BookLife Talks to S.G. Blaise
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'The Last Lumenian'
Did your childhood inspire your writing at all?
There have been so many life experiences that have influenced my writing. To begin with, I grew up in Hungary when it was still part of the Soviet Union, and I experienced firsthand the impact of Soviet oppression. Fear was everywhere, but my father was sort of a rebel in his own way and defied strict government control by smuggling in Hollywood movies, risking his life so that his children could experience the magic and creative expression inherent to movies. Because of his bravery, I had a happier and more adventurous childhood than others, and those movies helped unlock my own creativity and unleash my imagination. Unfortunately, I lost my father to brain cancer when I was just 13. With his passing, I took to writing stories about my imaginary adventures to find some solace and to honor his bravery and memory.
Merging magic and sci-fi must have been difficult. Can you describe what your writing process was like?
Actually, it wasn’t difficult at all! For me, science fiction has always been inseparable from fantasy. Magic seeps into my stories no matter what. In the Seven Galaxies of The Last Lumenian, magic is normal. Adding sci-fi to the fantasy genre also allows me to explore and analyze society in different ways.
Did you originally set out to write a YA book or did it change over time?The simple answer is yes. To me, The Last Lumenian was always about a protagonist in her late teens. Originally, I thought she would be 18, but later I changed her age to 19, one step closer to that magical milestone of 21 and true adulthood. I wanted to explore what it’s like to no longer be a child and yet also not yet considered a full-fledged adult. I was fascinated by questions like: How does Lilla navigate the pressure and expectations put on her by her elders? How does she find her own path when she doesn't even know what she wants in the first place? How does she live her life dealing with claustrophobia and not let it stop her from achieving her goals? Lilla might start out as a reluctant hero, but she learns by the end of the book that she is much stronger than she thought and that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a hero.
You’ve stated that you made a point of honing your writing in different ways. Do you have any advice for other authors just putting pen to paper?
First, just sit down and write. Don’t wait for that “perfect time,” that “perfect thought,” or that moment when you think you’ll know everything about writing. Second, writing is a journey, not a destination. This is one of the many valuable lessons I’ve learned during the six years I spent writing and rewriting my book. Every milestone, every achievement, needs to be celebrated along the way. Don’t let the pressure of thinking you need to end up somewhere prevent you from taking your journey. Third, writing is also a way to discover who you are, to understand yourself better, and, as I previously expressed, it can be therapeutic. It’s important to keep an open mind along the way and keep learning how to tell the best stories for your readers. Remember, if you’re not enjoying the story you’re writing, chances are your readers won’t either.
Should readers be on the lookout for a new book from you soon?
Yes! The sequel to The Last Lumenian is expected to be out in the late fall of 2021. Book three is under development too.