Sci-fi romance author Omara Williams tells us more about her suspenseful, fast-paced and inspirational novel The Space Traveller’s Lover.
Q: You have long aspired to become an author. What compels you to write?
A: The challenge and satisfaction of creation compel me to write. My infinite curiosity makes me wonder about everything that happens in nature and, as I write, I discover more questions that need answering. Of course, working on a science-fiction backdrop, I can let my imagination run wild and often surprise myself with what I can imagine and put into words.
I keep reading The Space Traveller’s Lover and often wonder, ‘How did I imagine this event?’ And that gives me immense satisfaction.
Q: What are you most proud about concerning your debut novel?
A: I am very proud of having published it. When I first started, it seemed an impossible task.
After working tirelessly on the storyline and characters, I feel a great sense of achievement when I see my efforts realised in the form of a beautiful book that has not only a story to tell but also messages of love, self-questioning, and self-discovery.
But the proudest moments are when I get comments from my readers describing precisely the feelings I wanted them to feel when reading my book. For example: “ … the scenes were so mesmerising that you could feel it while reading. The description of each and everything has been pinpointed. The story builds up in the first half and takes up pace from its second half, and the climax will give you goosebumps …”
Q: Where do you get your ideas and information for your writing from?
A: As I am always reading and travelling to fascinating places on different astronomy projects, I had a lot of ideas in my head, and the more I thought about them, the more ideas came.
Building up on my scientific background, I knew I wanted to write a science-fiction book where I could explore the greatest questions and mysteries of our time. Then, since I have always been amazed by the power of love, I decided to mix the romantic element in my story.
Eventually, I had to sit in front of the computer and write down all these ideas. It was such a relief to see all my thoughts come to life in the form of written words on a document. After that, I could not stop!
Q: What is that one thing that makes your writing unique and different from others?
A: Set at the end of the 21st century, The Space Traveller’s Lover takes the reader on a journey to the edge of world annihilation, where all hopes of survival seem lost, but at every dead-end, there is an unexpected twist that changes everything.
As much a romance as a science fiction adventure, the narrative is fast-paced, questioning, and ultimately a story of triumph against all the odds, with an intriguing and emotionally-fuelled storyline.
This inspirational love story brings about a sense of hope and expectation as the main characters confront their intense feelings and discover the one and only thing they can’t live without.
Q: Who or what inspired you when creating the main characters in your book?
A: Most of the characters in the book are unique to the story and are inspired by it.
I created my Protagonist, Erin Lobart, to be beautiful, thoughtful, and sensitive but also determined to fight for what she believes in and cares for. She needed all these qualities to confront the stubborn and ruthless alien invaders, especially Rothwen, who inspires an irresistible attraction in her.
For my Antagonist, Kuzhma-Or, the superbly intelligent, manipulative, and vengeful Rom-Ghenshar Supreme Commander, I wanted to create an all-powerful, invincible leader that would stay in Erin’s way to save planet Earth and humanity.
Athguer, the Rom-Ghenshar chief scientist, is based on the many scientists I have read about. Mainly, however, he is a mixture of Albert Einstein and Michael Faraday.
But some characters are based solely on some of my absolute heroes. For example, Zula-Or, the Rom-Ghenshar high councillor, is based on Dame Joan Collins, and Professor Khan, Earth’s chief scientist, is based on Professor Michio Kaku.
Q: Your novel has delighted readers, but which books and authors delight you?
A: I have read many books and have so many favourite authors that it’s difficult for me to make a shortlist. I would definitely include Jules Verne, Alexander Dumas, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke in this list.
My top three books are The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov, The Black Tulip by Alexander Dumas and Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.
Q: The novel is unusual in featuring illustrations. How did this come about?
A: As I write, I like to visualise everything. So, I drew out the scenes and the characters’ physiques in detail. Then I made a wall chart where I could place carton cards containing a summary of each chapter to set up a storyboard from the initial, middle and final scenes.
As such, I had plenty of drawings that I could utilise to illustrate my book. I worked with an illustrator who helped give the final touches and then selected one for each chapter and one for the front cover.
I hope the illustrations, in addition to the narrative, help the readers immerse themselves into my book’s otherworldly scenes and unique characters.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: In my spare time, when not writing or working on software development, I love reading, listening to music, travelling, learning new languages, sky watching and attending astronomy-related projects and events.
Q: If there is one message that you want readers to take away from your novel, what is it, and why is it important to you?
A; There are many important messages that I want the readers to take away from my novel. They are important to me because they represent my values.
We live on a beautiful, unique planet; let’s preserve its rich biodiversity and delicate environment. Let’s love our planet. We can’t discard the possibility of an alien invasion, and we must be prepared. Hostility is not an option. And finally, when all seems lost, don’t give up. Love is all you need when there seems to be no tomorrow.
Q: Having now made your mark as an author, where will you go from here?
A: I am planning to write the second part of The Space Traveller’s Lover, which will explore and develop many storylines from the first. Expect more space travel, alien invasions, clash of civilisations, and dramatic love stories to make us think and reflect on our place in this vast universe we inhabit.
Read more about “The Space Traveller’s Lover” here: www.omarawilliamsbooks.com