Author Interview: Aerovoyant by P.L. Tavormina
Release Date: September 7, 2022
Your hosts are joined by Patty Tavormina to discuss her novel Aerovoyant, which is science fiction that gets the facts spot-on for all of the terrifying parts (like climate change). They talk about merging storytelling with informative science and how her background in planetary and geological sciences was the foundation for this world. They also bring up heartbreaking families and triumphant character growth. Lilly has also now developed an obsession with Blue Dragons
If you want to read more from Patty, her website is https://pltavormina.com/
You can also find her on twitter at https://twitter.com/pltavormina
Thanks to the following musicians for the use of their songs:
- Amarià for the use of “Sérénade à Notre Dame de Paris”
- Josh Woodward for the use of “Electric Sunrise”
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
*this transcript is AI generated, please excuse the mess.
Hello, and welcome to fiction fans, a podcast where we read books and other words, too. I'm Lily. And I'm
Sarah. And we are so thrilled to be joined by Patty tavern Nina, author of Arrow voyant to talk about her book today.
Hi, I'm so excited to be here.
Welcome to the podcast. Thank you.
Thank you so much for joining us. Before we do start discussing error avoidant. Couple of quick intro get to know you questions, starting with probably the hardest one will ask you all day. But something great that happened recently.
Well, I am so excited to be able to announce that I have rhubarb and raspberries growing in my garden. So this is something I've tried to do since like 2000. And finally, I'm convinced that I have rhubarb and raspberries growing in my garden. So I'm so that's one, but I'm going to give you some more. Excellent. It's been a great week here in Southern California. So I'm also happy I went to poke around happy climate news, real briefly to see what I can tell all your listeners about things that are going well as regard climate change. And I'm thrilled to tell you that there is a coral reef near Fiji that's recovering. And that tells us that these coral reefs can recover, which makes me very happy. And also for the first time in Europe, electric cars have outsold diesel cars, which I think is great. And also I'm happy to report that Greenland has banned fossil fuel exploration. So it's been a good week here.
Those are all very excellent things. Yeah,
holy shit. We don't usually get guests who actually do their homework to tell us like a ton of great things. That's awesome. Mine is that I made dinner. Not only with as broad reaching significance, but I did get to use lemons from Sara's garden for when I took a road trip recently and stole some lemons from her and some beats from my garden. So it felt like a very, like, long distance collaborative dinner. It was I don't know
if you stole them so much as I threw them back to beg you to take them from me.
Okay, that too. There was.
So my good thing is that the mama bird that had made a nest and had babies on my back porch, came back and had more babies, which is really cute. Like seeing the little birds there. And hearing them pooping when they want food does mean that I can't really open my back door, or I can't get out of my back door. And they have pooped all over the little like landing to go downstairs.
I'm told babies do that.
Find their cute. Yes, my good thing
is very good. Yes. Right. And also, what is everyone drinking this evening? I am drinking frozen A which is Rosae blended with frozen watermelon because it's 97 degrees in Seattle. It's not supposed to be that hot here.
Sounds like you need some frozen.
I do. And I get to complain about the weather because it's on topic for this. Why is the summer getting shorter and hotter every year? Gee.
Well, it's strange that it's in Seattle that to hear that sort of temperature, you know, at like 630 in the evening. That's remarkable. So I'm drinking in my book, which we're going to talk about a minute I wanted to have tea but I you know, there's something about you're not supposed to have people drinking tea, and I thought well, I could nerd out about it. So tea is actually made from a plant called Camilli Camelia sinensis I think, so I decided to call my tea kampsen from those two names, kampsen brews, so I'm drinking kampsen brew tonight. I
was reading the appendices you included. And I came across that and I hadn't made the connection. I actually grow the tea plant and might not very successfully but I do have some growing in my garden. So I like I knew what the what the name was. But I didn't make the connection when I was reading the book until I saw that note in your appendices. And I was like, Oh, I love it.
It's so nerdy.
I am drinking a DRAM of whiskey because I got an email in my inbox today telling me that it was national Scotch day, or national whiskey day. So I was like, I guess I you know, the world is telling me that I have to drink whiskey.
