Q. The main character Yamaria deals with a lot of events in her life that are beyond her control. Yet she seems calm and able to navigate when confronted with the greatest obstacle of her life thus far—saving her world. Did you intentionally include this balance?
A. I generally wrote Yamaria's character as interacting with the environment she was placed in. Some people assume children are naturally resilient when confronted with difficult situations. Yamaria's grandparents died when she was young and after she became orphaned by her mother and father. She had to relocate into her aunt and uncle's home until she was old enough to attend university. Although these events created much instability in the main character's life, there are two factors about Yamaria that aided her throughout these times. The first was that as a child, her gift of manifesting appeared. This has a two-fold ability. She can only perform this while unconscious, thus there existed a protective power within her. While the chaos continued, a strength beyond her natural being encompassed her. Yamaria is able to gain some understanding of her inner self with the assistance of an ethereal creature—the very one that appeared as a bird in her backyard in her youth. This was her small companion who appeared when she needs it most throughout Silhouette Lost. In part, this mystical creature contributes to her balance.
Q. What is one thing you can tell us about Silhouette Lost that most people would not have guessed?
A. Silhouette Lost is one of the first books that I have ever written. After the second book I wrote I was unsure whether I would continue writing anymore novels. Silhouette Lost was the first science fiction novel I have ever written. Its sequel was based on my desire to not bid farewell to my characters so soon. Silhouette Lost begins the series as moreso sci-fi/paranormal. As the series progresses it becomes science fiction/fantasy. Silhouette Lost forms the basis of the contemporary romance aspect which is also revisited throughout the series as it is Yamaria's and Salvatore's bond that allows for them to triumph in this world but the one that they would become the victors in.
Q. How long did it take you to write Silhouette Lost?
A. From what I recalled, it took several weeks for me to write Silhouette Lost.
Q. Do you have any particular rules you followed or set in writing the scientific aspects of Silhouette Lost?
A. Since I was new to science fiction, I did a little research on space, other than this I wrote as I went along. Then I would check to see if it was plausible or was reasonable well within accepted scientific theory. The other "scientific" standard I used was to have each person Yamaria and Salvatore encountered at the interstice to have a knowledge background comparable to that of scientists of this world. Though they may not call their fields of study exactly the same, it would become a parallel point when they each use their gifts in order to defeat an advanced scientists from this world.
Q. What sparked your turn to science fiction, as opposed to contemporary YA?
A. When I first wrote Silhouette Lost I thought it would be primarily a paranormal novel. This is one of the reasons why I now understand better why an author should research their genre. However, my primary focus in Book One of the Silhouette Lost series is the contemporary overarching romance story between Salvatore and Yamaria—who both happened to be scientists. Their first encounter with one another would fall into the new adult category as they university co-eds. However, they never really had any real interactions as Yamaria was aloof and allowed her studies to consume most of her time. Ironically, I have a preference to leisurely read young adult/new adult magical realism and fantasy novels. I do not oppose writing young adult novels, but I think it is challenging in a different way than writing other novels. For young adult novels there is an expectation to be aware of and include specific lingo or cultural norms for a young audience, to sound authentic and still be so creative that your novel does not seem outdated years later. Although I have written the opposite spectrum to young adult (historical romance and historical fiction), I consider it easier to navigate. For historical fiction, the culture, norms, expectations, language is already defined. All the author generally has to do is fit their story within the constraints of established history.
Q. How is writing science fiction different from other genres?
A. Even though you are writing creatively regardless of genre, science fiction, just as historical fiction, provide some parameters in which the author would likely abide. Thus, some understanding or research in the cosmos or physics would provide the writer with some background to create their fiction story. This is similar actually to historical romance novels in which the time, dress, and culture of a given period should be respected. Now how science fiction is different is than say magical realism is probably more obvious. An author can easily write a character as performing some feat without explanation. This is because magic itself (at least in the practical sense) is based on distraction and diversion. Thus, anyone could do anything when the imagination is guiding the reader into the possibilities. However, science fiction is based on probability. It is from here, that the author can interweave their imagination. However, one can argue that science fiction is partially based on the unreal or yet to be discovered since hard sciences often rely on theory, then experimentation, results and analysis to prove or disprove an assertion. For the science fiction author, we experiment with the probabilities of what a character could do within the confines of known science, leading towards a result (plot) with the resolution of conflict being the proof (or detour) for the reader to agree with or determine.
