Series: The Lightbound Saga #1
Author: S.G. Basu
Published: January 18th, 2014
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Fantasy
The chance of living the life of a regular thirteen year old was never hers, Maia knows that much. Her dead mother is an alleged turncoat; her people are practically slaves to the Xifarians-a race of ruthless, space travelers; her planet is near extinction. Maia keeps hoping, however. Of evading the Xifarians and of someday atoning for the sins of her mother. Maia has learnt to be careful, she is cautious. Until the day she gives in to the charms of a gypsy boy and the allure of flying his glider. And then, all Maia’s plans fall apart.
Spotted by Xifarian scouts, Maia is recruited into a dubious peace initiative. She had never considered visiting the galaxy roving planet-spaceship of Xif; she had never imagined meeting or befriending a Jjord – the reclusive people from the under-ocean colonies. But all that is about to happen, and Maia’s life is about to change forever . . .
Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy is a daring space adventure and a coming-of-age story. It is a riveting tale in which the young hero’s journey of self-discovery parallels the timeless search for friendship, knowledge, and truth.
Series: The Lightbound Saga #2
Author: S.G. Basu
Published: December 15th, 2014
Genre: YA Sci-Fi Fantasy
Thirteen-year-old Maia thinks she has seen it all.
She has survived an assassination attempt, she has been threatened by a chancellor, and she has faced off with saboteurs trying to bring down a nation. She lets nothing get to her anymore-not the ominous nightmares she has been having lately, not the fear of being targeted for another soul extraction, not even the memories of her dead mother’s terrifying communique.
More than ever, Maia wants the Initiative to resume. She longs to visit Zagran-the undersea capital of the Jjord. She wants to ride the underwater transport lines, learn about the Jjordic energy farms and most of all-she wants to goof off with her friends. But, around the charming city of Zagran, evil is gathering. Maia and her friends do not know it yet, this is just the beginning of a terrifying end.
Carefully, she opened the small lid, slipped her hand cautiously inside, and reached for the crystal. A flash of light followed by a searing pain that shot through her arm stunned Maia for a moment. Blinking rapidly, she focused her eyes and screamed. The L’miere crystal had vanished. A thin wisp of smoke rose from the moss where the crystal had lain just moments ago. Maia pulled out her hand and shook the pod, hoping that she had maybe . . . somehow . . . just maybe . . . pushed it into a crevice or something. But the pod remained empty; only the lava rock sat on its mossy bed, in blissful ignorance.
Ren would know.
She ran out of the room, up the staircase toward the Snoso, and smack dab into the middle of a portly frame. Maia would have gone flying and crashed into the wall had it not been for the hands that gripped her firmly by the shoulders.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t my old friend Maia,” the voice of Principal Pomewege bellowed. “And what is the rush, child?”
Maia started to murmur an apology. She must have not made much sense, because the principal interrupted her midway.
“Is something wrong?” His eyes shone with concern.
Everything is wrong.
“Nothing, sir,” she lied.
“Well, you seem to be in a hurry, so I won’t keep you.” Pomewege smiled. “But if there is anything I can help you with, just let me know.”
He turned away, and Maia took a few steps before she rushed back toward the principal. “Principal Pomewege, I think . . . I . . . I destroyed something,” she stammered.
About the Author:
S. G. Basu is a telecommunications engineer by profession, but she likes to call herself a dreamer. Imagination, fueled by a voracious appetite for books, has been her steady friend since childhood. She discovered her passion for writing quite by chance and there has been no stopping her since then.
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When did you start writing?
In 2008. I started writing during lunch breaks and it quickly grew from there.
What made you decide to publish your first book?
I wanted to share this fun world I had created with others. Ideas, I believe, are meant to be shared. That’s how they can truly be cherished. There was no question in my mind that I wanted my ideas to be out there, maybe someday inspiring someone else. Then, after I received feedback from my beta readers, there was no “if,” only “when.”
What motivates you to write?