I'm sure it was a very hard sell. Yep. All right. And one last question. I'll start with the answer is no. Have you read anything other than arrow voient lately?
I'm reading some historical fiction right now. I actually I checked To help 30 books from the library, I went on one of these massive halls where I just was like, I'll take this one and this one and this one, I went to four different branches came home, came home with these stacks, because I was determined to find titles that it takes me a while to really find a title that I love. But they're all historical fiction. They're a bunch of different authors. And there were two that I really love. And I loved them so much, I went to Barnes and Noble and actually bought them. One is called the great circle, which is tells a fictional story about a woman who circumnavigated the globe in an airplane, but she does it through a polar route instead of you know, whatever the equatorial route would have been. And it the the writing is stunning. And then the other one that I just started a couple nights ago was called Arctic fury. So I guess I guess it's hot here too, because I'm trying to escape. But the Arctic Fury is about a woman who leads and I didn't realize that till just now they're both about women going to the polls. This one's about a woman who leads an expedition to find a lost a lost man. I'm only about 50 pages in but he's lost up in the Arctic. And they're both really, really good.
They both found intriguing.
And the Arctic sounds pretty good right about now.
I started reading a novella, the difficult loves of Maria Makiling. By Wayne Santos. I'm not very far in, but I'm enjoying the writing so far.
So I feel like I've heard that author's name before that. I'm
not sure where I know he's on Twitter.
Maybe on Twitter. Yeah, yeah.
Well, the book I did read this week was air avoidant by our wonderful guest. So let's talk about that. Now, Patti, when you reached out about doing this collab with us, you mentioned that a lot of the inspiration, that doesn't even quite sound like the right word, but the exigence for this book came from your career as a scientist, and I was wondering if you would tell us a little bit about how that inspired
you, you know, I had a couple different avenues to talk with people as a science, you know, when I worked at Caltech, and then I was also teaching at various universities and colleges in the area. And so I had time to talk with students and talk with colleagues and you know, all that kind of stuff, which was great. And, you know, it's good to go to conferences, and you get all of that very high level kind of, you know, stuff that is really exciting. But it was really clear to me that we were sort of in a loop with one another where we were talking about, you know, either how to, I don't know, I mean, a lot is just a lot of new research that would be published in journals, which would be read by other scientists, but maybe wouldn't make it out into popular media so easily. And it just seemed to me like with climate change, more and more and more and more pressing every year, that I wanted to take what I learned, I was in geological and planetary sciences. So I was just, you know, interacting with all these folks who worked on, it was so cool, you know, everything from earthquakes and seismic zones to to methane signatures in the atmosphere, to the deep ocean to other planets, it was just really cool stuff. So I was able to just bring some of that into fiction, and hope that by doing this, that some of the really cool conversations that I enjoyed having would sort of trickle out to new audiences. That
kind of ties into our next question, which is like you obviously, as you say, you have a very clear message that you're trying to get through in this book. Can you talk a little bit about choosing like a fictional future humanity as the medium for the message, rather than setting it on a present day earth or future Earth?
Yeah, I had two reasons for that. One was that I do see some, I see, I see fiction set on earth that deals with climate change. And it's great, it's told either through like a personal journey of loss, or it's sort of told in this dystopian lens of, you know, when the ice caps melt, we're all going to be flooded, and we're going to live in a water world or, you know, or a desert world or something like that. And I felt like I didn't really want to be in that space. When I was writing, I felt like I wanted to be back in the past, I wanted to be in the past, I wanted a simple sort of agricultural society. And I've wanted to remove the climate topic, from the guilt that we feel because I think that some of us at least feel guilt about, you know, climate change here on Earth. So it becomes hard to approach the topic. I felt like by removing it to a different world, maybe it could be an adventure, a nice place to sort of spend time with in our reading mind, and still be able to talk about Earth through the abilities that these people have brought with them from Earth so many 1000s of years earlier.
That's actually a really good point about a lot of climate fiction being dystopian, which yours is definitely, definitely not. I mean, there are some aspects of I
wouldn't call it a Utah Yeah,
I struggle with that. I don't know what it is and sort of post apocalyptic, but it sort of isn't. So I'm not sure what to call it. Exactly.
