Ten or eleven years ago I was nervous about walking into my first Chessie Chapter of Sisters in Crime meeting. As I walked down the sidewalk, I met a lovely couple–Kathryn and Paul. Our friendship has only grown and I’m so glad to welcome them (Katherine has been here before talking about her Colleen McCabe mystery series) both to the Wickeds.
Today Kathryn and Paul are here to talk about their new book When Earth Shall Be No More. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy and it as an edge-of-your-seat read! This is what I said after reading it: “When Earth Shall Be No More hit every emotion as I tried to figure out who to trust in this deftly handled dual timeline sci-fi mystery. The characters drew me into a world so realistic and unique, I had a hard time putting this book down.” Look for a giveaway at the end of the post! Here’s a bit about the book:
Environmental scientist Constance Roy is one of forty-nine refugees rescued from Earth’s destruction and transported to the ark spaceship Orb by an automaton race called the Curators. Twelve months have passed since their rescue. But now, with the ship’s orbit decaying, the refugees seem doomed to crash into Jupiter’s fiery belly.
In a parallel universe on present-day Earth, another version of Constance seeks answers to the questions that have haunted her since childhood: How and why did her mother die? The head of a mysterious corporation housed at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague can give her the answers, but not without a price.
Two time streams collide when the Constance on Earth discovers that Nicolas, her son, has the ability to save the Orb and its inhabitants. Now she must battle treacherous Curators wishing to destroy Nicolas, while on the Orb, another Constance must fight to save the ship from Jupiter’s fatal pull.
Only together can they save their son – and future generations of humankind.
KATHRYN: As someone who has always read (and now writes) mysteries, I never imagined writing a science fiction novel. Paul and I got the idea for When Earth Shall Be No More when I was on a trip to Chincoteague, Virginia to do a signing event for one of my mysteries.
PAUL: At the time, I was reading Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Kathryn and I were discussing the idea of parallel universes and speculating about what our lives might be like in another life. Did we know one another? Were we married? What were we doing for careers? As we were driving past NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on our way to Chincoteague Island, the juxtaposition of the high tech NASA facility with the charm of Chincoteague struck us as quite unusual and an interesting setting for a book. That’s when the idea for When Earth Shall Be No More was born.
KATHRYN: Our book shows the main character, Dr. Constance Roy, in parallel worlds. In the Earth universe, Constance is an environmental scientist, professor, and single mother to Nicolas. When readers meet her, she has been summoned to Wallops Island for a meeting with her research benefactor. In the other universe, Constance is without a child and one of forty-nine refugees trapped on the Orb, a doomed spaceship orbiting Jupiter. I found it interesting exploring how circumstances influenced the outlook, personality, and behavior of each Constance.
PAUL: Writing a book with parallel worlds also allowed us to write different chapters at the same time. People are often curious about how we wrote as a team and got everything to flow and sound like “one voice.” We don’t know if our process was unique, but we started by sketching out ideas and major plot points for the story. Then we assigned ourselves chapters. After we each wrote a chapter, we shared it with the other and gave each other notes. Sometimes what the other person wrote was surprising and took the story in a new direction.
KATHRYN: Yes, and we very much followed one of the cardinal rules of improvisational acting. Whatever one of us wrote, the other would respond with “Yes, and…” No ideas were ever shot down. The other great thing about writing with Paul was that if one of us got tired of being in one of the worlds, we would just switch universes and everything would feel fresh again. (I can remember one time I really needed to get off the spaceship!) Once we finished all the rewrites, it was hard for us to tell who wrote what.
Readers: We’re fascinated by the multiverse and the idea of parallel lives. What if I had made other choices? Had different opportunities? Met different people? What would my life be like? Here’s our question to you, readers: What do you think or hope your life is like in a parallel universe?
Paul Awad and Kathryn O’Sullivan are an award-winning husband and wife writing and filmmaking team. They have collaborated on feature and documentary films, screenplays, and web series. Paul is a cinema professor and Kathryn is a theatre professor at Northern Virginia Community College. Kathryn is also the award-winning writer of the Colleen McCabe mystery series. www.paul-awad.com www.kathrynosullivan.com .
Paul and Kathryn are happy to give away one signed hardcover copy of When Earth Shall Be No More (United States and Canada only).