Gamma Nine by Christi Smit
I’m so happy to be able to bring to you an interview of one of the most passionate, most creative authors in the self-publishing world: Christi Smit, author of Gamma Nine.
Now, hopefully you guys checked out the book review, but Gamma Nine is an epic sci-fi story based hundreds of years in the future and revolves around a military group defending the universe from a deadly plague. The world is rich, the characters unique, and the story is well told. I was lucky enough to wrangle Christi into being my first interviewee, and he gratefully accepted the challenge!
Gamma Nine debuted in the #1 spot on KOBO in its categories, and was #1 for a week in the top 50 sci-fi books and was in the top 10 for a week in the overall top 50. Smit not only put a ton of effort into this premier novel, but he also created a program in which readers can share creativity and become involved in the Gamma Nine universe. Called the Star Explorer Program, readers and fans can contribute pieces of art of the Gamma Nine universe; drawings of characters, spacecraft, planets, etc. Smit crafted this welcoming contribution to create a community of sci-fi lovers who want to express their love of the novels. And speaking of novels, a new (free!) novella will be out TODAY, and click here to download it as an epub. I will put all of Christi’s links at the bottom of the interview, but don’t hesitate to check out his main website here for more info about his books .
Without further ado, let’s learn about the author behind the story: Christi Smit!
- Gamma Nine is an epic science fiction novel that combines an artfully described universe with technical and tactical accuracy. Did you have to do a lot of research for the militaristic and advanced tech scenes? If so, what resources did you use, and how did you meld accuracy and creativity?
Before I wrote Gamma Nine I wrote a 15000 word technical document as part of my universe building. I used it to set the stage for myself and as a history lesson for the universe. It still contained a story and some of the characters present in the current novel. The ZERO chapters are a shortened less technical history refined from that document. While I was writing this technical document I used previous knowledge from media and the internet to fill in the smaller gaps. However, as most of us know these days – when in doubt Google it. I spent hours upon hours reading scientific journals, articles and information about cell structure and how the mitochondrion functioned within a cell and my imagination took that information to create the Beast. I read about faster than light travel and all of the theories and hypothesis on the subject. But sometimes you have to connect reality to science fiction somehow. My explanation for some of the things contained within my novel are outside of what we understand as reality, what is and what is not possible. That is where science fiction comes in and connected what we know to what we wished we did or could. It also helped that I read mostly science fiction novels, so to a degree I know what has been done or has been tried and that foundation is what helped me write Gamma Nine.
- Will this fabled technical document ever be released? And how does it differ from the current novel?
I might release it as a fun thing for fans should there be enough of them to inquire about it. I still have it here somewhere. The technical document, named The History of Us, differs to Gamma Nine by great lengths. There is far more information on weaponry and military structure. It also contains detailed infection situations and contains a longer version of the original outbreak described in the ZERO chapters. A few other differences would be the formation of the P-SEP program and the birth of the first Star Explorer vessel, BEAM drive information, universe exploration with a few planets thrown into the mix and the birth of the first Titans. The ending is also different from the ZERO chapters. But that I will leave to readers once I release the raw document sometime in the near future.
- This is kind of a two-parter: Is science fiction your favorite genre to write? Why do you write scifi?
Science fiction has always been my favorite genre. It allows my imagination to run free and that is when I am at my best. Horror and Fantasy are genres I also love, but I feel a greater connection to the worlds of science fiction and all of its sub-genres. I have more than this one story planned for the Gamma Nine universe and even more new and exciting projects after the Gamma Nine Trilogy has concluded. There might even be a second trilogy or more stand-alone novels in the Gamma Nine series depending on how much the readers love the universe. That is how much I love writing science fiction. I would keep writing it as long as people wanted to read it. The universes, mine and others, are just places to get lost in and I thrive on the information written into science fiction novels. The details and scope of it all just makes my knees go week whenever I get stuck into the genre. Because of that and many other reasons, there was no choice in the matter when I decided which of my stories to write first. Science fiction bit me when I was a child and I have never regretted making my first light saber noise or begging my parents for spaceman action figures. Nowhere else can your mind leave this planet and see through the eyes of some distant star traveller, nowhere.
- Which character of yours did you enjoy writing the most? Was one of them particularly difficult to write?
