Emmanuel M Arriaga - A Very Fun Epic Sci-Fi

Emmanuel M Arriaga - A Very Fun Epic Sci-Fi

Emmanuel M. Arriaga grew up in the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From a young age, he was obsessed with fantasy and science fiction. Breaking the shackles of a low-income life, Emmanuel developed an interest in science, technology, and engineering. He went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University with a Master’s in Information Science. For almost a decade, Emmanuel has sought to share his vivid imagination with the world, learning the art of story crafting and eventually becoming an award-winning author. With a love for travel, gadgets, and volunteering, Emmanuel is enjoying life and helping others. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Foundra.

Please give us a short introduction to what Foundra is about.

Foundra covers the story of a young genius named Neven who finds himself drafted into an elite military strike force led by one of the immortal Founders of the Huzien Empire. They team up with a legendary wizard named Soahc to investigate instances of otherworldly creatures attacking fringe colony worlds. Neven, Soahc and their allies discover something ancient from another plane of existence. Something that exposes the fragility of their galactic empire as they fight to survive annihilation from extradimensional beings.


What inspired you to write Foundra?

The Foundra Universe is something that I have dreamed about since I was a child. I would always play out these missions with fantastical characters in my head and eventually decided to start writing down my ideas. I quickly amassed a treasure trove of lore and stories. One of these stories morphed into what Foundra is today and I have many more in the pipeline with the next novel due out in Q1 of 2021.

Why sci-fi? What drew you to the genre?

I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi. From my early years watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was drawn to sci-fi shows and movies. This grew as I got into shows like Stargate SG1, Farscape, Andromeda, Battlestar Galactica, Voyager, Deep Space Nine and Firefly to name a few. If there was anything that had spaceships or aliens, I was all over it.

How does your interest in science, technology, and engineering influence your writing?

I love thinking about the future of technology. Envisioning devices and technology that might be hard to create today but that may be possible one day, permeates my writing. I always put a lot of thought into technologies I introduce, I spend a lot of time thinking through how it might work to ground it in reality and make it believable and inspiring.


Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I’m an engineer by trade and work in the technology sector where help teams get stuff done. Outside of my trade, I’m fairly good at StarCraft and other real-time strategy games. I don’t get to play them as much, but I love PC games. I’m also a PC builder and love building high-end gaming systems.

Tell us more about the Huzien Empire. What inspired you to create it?

When I was little, I envisioned this expansive galactic alliance like the Federation from Star Trek except ruled by immortals. This eventually became the Huzien Empire. When you look at empires through history, they always have high points and low points, usually due to great leaders dying and being replaced by not-so-great leaders. I envisioned this empire that had these great leaders, except they never died. They just continued to rule as time moved on and they did a surprisingly good job at it. The Huzien Empire has low points and high points through history, but it’s the leaders who are growing during these periods of unique challenges and they lean on each other very heavily through it all.

What makes Neven so special?

His mom. She is a renowned robotics engineer and she nurtured him from birth to follow in her footsteps and become an engineer. She instilled in him strong morals and a good heart that he takes with him into a brutal universe. He’s driven by an insatiable curiosity and a desire to do the right thing. He also has an innocence about him that endears him to others.

Why is Soahc such a great teammate?

Soahc is ridiculously powerful and confident. He’s what is called a Cihphist in the book which could best be summed up as a type of Wizard who is able to manipulate Enesmic Energy that permeates every aspect of the galaxy. Being an immortal, Soahc has seen some stuff and is constantly at the ready, able to face any challenge. His affinity to Cihphism allows him to do things that other Cihphists can’t such as replicate abilities that he’s never seen before. He’s also incredibly cocky, which leads to challenges later in the book.

Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems?

It’s hard to come up with concepts that aren’t grounded in some sense of the world around us, but I try very hard to think outside the box and envision worlds in which the things we accept as true may not apply. I spend a lot of time looking for inspiration from brilliant minds, whether it be fringe scientific concepts, other sci-fi authors or imaginative artists who explore the weird and far out there. Our whole concept of what aliens can be is based on our understanding of what our world is like. I try to explore both sides of this in my writing, creating species and worlds that feel familiar and others that are hard to imagine and far out there.


Interesting cover. How did it come about?

I wanted to showcase the people the novel follows, highlighting the uniqueness of each one and what they bring to the table. I also wanted to let the reader know immediately that this was a sci-fi novel with spaceships and intergalactic war. I then found the amazing cover artist Jeff Brown and we collaborated on bringing those concepts to life. I love his artistic style and he focuses on creating a full art piece that can also be used as a cover. His attention to detail is amazing. I’ve included the full art piece for Foundra to show what I mean.

Why did you decide to set Foundra in two galaxies?

The Twin Galaxies concept came out of a desire to have a unique setting as compared with traditional sci-fi. We talk about double galaxies or colliding galaxies in the scientific world, but rarely do you see novels set in one of them. What are some challenges species might face with two galaxies colliding together? Obviously, the timescale is exceedingly long for these changes to happen so it’s hard to cover this type of stuff in a single novel, or even a single series, but it’s definitely something I plan to explore more in the future as the Foundra Universe evolves.

Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?

I write a lot, sometimes it’s for a novel, sometimes it just creating new lore or writing down story concepts and scenes in my backlog. I take a systematic approach to write a novel. I typically start with a concept or story idea and then use the snowflake method to expand that into a full outline. I then take that outline and start writing the novel with each bullet becoming a chapter. My outlines are rough guides and I deviate from them often, letting the flow of the story take me wherever it goes.

A typical writing day starts with me reviewing the previous chapter I wrote during the prior session and starting on the next chapter. I’m always able to get back into the flow of things this way. I then work until I finish the chapter and prep for the next chapter, that way I can jump right in during my next session.

What are you working on right now?

I’m in the final stages of publishing the sequel to Foundra and I am working with a great editor right now to polish the book. I also started work on a new sci-fi horror series that is still in the early stages. This will be another expansive universe and I’m excited to share more information on this in the future as I get closer to publication.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

I’m active on Twitter (@emmanuelarriaga) and readers can feel free to interact with me there. I also maintain a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/emmanuelmarriaga) and regularly publish on my blog (www.emmanuelarriaga.com) to share news of upcoming novels and inspirational thoughts. Readers can sign up for my newsletter at my website.