered at the hands of your writing group can help a writer avoid later drubbings at the hands of reviewers.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
About the book:
Title: Under Strange Suns
Author: Ken Lizzi
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Read Chapter One