Yeah, but it, I think you're right, when you say that it doesn't exactly fit in with the, I don't know, predominant vision of climate fiction that we see these days, or that I'm familiar with, anyway.
Yeah. Yeah, there were four, I can't remember all four. But I know there were four, sort of, I'm just gonna call them lies that the skeptics would talk about, they aren't really lies, but they're like four talking points, I guess. And one of them is that carbon dioxide is good for plants. And it drives me nuts. When skeptics come out and say, well, carbon dioxide is good for plants, and therefore we should put more carbon dioxide in the air. And, you know, in there, there, there were four, they kept coming up to me. And so I thought, you know, how do I just deal with those four? So, so I tried to, I tried to do that as well, where it's like, okay, we're just going to devote a chapter to, you know, this conversation about co2 and plants. And we're going to devote a chapter to you know, whatever it is burning wood versus burning fossil fuel. This sounds very awful, as I'm describing, like, that's not a story. But it was sort of part of my process. Think about, you know, why? Why did I even want to write this book? And that was a big part of it, too. So
well, you just answered how you balanced science with storytelling. So that one. But going back to the genre, I think a phrase that came up when we were discussing the book was speculative fiction. I think this is a really fascinating take on. Oh, I don't think any of this is a spoiler. What does it look like when humanity gives up on Earth flees to another planet, and adapts to that new setting, and then almost immediately begins to make the exact same mistakes all over again. But I loved some of the, I guess, genetic differences, the especially the way their, their skin pigmentation changes based on the two sons, I think that was just my absolute favorite detail of this new world. It was just so cool. And that's not as I guess, pointing to the message necessarily, as some of the other aspects are that are a little spoilery. But that was just such a fun, like aspects threaded throughout the whole story. And every time it came up, I was like, oh, yeah, they're kind of purple sometimes.
It was fun. I had fun making people different colors. So I thought that was, you know, why not? We have so many colors in nature. Why not? Yeah, one of my sisters kept saying, you know, what color are they? What color are they? And I thought, I don't know. I'll figure it out.
Just the you have a, like almost the seasonality of people's skin tones was, I guess, I mean, that's not crazy. It's tanning season right now. But it's just the way it is, like the timeline is so different for this different planet, I just thought was really fun.
I want to we have a question that we're gonna ask them the spoiler section about all of the different gene modifications that you include in the appendices, but we don't necessarily see in the story itself. And I'm just gonna go ahead and ask it because Lily gave me such a such a perfect jumping off. And I'm gonna hope I'm gonna hope that there is no, no spoilers or if there are we can we can come back to that question. There is so much world building content, like all of these different genetic modifications that don't necessarily make it to the page. So what what came first for you the world building or like the storyline?
This storyline definitely came first for me. And there was really only that two major abilities that are throughout the story that I needed to have in this story. Yeah. And then I thought it wouldn't be realistic to only have two genetic modifications. And so then it's like, Okay, I'm gonna have to make this world a little more robust. And just because we're only learning about these, this small slice that gives me room to play in the future. So I think the story came first. Yeah.
How much fun did you have coming up with all the different models modifications,
I'm still coming up with like, someone says something I'm like, that's another one. It's like, oh, like there are fish who could detect one photon of light. That's another one. You know, every time someone you know, there's this blue sea slug is a sea dragon. It's a slug, but it's called a blue sea dragon. It's so cool. It actually lives in the great Garbage Patch. Among with this is nonfiction or back on Earth. Now, along with all these other organisms that have found a way to make the great garbage patch of plastic sort of a place to be their home. So which is wild and weird, but these blue sea dragons, which are also known elsewhere, they can eat man of war, which is a stinging jellyfish. Not only can they eat eat them. But then they take the stinging cells from the mantle war and they decorate their entire body with the stinging cells. So now they have that armor. And I'm just like, Ah, I've got to use that chair.
Oh, that's so cool.
That's incredible. Yeah, yeah. Awesome. If you could have any one of the genetic modifications that you've come up with, which one would it be? And why?
