Today I am interviewing Julie E. Czerneda, author of the new science-fiction novel, Search Image.
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DJ: Hi Julie! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Julie: My pleasure. I’m a Canadian SF/F author, published by DAW Books. I’ve been doing this for a living since 1997, and love it. I’ve edited anthologies and worked in non-fiction as well. My background is biology, which tends to show up in my work and daily life.
DJ: What is Search Image about?
Julie: Esen’s back and she, with her Human friend Paul, have opened their All Species Library of Linguistics and Culture for business. In short order, an interesting dilemma ensues. Well, more than one, all involving alien biology. Esen’s books are episodic, in that each is a complete story with a biology conundrum at heart, but there are threads from one to another.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Search Image?
Julie: Everything that lives. Really. Plus physics. A primary curiosity I have is about communication and how we—meaning anything alive—manages it, and why. Most of Esen’s predicaments, and solutions, come about through failure to understand one another. Incompatible plumbing. Often literally. There could be slime.
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? What makes them compelling?
Julie: Friendship. Esen and Paul are friends. This is something unheard of for her kind, a Web-being, and she continues to learn what that means in a relationship. Paul understands that about her. Despite the occasional moments of exasperation, he also knows Esen means well. Plus, Esen is a shapeshifter. Whatever form she assumes, is still her, which produces its own potential for hilarity. There’s a great deal that’s fun and warm in these books. Oh, and she explodes every so often.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Search Image like?
Julie: I’m not laughing at the question, I promise, but readers familiar with Esen’s earlier books, such as Beholder’s Eye might be grinning. There are dozens and dozens of worlds, with multiple settings, each with its alien intelligent species, its culture, bits of ecosystem, technology, social structure. Even among my Human groups, there’s a wide variation. I’ve crystalline Tumblers whose excretions are considered gems by every other species. I’ve Ganthor, who are a matriarchy and professional mercenaries. Unless co-opted for performance art. Which may have been Esen’s doing, come to think of it.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Search Image?
Julie: Being allowed to babble biology again. Esen lets me show so much of our world—you just don’t notice it at the time.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Julie: Evan Gooseberry. He’s a new character Esen meets in my enovella “The Only Thing to Fear” from DAW Books. An earnest young diplomat who fights a plethora of phobias in order to work with aliens and do good in the universe. I think we can all relate to his struggles and goals.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Search Image? Was 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?
Julie: Friendship, as always in Esen’s books. The notion that most problems between thinking beings start with ignorance of one another. The belief those can be resolved if only someone’s able to bridge the gap. Also, that science fiction should be full of wonder.
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 Search Image that you can share with us?
Julie: Goodness. Hmm. How’s this? “Look before you leap and drag everyone with you.” It’s a bit of advice Esen tries to remember.
DJ: Now that Search Image is released, what is next for you?
Julie: I’m working on a new standalone fantasy for a change, The Gossamer Mage. It comes out next August and I’m very excited about that. Then I’ll be back with Esen for two more books about her library: Mirage and Spectrum.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Search Image that we haven’t talked about yet?
Julie: I’ve put a list of alien species in the back, annotated by the Dear Little Blob herself. It’s fun.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Julie: Thank you. I love talking about Esen and her new book.
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*** Search Image is published by DAW and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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The first book in the Web Shifter’s Library series returns to the adventures of Esen, a shapeshifting alien and member of an ancient yet endangered race, who must navigate the perils of a hostile universe.
Esen’s back! And the dear little blob is in trouble again.
Things began so well. She and her Human friend Paul Ragem have opened the doors to their greatest accomplishment, the All Species’ Library of Linguistics and Culture. They’re prepared for clients to arrive, but trouble comes knocking instead.
First is Paul’s family, who’d mourned his supposed death years ago. Understandably, feelings are bent. But what matters? Paul’s father has gone missing.
Before he can convince Esen to help him search, a friend shows up to use the Library. A crisis in the Dokeci System is about to explode into violence. To have a hope of stopping it, Evan Gooseberry needs answers.
Unfortunately, the artifact he brought in trade holds its own distracting secret. A touch of very familiar blue. Lesy’s “signature,” left on all her creations. Web-flesh.
The race is on. Paul, to find his father. Esen, to search for the rest of her Web-sister while helping Evan stop a war. What none of them realize is the price of success will be the most terrible choice of all.
For twenty years, Canadian author/ former biologist Julie E. Czerneda has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY.
Julie’s also written fantasy, the first installments of her Night’s Edge series (DAW) A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow, winning consecutive Aurora Awards (Canada’s Hugo) for Best English Novel. Julie’s edited/co-edited sixteen anthologies of SF/F, two Aurora winners. Her latest is SFWA’s 2017 Nebula Award Showcase, and her next will be an anthology set in her Clan Chronicles series: Tales from Plexis. Her new SF novel, finale to that series, To Guard Against the Dark, was just released.