Unfinished stories, nascent ideas, and most of all the characters I write about. I’m afraid of the characters that swarm my mind–the assertive and all-knowing little creatures that wouldn’t leave me alone until I set them free.
Do you ever feel frustrated with your work?
I do. Especially when there are too many things to be done and I can’t find the time to keep up the pace, it gets frustrating. I sometimes wonder if I have bitten off more than I can chew.
What makes you keep writing when you get frustrated?
I keep thinking of the rewards at the end of the finish line. No, I do not mean the financial reward, although that’s pretty sweet as well. To me, a comment from a happy reader saying how wonderful she/he felt when she correctly deciphered a clue, or how they can identify with one of the characters in my story, is the biggest reward and a source of immense joy. As soon as I think of that, the frustrations disappear magically.
How do you get over writer's block?
I usually take a break and immerse myself in other creative activities like music, arts or simply indulge in a long walk. Most of the time though, I switch from one project to another. For example, if I am blocked writing my series, I start working on the short stories or the novella. Or better yet, I work on cover design ideas or spruce up my blog. More often than not, my block disappears within a day.
How do you handle negative reviews of your books?
To me, the negative reviews are very important. Many times, these reviews find things that I might have missed and things I could improve upon. Other times though, negatives have nothing to do with my books specifically, but it is a reflection of differing viewpoints. In those cases I remind myself that the world will have opposing opinions, and I cannot write to please everyone. It is very important for authors to train themselves to not be bogged down by negatives, although it is easier said than done.
One more thing that helps me in this respect is belonging to a critique group. I have been part of a group for seven years now, and although we are very respectful in critiquing each other’s works, regular sessions have made me practice handling of various types of criticism.
There are a lot of distractions around, especially with social media, how do you block it all out and write?
I have time allocated for the distractions as well. Sounds crazy, right? But, sometimes distractions are necessary. I have found that once I have done a bit of the social media thing, I feel an urge to move back to writing quicker. I do set limits on how long I spend time on social media to be cautious, that stops me from straying too much.
What do you enjoy, outside of writing?
Reading, music, photography, spending time with my family.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
I am also a collector of toys and dolls.
Have you ever had to rewrite portions of a book because the characters decided to be someone else than you intended?
Many times. Characters often take a life of their own and although I outline my stories, the character arcs often take shape on their own.
Where do you come up with the names for your stories?
The names are mostly based on the central theme of the story. For the Lightbound Saga series, I wanted the name to highlight the name of the heroine, Maia. So, those books have names of the core theme along with her name.
Did you ever think you'd be a published author?
10 years ago? No, not in my wildest dreams. Since after I started writing? Yes, I knew I would publish my books.
What are you working on currently?
I am working on four projects currently, and here’s the scoop on all of them
1. -Title: Maia and the Ashes of Korobieltes
-Date of Release: Dec 15, 2015
-Where did you get the idea for it? : This is the continuation of my Lightbound Saga series.
-When is the cover reveal? : August, 2015
2. -Title: Population Morpheus
-Date of Release: May-June, 2015
-Where did you get the idea for it? : The idea has been stewing in my head for a while. It finally crystallized in the form of a set of short stories set in a post-apocalyptic Earth.
-When is the cover reveal? : April-May, 2015
3. -Title: Prophecy
-Date of Release: Sep-Oct, 2015
-Where did you get the idea for it? : Another idea set in the universe of The Lightbound Saga. I’ve always wanted to extend that universe in a different direction and this novella will be an experiment in that.
-When is the cover reveal? : August, 2015
4. -Title: Unnamed short story anthology with my critique group writers
-Date of Release: Sep, 2015
-Where did you get the idea for it? : This critique group I belong to has always wanted to publish a themed anthology of short stories. Something or the other has always come in the way. But this year we decided to make it happen. We brainstormed ideas and came up with a central theme and we are all working on our pieces now.
-When is the cover reveal? : Undecided as of now
Do you ever write characters you hate?
