Hello everyone! As promised here is my interview with the author of the Children of Dreki trilogy, N.R. Tupper! Check out where to find her books down below!
Born in the far northern reaches of Alberta, where trees are the majority population, N.R. Tupper spent her childhood desperately seeking entertainment. She found an easy outlet in the telling and hearing of stories and she carried this love of stories throughout her childhood right into her adult years.
For many years she did her story telling in secret, operating the shadows, whispering tales only to fellow shadow walkers but recently she has decided to step into the light and share her stories with the world.
What inspired you to write this story?
It’s complicated. NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) was on the way and I was struggling to think of a concept to tackle for the month. I ended up writing a fantasy piece about a dragon who falls in love with a human. I liked the characters but the story just didn’t work. In the months that followed I couldn’t get the characters out of my head and I wanted to tell more of their story but I just couldn’t figure out how.
Then, I saw a documentary on cults, and children who are taken from cults. With true cults (the scary kind that end in kool-aid), those who leave are often ostracized. Once they leave they are not allowed to see their families again, not unless they repent and return and in some cases the groups won’t let those who leave return at all. I found myself thinking about how horrible that must be for those who leave. They have to give up literally everything. What must it be like to know your family is trapped in lies but to also know that leaving would mean you could never see them again?
And that was how Kai was born. And from her arrival, the rest of the story fell into place.
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while writing SYX?
This was my first time writing a trilogy, I really had no idea what I was doing and I drafted the entire trilogy in one go. The problem with that is in the editing process, TYR changed significantly, as a result the draft for SYX no longer worked and had to be nearly completely gutted. The original draft had far more Syx scenes and I had a hard time cutting those out but I really felt it was needed for the story. While I don’t regret writing the entire trilogy at once, it was a struggle to go through the original draft and change it to match the changes in TYR.
What is your favourite thing about the world you’ve created?
I enjoy the spaceships, which is why there are so many ship changes, I suppose. I’ve encountered a lot of confusion about the different technological levels of the different ships but I see it as no different than cars. We have old cars and we have new cars. Old cars need their windows hand cranked and new cars have buttons you press. In the same way the ships in the Dreki universe are old, new and hybrids. And just like humans, some people just get used to things being a certain way. Kai, despite being introduced to all the conveniences of modern technology, longs for her old broken down clunker of a ship. That aspect amuses me.
I have hand drawn drafts of some of the major ships the crew encounters. I had a lot of fun making those.
What’s your favourite scene from SYX that isn’t too spoilery?
The introduction is my favourite! I can’t say too much because it would be spoilery but that entire section is paying homage to a particular science fiction theme I was absolutely fascinated by when I was a child. I wrote the entire thing in two days and it was some of the most fun I had in writing SYX.
How did you come up with the Dreki and Sarlek?
The Dreki were originally just dragons. At the end of SYX I included a ‘sneak peek’ to RYN and that passage is how the Dreki started in my head. All creatures start somewhere and I wanted to know how they started. It ended up being a kind of evolution story told through the mind and eye of the creatures themselves. From there everything just kind of fell into place through the process of asking myself questions: How do they breathe? How do they fly? How do they communicate? What level of understanding do they have? Etc. It was a very organic growth after deciding how they were formed.
As for the Sarlek, they popped into my head almost fully formed. I wanted them to be as alien as possible. Their actions make little sense to us and that’s how it should be.
When you write, do you map out the entire plot or just go where the story pulls you?
I have a bit of an eclectic writing process. My stories always start with a character. Generally once I have a firm grasp of the character, I sit down to think out what story they’re trying to tell. I generally have a firm idea of beginning and end when I start drafting but the middle takes shape as I write. So it’s a mixture of having a plot in mind but also letting the story guide me as it takes shape.
Once the third novel is out, are you planning on writing more? If so, what are you working on next?
I have many stories ready for once the Dreki trilogy is finished! I have two side stories to the Dreki universe that I want to write. One called HOPEBRINGER that tells the story of how the HOPEBRINGER was originally lost. Another called THE FALL which tells the story of how Ryn came to be what she is.
Beyond the Dreki universe the next story I plan to write (in early 2018) is a YA supernatural comedy about a girl who accidentally kidnaps a boy.
As much as I love the Dreki universe, I am excited to explore other projects when I can, so expect to see much more from me in varied genres!