Author: Belinda Crawford

Belinda is an Australian sci-fi author, who lives in rural Victoria.  Her debut novel, Hero, is a fast paced, YA adventure set on a unique world with feisty young heroine and really cool genetically engineered companion animals. (Yes, I really liked it 🙂  ) 
Tell us a little about yourself

I’m nuts about horses, live with four cats and have far too few books to read (just over 250, not counting the ebooks) for my peace of mind. My favourite t-shirt features a picture of Yoda wearing sunglass and headphones at a rave; I really, really hate baby pink and if there is leftover pizza anywhere in my vicinity I will hunt it down and devour it, one delicious layer of topping at a time.

Did you always want to be a writer? If no, what made you decide to become a writer?

No. I wanted to be a zoologist, a vet, a mounted policewoman and (during my Top Gun phase) an airforce pilot, but never a writer. Even when I started writing as a hobby, I never thought of myself as a writer, and it certainly never occurred to me to do something as crazy as write a book.
One of my aunts had been telling me for years that I should write a book, but it wasn’t until I decided that hated my then job (and mum convinced me to go back to university) that I decided to give it a go.

What did you read as a child? / What writers do you believe have influenced your style? (could be TV/ Film too)

As a kid, I read a lot of fantasy; Tamora Pierce, Raymond Feist and Anne McCaffery featured heavily in my reading. They influenced the kind of stories I like, but whenever I think about the authors that influenced the way I write, my mind goes first to David Weber, in particular Path of the Fury.
Weber writes military sci-fi/space opera, heavy on the action with strong female protagonists whom he loves to put through the grinder but always come out on top. I singled out Path of the Fury because it begins with an incredible action sequence that’s tense, sad and horrible but impossible to stop reading. That’s how I strive to write (although not always with the sad and the horrible). 

Tell us briefly about Hero
Hero is a science fiction adventure set far into the future on an alien planet. Humans colonised the planet long ago, only to discover that a native spore was killing them, so they built giant cities that floated above its reach. 
The story is about a girl called Hero who wants, more than anything, to escape her parents’ overly protective bubble. Her only friend is Fink, a 600kg genetically engineered ruc-pard (a little bit of rat, mixed with a little bit of leopard and a whole lot of alien), who’s her confidant, protector and ice-cream-eating buddy.
When Hero finally has a taste of the freedom she craves, she discovers she’s part of centuries-old plan, set in motion by the first colonists, to change the world.

Where did the idea for Hero originate?

A cartoon called Dragon Booster. Dragon Booster was a sci-fi cartoon about a bunch of kids and their faithful dragon companions who, in between saving the world from a dragon-human war, competed in street races. I was only a few episodes in before something about the show stuck in my mind, which was when I knew that I had to turn it into a book.
It took a while to figure out what it was about the cartoon that appealed to me the most, and then more time to make the idea mine, instead of a carbon copy of the TV series. In the end, I think I’ve succeeded.

When can we expect a sequel? 

You can expect it this September! The second book takes a darker turn from the first, throwing Hero into some troubling situations that she can’t hack or sneak her way out of. There’ll be some new faces, some old faces, a (large) spot of trouble with Fink, explosions, hover chases and roaches. Lots of roaches. We’ll also dig deeper into Ayumon’s final prediction about Cumulous City falling out of the sky and uncover some long-held secrets regarding Hero and those like her.

How many books will there be in the series?

The Hero Rebellion is a trilogy, so you can expect another two books after Hero, and after that there’ll be another series that will take the world of Hero into space. It’s set a two hundred years after The Hero Rebellion and features different characters, but you can expect the same action and snappy protagonist although this time with a generous helping of spaceships and aliens. 

Is sci-fi your preferred genre? Why?

I’ve never really thought about it, but now that you ask, I guess it is. I think, once you get beyond the dystopias that seem to dominate near-future fiction, sci-fi is inherently optimistic. The human species has managed to avoid annihilating itself and found its way into the stars, where anything is once again possible because there is so much space for it to bepossible.
It’s a nice change of pace from the doom and gloom on the nightly news.

What do you think is the most important bit of advice you can offer new authors or those aspiring to be authors.

Believe in yourself and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.
Ever since I can remember, my stepmother has told me ‘you can do anything you want to do’. It took 25 years for those words to sink in, but by the time I decided I wanted to be a full-time author, I believed them, which made it easier to take the very scary step of quitting my day job to write books. 
There were a lot of raised eyebrows when I told people what I wanted to do for a living, and if I hadn’t believed in myself, then I’d still be working at job I disliked so much, I’d burst into tears on the way to work. 
So, just in case you need a push, here is me telling you, that you can do anything you want to do.

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