Oh, that's a really good question. I've never thought about that. There are some that I know the ones I know some that I would never ever want for sure. Oh, you know what I think I want I think I want the healers trait. Because the healer in my world building had and this doesn't show up in the first book. I don't think so this isn't a spoiler. They healers in my world have altered nerve endings. So imagine someone with nerve endings in their hands, when they give you a backrub. Imagine that they can detect the strain and stress in your nerve endings. So they know exactly where to pressure, you know, they know exactly what feels good to you. And so they can give us phenomenal backrub. They can reduce your blood pressure, they can modulate your serotonin levels, and this is all through touch. So that's cool. But the reason I would like to have that is because they can also tell when you are being deceitful to them through your galvanic skin response. And I think that
that sounds really useful for doctor.
I think if I could have any, I think it would be the one where you can go for several weeks without sleep, if I recall correctly. Because like I sleep, I mean, a lot of sleep. I sleep an excessive amount. And it would be nice to have those hours back. Yeah.
I'll give me all of them. I'll be Superman. The options, right?
You mentioned that there were a couple that you definitely did not want at all. Can you tell us which ones those are?
Yeah, there's one where people just live forever. This is in the news, too. And people talk about well, you know, how can we modify our chromosomes and our cellular processes so that we never age? And that sounds great. I don't want to age either. But you start to think about what it means to live forever. And I just I'm like, No, I don't want that.
I think living forever is only fun if like, your entire family and your friend group are also there with you. Yeah. And even then I imagined that you would stop enjoying it after a certain number of years.
Yeah, I feel like it would be so strange that you know, it's like you go to Disneyland. And it's fantastic. You can't wait to do all the rides, but by you know, 630 or seven or 8pm. You're like I'm done with this. I feel like that's how that's how life would be. I feel like I don't want you know, endless centuries of it. But more health would be great. You know if they can do that with some of the cellular changes that they sometimes talk about doing?
Yeah, I don't know about living forever, but being 20 for 100 years. Sounds fine. That's true. We mentioned earlier the footnotes in error avoidant for the appendix. But there are also several footnotes in the book that tell the reader about mentioned events that actually have entire stories of their own, that can be found on your website. And I was wondering how sort of dependent these stories are on the novel itself? And could this possibly be a way for a reader to sort of dip their toes into the world? Before jumping into the book?
Definitely. But I'm glad you brought it up, because I've rewritten one of those stories. And I'm in the process of rewriting the second of those two stories. And I'm really debating whether to leave those original ones on my website or not. Yes, definitely people could but they were very sketched out, they were not developed to the same extent that the novel was up, people could read them for sure. And people who have, like within my reader group, people who have gone to read the shorter stories separately from the novel, I think they appreciate seeing a little more detail to flesh out the world and all that you'd learn a little bit more about the relationships between people and so on. And I should say, too, that they both take place before the novel. So in that sense, you know, they're not at all dependent on the novel because they predate it like a prequel. But if you guys have any idea, you know, it's like, I do, do I leave on the website or we just stick a note on there saying, you know, if you'd like these, you can email me. I'm not sure what to do. I'm publishing that the better versions of them. Those are those are going up on Amazon.
I love the idea of the note. And I just thought process of what an early version looks like. compared to a more finished version, I think is really cool.
Oh, that's true. Oh, yeah. So So I think you're saying that I should leave them there, but maybe say these are early versions. And you can see how this developed. Yeah, that's a that's a cool idea. I like that a lot. I think it's cool. Yeah, sort of archaeological or something.
Before we move on, I realized that we've talked a lot about the climate message in the novel, but not necessarily the actual, like storyline, like the the plot of the novel. Can you give us a brief summary of what happens like the elevator pitch for the book?
Yes, the elevator pitches along the lines of You know, if we could see carbon dioxide, would we change the way we lived? That's it. But you know, when we saw small, we took care of it. And when we saw the ozone hole, we took care of it. You know, when we see pollution, we try to take care of it. So what if we could see carbon dioxide? So that was the elevator pitch. So I have a girl who can see carbon dioxide, I have a young man who can live through earth history in his mind. And together they can they they are history and science, she ends up being on the run for her ability, because the fossil fuel industry doesn't want her to see their emissions. Shocker. Yeah, that's crazy. They wonder profits, man.
