Series: Skyship Academy #3
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Two brothers battle for one planet's fate
Earth is under attack by the alien Authority. Cassius Stevenson and his brother Jesse Fisher, descendants of the planet Haven’s resistance forces, are the catalyst and key to marshaling Earth's remaining resources and warding off the invasion.
But the Authority has only begun to fight. Their terrible new weapon sends Earth's defenders—Skyship soldiers, the Surface government, and an army of Drifters—into turmoil. Alliances shift, traitors are revealed, and soon Earth's last chance at salvation lies in the hands of one brother who must make the ultimate sacrifice.
Skyship Academy: Strikeforce (the third book in the series) releases today. It is available on Amazon in ebook form now. The series is one of my favorites. Here is a quick summary of the first book:
When a fifteen-year-old slacker discovers that he has the power to control Pearls – fragments of space debris that are a dying Earth’s most important energy source – the government’s forces work to capture him.
After the interview below, read on for your chance to win a signed paperback of the book (U.S. only).
Interview with author Nick James
Where did you get the idea for Skyship Academy?
Skyship Academy is a result of many different ideas coming together. Elements of the world (Skyships, Pearls, character traits) appeared in drafts of other things I had written before getting published. Each of those drafts was missing something, but when merged together they created what eventually became The Pearl Wars. I knew that I wanted to write a story about the quest for energy resources, as that’s a problem we’re dealing with now and will continue to deal with for a long time. I also knew that I wanted it to be told from two opposing viewpoints, which is where the characters Jesse and Cassius came from. The rest of the world came together through a period of brainstorming and asking myself questions about how this futuristic world functions and how its different factions relate to one another. The idea for the twist at the end of book one, which continues to heavily influence the rest of the series, was also there from the beginning. I love a good reversal at the end of a story!
Who is your favorite character in the series?
It’s hard for me to pick between Jesse and Cassius, my two main protagonists, so I’ll just say that I love writing for Madame. I’m a big fan of strong female villains, especially those who use their wits and charisma rather than any powers or brute strength. The dialogue for her is always fun to write.
When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I had always enjoyed writing as a kid, both in school and out of school. I think I was swept up in storytelling from an early age, whether it was in the form of writing, acting or making little stop-motion movies. The first time I looked at writing as a potential career was in college. I started researching the industry and really trying to hone my craft. I wrote many novels before seeking publication with the one that felt right.
How long did it take you to write each book?
It varies, but I’d say they generally take between 3 and 6 months — longer if there are rewrites or extensive revisions.
Can you talk about your writing process, outlining, etc.?
My writing process has changed as I’ve written more. I never used to do any form of outlining or even much worldbuilding prior to starting the first draft. I wanted it to be an organic experience and have the ability to surprise myself as I was writing. That’s changed a little, especially with contracts and deadlines and sequels. I’m still not a voracious outliner, but I definitely bring more to the table before starting that rough draft than I did before. Most of the writing that actually ends up in the finished books happens during revision, though. The first draft is like a template.
Did the books go in any unexpected directions from when you first envisioned them?
Nothing major, but what I’ve found interesting is that I’ve had the basic overall idea for the Skyship trilogy since I wrote the first book. The thing that’s changed most is where in that storyline each book has ended and picked up. Book one went farther than I’d first expected it to. Same with book two.
What is your favorite genre?
I really like sci-fi with a fantasy edge, but I’m also really picky about it. I think I judge that genre more harshly than any other because I like it so much. I also love a good coming-of-age story.
What are your favorite books and authors?
I cite it often, but M.T. Anderson’s Feed was a huge inspiration for this series, and one of my absolute favorite sci-fi YAs. I’m also in awe of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which is not my personal style of writing at all. That only makes it more impressive to me.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a lot of graphic novels and comics. It’s what I grew up on and over the past couple years I’ve come back to them. Two lesser known series that I’m really enjoying right now are Nick Spencer’s Morning Glories and Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga.
Can you talk about what you plan to work on next?
I’m currently looking at projects. Not sure what it’ll be yet but it’ll be something fun! I’m also enjoying a short break, as the world of Skyship has taken over my brain for the past five years!
Enter for your chance to win a signed paperback of Strikeforce by Nick James. Open to U.S. residents only. Giveaway ends 10/29