Blog Tour Running Out of Space by S.J. Higbee+Interview

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This is my stop during the blog tour for Running Out of Space by S.J. Higbee. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 11 till 31 October. See the tour schedule here: http://www.lolasblogtours.net/blog-tour-running-out-of-space-by-s-j-higbee

For a limited time Running Out of Space will be only $0.99 on Amazon: http://smarturl.it/RunningOutOfSpace

Running Out of Space (The Sunblinded Trilogy#1)

By S.J. Higbee

Genre: Science Fiction

Age category: New adult

Release Date: 11 October, 2017

Blurb: If you already scheduled your post, please swap out the blurb for this one:
Elizabeth Wright has yearned to serve on the space merchant ship Shooting Star for as long as she can remember – until one rash act changes everything…

I can’t recall whose idea it was. Just that me and my shipmates were sick of wading through yet another unjust punishment detail. So we decide to take ourselves off on a short jaunt to the lower reaches of Space Station Hawking to prove that fertile English girls can also deal with danger.

The consequences of that single expedition change the lives of all four of us, as well as that of the stranger who steps in to save us down in lawless Basement Level. Now I have more excitement and danger than I can handle, while confronting lethal shipboard politics, kidnapping, betrayal. And murder.

Running Out of Space

You can find Running Out of Space on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36198608-running-out-of-space

Get Running Out of Space for only $0.99!

You can buy Running Out of Space for only $0.99 on Amazon: http://smarturl.it/RunningOutOfSpace

SJ Higbee

About the Author:

Born the same year as the Russians launched Sputnik, I confidently expected that by the time I reached adulthood, the human race would have a pioneer colony on the Moon and be heading off towards Mars. So I was at a loss to know what to do once I realised the Final Frontier wasn’t an option and rather lost my head – I tried a lot of jobs I didn’t like and married a totally unsuitable man.

 

Now I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll never leave Earth, I have a lovely time writing science fiction and fantasy novels while teaching Creative Writing at Northbrook College in Worthing. I’ve had a number of short stories, articles and poems published – the most recent being my story ‘Miranda’s Tempest’ which appeared last year in Fox Spirit’s anthology Eve of War. I recently signed a publishing contract with Grimbold Publishing for my science fiction novel Netted, which is due to be released in 2019.

 

I live in Littlehampton on the English south coast with a wonderful husband and a ridiculous number of books. I can be found online chatting about books at my book review blog https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/ and you’re very welcome to pop onto my website http://www.sjhigbee.com and my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sjhigbeeauthor/.

 

You can find and contact S.J. Higbee here:

– Website: http://www.sjhigbee.com

– Blog: https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sjhigbeeauthor/

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/sjhigbee

– Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5754220.S_J_Higbee  

 

Excerpt 1 from Running Out of Space – Book 1 of Sunblinded

by S.J. Higbee

CHAPTER ONE

Yeah, I know – Basement Level on Space Station Hawking – what were we thinking?  But penned up on punishment duty with only the prospect of one chaperoned shopping trip had driven us to it. Though the charms of Basement Level wore thin as soon as we set off from the lift. One light in four was working – and then only in Dim mode. The corridors were half the width of the upper levels; a big problem as I’ve seen sewage tanks more wholesome than those walls. You wouldn’t want to brush against them wearing anything other than shipwear throwaways, while keeping off the walls was harder than you’d think, because we were wading ankle-deep in… stuff.

Jessica punched my arm. “Must be homely for you, Lizzy. Floor looks like your cribicle after you done tidying.”

Alisha and Sonja started sniggering.

“’Cept the smell isn’t as vile as your boots,” I replied.

Our laughter bounced around the filthy corridor, easing the mood for a couple of minutes but did nothing about the putrid smell. We struggled on a bit longer, until a grimy woman scuttled past, forcing us far too close to the walls. She didn’t even look our way, let alone thank us for making sufficient room.

Sonja and Alisha stopped.

“Let’s turn round. Unblocking the heads is more fun than this.” Sonja wrinkled her nose at the empty tunnel ahead. “Even the natives got sense enough to be someplace else.”

“We’ve gone promming around for less than a nanosec. And you wanna run back cos the scenery isn’t the same as on board?” Jessica clicked her tongue in scorn. “Starting to sound like those old nannies.

Sonja flinched at the derision in her voice, but – being Sonja – wouldn’t lock horns with Jessica.

Breathing through my mouth, I straightened up. Jessica is right. So what if this is a dank disappointment? We didn’t come down here for the view we came to prove we could handle ourselves when off-limits.

But Alisha grabbed Jessica’s arm. “Sonja and me reckon this is a vile place. We vote to head back. Tramping through filth is a tragic waste of shore leave.”

All argument ceased when the floor crud rustled and heaved behind us. A cat-sized rat scuttered through the litter into the gloom beyond.  

I shivered. “It’s gotta get better sometime, soon. We’re snagging the next lift we see back to Trader Level.”

We continued trudging onwards for another ten minutes. Just as I was beginning to think the scuzzy corridor was leading into infinity, we turned a corner into a small plaza. With a blast of relief, I spotted the lift in the far corner and relaxed. Now we were nearly out of here, we could do the tourist bit. Truth be told, the word ‘plaza’ probably gives the space more credit than it deserves. While the lighting was brighter and the floor litter had been trodden relatively flat, the buzz that normally goes with buying and selling wasn’t here. Under the stink of rotting rubbish was the sharper stench of desperation.