Yeah. I have some very strong reactions to Alphonse and Murta. But I think we should save those for the spoiler section. So I can talk about them all the way instead of just dancing around it awkwardly. So before we move on, Sara, why should you read this book,
you should read this book, if you like science fiction that blends science with storytelling, and that has a lot of complex interpersonal relationships. This is definitely the book for you.
Yes, sci fi based in actual science and not reverse the polarity is always really nice.
I think, Patti, you do a really good job of making it accessible to people who don't have a science background.
Thank you. for that. Thank you. That means a lot to me. To avoid
spoilers skip to 40 to 35. So, Patty, you mentioned we talked a little bit about you know, the world versus the storyline. And I was just wondering, how much do you plan out before you started writing this book?
That's a good question. I think my process is changing. I think with this one. I think I knew it up to the climax, but I didn't figure out really the resolution following the climax. Yeah, I think in fact, yeah, it's interesting that Yeah, I mean, I don't want to go on and on about oh, and then I had this idea that but I had so many ideas. It's like, for a while I thought they were going to sail off in boats at the end and go to another part of the world because I thought that would be fun. So I had this image in my mind of Alphonse and Mirga on a boat heading off into the sunset. That never happened. So you plan and then it turns out different anyway.
Speaking of scenes that don't happen, and surprises when planning were there any scenes that surprised you that did end up making it into the book, rather than the surprise being there omission.
We in Split we're in spoilers now is that right? We're in spoilers. So
you can you can full on spoil this book. Okay.
Well, I did not expect Alphonse to fall in love with Odile. I really, didn't I and the first time they're together. I'm like, Oh, my God, you know, and I had heard about this, that this was a thing where your characters do things that you don't expect. So yeah, that totally threw me for a loop. Yeah, us too.
I will be reading the summary of this book. You know, there's a, a male character and a female character and they go through this adventure. I was like, Well, if there's a romance, it's going to be between them, right?
Yeah. I and I kept thinking that up until maybe like about the middle of the book, or like two thirds of the way through the book, because like, Odile, kind of I don't want to say she rejects him necessarily, but she's very focused on her own goals of getting the truth out about Renovo. So I was kind of thinking well, okay, so there, they have this feeling. She kind of wants to use his connections. And he obviously doesn't want that he wants to be loved for his own merit. So now they're separated and he's gonna fall in love with Marta.
Yeah. Yeah, I kept expecting those relationships to go differently. And I, you know, maybe maybe I should have nudged the characters a little bit harder. But I don't know. I think Odile really ended up appreciating she loved that he was for like, he embodied a healthy planet, and that I think, was irresistible to her. You know, that was that was all I could come up with. It's like, why does she love this guy so much. And then as far as for him, he just loves her passion because she is so single mindedly passionate about it. Doing good in the world and Marta isn't. So I think, you know, Mirta has this power, but she didn't she was like, you know, I didn't ask for this. And I feel like that's something that happens to people sometimes have the ability to, to make change, and they're, you know, because of their position or resources and they're like, I didn't ask for this, why should this fall on my lap to take care of this, and then that's a struggle for them to decide if they're gonna or not. So I thought it was interesting to have her to be a person who didn't really want to save the world. And then Odile, of course, she has nothing going for her genetic wise. And so she did, she wanted to matter. And
I really loved the way that Alphonse and ideals relationship really reveals, oh, deals character to the reader. She is so passionate and focused and single minded on her, like, saving the world, frankly, that it I never got the feeling that she didn't Well, obviously she does like him. But she's still okay with using him. And that is just such an interesting, dynamic, especially from a female character, that sort of almost ruthless pragmatism that I don't think we would have gotten if they hadn't had that sort of relationship growth. And I really love that arc.
Yeah, yeah. It was really strange to play with and I wondered for a while if Alphonse I forget it. This made it into the book or not. But I wondered for a while as I was writing it, if Alphonse was attracted to her because his mother was ruthless. So maybe he had mommy issues and maybe Odile struck a chord with him that way.
It can be both. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, I like Odile a lot. She's, she's, she's broken, but she's broken in a good way. You know?
She definitely goes through some shit. Not that the other characters don't. But I think that she's the most active of them. Like, everything that she goes through is kind of her choice. Yeah. Which I appreciate it. Like I appreciated that autonomy. In her she's not just reacting to what's happening.