Yes, I do. I have villains that are colored all shades of negative. They are often monstrous, and I hate the things they do. But they are also a necessary part of the stories and they are interesting in their own way–it's always struggle though writing about their evilness and describing their dastardly acts.
Who is your favorite character that you've written?
I love my protagonist, Maia, very much obviously. Other than her, the character who I have most fun writing about is Nafi. She’s a smart and sassy eleven-year-old who is too outspoken and opinionated for her own good. She loves history and she gets into enough trouble for her nosiness but her curiosity also helps solve a lot of things so all is quickly forgiven. She is a fierce little thing.
What was your first published book?
My first published book is Maia and the Xifarian Conspiracy, the first book of the Lightbound Saga series.
How do you feel about it now?
I love it. There are a few things I would probably go about differently now, but there’s nothing I don’t love.
Where did you get the idea for your books?
Like any other writer, my brain is like a sponge. It picks up on ideas everywhere–conversations, situations, favorite places, a scene–anything really. They get into the churner in my brain and emerge like phoenixes every now and then. I write science fiction mostly, so the ideas do get transmuted quite often to fit into otherworldly settings.
Were there any scenes in it that were difficult for you to write?
Yes, death scenes are particularly difficult to write. I am currently working on the third book of the Lightbound Saga, and this book has a few not-so-happy scenes. It has been difficult. Sometimes I have had to take longs breaks from the story just to be able to recover from the pain of doing something terrible to one of my characters.
Do you have a favorite genre to write? Is there a type of genre you refuse to write?
Science fiction is hands down my favorite. I am very imaginative by nature so I find it difficult writing something that needs to be strictly grounded in realism. There is no genre that I refuse to write, but I think erotica would be difficult.
Do you prefer your books in print or e-book format?
I am old-school when it comes to the look and feel of books. I just love the smell of paper and the crispness of a new book. So, personally I prefer my books in print.
What are you currently reading?
A Storm of Swords.
What is your favorite book?
Isaac Asimov’s Nightfall in its short story form is my favorite. I quite like the longer form as well.
Who is your favorite author?
John Steinbeck is my all time favorite author. I could read his books over and over all my life. In the science fiction genre, it is Isaac Asimov who has my heart.
Do you have any excerpts from any of your books (published and WIPs) that you'd like to share with us?
Below is an excerpt from a WIP short story “Hinata”–part of the upcoming collection “Population Morpheus.”
The next day came too soon. And it came in sharp—like a rough, jagged knife through freshly baked bread.
The clock said 0615. Someone was calling my name over and over again. I tried to shut it out, but the pillow I pulled over my head was not strong enough. After a while I gave in and stumbled out of bed. It was still dark outside—too early for school. I pushed the bedroom door open.
“What have you signed up for?” Mom stood in the middle of the entry room, clutching a large sheaf of papers, her voice cracking up as she demanded an answer from me. Dad was at the front door—next to him were two soldiers in full combat gear. It dawned on me in slow, rigid motion—they were here to escort me to the Decima. But . . . the recruiter had said there was no rush. And yet--
“What have you done? You didn’t even think of asking us?” Dad cried out and the guard closest to him immediately placed a restraining arm on his shoulder.
“I t-took a test y-yesterday,” I stammered. “They were out recruiting volunteers.”
It was hard to watch the tears pool in Mom’s eyes. The skin on her face was wrinkled, and I had never noticed. My mother looked so tired.
“They’re here to take you away,” she whispered.
Dad shrieked, struggling against the guard’s hold. “They can’t just take her away. She’s—”
Mom’s face darkened at his words. Was it fear? She rushed over to him, and linked her arm through his. “Think about it . . . at least she’ll be safe.”
It got quiet after that, the silence prickling my heart.
“I’ll go get ready then,” I muttered.
Absolutely. In my world, platypire fits in perfectly. I have created quite a few strange creatures in my books already, and a platypire is always welcome for a guest appearance.