Q & A with Christina Engela
1) Tell us about your book
"Life Signs" is the second book in my "Panic! Horror In Space" series, which is available in all the usual ebook formats. It's horror-sci-fi, as you may tell from the title, and coincidentally, I've actually just revamped (bad pun, sorry!) the series with new covers and formatting, and it was updated online only yesterday (June 06, 2019).
"Panic! Horror In Space" is a series of horror misadventures in deep space with the crew of the I.S.S. Mercury - which, of all the starships in the elite Terran Space Fleet, is probably the unluckiest ship in history! Not once, not twice, but many times over, the same hapless crew on a supposed voyage of deep-space exploration – give or take a few dozen casualties, stumble into the weird, wake the creepy and trip over the downright terrifying and possibly even supernatural.
"Life Signs" is over 64000 words long, and like book 1 in the same series ("Static"), is divided into parts - i.e. "Part 1: Miora", "Part 2: Lange's Legacy" and "Part 3: The Big Rain"). Each part is essentially a standalone story inside the book, using the same characters and different settings, events and story fitting into a broader storyline. Think of each part as a TV episode.
Typically - at least so far, the characters in Panic! have faced paranormal elements such as zombies, ghosts, haunted items, cursed items, and "Lange's Legacy" (part 2 in "Life Signs") is the first time I brought vampires into it!
"Lange's Legacy", the story I'm submitting, is 39559 words long, and if you're looking for both volumes of "Panic! Horror In Space", you can find them on my shop site http://www.christinaengela.net where they're available in pdf, epub AND mobi format.
2) What makes your vampires unique?
Vampires have been a long-time fascination of mine, since I was a child - in fact, the very first story I tried to write as a kid, younger than eight years, was about a vampire! It was awful, but very sweet and naive - and short too, being only about three sentences long - typed on my mother's old manual typewriter!
Having done extensive research into the fictional vampire as well as the modern day vampire subculture which extends around the world, I based my vampire characters a little more on the real-world subculture type of vampire, while adding a few of the fictional characteristics in the fashion of a light sprinkling of herbs and spices over a naughty dish!
My vampires aren't undead; they don't melt in sunlight - it weakens them. Religious symbols, salt, silver and garlic have no effect on them - and unless they are pretty badly mangled up - say, by a wannabe Van Helsing trying out his new bazooka, they can live indefinitely, forever young.
The vampires in my stories ("Life Signs", "Prodigal Sun" and "High Steaks" to name a few) live in general society, but also have roles in an extensive underground society reserved for vampires and their close friends - the donors who voluntarily help feed them. Blood banks feature strongly in their food chain. They tend to frown on fellow vampires 'hunting' for a meal.
Since I write primarily science fiction, I feel this also lends another unique facet to my vampire characters.
3) If you could have a vampire ability what would it be and why?
To 'glamor' people - c'mon, who wouldn't want to be able to influence others? I'd make a better world, given half a chance. ;)
4) Is your book standalone or part or a series?
"Life Signs" is book 2 of my "Panic! Horror In Space" series, and "Lange's Legacy" is part 2 inside "Life Signs".
5) What is next for you?
I have a lot of irons in my fire! LOL! At this point, I have three series of books ("Galaxii", "Quantum", and "Panic! Horror In Space") - not including the short story collection ("Space Sucks!") and each of these has incomplete titles I'm still working on in turn!
I'm an indie author who self-publishes, I do all my own editing, formatting and design, as well as marketing and promotion... believe me, that's a full, heaped plate!
In the times when I'm not working or writing, or marketing, I'm looking at ways to improve or expand - I'd love to put my books out as audiobooks, but living in South Africa really is an obstacle to most things! Recording is expensive, and everything out there either costs an arm and a leg due to the USD-ZAR exchange rate (now at R15 to $1, and looking to get worse), or South Africa's medieval publishing and banking industries don't support. Of course, getting a couple of major publishing or movie deals might make most of my dreams come true.
Meanwhile, I keep writing - writing keeps me positive and sane. ...Although, as an afterthought, probably more the former than the latter.
About the Author:
Christina Engela is one of South Africa's most unique and skilled storytellers, having written 13 novellas in three science fiction series, and also several non-fiction titles. Best known for her realistic characterization and for casting fully-fleshed-out LGBT characters in leading roles, Christina brings her wealth of personal experience to each of her stories. With several new offerings already in the pipeline, including several standalone titles, 2020 is bound to be a busy year for her fans!
You can find out more on ChristinaEngela.net
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About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”