Yes, yeah. I think that that carries through for her. Regardless, she keeps making these choices people don't understand. She's a viewpoint character in the in the sequel to Erawan, which, which is called tele Merrick. And, and she keeps doing the same thing where she's like, you know, this is what I want. I don't care what convention is, I don't care what people expect of me. I'm trying to figure it out for myself, and I'm gonna keep making these choices. So yeah, I like her to
I thought she was a really wonderful foil for murder as well. I mean, they're, they're the other girl for each other. Right? They had such a strong friendship or relationship family with their cousin's relationship in their childhood. And then as they've grown up, Odile becomes so active, like, just in, in her fate, and also the fate of the world. Whereas murder is just so reactionary and just trying to save her own skin. And I can you blame her, she's kind of gets thrown into this, with no warning. And that is mentioned in the book that Odile had had time to sort of come to terms with the reality of their situation that they had been switched at birth, which is a wild twist, by the way. And so poor, Myrna feel like she's just trying to play catch up. From that point forward.
Yeah, yeah, she ends up in this culture where they keep their women very, it's like, this is your role, you're going to fill your role. And nobody ever questions it because it's out in the middle of nowhere, and you're going to marry this guy, and you're going to have kids. And somehow she's internalized all that and decided that yeah, I guess that's what I'm doing. Married having kids, then this power emerges in her and she's like, I have no I do and then people start tracking or, and all bets are off as to how she's going to handle that. But she does. Yeah, it takes her a while to find her agency. I think a lot of people are hungry for that by the time it shows up. But it does eventually show up that she finds her agency and starts to make her own choices about
things. One of the things that so compelling about the characters, Alphonse and Marta, is that they both go through this kind of journey, or this art of finding their agency learning to stand up for themselves, but they come to it from very different places. Can you talk a little bit about crafting these arcs to be complementary, rather than, you know, the same?
That's interesting, you know, as you're asking that I'm remembering a big sheet of paper I had were actually physically drew out because because they are the two viewpoint characters and they alternate chapters. So in that sense, it's very, you know, aibee aibee aibee. But I drew out their arcs with their chapters and I colored in Okay, where are all the plot points? You know, where is this turn and that turn in this escalation and that escalation. And then I colored them, you know, pink and blue and, and there was rejiggering. It's like, okay, these arcs are not, they're not in sync with each other. And so I had to like shuffle things around, which was fine. I mean, it's just part of like restructuring. So that was like one level of the answer to your question is that it was very physical and visual for me to shuffle things and have the arcs physically drawn out. And then in terms of them coming to it from different perspectives. Yeah, I think that I think I wanted them both to be sort of compassionate by the end. But I think that because I think that that's what we all hope for, that we attain, you know, and that our children and everyone, we want a compassionate world filled with compassionate people. And yet, we're also diverse, we all start, or are put in different places due to circumstance and backgrounds. So Alphonse comes from privilege Mirta comes from poverty. I don't know that I gave too much conscious thought about about that part of it. But I think when you do want both characters get to the same point, it will end up being complementary in the sense. I don't know if that answers your question.
No, it absolutely does. And I loved how they both needed to learn how to stand up for themselves. Even though on the surface level, it seems like Alphonse is coming from this place of power, right? He almost has a position in the government that he chooses to reject, because he realizes it would be sort of a puppet situation, versus Mirta, who has no assumptions about how much power she has over her life. And then finding out she had more maybe more than she thought it they Yeah, they just work together really well. So
yes. Yeah, that's good to hear. Yeah, I love them. I love these guys. I love I love my villains. I love all I love that from I love our Dell, you know. Poor woman and love her.
Our Dell and Oh, dear, her name starts with a C. So another Yeah, Celeste? Yes, yeah, just those two mothers are obviously sort of in mirrored situations. But then there's also Alphonse as mother. There's a lot of mothers in this book, all dealing with things differently. And fathers as well. The Parenthood in this is so complex. And we see such different approaches and reactions. How did you craft such dramatically different family dynamic?
