Sara King - If First Contact Doesn't Go as Expected

Sara King - If First Contact Doesn't Go as Expected

Lifelong Alaskan author who moonlights as a shaman, Sara King uses her experiences with the spirit world to add extra oomph to her books (or magic, if that's what you wanna call it). Tibetan-Mastiff owner (to her chagrin), chicken afficionado (she's known as the Chicken Lady by everyone for 10 miles who doesn't realize she's an author), mead maker (she can't count how many times she's been asked for her recipes by drunken Air Force Dungeons & Dragons players), and a dedicated gardener who has tested over a hundred different breeds of heritage apple trees on her property in Alaska (not all of them made it), Sara is constantly experimenting and looking for fun new ways to bring the mysteries of Life into her books. She is the author of 19 successful sci-fi/fantasy novels, many of which were #1 Bestsellers.  As our Author of the Day, she answers a bunch of questions that were submitted by her fans.

How old were you when you wrote down your first story?

Four! And I wrote two of them. Sammy the Snake, and Bob the Brontosaurus, both fastidiously hand-crafted on yellow legal paper and bound in exquisite stapling work, complete with breathtaking illustrations. I gave Sammy to a special editor friend who helped me write Alaskan Fire and Alaskan Fury, but Bob was unfortunately lost to time. My editor said Sammy looked like a pile of poo, but I'm sure he's in the minority.


If you were a supervillain who conquered the world would you be a cruel or benevolent tyrant?

The glorious thing about being Conqueror of the Known World is that you don't have to pick one mindset or the other. The world, quite literally, is your oyster. Since you have no one to answer to but yourself, your ruling style is likely to be as mercurial as your moods. Generally, I think I'd try to stay benevolent, though the moment some ridiculously starry-eyed, wannabe superheroes dared to conspire against me in their sneaky little powwows in some rat-infested basement, it’d pretty much be a free-for-all until they're all dead or in chains or something. Then I'd be back to magnanimity, handing out cups or rice or coffee to the peasantry to their roaring applause again.

What was the storyline of the first story you wrote? (Yes, I know you were probably like 4 years old)

You know, I can't actually remember what Sammy the Snake did, but he probably went to the Store or the Stadium or the Sex Shop...oh wait. Scratch the last one. And someone most likely Stepped on him and someone else Saved him and then there was a glorious Selebration where they ate Steak. Or Something.


Snowmobile or dog sled?

Neither! It's 'snowmachine' up here. Go look it up. An Alaskan can always tell a person from the Lower 48 by the ridiculous way they call a machine a mobile. Like some instruction manual out of the 1940s. Jeez. But yeah, dogsleds--screw that. Dog teams are loud, needy, neurotic, and tend to careen off into the woods and get wrapped around trees. Or leave you behind if you fall off. One whole team just got stomped to death by a pissed-off moose last week and they couldn't escape because they were all harnessed to each other and the musher was out of bullets. Not really my thing.

Is either parent really into reading or sci-fi in particular?

My dad, for sure. He handed me Ender's Game when I was like 8 and said, "Read this." So I immediately launched into a Sci-Fi craze, only to find out that most sci-fi is boring, technobabble drivel written by astrophysicist wannabes who think the best way to entertain people is by talking about this great new technology they've invented in their heads. I couldn't find a lot of the Sci-Fi I wanted to read, so I started to write it, instead.


If you weren't a writer what would you want to do as a career?

Stare at an empty Word document thinking about how to become a writer. It's all I've wanted since I made the decision to be a writer at 3. There literally is nothing else for me (hence why the depression was so bad these last three years and I was pretty much useless when my writing mojo 'broke'). If you're talking hobbies, though, I raise those black-skinned, black-meat chickens and I'm breeding them with monster, 20-lb chickens to create a hybrid ninja species to help me take over the world.

Do you do a lot of research for your books --- or just have an eidetic memory which soaks in all of the interesting subjects you read --- to then apply to your stories like rain falling in the desert?

I used to have an eidetic memory, but that's pretty much kaput now. But I still subscribe to like 12 different science and history and archaeology magazines and soak up as much as I can. Lots of times, little tidbits from those articles will just randomly drop themselves into books like ZERO. But then again, some of it is completely me. For instance, I was suggesting jellyfish gene modification on human skin cells to introduce a natural glow for tattoos before that was a thing. (But that idea, too, was spawned from--I believe--a National Geographic article where scientists had introduced jellyfish DNA into kittens to make them glow in the dark.)

