Orphan Station by John Kent
Published: March 9, 2014
Those on Orphan Station were hardened officers, working to ensure the safe and efficient transition of passengers traveling from Earth to the new colony in the Eta Cassiopeia star system.
They certainly weren’t prepared for the arrival of Selene Sotana.
When her father died, the military men of Orphan Station became Selene’s family, the corridors of the station her playground. There, Selene could be princess or cosmonaut, destined for greatness as she found new ways to save the universe from space pirates and aliens.
Selene’s life was perfect until the day the captain called on her to save a real ship. Could she be the hero of her dreams? More importantly, could she keep her secrets from the passengers she saved?
Selene waited a few seconds to jump from one corrugated grate to the next, listening to the echoes of her footfalls reverberating down the hall. It ran the length of Orphan Station. Lights blinked on as she arrived in a section and dimmed as she left for another. The hall was otherwise silent, the thrumming of the station’s machinery muffled from the public section.
Imagining herself bouncing across an asteroid, Selene counted aloud to thirty, then huffed as she leapt and landed on another grate. She was a miner, slicing through the rocky crust to gather altite, the most important mineral ever known to man. It would save Earth from its dismal existence and she, Selene Sotana, was the only person brave enough to step into the void of space to mine it.
She paused again, tucking her hair into her tattered shirt before hiking the man-sized jumpsuit higher on her shoulders, but not before her left foot caught in the voluminous pant leg and tripped her up. She threw her scarred hands out to break her fall as she crashed to the floor. “Son of a—” she hissed at the pain that lanced across her palms, then bit her lip to force herself to silence.
Selene stood, wiped her bloodied hands across her pants, and continued down the wide hallway until she came abreast of a double-wide air lock door crisscrossed with yellow emergency tape. She stepped closer to peer into the darkened bay, then squeezed her misty eyes shut as she caressed the Savir Sotana embroidered on the jumpsuit she wore. “Papa,” she mouthed, her throat too tight to release sound.
Selene frowned as the small creature following her darted closer, its tiny metal legs clicking on the floor. She sighed as it nuzzled its metallic nose against her leg, and knelt to brush its back. Her breathing slowed and her furrowed brows relaxed as her petting produced coos. “Shush, Spike. Don’t let the people hear you,” she whispered as she patted his metallic backside. He puffed his chest out before arching his back, as if he were more a cat than a dog.
1. Reality or fiction? Fiction is only a veiled allegory of reality. Fiction lets us explore far more so we can watch or read a story and get new lessons each time. Reality seems to ground the story too much so we only learn the surface story.
2. Standalone or series? That's a hard one. I have standalone novels like Orphan Station or my next one, Virtue, but I also have two series' started. They each have their benefits, but I think the standalone has more power. When you put the book down, the characters are finished. You won't visit with them unless you re-read the same story. When it comes to a series the author is more constrained. You can only do so much with the characters if you want the reader to be engaged through the first, second, and third book. It takes a powerful story to be able to lose main characters in each book without alienating your audience. Then with a series you have to find new lessons to teach or ideas to impart. The second and third books can't have the same main idea or they are just cheap ways to make more money.
That said, you might ask, what about the series that I have? The first series was the Shattered King. The characters aren't quite the same in each book and I hope that I am telling a different story and a different lesson each time. I wrote it in three parts originally, following different central characters for each section. When I got it back from my editor, it became apparent that I should flesh each section out so it was actually three books.
The second series was the one that was a bloated mess I referred to earlier. After I took a course in writing with my editor I learned that I had too many characters. Rather than have a magnum opus that stretched ten thousand pages, I started carving out different characters so I now have a series of books that followed each character separately. Because each character has their own flaws and their own lessons to learn. By having new characters, we can revisit a world, without revisiting the same story.
3. Movie first or book first? If it's strongly recommend then I read the book, but more often than not I watch the movie. I have a hard to reading any more. The same goes for playing long story oriented video games. I love them, but it makes it difficult to write so I lose touch with that side of me. Watching movies is different. It's like I get the message without having to invest twenty hours. I don't think I have ever watched the movie and then went back to read the book.
4. Fast zombies or slow zombies? Fast zombies aren't zombies. Zombies are rotting flesh. They get slower and slower. If you are using fast zombies, please have respect to the genre to call them something else. Now, that said, it's not that I don't love 28 Days Later(movie). It's just that I am a realist, even when dealing with fantasy. I like to have at least a two second explanation of what's happening. Zombie flesh rots, they have no muscles to move and then dust. Now, if you are going with the arcane, then I guess it's okay, but contemporary zombie movies or books based in the "now" ... not so much.
5. Bookmark or dogeared pages? I lose all my bookmarks and end up dogearing the books anyway.
6. Author's Choice: What do you want to ask the readers? If you could time travel, would you go forward or backward and why?
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About the Author
John Kent was born in Kingston, Ontario. He started reading at a very young age and started writing ten minutes after. He grew up on a farm where he envisioned aliens and dragons around every corner. He also has a habit of giving every animal in his growing flock an inner monologue complete with their own accents.