What time is it? Time for another author interview! Please welcome sci-fi author Ronel van Tonder! And if you stick around for the Rafflecopter at the end, a $50 Amazon giftcard might be in your future.
Tell us about your book.
It’s a dystopian science-fiction novel set in the not-too distant future. It takes place in South Africa, approximately the Johannesburg/Pretoria area. Sunny savannah, highveld. A hint of lions.
After a solar storm knocks out the world’s power grid, martial/military law takes over. Friendly SUN Corporation builds a few domes, shoves as many people in there as they can, and leave the rest to their fate. The people in the domes flourish with the absence of money and the influx of technology, while the people outside scrape an existence under a harsh military dictatorship.
It follows the story of two women from separate halves of this new world as they become inextricably tangled in a web of conspiracies and deceit.
But despite how I make it sound, it’s a really harrowing, roller-coaster kind of book.
What’s the book’s opening line? Why did you start there?
Okay, I’m really old-school when it comes to novel formats. I believe in prologues and epilogues. So this is the prologue:
“Eric came to a stop, listening to the girl’s terrified whimpers as he moved through the old farmhouse, floorboards protesting his weight in a series of creaks and groans.”
Since the first chapter starts at a future ‘disco’ I didn’t want potential readers to be put off by the ‘fluffy’ feeling in the first chapter. There’s some sinister stuff going on in the background. And that’s what the prologue is for. It’s a snippet from the events of “Black Sunday,” the day the world went dark.
The stark contrast between that prologue and the opening chapter where we meet protagonist number one, Peppermint, should be sufficient to give an idea of the ensuing discordancy found throughout the rest of the book. The second chapter then heads over to Jinx, the second (diametric) protagonist.
What do you most enjoy about writing?
It’s like a strange superman(woman) moment.
Take (1x dull and dreary website designer) + (keyboard) x (imagination) = creator of fantastical worlds.
I love my life, so it’s not about escape. But I feel like after I’ve written something that it was a story that had to be told. A character that had to die/feel pain/love/live/experience. A plot that had to be unraveled. And an ending that had to be ended.
Please share a writing tip you’ve found helpful.
Write every day. Every day. No exception. Every single day. Even if it’s one sentence.
Write every day.
What interests you about science fiction?
I’m a tech geek. I love PC games and anything to do with technology, so I suppose science-fiction is a natural genre for me to dabble in. I just… get it. Not the hectic “insert formula for plasma rifle here” kind of stuff, just the more techy stuff. Like, I was easily able to imagine where technology was headed, and did my best to do it realistically. Hopefully it shows.
What distinguishes your book from the other sci-fi stories out there?
There’s so much geekery in it, you can technically be classified as a geek just by finishing it.
I put a lot of time and effort into creating the tech, the world, and the characters. So they’re mine. Wholly, completely, mine. I suppose that would be the epitome of unique.
Why is this story structured as a trilogy?
It’s how the story wanted to be written. I’m usually powerless to resist such explicit instructions.
I could envision three different covers, three different titles, and three different (epic) endings to each book.
What’s your day job? Does it influence your writing in any way?
Yes… and no. The tech and software et cetera that I’ve been exposed to during my working hours has definitely made research minimal. But it in no way influenced any of the story points or characters.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Mirror, Graham Masterton. Man that’s one creepy-ass book. Think Alice in Wonderland with some demons and cherubic (yet ghastly evil) children. It’s a really great book.
Who is your favorite fictional character? (Any medium)
Darth Vader = Force choke/Light sabers. Need I say more?
If you could have one super-power, what would it be and why?
Max Payne’s Bullet Time. I could finish an entire novel in a weekend. Awesome.
What’s next for you?
Completing the series. Then starting a new series (also sci-fi – space opera). Then starting a paranormal series. Then two horrors and a book about a talking dog. Don’t laugh.
Where can people learn more about your work?
My website! Everything’s on there. Including some of my favourite memes, chapter reveals and competitions.
Oh, and all my social media links:
Tell us one fun fact about yourself.
I cross-dress on Tuesdays. Ha, ha, ha – no, I don’t.
Okay, I do.
No, really, I don’t.
Thank you, Ronel!
Ronel is also running a giveaway for a $50 Amazon giftcard. So you might want to take a look at this: