A. L. Buehrer What I Write and Why

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Interveiw with Dahskay Onlore, Main Character of The Stardrift Trilogy

Now things get fun. Today, I’m staging an interview with The Stardrift Trilogy’s main character, Dahskay Onlore. Dahskay Onlore is an apprenticed radio astronomer working as an intern at her father’s Observatory in the mountains on the planet of Finzar. In Earth-years, she would be about sixteen when the story starts.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about your job at the observatory?

For one thing, I love the setting. The Ematosk Mountains are beautiful, and the emotional climate at the observatory is so peaceful and contemplative most of the time. It’s kind of a vacation setting. Then there’s the whole astronomy aspect. I love our subject-matter. It’s all so huge and fantastical, and the fact that our sole purpose is to listen to what the heavenly bodies are saying…that’s cool. (Laughs.) If you can’t see how cool that is, I can’t help you.

  Things that aren’t as cool would be the boring technical things and the computer work. I don’t like technology very much. And then there’s the fact that you’re kind of isolated up there and stuck with the same bunch of people all the time. That sometimes gets old.


How do you choose who to hang out with?

Well, when you’re working, you don’t often get to choose, but during breaks and the off-time we get every four days, I prefer to be with my brothers. Otherwise there are several girls that live in my dorm who I like. I like good communicators, quiet people, people with interesting stories. Some of the other interns aren’t really going into astronomy, so there are some that I have to search around for common ground with. But for the most part, a lot of the people at the observatory share that interest. It’s nice to be with people who have a passion for what you love.


Do you find it easy to trust people, and get along?

Yeah, usually, I’d say I do. I like to see people in reference to their experiences and know them for who they are. A lot of people dismiss other people too easily as this or that, and walk away, or run away, accordingly. I try to be patient and learn about people, and try to assume the best of them. I found it really pays off.


Do you consider yourself a heroic person?

I don’t know…I guess it depends on how you define a hero. Standing up for what’s right under pressure and standing by the people you love are important, I guess. Those are things I try to do. I would be willing to do whatever I had to do to help people who needed me. Self-sacrifice and hope are probably the virtues that I would say define a hero. I want to be that strong, but I don’t know for sure if I am, right now.


Do you think individuals are important in the grand scheme of things?

Wow…big question. As an astronomer, you spend so much time in light of the giant realm we call the universe. Really, you would think that people and their individual struggles and achievements would shrink by comparison. Sometimes I wish they would. But yes, I think people are infinitely important--as important as the universe is huge. It’s a mistake to separate individuals from the grand design. Everyone’s an essential part of it.


Do you believe in a higher power?

Yes. I’ve always believed in God, but there’s something about astronomy, and space travel as well, that just keeps emphasizing it. You can’t feel alone out there. I don’t really like space travel, but, with all the comfort and familiarity stripped away, that’s when you really know that it isn’t just your personal culture, your hometown, your planet. You get out there tens of millions of miles from all that, and your head clears, and you know it’s not your imagination.


If you could send a message to everyone in the universe, what would you say?

I’d tell them to listen. Listening is so underrated. People don’t seem to have the curiosity or the imagination to search for what might be calling them. You never can know what your destiny is really meant to be. Mostly just because it’s so celestial, and so huge, you can’t take it in. But if you listen, you might get some hints of what’s coming for you. And it’s not something bound to your home planet. Your life was never meant to be that small.    

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Publishing Story

And what a long story it is. I started writing The Stardrift Trilogy way back in 2008. Back then, I wasn’t actually planning to publish. I didn’t expect anyone outside my family to read my story. I was fourteen then, so that seemed a little bit grandiose to me.

But here’s how I started my publishing adventures. For anybody who doesn’t know, there are three ways you can get a book published these days. You can try to sell it to a traditional publisher (traditional publishing), you can do the entire thing yourself (self-publishing), or you can buy the services of a publisher and keep the rights (subsidy-publishing.)

  I chose to subsidy publish a bit rashly, I suppose. I found a subsidy-publisher called Westbow Press that would produce my books and distribute them in four months—that was about two years ago. There were really two reasons I chose to subsidy-publish: it was faster than traditional, and I doubted that I could market my books successfully to a traditional press.

So what happened to the four months? A number of things. When I decided to publish, I had already written the whole trilogy. To cut expenses, I intended to have all three books produced as a single volume. So, when I submitted them to Westbow, the three were one document.

The books passed content evaluation, meaning they found no copyrighted material, nothing that was against their publishing standards, and that the manuscript was legible. But there was a problem: they didn’t have the equipment to bind a novel that thick. So, I had to divide the document into two volumes, and re-submit it.

  At this point, I think there was some kind of miscommunication, because they thought they had to run the whole evaluation over again, even though they had already seen everything the first time through. This set the time back again, and to make matters worse (and very confusing) it didn’t pass the second time.

Turns out Westbow, in the middle of my project, decided to tighten up their standards of violence in the books they produced—cutting it down to about a PG, or possibly even G level. There is some blood and violence in the trilogy, and after struggling with attempts at down-playing it in revision, I realized I couldn’t reduce it any further without disfiguring the story.

  So, we pulled out and went over to the secular Abbott Press. But time was set back again. We picked slowly through the process with multiple strange little setbacks. But, at long last, the project was finished.

  That was my rather awkward break into the publishing world. I’m eyeing out both self-publishing options and a small Christian traditional press called Enclave Press for my up-coming novels. My hope is to start to establish myself with the Stardrift Trilogy. If you have any interest, check out “books” page on this blog, or simply search for The Stardrift Trilogy by A. L. Buehrer on Amazon, Barns and Nobel, or the Abbott Press Bookstore.