Have you done any research into your ancestors? What interesting surprises have you discovered?
One rather big surprise when researching my maternal ancestry was that my great, great grandfather was transported to Tasmania from Liverpool, England. At the tender age of fifteen he was convicted of stealing a piece of calico and sentence to seven years in Van Diemans Land.
Previously he had stolen two game cocks but had escaped punishment. Who knows what age he was then. The poor lad was on the transport ship, William for 127 days. Many did not survive the journey.
What is astonishing is that he made his way back to England at the age of 38, which was very unusual, most stayed after their sentence was complete (if they survived). But my great great grandfather, married a local girl in Tasmania and brought her back to England with their young daughter.
It shows an incredibly strong character and physical strength to endure.
Science Fiction is a story based on the impact of potential science, either actual or imagined. It is one of the genres of literature that is set in the future or on other planets. The title is often shortened to SF or sci-fi. This genre typically deals with imaginative concepts, such as futuristic science and technology, space and time travel, even faster than light travel but also parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. The narrative can explore the potential consequences of scientific and innovation ideas developed to extremes.
Science fiction elements can include:
A temporal setting in the future with alternative timelines or in a historical past that contradicts the known facts of actual history
A spatial setting or scenes in outer space, on other worlds or even subterranean earth.
Characters do included aliens, mutants, robots and other imagined or predicted beings.
Technology can be futuristic or plausible. Examples being teleportation, mind control, ray guns and super-intelligent computers.
Scientific principles that contradict accepted physical laws, such as time travel.
New and different political or social systems.
Imagined future history of humans on earth or other planets.
Characters with paranormal abilities, such as telekinesis or telepathy.
Other universes or dimensions and travel between them.
Space opera, which is an adventure science fiction set mainly or entirely in outer space or on sometimes distant planets.
Utopian fiction, which portrays a setting that agrees with an ethos believed by the author of another reality.
Dystopia fiction, a portrayal opposed by the authors ethos.
Time Travel fiction where by utilizing a vehicle of some kind an operator can select a time period and purposefully travel there.
Military science fiction, where there is a conflict between national, interplanetary or interstellar armed forces.
Superhuman stories reflect the emergence of humans with abilities beyond the norm.
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic
Apocalyptic fiction covers the end of civilization through war, while post-apocalyptic deals with the near aftermath of such a war.
Steampunk and dieselpunk, this genres are based on a futuristic technology existing in the past (usually the 19th century) and often set in the English Victorian era. They do contain prominent elements of science fiction through the use of fictional technological inventions.
Cyberpunk and biopunk. This is a reasonably ‘new’ genre emerging in the early 1980’s. It combines cybernetics and punk with a time frame usually in the near-future with dystopian settings.
Have you written a science fiction story/novel? Care to share?
I have a YA novella, Clickety Click that deals with aliens living in secret on Earth. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/679515 https://www.amazon.ca/Clickety-Click-Mandy-Eve-Barnett/dp/1927510856
And my latest YA novella, Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria is set on another planet. Launch early 2018.
I also have a steampunk inspired, The Toymaker (7K words) that may become a novella in the future. Time will tell.
Do you try writing in different genres? What has been your experience?
When I write it is effortless and energizes me so much, I can write for hours at a time. I have always thought out my plot for months before I write, so when I do, it just rushes to my fingers and onto the paper. I do not edit when I write, I get the story written as fast as I can, and then I go back once it is complete.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I am not sure what you mean, but Kryptonite-weakened Superman. The only thing that could slow me down was trying to write something without hours of thought. I would have to think about something for hours, days, weeks or a month or so before I begin writing. Then once I get going, I am a force to be reckoned with, and little will stop me.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I am writing all of my novels under my maiden name. VJ Gage for the Chicago Heat series and Vaunda Lynn Gage for the kid’s books. The adult books are explicit, and I did not want to confuse the reader by using the same name.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I have not stepped out into the world to know many other authors, but this year will be different. I need the support of others and to find out what has or has not worked for them. I am just starting on marketing etc. and now is a great time to meet other authors.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Yes, I have a seven book series called Chicago Heat. I have published two with a third out this March. The children’s book is seven novella’s about seven cousins who have adventures with mythical creatures in the Okanagan Valley. I am working on a second series.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Linda at Dream Write Publishing, she has been great, and she has helped to make my children’s book educational as well as a fun read. Her art for the book has been exactly as I imagined and she was priced right, and we met our deadline.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
As a child, I never slept much, so I began to read early. By the time I was ten or twelve, I could write a book report “likity split,” and, I could write several in a very short time. So I began to sell extra book reports for those who did not read.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Anything that was written by Janet Coldwell.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My first thought is an Eagle, it sores high and has a great view of its landscape. But in thinking further, I am more like a busy beaver. When I get an Idea, I will go to work on it until I have completed my task, or I have figured out it is not worth my time. I can be deadly when I get an idea into my head.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I have four in my “Chicago Heat” series. One romance, and two for my children’s series.
What does literary success look like to you?
It would be that many thousands of people have read and enjoyed my books. I would want them to say they could not put my books down and that my plots are unique and clever, and that I have a great imagination. Then I would like to make lots of money.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
What would we do without the internet? When I am writing, I have my tablet close by, and I can look up any information I may need. When I need some information, it is close at hand.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
I may not be able to write for days or weeks at a time. I still have a full-time job, and I took care of my mother and dad full time for the past ten years. Both have passed and now my time is open to many more hours to write.
