I know right now, many of you are thinking Cynna Ael is a superhero junkie. You’re not wrong. I love my superheroes- but that’s another post for another time. You might think I’m a huge fan of Underdog, you’re not wrong! I loved the show growing up, and I probably always. Yet, recently, there were two specials on the Science Channel which made me think about the genres I love and how they really truly affect me personally as well as professionally. Thus—we’re talking outer space.
The final frontier—to go where no man has gone before. My father is a first generation Trekker. I grew up watching the first reruns on television. I watched the original cartoons of Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry’s vision created that universe with his “Horatio Hornblower to the stars” is something that’s permeated the way I view the world and people as a whole. I am a Trekker. I’ve been to Star Trek conventions, I’ve met the actors, and I’ve read the books. I’ve even met some of the authors who write Star Trek novels. (I am beyond jealous- it’s on my list of things I want to do!) The messages Gene, the actors, the script writers are part of who I am—I treat everyone as being worthy of my attention and as being equally fascinating.
One of the things I learned from Star Trek was how people view themselves and their culture versus others. “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” an episode in the third season of the original series, the story of Cheron hit me hard as a child. To me, it was a lesson in how humanity was humanity, regardless of looks and there are so many other reasons for war, this should not be one of them. It’s funny to think now as a writer this episode still comes into play. My book, Treaty of Desire, deals with a treaty that people on both sides need but others are trying to break. One of the underlying themes of the story deals with purity of both the shifters and the Fey. I didn’t realize until reviews came in, just how much this episode and Star Trek impacted not just my life, but my writing. My themes often reflect different things I’ve learned from Star Trek and Star Wars. In fact, I laugh over the Tribbles in Star Trek. Loved Harcourt Fenton Mudd- the con man of the universe and the trouble he caused.
Then there’s Q. *sighs* Oh, there is so much a writer could do with Q, sometimes I wonder if I’d been given the chance to play with the entire concept, just how I’d have played it out. In the books, there’s a book entitled, Q-in-Law. If you’ve never read any of the Star Trek: The Next Generation books—I highly recommend it if you are a Q lover. It gave me happiness and laughing like nothing else. It also provided me with inspiration found in Games Empaths Play.
I tend, as a writer, to look toward the stars in my life. I grew up during the time of Star Wars and let me tell you right now- I was determined to marry Luke Skywalker. In fact, we won’t talk about the fanfic I wrote through the years. But that writing stood me in good stead once I started creating my own universes. I admit I had a crush on Luke Skywalker for the longest time… okay, if you push, I’d still say I have that crush. What has always intrigued me about Star Wars is how the world seemed to embrace Star Wars and its mythos as its own separate reality and at the same time, being part of our own mythos. I love myths and legends, so finding out more on where George Lucas got the ideas on the Force, Jedi Knights, and other concepts fascinated me and as a writer, it’s still fascinating. In fact, I often look to ancient religions and beliefs of others for various ideas to bring to the table when it comes to my stories. The depth of the past can bring such a richness to a storyline.
There’s nothing like the story arcs in Star Wars to make the geek in me go “Oooh!” The writer in me is in awe while the editor in me is whimpering. Trust me, the editor in me whimpers because of the continuity issues which need to be kept straight. Can we say notebooks, index cards and Scrivener? Yes, yes we can. But at the same time, it’s what I do now for my series books. It helps me to keep track of everything I need to do and track for my characters as they learn, grow, and hopefully resolve everything. Blessed be the both the hand notes, the electronic notes and all the backups I keep.
My friends over the years have asked if I love sci-fi more than any other genre. The answer is no. I find sci-fi allows me to create technology that isn’t available yet. Fantasy allows me to use magick and play with Elves. (There is a story there, one we won’t talk about. LOL) Mysteries allow me to murder and get away with it. Romance is in most everything I do—because love is part of life. But sci-fi has been a huge influence on my life and in my writing. I look to those who wrote Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Logan’s Run and others. I’m grateful to them. Without their stories, without them stepping forward, I would have no place to start. I am lucky I came to Doctor Who when I was young. I saw Tom Baker’s run and fell in love with quirky special effects and a love for all things British. It still plays in my writing today. (I would not turn down an offer to write for Doctor Who or a revival of Torchwood with Captain Jack Harkness. *sighs happily*)
My writing has grown because of these masterpieces. I’ve learned pacing, how to write cliffhangers, and how to relentlessly tease those who read my work. It’s all fair since I wait and whinge when I have to wait for new movies, new seasons, and new books! But I’ve also learned something else—when you develop a series that comes alive to so many people, you have an obligation to see it through to the end. You must give it your best at all times and plan for every contingency. As long as you do that, you can play and give joy to so many people.
Which is why I’m so happy with my upcoming story, called Pirate Queen’s Rebellion. It’s a world I developed when I was dealing with the aftermath of my mom’s death and my own health issues. I spent time indulging in my sci-fi fun and figured out I wanted to write something sci-fi but with a romantic twist. What I hadn’t counted on is the characters would demand more from me than I originally planned. Yet, in the end, I’m beyond thrilled how the world and the characters turned out. It might be some time before I come back, but at the same time, it’s fully developed so I can drop in at any time. That to me, is a gift that a writer prays for all the time.
So, take the time to look to the sky. Find your path to your writing. Find the path to your joy. Sometimes you might find that a bit of science fiction might just lead you to a path you never considered. It might be just the thing you need to ease the pains of the day or to launch you in a new direction for your writing. Either way, you might just say, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no—it’s a spaceship!”