Interview of Fantasy Sci-Fi Network Author Charity Bradford
Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. She soon became kindred spirits with Anne Shirley and got lost in the worlds of Card, McCaffrey, Bradbury, and Nagata. By college, she was sewing her own Starfleet uniform and developing her alter-ego as a comic book sidekick named Solstice. She lives in Northwest Arkansas with her hubby and four kids. Some of her guilty pleasures include binge watching Doctor Who and Ancient Aliens. Charity also writes clean contemporary romance under the name River Ford.
Book (New Feb 2019): THE HAND OF ATUA
Genre: YA space opera
Eighteen-year-old Amiran is the Hatana’s heir, but he’s vowed to stop his father’s brutal march across the galaxy. Shortly after putting Eleena on the escape shuttle, he’s captured by his father’s scouts. Sentenced to serve in the mines and then the fleet he hates, Amiran holds onto the memory of Eleena’s tearful plea for the god Atua to protect him.
The imminent arrival of the Hatana’s fleet forces young Eleena to leave her parents and flee her homeworld. She does so only when Atua assures her parents are in his hands. Her faith is shaken when days later she learns the fleet destroyed her planet, leaving no survivors.
Separated by space and years, Amiran and Eleena both struggle to overcome challenges. Through it all, they stay connected through a surprising link. Can Amiran find a way to stop the Hatana and save the woman that now means more to him than he ever thought possible?
Publish Date: February 2, 2019
Extract (up to 1000 words):
From Chapter 9: Amiran
The vibrosickness started with a headache and nausea, followed by the inability to sleep. At first, I paced the three steps back and forth across my room. It didn’t bring relief. Eventually, my muscles gave out. I lay shaking on the floor in a puddle of sweat and urine until a guard came in with food. He helped me onto the bed and force-fed me some soup.
It didn’t take long for me to throw it up. That’s when the ship’s medic visited. He had me cleaned and administered meds for the fever and nausea. However, it did no good since the vibrocuffs remained on my wrists.
After two days, I tried to gnaw my hands off. I’d barely broken the skin when the medic returned. He cleaned and bandaged me up before calling the guards in.
By the end of day three, I begged to die. My body had grown so weak I couldn’t lift my head. I lay curled up, eyes shut, praying for release.
“You have to remove the restraints,” the ship’s medic told the soldier yet again.
“Schirra’s orders are to leave him shackled.” The soldier’s voice didn’t sound confident.
“He’s the Hatana Tama, do you want to be responsible for his death?” the medic argued. “Take the blasted things off. The other prisoners don’t have to wear them. What are you afraid of?”
“General Schirra,” he stuttered.
“I’ll do it then.”
Cool hands wrapped around my wrist. The vibrocuffs fell away, along with the electrical current that had been my constant companion. The sudden stillness shocked the tears from me. Sobs of relief followed.
“Not much of a prince is he?” The soldier sounded surprised.
“He’s just a kid. I’d like to see you last three days with these contraptions on.” The medic pressed a hypospray into my arm. Cooling waves flowed through my body. “Amiran, by the time you wake, you should be able to eat.”
They left, and I lay there like a dead dinge. I didn’t have enough strength to climb under the thin sheet when the shivering started.
Time drifted by, interspersed with dreams and bouts of awareness.
Evander walked the corridors of a ship with Eleena’s uncle. The medic came and went, hooking me up to some contraption to feed me. Eleena sat huddled with a blonde girl while a boy glared at them. Ev sat alone in his quarters watching the feed of Manawa’s siege. Men came and went from my room. Eleena cried while her uncle held her.
Did she know about her parents?
It became hard to differentiate between reality and dreams. The medic gave me several shots, and eventually, the headache subsided. My body returned to its normal biorhythm.
I lay in bed, eyes closed, pretending to sleep.
“He won’t be strong enough for the mines. Not without another day or two for recovery.” The medic talked to someone in the room.
I opened my eyes just enough to get a glimpse of the newcomer. It was hard to focus on his face, but I recognized the deep red rank epaulets. The captain looked every bit the military man as the Hatana and the General. He stood taller than the doctor, his arms crossed over his chest, and his brow furrowed in thought.
“We can’t do anything about it. We arrive tomorrow and it’s out of our hands.”
“What if we,” the medic stopped mid-thought and shook his head. “Never mind.”
“Help him the best you can with supplements, but we can’t disobey orders.” The captain’s next words were scarcely more than a whisper. “Not yet.”
I coughed to hide the gasp that slipped out before I could stop it, turning toward the wall in an effort to hide.
The medic touched my arm. “You might as well open your eyes.”
Slowly, I faced the men and struggled to sit up. “I don’t understand.”
The medic helped me lean against the wall. My muscles were still weak, refusing to work properly.
The captain nodded. His eyes weren’t as cold as my father’s or Schirra’s. “If you survive the mines and Schirra’s fleet you might one day. We can’t take a chance on you until then.”
My thoughts moved sluggishly. Possibilities slipping through before I could grasp and make sense of them. I shook my head and cringed as the dull ache returned.