Q. You have now published Book One of the Silhouette Lost series, with of course more novels to follow. Now you have already introduced a new title to be published of another series you have written, The Consecrated Throne. What can we look forward to from The Consecrated Throne series and from you?
A. The Consecrated Throne is the first book of the series. Its sequel is The Coruscated Throne. In this series I focus on the power of light that the erudite and those gifted with the ability to master the stars and the light of the sun. Thus using elements as the source from which sentient beings with higher perception and intelligence from other worlds are able to connect from within themselves to the external source which naturally gravitates towards them. I plan to publish a few other novels unrelated, yet with a similar them and hopefully will have a crossover novel to tie in both.
Q. You do a lot of traveling. How has this affected your writing?
A. It has impacted my writing in different ways. In some of the posts that I have published on my Patreon account, I have discussed how circumstances may encourage, inspire or hinder my writing. At times traveling can provide a resting period to alleviate writer's block. Other times, traveling can be just as exhausting as writing itself. Traveling is not the ideal method to express the best in one's literary creativity. It is best to be stable and if you are fortunate as a writer, have support.
Q. What are your writing habits?
A. My writing habits include drinking coffee and mulling ideas for my work in progress while I do other things. For several of my books I wrote long-hand nearly daily. Each day I would type as I progressed through the story. It felt natural to have the ideas imagine flow write to my fingers to pen, then to paper. This manner of writing is not the most practical, however it was preferred. Now I write in whatever way I can, either long-hand or typing on the computer. The Consecrated Throne was probably the first novel where I had to create a chart to keep worlds and characters aligned and in order to keep track of the story. I do remember when I thought of the mystical transport I used a blank piece of paper. Since one of the worlds involves a firmament as its permanent surroundings and the transport of a prince and princess were involved, I decided that I had to divide it into two parts The chariot was seemingly of ordinary shape but what it could do, especially its wheels was something I had to illustrate so I could continue the story. I had to see it in its one dimensional form in order for me to scribe what Prince Thauses and Nuraī would be able to do not only as its passengers, but to use as a weapon as well.
Q. I understand you are interested in writing a play. How is the process different or similar to writing a novel?
A. Yes, I am. There is a difference, and this is very new to me. When you write a novel, you invite a reader into the characters' world but the reader sits in a similar situation as the author. Alone (unless within a book club). Someone who is a playwright or a screenwriter invites a live audience to view an interpretation of their work filtered through a medium—actors. From here, the viewer-listener may make an interpretation of the screenwriter's or playwright's work. At this point, it is has gone multiple revisions, this even before it has reached the eyes of actors to perform based on this work. These writers pen their work for others to create a three dimensional form embodied within the actor himself. Authors write for the reader to use their imagination directly based on words, direct, implied or foreshadowed. Screenplays (scripts) are shorter. Thus, they must consolidate as much scenery, descriptors and context more concisely. I think this is more difficult because just as a literary author, one endeavours to write without including every nuanced detail. However, the writer, of whatever sort, still wishes to convey their story and hopefully it is read with its intended understanding.
About the Author: Patricia M. Muhammad is a multi-genre fiction author who has written in science fiction/fantasy, contemporary romance crossover, paranormal, historical romance, mystery/detective romance, magical realism and historical fiction. She often incorporates interracial relationships and multi-racial characters as a part of her storylines. Patricia has written 22 novels.
Connect with Patricia:
Social Media: @pmmuhammadbooks
Press: [email protected]