How do you select the names of your characters?
My main characters in my “Chicago Heat” series are based on the personalities of my own family. Dennis Kortovich is a profile of my husband. Veronica, his wacky wife, is a profile of me. Many other characters are based on the personalities of my family or friends. The children’s novels are based on real children and adults.
What was your hardest scene to write?
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I found out I am great at killing and that I have a unique ability to be in the mind of the killer. I like exploring both sides of the crime. I don’t like a soft “Who Done It” I think fast and hit hard.
17. How long have you been writing?
I started in earnest when I was fifty.
18. What inspires you?
Writers, like Dan Brown.
19. How do you find or make time to write?
I may not write every day or sometimes not for weeks. When I do sit down to write, I can go at it for several hours, and I have done up to twelve thousand words in one season.
20. What projects are you working on at present?
I just finished the final edit of The Bible Killings, and this novel should be out by March. I am trying to figure out how to market my books at this point, and I am putting most of my time and effort into this for the next while.
21. What do your plans for future projects include?
To edit and publish at least one more book next year. They are all written, but I need to edit the other four. I will also putter away at the children’s novel. I am writing a second on for Mysteries at the Lake.
Visiting family at the lake during the summer is a wonderful tradition for Canadian cousins: Wyatt, Kadence, Nyomi, Jack, Sophie, Cash, and Cruz. Join them as they share their vacation with you. Discover the secret of Lake Okanagan. Hike the trails and spend time in the amazing forests and cliffs as the seven cousins make friends and solve mysteries with mythical and magical neighbors.
Ride the waters and take in the sun—whatever story they share around the evening’s campfire with hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows, it’s sure to be a memorable one!
V.J. Gage has been writing for over three decades. “Celebrity Lunch,” her weekly column in the Sherwood Park News, featured mini biographies about members of her community. Her column “As I See It” commented on contemporary social issues. A successful businesswoman, with many diverse interests, Vaun is also a recording artist, an emcee, and a stand-up comic, all of which serves to fuel the fast-paced, action-packed, serpentine plots of the “Chicago Heat” series. Vaun has lived in Sherwood Park since 1956. My father was the first fire chief for the county and my mother was one of the first women real estate agents. I have owned a business in Sherwood Park for over forty years. I now have a home based salon and I work there with my daughter. At one point I owned five salons, a clothing store, restaurant, I recorded with R. Harlen Smith and did Stand-up-Comedy and was an emcee for hundreds of events. I was also the first in Alberta to have my own Karaoke show. I went home-based almost twenty years ago.
Vaun is currently working on a series of seven novellas, featuring seven cousins, who have adventures with some of the most fantastic, creatures to ever catch the imaginations of children and adults alike.
Thank you Vaun for an enlightening glimpse of your writing life and it’s inspiration.
Join Vaun at Head Quarters, #101, 100 Granada Boulevard, Sherwood Park, AB T8A 4W2 this Sunday 14th January 2pm-4pm for the book launch of Mysteries at the Lake. Karaoke, stories, coloring books, cake, and refreshments.
As a kid, what job did you dream you would have as an adult?
My first recollection of wanting any particular ‘job’ was in secondary school (UK 11 – 16). I was art mad and spent all my lunch hours in the art room creating. Luckily my art teacher, Miss Randall was very supportive and allowed me access to all the art supplies (and some non art supplies, one of which was the large noticeboard from the main corridor!) With free rein I created to my heart’s content, I utilized not just the usual paint, clay, paper etc. but the internal workings of clocks, cellophane, paper mache, wire and a lot more.
I dreamed of designing house interiors, some alternative, some not. I even planned to use my summer vacations to dress shop windows in London high street stores. My art teacher, Miss Randall actually sent some of my artwork to the Royal College of Art. I was accepted until she advised them I was only 12!
Alas my dream did not materialize but I have experienced many forms of art through the years and now have found my niche – writing. I sometimes wonder how my life would look now if I have followed that path. Maybe my parallel self is enjoying that designing life – who knows?
Incidentally I did watch a fantastic Netflix documentary, Abstract some time ago which highlighted designers and one just blew me away. I watched and thought that Ilse Crawford: Interior Designer had my parallel life. Maybe next time round I will go that route.
A Fable is a story about supernatural or extraordinary people usually in the form of narration that demonstrates a useful truth. In Fables, animals often speak as humans that are legendary and supernatural tales. A literary genre: a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, legendary creatures, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature that are anthropomorphized (given human qualities, such as the ability to speak human language and that illustrates or leads to a particular moral lesson (a “moral”), which may at the end be added explicitly as a pithy maxim.
A person who writes fables is a fabulist.
The most famous fables are those of Aesop. Many of us were read these tales as children and they are still read to children today, in fact the moral’s within the stories are timeless.
Other cultures have there own fables, such as Africa’s oral culture with it’s rich story-telling tradition. India also has a rich tradition of fabulous novels, mostly explainable by the fact that the culture derives traditions and learns qualities from natural elements. In Europe fables has a further long tradition through the Middle Ages, and became part of European high literature. Unfortunately, in modern times while the fable has been trivialized in children’s books, it has also been fully adapted to modern adult literature.
Aesop Hans Christian AndersonGeorge Orwell
My children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue has magic woodland sprites helping their forest friends and they ‘talk’ to each other. The morals are that we need to care for each other and the environment.