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Advice from IR Approved Author S.D. Christopher: “Write your passion, but also write what you know.”

Ripped Away (Uncommon Senses #2) received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author S.D. Christopher.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Ripped Away (Uncommon Senses #2) was published on April 7, 2020.

What’s the book’s first line? 

My fingers reflect the glare of my laptop screen, as I ponder my next chat message to her.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

People develop altered senses and try to figure out either how to cope with them, or what to do with them. Most of them can’t live normal lives as a result, but some use their abilities for good or evil. In this second book, a shadowy group starts kidnapping these Sensitives, and the heroes attempt to find them, while also dealing with the fallout of the deaths of one of their own and the serial killer they helped take down.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

I’ve been a fan of superhero films since I was a kid, but more recently became intrigued about the “what ifs” of having powers that aren’t typically touched upon. Primarily, what are the unexpected drawbacks of seeing or hearing things differently, the mental toll it might take to simply live your life as you once did, and the decisions that come with doing something no one else can? Does it change you for the better, for worse, or simply amplify who you already were? So the Uncommon Senses series is an extension of that thought experiment.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

If you love epic hero stories with multiple interweaving story lines and a large cast of characters, and like figuring out mysteries and characters’ secrets without having it spoon-fed to you, Ripped Away may be for you!

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

Amy is more introverted than most, to the point of being a hermit, but the main takeaway is that she, like most introverts, doesn’t hate people. She just needs to recharge from their encounters early and often, but still yearns to connect and feel a part of something just like anyone else. She reminds me most of a few friends I met online shortly after college, who helped me realize there were different degrees of introversion from my own.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Izzy is my favorite character in the books, and I would love to see her played by Rosario Dawson.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I had a long commute by train to New York City from central New Jersey and used to fill the time with games or reading books. When I ran into a few books I couldn’t finish, I wondered if I could do better. I’d written a few sci-fi short stories set in outer space as a pre-teen that were truly awful, but hoped that the years since would be kinder. Once I started outlining some general ideas for a few books, the creative juices started flowing, and I knew I was in for a ride.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

Ripped Away is the second book I’ve finished, both in the Uncommon Senses series (Book 1 is The Ripper of Blossom Valley).  I’ve got a standalone alternate history novel in the works, as well as a paranormal short story.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’ve worked in IT since 1997, and specifically Quality Assurance since 2001. I originally thought the attention to detail I honed in my 9-to-5 life would help me edit my own writing, but just as good QA makes software engineers better, a real copy editor improved my work dramatically.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

When I had a long train commute, I was able to get a good hour of writing done in the morning, and another hour done at night. Since I’ve moved to North Carolina, though, it’s been harder to carve out that much time at home and am still working on getting back to that level of productivity.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The best thing by far is having full creative control and ownership, and freedom from deadlines.

The hardest part is marketing. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Write your passion, but also write what you know. If you don’t know it well enough, research the hell out of it. And get your spouse (or best alternative) to beta read for you.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

Yes, because there’s so much more about the business that I don’t know and would love to focus solely on the creative side.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

I love writing for myself, and hope that I reach other like-minded folks. I know there are tons of other people who are a lot like me and are into the same things I am, so if they can discover my work, maybe they’ll get the same kind of joy from reading my work as I got from writing it.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Kurt Vonnegut was the one who most made me want to be a writer. Each of his stories was so original and unique, yet also somehow managed to feel familiar and relatable.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, hands down. It’s an ingenious, thought-provoking, unique blend of science fiction and comedy that completely goes off the deep end right from the start. How many other books begin with the Earth being obliterated and only get bolder from there?