I enjoyed writing Pyoter, Sam and Xander the most. I love writing characters with strange quirks and a good sense of humor. Sam has not shown the depth of his humor yet, he is quite shy, but he will. Rivers was also a particular favorite of mine; he features in my most favorite part of the novel. But I won’t spoil it for those who have not read the novel yet. Nathan was difficult and so was Christian, for personal and other reasons. It was sometimes difficult to separate reality from fiction in some cases while writing them.
- What was the hardest part of writing Gamma Nine?
To keep writing. Some days I would wake up and refuse to write. Other days I would start writing and not stop until I have the perfect scene. I do not know why that is but I guess it comes down to stress and all of the work involved in self-publishing. At first the novel would have been 80000 words, then 100000 and it ended up on 124000. So that shows you how much of a day to day struggle it is to keep to your schedule and ideas of what your novel should be. That is also one of the hardest parts I think.
- Are you an outliner or a freewriter? (Meaning, did you plan each scene before you wrote or did you just let your ideas take you where they wanted to?)
When I was studying creative writing I came across an article describing the different kind of writers and how they go about their work. I was intimidated at first when I read about organic writers, those lucky few who plan very little but can write great stories. At that time I was still an undefined and unrefined writer. With practice I started noticing that I was becoming more and more organic as my courses progressed. Most of the courses forced you to plan and show your outlines for everything you did. I did not enjoy that way of writing. It was not until I started my first real project – the document mentioned earlier -that I became truly free to write as I wanted to. I do not plan except a start and end point. I know where I want to begin and I have a vague idea of how the first arc needs to end. Other than that I sit down and I just write. Sometimes I would imagine future scenes or get ideas while I am doing the mundane day to day things. I even dreamt about some things in the novel because it consumed my entire life while I wrote it. I have a notebook I write some things in, but mostly they are just ideas like the names of a vessel or character I thought of or heard that sounded great. Planning just seemed unnatural to me. I write and the story creates itself as I go along. At least 60% of the novel was decided as I was writing a scene. It sounds strange to other writers but even now I already have an idea of Book 2’s start and a little peek into an end, the middle part will be created as I put pen to paper. The only thing I know is some new characters and some scenes I want to put in, but nothing is set in stone and all of it is floating around in my mind. The same goes for the short story I am writing now. I knew what I wanted to write about and the name, the rest I made up every time I sat down to write.
- Which writers inspire you?
There are so many. But Orson Scott Card was the one that inspired me to write all of the things stored in my head. His foreword in the original Ender’s game was life-changing. My future wife pushed me to get off my lazy behind and hone my skills and Mr. Card was the trigger.
- Why did you choose self-publishing and what part of self-publishing appealed to you?
It was the only option at the time that would get my work out there as fast and easy as possible. I wish I did try the traditional route but the genre I chose is not very popular in publishing houses in my home country. I did the research and taught myself about self-publishing and it seemed like the best option. Maybe, or should I say hopefully, I will get published traditionally sometime in the future. I guess it comes down to luck in the end. I regret not sending my manuscripts to publishers in other countries though, something I need to do for the next book or series.
- What are your writing goals?
I have only one. I want to share my stories with others. I want those people that read my stories to put the book down at the end and feel as if I transported them away from whatever was bothering them at the time. It would be great if a reader contacted me and told me that my writing meant something to them, or even just kept them busy for a while. I want my stories to reach people, emotionally reach them to maybe help them through a difficult time or just make them smile, even if it is just once. If I can connect to a reader like that, then I consider myself a lucky man.
- Do you have any book recommendations that you’d like to share?
Would it be cliché to recommend J.K Rowling, Tolkien or the great Orson Scott Card? Even if it is, read whatever you can find with their names on it. Their writing is beyond the fantastic and borders on perfect in my opinion. Although Tolkien purely because he created what we know as fantasy today, without him we would not have all of the wonderful stories we have today. If you want to read something quirky and fun, read Felicia Day’s book You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost). It is worth it.
Thanks everyone for reading and I hope you enjoyed the interview! Definitely check out Smit’s book, the first in his series. Hopefully this is the first interview in a series, so if you liked seeing and reading this, please let me know!
For more info about Christi Smit and Gamma Nine, here’s the info you need:
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