Today I welcome author Vanessa Wells to my Author Spotlight. She has introduced a cool new short series, Area 52. She is releasing her third book in the series with plans to release a total of 24 novella’s in the series. One each for the letter of the Greek Alphabet. I am absolutely loving it. Makes me think of Warehouse 13 and The Orville in terms of quirky fun characters and the adventure.
Vanessa and I are co-editors and partners putting together anthologies at Storm Dance Publications. We will be releasing our first anthology, Grumpy Old Gods volume one in March 2019. We became friends and colleges through hollyswritingclasses.com while working at improving our craft.
Interview With Vanessa Wells Fantasy Author
JK: So Vanessa, tell us about the premise of Area 52.
VW: It’s about this ragtag group of misfits who work for Area 52 (Someone blew up Area 51) who are trying to police the alien population of Earth and keep the humans from finding out that aliens not only exist…they love reality TV and board games so they think it’s perfectly acceptable to vacation on Earth, despite it being against the rules…and those are the fairly benevolent ones. It’s a lot of fun to write. Every character has their own agenda, and since I’m only on book three, we’re barely scratching the surface of that.
JK: How many books will be in this series?
VW: There will be 24 short stories in the series!
I know, I’m out of my mind…but that’s what the story needs to develop fully, so that’s what I’m going to do. Area 52 is my first foray into science fiction, but it’s always been one of my loves as a reader.
JK: And what is your release schedule look like?
VW: I don’t have an official release schedule, but I am shooting to have a story out once each calendar month, at least for the first six stories.
JK: Who was your favorite character to write? Why?
VW: Oh, that’s hard! That’s so hard…I love them all. I do have to admit that Pollux is consistentlymy favorite character to write. He’s an alien that looks like a scarlet macaw…he’s a smartass, and he’s this incredible inventor. To be honest, he really just writes himself. It’s hard to keep him focused because he goes off on tangents. And he insists that he has a British accent…it’s fantastic. I love writing all of the characters, but he just flies off the page like he’s a living, breathing human…er…alien.
JK: What was the inspiration for this series?
VW: I was actually doing a writer’s walking tour on Holly Lilse’s site, and I had to write a scene with action, but no characters. I came up with this ticking alien bomb, and the whole series just sort of fell into place quickly after that.
JK: Some characters are very quirky and different, what gave you the idea or what were your influences in creating these types of characters?
VW: I love quirky people. I have to admit, when it comes to a strong female character like the General, I grew up around those kind of women. My mother, both grandmothers, aunts. Take no crap, give respect and expect it back ladies that never let anything stop them. You’ll find women like that in all my fiction.
I grew up around a lot interesting men as well, so you see shades of people I’ve loved in characters like Pollux, Hutchens, and Green.
I think the key to making them feel real is to give them real hopes and desires and let them act out of those instead of following a specific plot that I lay out. My characters are real to me, and I hope that transfers to the reader.
JK: You are writing this series as you as publish e.g. you write a story and then publish, nothing is (pre) written. Any advice to other writers who might want to try this?
VW: Um…write a few episodes first? *laughs* I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who doesn’t thrive under pressure. And even for those who do, I’d recommend giving yourself a few stories to buffer.
Other than that, remember that what you publish is cannon. You can’t go back and change it. Don’t cheat your readers. Love what you are doing, because you will be doing it all the time.
JK: How many books in all do you have out? Do you have any other series?
VW: Oh goodness! I love to write. So, I’m always finding new projects. I have five full-length fantasy novels out, and a bunch of other projects.
I have a trilogy that might be the only pre-steampunk magic novel I’ve ever seen…(forgive me if there’s a bunch of these in print somewhere, but I’ve never read one. ALSO, if anyone knows where to find a bunch of pre-steampunk magical worlds, contact me and give a girl a heads up…I need reading material!)
Seventeen Stones is set in a world that doesn’t know it, but it’s inching toward an industrial revolution. It’s still very Victorian for the first three books, but there are hints that the whole world is changing throughout the book. I’m working on the fourth book in the series, which will also be the first book in the second trilogy. Seventeen Stones was my first published novel, and I knew that I’d want to age the series up a bit as I went along, so I chose a format with that in mind.
I also have a fun urban fantasy series called the Topeka Tx chronicles. The books are set in a small, one-horse town in Texas where cell phones don’t work because magic interferes with the signal. My protagonist (Gwen) moves to town and finds out that she’s a witch. I never get tired of it. There are splashes of horror (because she encounters some cool creepy crawlies) and a little romance, but at its heart, it’s a cozy mystery set in a world with magic.
I’ve also written a lot of short fiction. I edited two anthologies, Trick or Treat and Spirit. I have stories in Adventure in Creation and Ye Olde Magick Shoppe, and of course I’m editing Grumpy Old Gods with you! (Shameless plug for our latest project…I can’t believe how many wonderful, talented writers I get to work with every day.)
JK: Any last word to your readers?
VW: I’m blessed. I know it. This is the best job in the world, and I am one lucky woman to be able to do it. Thank all of you so much for taking the time to visit the worlds I create.
About Vanessa Wells
Vanessa Wells lives with her family deep in an enchanted forest (in Texas). Her hobbies include writing, drinking tea and coffee, reading, writing some more, and cooking. She battles daily infestations of plot bunnies…and dust bunnies, but that’s another matter entirely.
Vanessa is the author of the Seventeen Stones Trilogy and the Topeka, TX Chronicles, and the AREA 52 short story series. She is also the editor of the anthologies Spirit and Trick or Treat, and a contributor to Adventure of Creation and Ye Olde Magick Shoppe.
She is currently editing an new anthology called Grumpy Old Gods with Juneta Key and working on the next story in the AREA 52 series, Gamma.
Check all her books on her Amazon Author Page
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Amazon Author Page