1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
The world needs storytellers. It’s no exaggeration that we live in strange times, and the direction we take matters, for so many generations after us. Sci-fi authors are daydreamers, wondering what comes next. If we take this path, or another, do we choke or thrive, enslaved to the machine or learning to swim? At Arch & Gravity Publishing we don’t believe in macguffins. If there’s a doomsday device in our book, it has a function, a purpose and a theory. And there is a real chance it might go off. If there’s science, we’re not going to dumb it down for you. And where there’s a story, there’s a reason why. I published my first work in the elementary school library in first grade, about a giant frog keeping people as pets, and I’ve been fascinated by character, plot, drama, science and philosophy all my life. We desperately need storytellers, characters and paradigms that might shine a light for our times. If I can be a part of that tradition, it would be no less than a dream fulfilled.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Halcyon is a city in Spain, in the future, run by psychic computers. Basically it’s a utopian vision, fifty years off, in a post-economic world where the laws have been stripped to rights, people don’t need to work and are free to do what they want. The Genex are genetically extended. Some have wings. Exploring the lives of the ensemble cast, we get a city in the throes of climate change, a love triangle stronger than death, competitive laser duels, and a mute who may defy time, among other things. Genex of Halcyon is the first publication by Arch & Gravity, Denver’s new voice in science fiction. I suppose, in short, I am inspired by the hole I see in the world, where these ideas could belong.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
Nothing we do is going to be ordinary, no story we print is going to be safe. That’s our promise to the reader. Genex of Halcyon is about the wildly different world that could be right around the corner, as we potentially come of age technologically. It’s about science fiction that isn’t afraid to push boundaries and expect something of its readers. Mostly of course it’s a love story, but it’s really all about the characters, the choices they make, and those they choose to forsake. I hope readers come away from Genex of Halcyon, thoughtful and imaginative, with something new and unique on their minds.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I’ve been a fan of science fiction and poetry for as long as I can remember. I revere creativity and intelligence, and am very curious about the future. I’ve been influenced by Wells, Gaiman, Stephenson, LeGuin, Vandermeer, Burgess, Huxley and Bradbury, but there’s no denying some Thoreau in there, even Shakespeare, and definitely Neruda and Coelho.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Azad, Harmony’s brother, the mute. I would just ask him, “What are you thinking?”
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Arch & Gravity has a following on Facebook that is about 4k strong, as of this writing. Look us up and join the conversation! We’re also active on Instagram, and I’m in the process of starting a WordPress blog for reviews and announcements as well. www.ArchandGravity.com is a great hub for exploring what we’re doing.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Take your time, but keep going. My spirit animal, depending on the day, is either a wolf or a tortoise. Self Reliance and Perseverance. These will get you there. And don’t be afraid to write the story you really have to tell. The world needs characters, drama and real imagination far more than we need another successful, formulaic series, imho. It’s going to be hard, but any story that is not even a little dangerous to the teller, probably isn’t worth the time.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I’m currently hard at work on my next novel, about a young Korean girl with a katana and a connection to an ancient force, as well as an epic, years in the making, detailing a far future on a distant planet, where the star’s radiation brings out latent psychic powers in the castaway colonists, where their dreams come to life around them, as with their nightmares. Beyond this I have two short collaborations in the works with a Denver production company, and a board game soon to hit Kickstarter. Look for Quin, which you might think of as a hybrid between Chess and Stratego, loosely based on principles of Optics and Quantum Mechanics, to go live on Kickstarter sometime this fall, published by Arch & Gravity.
About the Author
Joshua Stelling is a poet and music lover who has spent a lot of his time running record stores around Denver, building his own art on the side. In time, the stories inside the man have boiled over, becoming worlds, and his pages turned into books. Combining hard sci-fi and adult fiction with a fluent love of metaphor and poetry, his work will challenge you but leave you wanting more.