On the blog this week, I’m featuring #PitProm Winner and #TeamSciFi Queen, J.S. Dewes! J.S. Dewes is a brilliant author, and the #PitProm team has their fingers crossed that we’ll see her fantastic space opera, The Divide, in print someday soon!
A castoff commander and her rebellious crew are all that stand between mankind and the universe’s collapse. #PitProm #A #SF
At the edge of the universe lies the Divide. Veteran war hero Adequin Rake commands a dreadnaught-turned-watchtower stationed along the invisible boundary. Adequin never thought her decorated career would be rewarded with the opportunity to babysit delinquent soldiers billions of lightyears from civilization. But, here she is.
An even more tiresome challenge presents itself in the form of exiled prince Cavalon Mercer. Forced to enlist after a “familial disagreement” (which may have involved explosives), the disowned royal wants nothing more than to lie low and go unnoticed. But relentless snark and a complete lack of self-preservation instincts quickly land him in the crosshairs of anti-royalist soldiers.
Then the universe starts to collapse.
Stranded without access to faster-than-light travel or functioning comms, this motley crew must find a way to escape the Divide as it closes in on them and — if possible — stop it before the universe collapses completely.
Get to Know the Author!
- What inspired you to write this book?
The original concept for The Divide was inspired by a song lyric. There’s a song I’ve loved for years called Highwayman written by Jimmy Webb, with a lyric that goes: “I’ll fly a starship across the universe divide, and when I reach the other side, I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can.” That line got me thinking about what might lie outside the confines of the universe, or what might happen if the universe stopped expanding and you tried to find the edge. And it’s also, as you can see, where the title came from! But as a whole, The Divide is an amalgamation of inspirations – from many different songs, to sketches I did that inspired some of the characters, to aesthetics found on Pinterest, and everything in between.
2. Who is your favorite character?
If I had to pick just one, I would say Cavalon, one of my two POV characters. Though I love all my characters, I had more fun writing him than anyone else. He’s the smartest guy in the room, but you would have no idea. He’s also the funniest guy in the room, and he’ll go to great lengths to make sure you’re aware of it. He’s a weird mix of humble and proud, genuine and sarcastic, defiant and cooperative. He’s also extremely willing to learn and change, and to push his boundaries, though he does get a little help from the other POV character in that regard. Their personalities play off each other in a really constructive way, and though the plot and stakes of the story are rather intense, the core of the book is really about that friendship and how the two balance each other.
3. Are you a pantser or a planner?
I’m definitely a pantser. I like to let the characters guide the story, and if I plan things out too much ahead of time, I can quickly lose passion for the project. That said, as I continue to learn more about writing, I can see the benefits in having at least a rough notion of a plan ahead of time to save some grief in editing! I lucked out with The Divide, in that I had very little planned, but the story still came out functional without any major structural edits needed. But I’m aware that was a fluke, so as I brainstorm my next project, I’ll be trying to have a more solid plan in mind before I start. I might be slowly working my way into the “plantser” category.
4. How do you edit? (What is your editing weakness? (i.e. commas))
Whenever I finish a draft of a chapter, I sit on it for at minimum 24 hours, then print it out and make paper edits. After I input the changes, I pass it off to my amazing critique partners, who aren’t afraid to tell it to me like it is! I always sit on that feedback as well before making changes, for at least a few days. I really find that distance and space is key to helping me edit well. I get extremely wrapped up in my world and in the heads of my characters, and I need that time away from the writing in order to see things clearly.
My greatest writing weakness is probably that I tend to over-explain character actions. I’m a very visual person, so I find myself trying to tell the reader ever single minute action a character takes to get from A to B. They don’t just walk into a room and sit in a chair. They push the door open, tentatively look inside, muster the courage to enter, cross the room in a few short steps, pull the chair away from the table, THEN sit down. Thankfully, my critique partners are excellent at finding these moments and aren’t afraid to yell at me about them.
5. Which books have most influenced your writing?
I’m most inspired by classic science fiction, namely Clarke, Asimov, and Bradbury. If I had to pick just a few books, I would say Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke and the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. In Rama, the sense of awe and wonder Clarke manages to create alongside such strong hard sci-fi elements has stuck with me since I was child, and the complex characters, foreshadowing, and truly epic plot twists of the Mistborn series are storytelling aspects I’m always striving to emulate in my writing.
6. What are you reading currently?
I recently finished Outriders by Jay Posey, and am about to start Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith.
Check out J.S. Dewes on these Social Media sites!