Sheron Wood McCartha is the author of the Alysian Universe Series that now totals seven books. Sheron also hosts the Sci-fi Book Review, offering weekly book recommendations and articles about writing and the publishing industry.
DWP: Welcome Sheron. Thanks for joining me today. I’d like to kick off this interview with the old stand by…what inspired you to pick up a pen and start writing?
SWM: Science fiction has been one of my passions for a long time thanks to my father. There were times my mother would go hunting for him only to find him hiding out in the bathroom, avidly reading some science fiction book as if it were a forbidden treat. I now understand this behavior. Sometimes I read in out-of-the-way places too, feeling as if I’m partaking of some guilty pleasure. He always talked about how he planned to write the great science fiction novel. Later, he stated that he’d write it after he retired. Then he retired and started on his novel. One day he came to me and shook his head. “I love to read it,” he said, “but I can’t write it.” When he threw up his hands in defeat, I saw the torch arcing my way and caught it.
DWP: I’m sorry he didn’t reach his goal, but what a gift he gave to you. You clearly ran with it.
SWM: I was determined to accomplish his dream, but it didn’t happen for many years. Then, one night, during a long, boring drive home with my husband from a vacation weekend, we passed a billboard with the name Penryn on it. That one brief glance sparked my imagination. A whole world and generations of exotic characters, places, and events came into being, giving me years of writing. No wonder I focus on time and its effect in my books.
DWP: The Alysian Universe Series has time travel as a major element. Tell us about that.
SWM: When I started writing, a book on time travel appealed to me. I began to explore the many ways time might be manipulated, first by traveling into the past…then into the future. In my first book Caught in Time, Rowyna Grae travels back into a medieval past. In subsequent books, Arwoyn Telluria (and then his clone Kayse) travels into the future and has to adapt to an advanced society.
More ideas popped into my mind. What if one of my characters could stop time? Rewind time? Jump from one timeline to another? My mind began to whirl with the possibilities, and I realized that I needed a genetic line of time manipulators. So I created the Telluran line that carries a time Talent gene, and I had fun with it.
DWP: Caught in Time kicks off the series. Would you tell us a bit more about it?
SWM: Caught In Time is a time travel, science fiction adventure and romance that takes place on Alysia, an alien planet. It’s the story of Rowyna Grae who always thought she was human until the day that Arwoyn Telluria, the last dying time traveler, tells her that she was created using bits of his DNA…specifically the gene for time travel. It doesn’t take long for things to go awry. Arwoyn dies and the new regime wants to send her back to medieval times to assassinate a king. The inexperienced lab assistant, Richard Steele, frantically sends her to the wrong place and loses her.
The reader is plunged into a world of the past with a heroine who struggles to survive and deal with a self-absorbed king that she finds herself falling in love with against all better judgment. The dialog is fun and the action continuous. As she meets new situations, she creates havoc in the past that changes the future. Poor Richard Steele has to deal with the consequences…and most often, they are not the pleasant kind. He is thrown into various timelines because of her actions. He finds himself on the whip end of events and he becomes desperate to get her back…if he can locate her, if the time machine is still working, and if she even wants to come back at all.
DWP: Sounds like a fun read. How do you come up with your story ideas?
SWM: At one point, years ago, I questioned whether there weren’t better things to occupy my busy life than writing about time traveling, world saving, and wise-cracking characters that seemed to decide what they were going to do in my books regardless of my wishes. I thought I was done with them…
BUT, they would sneak into my head while I was trying to get to sleep and suggest that it would be fun to have Hieronymous’ mother be a time traveling clone. Okay I can do that book. Then an alien probe crash-lands on Alysia and what are we going to do about it? Next book guys. How about we build a space ship and check out its origins? Now we’re at three, or is it four?
Then, when Arwoyn was experimenting with cloning Rowena, his first two attempts produced male clones. Whatever happened to them? What if one didn’t know that he was a clone or that he could time travel, but others knew? And tried to kill him? Yipes! I really wanted to get my beauty rest, but these questions kept me awake. So I finished his book. Done.
Then I found out that I liked to get even, and I put my characters in impossible situations to see how they would wriggle out. How about their two moons colliding? How about an alien invasion with a twist. Meeting aliens in space? What would they look like? What would they do? How about…
DWP: Wow…that’s an imagination on the loose! So much for the beauty rest. Tell me, what will readers like the most about your books?
SWM: My readers will like the fun of the read. There is no deep message, no critical information that will change your life, or show you how to lose weight, or make more money. It’s like a bar of good chocolate that you savor, but lasts longer. It costs less than a cup of coffee but has the same stimulating effect.
DWP: In addition to writing books, you host a weekly Scifi Book Review blog. What can someone expect to find there?
SWM: My weekly blog, wwwscifibookreview.com discusses a variety of things pertaining to the realm of science fiction or fantasy. I always share at least one book that I think my readers would enjoy. It’s not an in-depth review, but a suggestion on a book I find worth mentioning. Word-of-mouth in a blog, so to speak.
I sprinkle in my experiences as a self-published author, and recently I’ve discussed what works and doesn’t work in the realm of marketing my books. This is currently a hot topic and it’s evolving. I don’t tell anyone how to write as I’m perfecting that skill myself. From time to time, I include a startling new science discovery or celestial happening. I’m open to ideas on what my readers want to hear about.
DWP: What do you think the future holds for you?
SWM: This is a watershed time for publishing and writing. Everything is changing. And fast. People are scrambling. The traditional publishers are in trouble. No longer are they the gatekeepers of what gets published; anyone can publish. It’s up to readers to decide what they want to read. The problem for the writer is connecting with readers. The creative writer has to do it all and become a businessperson.
My next book, number eight, is coming out in the Fall of 2015. It still only has a working title. Check out my Author’s Page on Amazon. My goal for the next six months is to get the writing in this next book polished and submitted without losing my mind. I am an edit fanatic and can’t leave well enough alone. I’m excited and challenged and I love what I do. I encourage my husband to go ahead and travel in his job, or play golf when he wants to, because I am fine, and busy and happy. I’m getting published, and my father is in heaven hiding out, reading it all.
DWP: And I’m sure he’s loving every word.
Sheron McCartha’s books are available in paperback and ebook. Find her on Amazon by clicking Here!
Her Books (in chronological order):
Caught in Time
A Dangerous Talent for Time
Past the Event Horizon
For more in-depth information about her books and writing, visit the Alysian Universe.
Check out her Sci-fi Book Reviews at by clicking Here!
Follow her on Facebook or Twitter @Sheronwriting.