Today, we welcome author, lecturer, martial artist, pundit, and all-around bon vivant Karina Fabian to the Frederation’s fortified bunker, hidden somewhere deep in the Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. This isn’t Karina’s first visit to our command center–we’ve previously had delightful conversations over bottled water and Spam sandwiches about zombies, nuns, dragons, and secret societies.
This time, the topic is mental telepathy and alien conspiracies, as detailed in her new novel, Mind Over Mind.
Fred: Hi, Karina! Pull up a crate of MREs and give me a quick synopsis of Mind Over Mind. What’s it all about?
Karina: “It’s the classic tale of man gets phenomenal power; phenomenal power drives him insane; man regains sanity; man falls in love with an alien. You know, the usual.
F: Yes, I’m sure everyone can find parallels to their own life experience in this story. I know I do. It seems a bit of a departure for you, though. I’ve come to expect lighthearted stories laced with tongue-in-cheek humor, but Mind Over Mind sounds like more classic science fiction with a serious tone. Was this a calculated choice?
K: Nope, just timing. Mind Over Mind is based on the first novel I ever wrote, and is the second novel I ever wrote as well. It just took longer to find a home than my lighter stuff. I have several ideas for more serious SFF; they just haven’t found their time and place yet. If I had to stick to a particular style, I’d get bored pretty easy, I think.
F: Telepathy has been a staple of science fiction almost from its inception. Does Mind Over Mind do anything unexpected with Deryl’s abilities?
K: They drive him insane, make him lose control of his own mind, doubt his identity, blur his self-image, make him vulnerable to several forms of torture, make him the tool of aliens…in short, they really screw up his life. Maybe it’s the sadist in me, but that’s what made the story so interesting. Everybody thinks telepathy is cool, but the reality is much darker, in my opinion.
F: Yes, it is. Thank heaven for aluminum foil, though I seem to have misplaced my hat today. Moving right along…Many of your stories have a spiritual thread running through them. How about this one?
K: There are a few strong themes: redemption, finding God’s purpose, sacrificing yourself for others–even those you don’t especially like. When you think about it, though, these are very human themes, but of course, my worldview includes an omnipotent and loving God, so that translates into my fiction as well.
F: Did you need to do any special research for this story?
K: As a matter of fact, I used a lot of techniques from neuro linguistic programming (NLP) to “cure” Deryl, most of which came from a very interesting book called Frogs into Princes. I also had a wonderful and patient NLP practictioner read it over to make sure my applications were plausible if not fully accurate.
F: What am I thinking about right now? Just checking.
K: Your thoughts are your own. I do not want to be in your head, although I love the stories that come out of it. I’m thoroughly enjoying Odd Little Miracles!
F: I appreciate the compliment, though I note you’ve deflected my implied question about your psychic abilities. Well played, madam. The correct answer was “Kung Pao Chicken,” for anyone who’s wondering. Ahem. We’ve had some heated discussions over at Speculative Faith about what might be lacking in Christian fiction today. From your perspective as a Christian author, where do you think Christian speculative fiction in particular could stand some improvement?
K: You have to have a strong story first. If your purpose is to proselytize, then write non-fiction. Never use your characters as a voicebox for your beliefs; they need to be their own people or the reader will know and feel talked down to. Also, stay balanced. No one is totally good or totally evil–otherwise, they are totally uninteresting.
F: You attend several writing and spec-fic conventions each year. How are people responding to your books?
K: I get more enthusiasm than I do sales, but I’m not much of a salesman. However, I do tend to get loyal fans, so that’s nice. I love telling folks the idea twists that make my books and seeing their reaction.
F: I see that Mind Over Mind is the first volume in a trilogy. Can you tell us something about where the series is headed in the second book?
K: Deryl escapes the asylum, quite by accident, taking Joshua with him. They end up on Kanaan where they meet Deryl’s nemesis and love interest, Tasmae, in person. But there are some secrets about Tasmae even she doesn’t know, and Deryl will once again be fighting for his sanity–and hers.
F: “Nemesis and love interest…” That sounds intriguing all by itself. What’s happening next in the many worlds of Karina Fabian?
K: Finally! Live and Let Fly, the second in the DragonEye, PI, series, comes out–April 2012. To prepare, I’ll be running some serial stories on my website. I’ve also got a story in Mother Goose is Dead, which came out from Damnation Books this month (September). For those who want someone to lead them through marketing, I’m reviving my “30-Minute Marketer” newsletter as a serial on my website. That starts in January. On the writing side, I’m submitting Discovery, a Catholic sci-fi, to Ignatius Press, then will finish I Left My Brains in San Francisco, the second Neeta Lyffe book. I need to tour an oil refinery for the finale.
F: Sounds like fun. Hey, if it’s not too much trouble, bring back a couple of barrels of diesel fuel for me. The old generator’s down to a quarter-tank…but you probably already knew that (thunder rumbles ominously). Good luck on your future projects and best wishes for the success of Mind Over Mind.