Yeah, I don't know. I think it's a mistake. I will say this, I have seven sisters, I was raised by a woman. I have no brothers. My father died when I was six years old. So for a period of time, it was just the nine of us women under under one roof. And I think that that sort of colored how I think about, you know, roles in society. Yeah, it was important to have different characters. You don't want it you you know, you don't want your characters to be the same. Maybe I leaned into that too hard. I'm not sure.
I just was really struck by how I started off like, I guess maybe Terrence myrtos Father is the best example of this. Because my opinion of him was such a roller coaster. He didn't change that much. But the more I learned about the world around him, the more my opinion of him just like going through so many different stages. And how like FRC seems fine. And then maybe he's not so fine. But then you compare him to Alphonse as father who's just not present at all. And maybe yeah, hey, again, it roller coaster.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You know, I think I, I think what's missing if I had to critique the fathers or the parents in this book, I think what's missing is a really solid good father figure. I think that that's, I have room for that in a future project. It's so important to me to write strong women, you know, women making choices and women who weren't constrained by societal expectations. Yeah, but but that's not as, and my father died when I was six. So maybe that's part of it, too, is that I, you know, I had a stepfather. But he, I think he made the right choice and not being too involved with these eight daughters who he suddenly had, you know, yeah, it's interesting to think about how to make a good father figure as a character in a book, because that's a wonderful, wonderful kind of character.
Oh, that's interesting, because I didn't have too much fault with a friend. I mean, he obviously makes mistakes, and not great choices every step of the way. But it feels like he's coming from a good place most of the time. I don't know. I mean,
I agree with you. I think he's coming from a good place, but I got really frustrated with his inability to, I guess, see things from Virtus point of view, and like, he it felt like he was very innocent. set in his ways, and wasn't willing or wasn't able to talk to Mirta in the way that she needed to be talked to, and that she wanted to be talked to. And so he withholds all of this information from her and I, I got very frustrated on myrtus behalf. I was like, just just tell her what she wants to know, like, you would solve all of these problems if you had a frank conversation with her and treated her as an adult rather than as this child. Because like, like, I get that you have all of this guilt from essentially giving her up. But I mean, at some point, you have to move on from that.
I agree. I agree from from drop the ball there.
I mean, yeah. But I don't know when it's a character in a book. It's very easy for me to say, but he meant well, did he? Well, he certainly. Yeah, I guess it doesn't matter to murder so much. But I don't I understand his choices. Yeah,
I don't blame him for them. He didn't mean well, I just also very, like got very frustrated.
It's also really interesting how Mirta is sort of walking into this established family dynamic with no understanding of it. Yes. Like Adil tried to warn her at the beginning. You have to make them answer you in Berta didn't quite a she, I think later says, oh, I should have been pushing her. And but that's part of her growth. She has to learn how to be pushy. Whereas Odile was raised in this household and has therefore learned how to advocate for herself. And that's just another reason why they sort of mirror each other really well in the story.
Yes, yes. Yes. But Odile would not be able to make cheese she would not.
Oh, that's the thing, right. Like, I could totally see Murta moving with our Dell and from, but I cannot see. I can yeah, see Odile moving to the homestead that I think would be a disaster.
Yeah, I think that's right. Yeah, I think she would have taken two looks and said, Yeah, I'm out of here. This is crazy.
Good for her. So you gave us a couple of hints. There's a boat scene that never ended up happening. But overall, how different was this final product to the first draft? Oh, my
gosh, I doubt a single word survived. Because, I mean, I have a blog post on my website where I say that there took 42 drafts, it was like I kept redrafting. I mean, the first draft was nothing, nothing, nothing. I mean, Alphonse was there. He was talking to a priest or something. And then he breaks into verse I think. Yeah, it was nothing like it. I think the general idea I think what carried through was I want this young woman who can see carbon dioxide to be the target of the combustion industry, that that was solid, that never changed. And then I want this young man who learns what the beauty of earth through its 4.5 billion years of history, and then it's like, Well, where did they travel? When did they meet? Are they friends? Are they not friends, and there was a chapter, a chapter once, part of the chapter is still there. But when they're on the caravan, which is all these wagons driving, you know, from one side of the continent to the other, and they stop, and there's this lake and Alphonse is off Climbing a cliff and Jack and Murta are in the lake. And one draft, I had Mirta actually enumerating how many parts per million different chemicals. She's lady to check. No, I can count them. There's 460 parts per million of carbon dioxide, and or whatever it was. And that didn't survive.