I passed a trader’s eye over the ratty stalls. Everything I could see on display would’ve gone straight into our ship’s recycler. The food canisters were filthy without the benefit of even the most basic steri-scrub. And the water on sale might have shown blue on the pacs’ purity scales, but the readings must have been blixed, because that cloudy stuff wasn’t fit to pass your lips. Even the powdered water looked like sweepings off a shower-stall floor.

If we hadn’t come down here, I’d never have known this place existed. How many on Shooting Star know about it? This is what I joined the ship for. My heart was thudding with a mixture of fear and excitement. This was a hundred times better than trailing around the overpriced shops on Trader Level with a grumbling chaperone.

Though the people were a shock. There were no shades of yellow, brown, black, or white here – everyone’s skin was grime-grey. All wearing rags pockmarked with holes which only showed more scabby tatters, or dirt-scurfed flesh. I’d tried to blend us in. We were all in scut-gear with worn overalls and battered workboots. But we stuck out like a supernova on a dark night. Mostly because we were clean and well fed, while everyone here was stick-thin. Even the kids.  

The Cap always says we English merchanters take care of our own better than anyone else. What if he’s right? Because I couldn’t recall seeing any children in this sorry state back in New London.

Sonja gave some creds to a pathetic, sunken-cheeked toddler sitting on the trash-covered floor and in no time flat we were mobbed by a bunch of snot-nosed kids. None of us could resist their pleading, so we handed out all our shore-leave cash. Of course, one of us should’ve kept an eye out for trouble. But we didn’t. And when the children scampered away, I looked up to see we were now ringed by another group. Far more grown-up and dangerous.

Interview:

1. What made you want to write this book?

I hadn’t planned on writing this – I was all set to write something completely different. But I heard ‘Samson’ by Regina Spektor and fell in love with the song, when I dreamt of the opening sequence on the space station when Elizabeth first encounters Wynn with his long blond hair (think of Brad Pitt in Troy). It was initially going to be a short story – and then within a week I’d written six chapters and it was definitely a novel. Once I finished the first book, I knew the story was going to turn into a trilogy, Sunblinded, and now I’m planning a spinoff series where Elizabeth will be a P.I. called in to investigate at least four murder mysteries set in space.

 
2.If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?

Focus more on the editing. While writing the first draft is important, it is the refining of the language, worldbuilding and plotting that turns a promising work into a finished, fully formed novel.


3.As a writer what would your spirit animal be?

An elephant. I loved elephants as a girl and once did a project about them at school where I picked up all sorts of facts about these amazing creatures. I love the fact that their leaders are the most experienced and caring members of the family group – and they recognise the bones and skulls of former family members and appear to mourn for them.

 

4.What Hogwarts house would the main character of you book be sorted into?

Elizabeth would definitely be in the House Slytherin. She is very driven and ambitious – which means her father is able to manipulate her desire to become an officer on the family’s merchanting space ship, Shooting Star. It is probably her greatest flaw, which at times blinds her to what is going on around her. But she is also resourceful, loyal and persistent and works well under pressure – just as well when she has to cope with so many things going wrong on this particular voyage.


5.What is your writing process like?

I write the first draft reasonably quickly – sometime between six and ten months. The slower process is the drafting and redrafting which takes me a lot longer, especially when taking into account the time I leave before revisiting the story. I write the book starting at chapter one and working through the story until I reach the end and I don’t write out of sequence. I don’t normally plan too much, because even when I attempt an outline I fairly quickly deviate from it.

 

6.Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write all my drafts on the computer. I touch-type so I can easily write at thinking speed, which is actually quite slow.


7.What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

I find the editing process the most demanding part. I used to really dislike that aspect of writing but these days I find it far more enjoyable, though still harder than writing the first much more demanding and at the end of the day, there always has to be others pairs of eyes to ensure what is on the page is what I intended.

 

8.Any tips on how to go through a dreaded writer’s block?

I think we often are very hard on ourselves. We insist that productivity is vital – but we are not machines and getting ideas of out of our heads and down onto the page such that we can pull other people into our worlds and have them care about our characters is a demanding process requiring a great deal of mental energy. And most of us are often also juggling other jobs, family responsibilities and general life. There will be times when we simply don’t have the headspace to cope with writing a novel and when that happens, we should back off. I think writers’ block happens when we are trying to keep going when we need to give ourselves more down time.

By all means keep writing, but produce writing exercises or poetry or something fun. When we first start writing, it’s all a big adventure and we get such a thrill when those ideas finally materialise successfully onto the page. Once we get into a rhythm of writing what we’re good at, we probably stop being so experimental. If you’re blocked, try start messing around with words again and rekindle that initial sense of wonder. This isn’t a quick fix and it may not help everyone, but during my time as a Creative Writing tutor, this approach has helped a number of my students to regain their writing mojo.

9.What is your favorite quote of your book?

It took a long light year to trudge through the vile gloop the Cerens like to call soil. I fell over. Twice. The second time, I nearly didn’t get up. The only thing that kept me going was the sure knowledge that if I stayed sitting in the gluey mess, I’d die of hypothermia. Or disgust.

Elizabeth has just survived a shuttle crash and is staggering around a muddy field, trying to find Wynn. I often find when I’m in a really tight spot a sort of mad hilarity can sometimes take over – and this short passage demonstrates that mindset.

10.How can your readers discover more about you and your work?

My website at www.sjhigbee.com gives links to Running Out of Space as well as regular updates on other books due out. I’m hoping to also release the sequel Dying for Space before the end of the year. It also takes you to my blog where I regularly review books and take part in book-related memes as reading is my main hobby when I’m not writing or teaching.

11.Thank you so much – I’ve really enjoyed answering your questions and if anyone has any comments or follow-up questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comment section below.

Feel free to comment and talk


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