Ten Questions About Eye Of The Storm, By Aimee Kuzenski
I met Aimee at this year’s WorldCon, and she struck me as someone who had a professional foot forward when it came to self-publishing her work — and so here she is to talk about the results of that with her book, Eye of the Storm.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF: WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?
I’m an introvert with an extremely varied background. I’ve got training in acting and electrical engineering, I work as a technical writer, and I write speculative fiction. I train in a Filipino martial art called eskrima, which involves a lot of hitting people with sticks. This is very therapeutic.
GIVE US THE 140-CHARACTER STORY PITCH:
The god of War possesses the body of a female lieutenant at West Point, and the two make an uneasy truce while fighting War’s sworn enemy.
WHERE DOES THIS STORY COME FROM?
The book started out as a project for NaNoWriMo. After a particularly bad day at work, I sat down and dumped my frustration at stupid people into a notebook. That eventually became the first chapter of Eye of the Storm, and set War’s voice.
HOW IS THIS A STORY ONLY YOU COULD’VE WRITTEN?
I really wanted diversity and a fresh take on old material. I’m fascinated by myths, Greek gods or folktales, but I wanted it to be a story firmly set in the modern world, and that requires multicultural characters and backgrounds. I worked really hard to keep whitewashing out of my writing. For example, I asked Anthony Palumbo, the amazing cover artist, to work from pictures of Middle Eastern men. One of the benefits of calling the shots!
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT WRITING Eye of the Storm?
I hit a major plot flaw after the book was finished and in editing. It was really frustrating to realize that an important plot point needed so much rework. Thankfully, I had a lot of beta readers and a great editor, Michelle Graber.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN WRITING Eye of the Storm?
I honestly don’t even know where to start! Since I’m doing some of the grunt work of publishing and marketing myself, I’m learning a lot about the publishing industry and what is required to get a book out to readers. However, my biggest eye-opener was the research I did on women in the military. Those people go through more than I realized in order to be able to serve our country. Some of it is horrifying, some of it is exhilarating. It’s all humbling.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT Eye of the Storm?
I love my characters, and I love messing with them. I think of them almost as a flock of birds, from ravens to hawks to parrots. They’re all different and distinct to me, and I love putting myself into their shoes. I especially enjoy writing dialog, as a former actor.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME?
I would start with an editor sooner – and I already have for the next novel! Feedback is so essential, since it’s easy to miss the forest for the grubs on the trees. The sooner I have a plot hole pointed out to me, the sooner it gets plugged or removed entirely.
GIVE US YOUR FAVORITE PARAGRAPH FROM THE STORY:
“I closed my eyes, and for the first time in millennia, I shed my material form and slid into Sykes’ bloodstream like a hit of heroin. Her nerves sparked with commands that I silenced as I passed them. I took quick possession of one pathway after another as I made my way to her brain. Camilla flailed at me, the shock and confusion of my attack not enough to paralyze her, but I batted her away as she might have swatted at a fly and settled into the command center of her nervous system, testing filaments and reaction time. To my surprise, Sykes came in again for a more organized attack. She slammed into me with the mental equivalent of a haymaker, rebounding off my hastily erected shield and circling for a different angle.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AS A STORYTELLER?
I’m working on the sequel to Eye of the Storm, called To Break My Enemies. This book will focus on the second of the Four Horsemen, Conquest. The first chapter of the new book is included at the end of this edition of Eye of the Storm.