Because you know, when you're trying to put the science and you don't know, how much do I put in? Yeah. Okay, put some in. And then some of it comes back.
You mentioned that there's a sequel to this book. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Yes, I can. Yeah. So this one I wanted to basically. So this first one, we deal with atmospheric chemistry and Earth history, if you think of those two disciplines in science, and then in the second one, I wanted to sort of approach sustainable energies as a topic, and eco anxiety as a topic. So because that's part of climate change to climate change is this big, multi headed challenge that we're facing, it's got all these different angles to it. So I wanted, you know, each book to sort of tackle two elements of it, you know, here's some science, here's some sociology, that it's a plan trilogy, and the third one is going to get into global economics if you can believe it, and I think ecology that one is not yet planned out, but but the second one deals with eco anxiety which is huge. and sustainable energies which are so important. So those get woven in sort of in the way that atmospheric chemistry. And geological history gets woven in through error avoidance. That doesn't really tell you what the story is. But it does kind of give you a sense of my planning.
I was going to ask is it like a direct sequel that involving the same characters? Or well, you said that Odile is a point of view character. So
yeah, so some characters, I would say, half the characters, half the named characters are completely new. And we get to spend more time with some of the week we spend a lot of time with Jack, who's I thought was a great character. And Jack gets married, he marries a nice man named Brutus, and they live somewhere else, and Odile spends time with them. And I like that relationship a lot. Mirta is not as present, as you might expect, the story takes place. 10 years later, it focuses on Odile and her ego anxiety, and what it's like to try to raise a child in a world that you know, is is facing this challenge. So she's trying to figure out, do I protect my son from, you know, from what I know, is happening and try to give him the happiest childhood? I can? Or do I try to prepare him? You know, as best I can. So I think these are real questions that we struggle with. And yeah, so it's her journey toward finding a balance between, I guess, sort of selfish preservation and the betterment of all, if I can say it that way. She's trying to figure out how to balance her life, thinking about people around her.
That sounds exactly like Odile.
Right, so Right. And it's hard for her it's
no, that also sounds heartbreaking. I don't think I'd heard the term eco anxiety before. But you know, when you hear a word, and you're like, oh, that's the word for that. I can't wait to read it. That sounds very interesting.
Yeah, it's been a lot of fun. And then I have a prequel out, which is one of the books that had been on the website. And that one is that one is shorter follows Celeste when she was a young woman. And that was a lot of fun to write. So Terrence is actually much more likable in that one that he is, and he's just a nicer man. And then I'm working on another one that mostly follows other characters elsewhere, but it's also a prequel. Yeah, lots of pots in the fire. Wonderful.
Excellent, because there's so much. It seems like there's so much about the world of Arab Wyatt, or the turret tercet. Is that the name of the planet? Like, it seems like there's so much to explore. So I'm, I'm glad that there's a lot of reading material.
Yes, there's a lot. I don't know how useful it is for your listeners to know that I periodically run my novels on sale. And I guess the way to figure out if I'm running any of my books on sale is to check on Twitter. I'm on Twitter a lot and shoot me a note and I'll let you know when the next sale date is coming up.
Well, that perfectly leads into our last question of the evening, which is where
can you be found on the internet?
I'm always on Twitter every day. I'm on Twitter and that my handle is at p l to have Urbina, which is the same as my author name. I also have an Instagram account, which I only check now and then I have a tick tock account, which I never use. And I have a website www.fawziacademy.com. And if people
want to go out and buy Erawan or the sequel or the prequels
Yes, that's place for that, that well Amazon has them all as ebook and paperback and if you don't wish to support Amazon, then you can buy the paperbacks through any brick and mortar. You can buy Erawan and tell America not the prequels.
Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us. This has been a wonderful conversation. I learned I laughed. I cried reading the book, not during the podcast
so much that I really, really really, really appreciate you guys visiting. It's so great to connect.
Absolutely. Well it's it's been a delight having you on to talk about airvoice with us.
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