As part of her blog tour, author Aubrey Hansen has come to share some insights into creating Red Rain, a Christian "soft" science fiction novella. Take it away, Aubrey....
Good morning, Ladies and Gents! Welcome aboard Flight 74 heading for the Red Planet, Mars. Please strap on your seat belts because this promises to be one wild ride. We've got free books galore, three fun giveaways, an author interview, and more. Let's get this adventure started!
Interview with the Aubrey Hansen, author of Red Rain
What are some key aspects of the future world you've created?
The key aspect—the one that inspired the whole book, actually—was the idea that my character lived under an oppressive government that forced kids to attend public school. These were the thoughts that terrified my fourteen-year-old mind!
Although the world has developed to include a lot more political intrigue—especially in the upcoming sequel—the first scene of Red Rain, with those dreaded school buses, has remained almost exactly the same as I originally imagined it.
Tell us about your heroine: How did you chose her name? What are her interests and skills and struggles?
My oppressive one-world government, the United, was loosely inspired by “the Beast” in the book of Revelation. Therefore, I thought it would be cool to name the major characters after the seven churches of Revelation; I used the churches’ implied strengths and sins as models for the characters’ arcs. Plus, I always thought Philadelphia was a beautiful and unique name!
[As someone who resides in Philadelphia, I'm pretty partial to the name, too. --Laurel]
Philadelphia doesn’t see herself as skillful or talented, especially when compared to her tech-genius father and brother. What she hasn’t realized yet is that she’s actually very intelligent—perhaps not with book knowledge, but with the ability to think outside the box and create solutions. She only has to realize that, just because she’s quiet, doesn’t mean she’s not brave enough to stand up to the evil that threatens her family.
What research did you do to write this book?
This is why I write soft sci-fi—so I don’t have to research!
While most of the tech in the book is fictional, I did do some research on Mars and space travel. Of course the space travel in the book is extremely advanced, but I still wanted to make sure I wasn’t forcing my characters to travel faster than the speed of light!
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Since this was my debut novel, I made it easy on myself—I kept it short and didn’t allow myself to edit for too long. The hardest part has actually been coming back to write new material for the series. Trying to work with your old writing is difficult. You want to improve on your writing, but you need to preserve series integrity and don’t want to ruin everything your readers loved about the original story. But it’s worth it!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for writing Ephesus and Standyard, so all of their scenes were fun. I’m thrilled that all my readers adore Ephesus as much as I do. (They don’t love Standyard yet... but they will... in a few more books.)
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Share it and your answer.
I feel like I’m “incepting” myself by answering this, but here goes. I wish someone would ask me what I’d do differently if I were to rewrite Red Rain today, now that I’m older and stupider. I can see, looking back, some of the juvenile and misguided theology that worked itself into the book. The United is also single-sided in its evilness. But then, when you’re a teenager, evil is still fairly black and white in your mind. So perhaps that isn’t such a bad thing after all.
How do you find or make time to write?
I do that?
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your genre?
You don’t have to be technologically-minded to write science fiction. Not all sci-fi focuses on the tech, and even if there’s tech in your book, your character doesn’t have to dissect how it works. It’s perfectly acceptable to write “softer” sci-fi and just revel in the fanciful settings and beautiful imagery that’s possible in the fictional future!
About Red Rain
17-year-old Philadelphia has been imprisoned most of her life because of her Christian beliefs. When her father is sent to Mars against his will to work on a mysterious science project and a benevolent official allows her to accompany him, Philadelphia knows she must keep her head down or be sent back to prison on Earth. But when she stumbles into the wrong hallway and accidentally learns too much, Philadelphia is faced with a question she doesn’t want to answer: the choice between returning to Earth—or destroying it.
About the Author
Aubrey Hansen is a pink-haired, caffeine-fueled twenty-something. She's a writer (obviously), barista, dog trainer, and the co-founder of Penoaks Publishing. She shares her house in Kansas City with three cats, a pit bull, a snake, a ferret, and a husband.
Aubrey is such a generous gal. She's not only offering Red Rain for free this week, but if you sign up for her newsletter, you can also get the prequel short story for free! What are you waiting for?
What Reviewers are Saying
“I was hooked from the first few sentences. In fact, I stayed up late when I got home (even though I had to get up early the next morning) to finish the book.”-Amazon Reviewer
“With solid craft and poignant world building, Aubrey Hansen has outlined a future both horrifying and realistic. I appreciated Hansen's character building skills.”-Amazon Reviewer
“I loved this book! I didn't realize it was a short novella, and I wished it would have been longer.”-Goodreads Reviewer
“The story was fascinating. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but everything came together in the end and it made sense.”-Goodreads Reviewer
GiveawayGoogle form (you do not need a Google account to enter). The only required entries are your name and email address, but the more you do, the more chances you have to win.
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction and Excerpt
Laurel’s Leaves-Author Interview
Perpetual Gardener, Writer, and Mormon-Book Spotlight
The Overactive imagination-Book Spotlight
J. Grace Pennington-Excerpt
Gabriellyn-Excerpt and Author Interview
Joyful Peacock-Author Interview
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima-Excerpt
Another OtherWorld-Character Interview with Philadelphia
Jaye L. Knight-Excerpt
Mary’s Writing World-Book Spotlight
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Book Spotlight
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Excerpt and Author Interview
Tale Weaver-Author Interview
Lisa Swinton Queen of Random-Book Spotlight
BookishOrchestrations-Tour Wrap-up and Giveaway Announcement
What genres are you afraid to try? Any questions for Aubrey?
What genres are you afraid to try? Any questions for Aubrey?