“It’ll come to you.” The captain moved toward the exit. He held up a disk and the door slid open. “Listen for the voice of Atua and you might save us all.”
The medic followed, the door closing and locking behind them.
Listen for the voice of Atua? Even though I’d spoken his name in the trite phrases of my people, I’d never really put stock in a supreme being. My father thought being Hatana made him a god. That was enough to turn me off all the other gods in the universe.
If there really were a god in heaven, why would he let men destroy so many things of beauty?
I sunk back to the pillow, enjoying the coolness against my cheek. It would take more than the captain’s words to turn me toward an imaginary being.
Welcome to another author interview, today we have author Charity Bradford who also happens to be a Fantasy SciFi Support Group member! Come sit and let’s get started…
Cheryllynn: What was the defining event that made you start writing?
Charity: I came to writing through reading and wanted to write by the time I was in high school. However, I didn’t start until after a near death experience in 2002. It all started with the birth of my third child. The doctors missed my sick appendicitis thinking I was labor. Long story short? 1 baby, 1 ruptured appendix, serrated bowels, sepsis, and 2 weeks in the hospital that I only remember through the stories of others changed my life. The fact that we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow became very clear to me and I started writing what would eventually become my first novel.
Cheryllynn: Wow, what a story of inspiration! That sounds so scary, glad you made it through. What other writing have you done?
Charity: I have half of a science fantasy series out, a short story collection, a modern-day fairy tale, and four contemporary romances under the pen name River Ford.
Cheryllynn: What makes your writing unique compared to others in the genre?
Charity: Rules, shmules. I don’t follow them very well, which is why I went Indie. I like to mix a bit of everything in my writing—science fiction elements with touches of magic, I throw in dragons, aliens, space battles, quests and adventure, things like cryogenics and hive minds, but then I also have romance and elements of faith. Perhaps the biggest difference is I write science fiction for my friends who don’t like science fiction. The goal? Convert them, then take over the world!
Cheryllynn: Oh, so we have a rule breaker on our hands! What’s the basic plot of your book or series?
Charity: This book is about two people (a prince and a refugee) separated for years by a great distance but connected by dreams and the desire to stop the suffering caused by the Hatana. It’s about their struggles, fears, and hope leading to their reunion.
Cheryllynn: Sounds like an inspirational story. Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
Charity: I read a lot of heartbreaking articles about life for women in refugee camps. The journey of faith these characters travel is based on personal experience as well as that of friends.
Cheryllynn: What do you do when you have writers’ block?
Charity: I have so many ideas in my head I don’t have this problem. Sometimes I get “stuck” on one story, but I simply write on another one and soon find the block dissolves. It does make completing a story slow going sometimes though. If I’m really into a story I might not return to the first one for a while.
Cheryllynn: Describe your road to publishing your book.
Charity: I’m a control freak. So, even though I originally started with a publisher, after several years I hired a lawyer and got my rights back for those books. So now my road is only as hard as I make it.
Generally, I write and revise several times, go through at least two rounds of beta readers and revisions, take it to my writer’s critique group, then hire an editor. Sadly, this last book is still waiting for the editor.
I love being able to choose my own cover art, design the interior, and look at metrics any time I wish. THE HAND OF ATUA is available for KDP, print, and is currently being recorded for audio.
Cheryllynn: How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
Charity: Most of my covers are from selfpubbookcovers.com. I spend hours browsing the site to match covers with my books. I love the freedom to change the writing. Recently one of my novels was translated into Italian and Spanish. I was able to change the cover titles into those languages and re-download at no extra cost.
Cheryllynn: Who would you like to be stuck on a deserted planet with?
Charity: My hubby. Life is so crazy. It would be wonderful to be stuck somewhere with just the two of us. We actually work well together.
Cheryllynn: What’s your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Readers’ Lounge?
Charity: I’m so glad I’ve found the FSFRL. It hasn’t been long, but I love how active everyone is in participating in the discussions. I feel like I’ve finally found my people. You should be warned though, I’m a lurker, only divulging my location and interest occasionally. I’m trying to do better though.
Well, Charity, we do understand and accept lurkers! I’m so glad you stopped by today, really quick before you go… answer some quick quiz questions.
Favourite thing to cook: I’ve found the best gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world. This is also a new development. Here’s the link:
Silliest saying: I’m so not funny. Is there a webinar to help me with this?
Best holiday spot: Right at home with my family with music playing, cookies in the oven, and the fireplace burning.
Most played song: Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin
With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser? I’m a plotser. Discovering the story is key for me (pantsing), but I’ve developed a loose form of plotting to speed things along in a more efficient manner.
Do you prefer to read SciFi or fantasy: SciFi
Best superpower: I’ve been told I can give “the look” like a pro. You know, the one that can turn you to stone?
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: I actually have a list. 50 bucket list items to finish before I turn 50. I started the year I turned 40 and have completed 18 of them. You can see them all at: https://50goalsby50years.blogspot.com
Ladies and Gents, if you’d like to learn more or follow Charity, below are her links. I’m sure she’d be happy to have you!