Today I am interviewing E.M. Hamill, author of the new science-fiction, Dali.
◊ ◊ ◊
DJ: Hey E.M.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
E.M. Hamill: I write as E.M. Hamill for more mature readers and as Elisabeth Hamill for young adults. Call me Lisa!
In my career life, I’m a nurse, but I’m a writer at heart every other hour of the day. I’m a total geek, lifelong scifi and fantasy addict, and I have a crippling ice cream habit.
DJ: What is Dali about?
E.M.: Dalí is a third-gender human in Earth’s future, completely shattered by the loss of their family in a terrorist attack. They stumble into a sex-trafficking plot that threatens other third-gender humans like them, and when they attempt to investigate, their own government blocks the effort. Dalí is recruited by a galactic spy organization for an undercover mission to discover who is behind the scheme, and it gives them purpose again. They have to decide how far they’ll go to get the information they need in order to stop another deadly terror attack.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Dali?
E.M.: I describe Dalí as a space opera in the same vein of Star Wars or Star Trek. There’s a large cast of humans and alien species working together to achieve things. There are also deliberate parallels drawn to the modern concerns like gender equality, LGBTQ rights, sex trafficking, and political corruption. Strangely enough, I actually finished the first draft almost two years ago, and there are some scary similarities to the current political climate in the US.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
E.M.: In the future I’ve envisioned, there is a large intersex population fighting to be recognized as a third gender for the human race. Dalí is a third-gender changeling, a mutation within this group that is neutral in their native state, but genderfluid and can assume at will the secondary sexual characteristics of a male or female. They’re completely at one with who they are: no doubts, no self-searching about being bisexual (or pansexual, as the case is with Dalí). I wanted to write a character who was completely comfortable with themselves and their sexuality.
They are also incredibly intelligent, a martial arts expert, and one hell of a diplomat, despite recovering from an unimaginable personal loss. They’re working through some self-destructive demons, so they aren’t perfect.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Dali like?
E.M.: This is approximately 500 years in the future. The Earth is so toxic after the last world war that what is left of humanity, now an endangered species, has abandoned the planet and moved out into our solar system. There are large colonies on the Moon (Luna), Mars, and Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, and they are known as the Sol Federation, or Sol Fed. Most people boast several different ethnic mixes in their genetic makeup.
Society is no longer concerned with sexuality but whether your genome is “normal” enough to reproduce and rebuild the human race. There’s a movement called the NPM, the New Puritan Movement, that is quasi religious in its efforts to ensure the purity of the human race. They’re gaining power in the Senate and passing laws that prohibit natural procreation and push for genetic manipulation to ensure the human race is genetically pure. The third-gender is not part of their vision, and the sterile changelings even less so. The NPM also hates the fact we’re having to branch out of the solar system and form protective alliances with our galactic neighbors, some of whom are genetically compatible with the human race in regard to reproduction.
The first part of the book happens on a space station in Jupiter’s orbit, then a passenger starliner, and a brief sojourn on the planet Zereid, where Dalí grew up in the Sol Fed Embassy. After that, the majority takes place on board a floating black market in space.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Dali?
E.M.: Once Dalí started talking to me, they wouldn’t stop. This book was a journey for me personally for many reasons, and a huge reclamation of my love of science fiction, which I hadn’t written in years. The freedom of envisioning the future was liberating. I could have anything I wanted as long as I could justify the science to my own satisfaction. I did a lot of research on genetics, the Hijra community in India (who basically saved the human race in my universe), and faster than light theory. Just fluffy stuff, lol.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
E.M.: So far, the people who have read it feel that it’s a relatable portrayal of a genderqueer character, one that they can see themselves reflected in. I wrote it because I wanted to see this character. Growing up I was too terrified to stand out, much less to reveal that I was attracted to males and females on an equal basis. I didn’t come out until I was much older, after one of my own kids came out as non binary. People should know they’re loved, they are beautiful and normal no matter what part of the spectrum they fall under. I’m waiting for society to catch up with what we already know: we are born this way, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing Dali? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
E.M.: I wanted to write a science fiction/spy adventure story with a genderqueer hero. Mata Hari and 007 all rolled into one. If people have to take away a message from it, hopefully it will be that people are capable of great things, regardless of gender (or lack thereof) or sexual orientation. On a more sobering note, it’s that if humanity continues on the path we currently stumble down, our future is almost certainly bleak.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Dali that you can share with us?
E.M.: This was one of the first paragraphs I wrote to describe Dali’s state of mind, and I love it:
Ochre planet-shine from Jupiter’s face illuminated the room, the swirling storms in the gas giant’s atmosphere familiar to me now. I never found them beautiful, only an echo of the chaos in my head.
DJ: Now that Dali is released, what is next for you?
E.M.: I am going to make a foray into self-publishing an adult urban fantasy called Nectar and Ambrosia, which is a snarky, irreverent novel about a pub that straddles dimensions and caters to the formerly divine. I expect it to be released late this autumn.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/ehamill
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
E.M.: Thank you for taking the time to interview me! I really appreciate it. Dalí will be available August 7, 2017 through the Nine Star Press website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo – e-books and paperback.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
◊ ◊ ◊
*** Dalí is published by NineStar Press and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Kobo
◊ ◊ ◊
Dalí Tamareia has everything—a young family and a promising career as an Ambassador in the Sol Fed Diplomatic Corps. Dalí’s path as a peacemaker seems clear, but when their loved ones are killed in a terrorist attack, grief sends the genderfluid changeling into a spiral of self-destruction.
Fragile Sol Fed balances on the brink of war with a plundering alien race. Their skills with galactic relations are desperately needed to broker a protective alliance, but in mourning, Dalí no longer cares, seeking oblivion at the bottom of a bottle, in the arms of a faceless lover, or at the end of a knife.
The New Puritan Movement is rising to power within the government, preaching strict genetic counseling and galactic isolation to ensure survival of the endangered human race. Third gender citizens like Dalí don’t fit the mold of this perfect plan, and the NPM will stop at nothing to make their vision become reality. When Dalí stumbles into a plot threatening changelings like them, a shadow organization called the Penumbra recruits them for a rescue mission full of danger, sex, and intrigue, giving Dalí purpose again.
Risky liaisons with a sexy, charismatic pirate lord could be Dalí’s undoing—and the only way to prevent another deadly act of domestic terrorism.
E.M. (Elisabeth) Hamill writes adult science fiction and fantasy somewhere in the wilds of eastern suburban Kansas. A nurse by day, wordsmith by night, she is happy to give her geeky imagination free reign and has sworn never to grow up and get boring.
Frequently under the influence of caffeinated beverages, she also writes as Elisabeth Hamill for young adult readers in fantasy with the award-winning Songmaker series. SONG MAGICK won first in category for Teen Fantasy in the 2014 Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction, and first in category for fantasy in the 2016 OZMA Awards from Chanticleer Reviews. The sequel, TRUTHSONG was released in July 2016, and a third book is planned.
Her adult short story, “All That Entails” can be found in the anthology BENEATH THE LAYERS. Other upcoming works as E.M. Hamill include an adult sci-fi novel DALÍ in August 2017, and NECTAR AND AMBROSIA, an adult urban mythic fantasy. She lives in eastern Kansas with her family, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse.
Her short story, “Burnout” was featured in Empyreome Magazine’s Flash Fiction in March 2017.