Which mineral has the best personality and why?

Chalcopyrite. It's stable, heavy, solid, and has a great feel. That, and if you tumble it, it's literally like holding nuggets of gold. Mmmmm. Gooolllld.

Snowmachine reads better than snowmobile. What do you call ATVs?

4-wheelers. Unless it's something bigger, then it's a six-wheeler or a cart or something. ATV is for people who use them recreationally, not regular life Alaskan Bush folk.

Do you think Schrodinger's cat held a grudge?

I think the probability is 50-50 at the moment...


You can co-author with either Vonnegut or Bukowski. Which do you choose and why?

So, this is going to make your guys' jaws drop, but I've never read either of them. I stopped reading books at 11 to start focusing 100% of my time on writing. Finished my first book at 12 (145,000 words of pure, undiluted crap), and then it was off to the races. Writing takes a *lot* of time, and I often pull 12-14 hour days doing nothing but. Sometimes I even forget to eat. So...I honestly can't answer that question except for this: It would probably more come down to which one of them would be able to put up with an OCD neurotic workaholic perfectionist as a co-author, rather than which I'd actually prefer to work with.


Milar vs Joe...death match style...who you got?

I'd have to say that Joe Dobbs from ZERO is more of a team player, and Milar from Outer Bounds is more of a lone commando, so if it's 1-on-1, it would be Milar the badass from Outer Bounds. 😃

Tell us about your animals in Alaska! When I was in Alaska it was all RUN from the moose, don't run from a bear. Didn't see a moose all week.

So yeah, I was born and raised in Alaska, and we're told from wee babies never run from a bear, even if it's mauling you. If you get attacked, just curl up and try to protect your organs and head. Most of the time, bear attacks aren't to kill/eat, they're just to get rid of a challenge or something that scared them. But yeah, you're not going to outrun a bear. You won't outrun a moose, either, but you can at least find something to hide behind, and they're not dexterous enough to go around it, usually. Moose are the most dangerous wild mammals in North America, killing the most people every year. They are terrifying. I've been charged by both a moose and a bear, and I can tell you that while the bear was definitely charging to eat me (not a false charge...ears were up and excited like it was seeing a snack), the moose was scarier. Moose go into this really dumb KILL IT, JUST KILL IT mode and you can make all the noise you want and they won't stop stomping the shit out of whatever pissed them off. A bear (like the bear that charged me) generally stops and thinks about it when you start unloading a .44 in their direction. We're told growing up that moose are the ones to be afraid of--especially the moms with babies. Avoid at all costs. Those tourists who get out of their cars on the highway to take pictures of moose with little babies just make me shake my head...

What is your favorite alien in ZERO and why?

The Geuji and the Jreet. The Geuji because I've always wondered what it would be like to be totally helpless except for a savant's brain. To rely upon the kindness of others in an unforgiving world... That's always twitched my heartstrings. As for the Jreet, you gotta love a huge, honorable snake-dude that goes invisible and gets all stabby when you innocently tell him his mother has bad breath...

Do you ever consider that some, or all, of the different book series might happen in the same universe, or do subscribe to a multi-verse?

Actually, I've already worked out where Outer Bounds and ZERO could coincide, if we ever wanted to go down that path... 😉 But generally, I try to keep the worlds separate, because it's easier on my brain to not have to remember all the terms for all the worlds all the time. Plus, Outer Bounds clearly lays out the multiverse idea when Anna and Milar are bouncing through time. Soooo...both?

If you could have one of your characters be ur BFF, who would it be? Why?

Probably the djinni in Alaskan Fang or Sky from Forgotten. For the djinni, I think he and I would click on a scholarly, non-violent, open-minded magical level (just being friends with a djinni like 'Aqrab would be badass), and Sky because there would be literally no miscommunications, ever.

How does living in a remote part of Alaska inspire your writing?

I spent a lot of time in the Bush growing up and was raised by some awesome early Alaskan settlers who taught me to think differently about life than your average suburbanite (easier to survive in the Bush when you don’t sit around waiting for someone else to save you). I think that translates pretty well into the books, where the heroes are more likely to take charge themselves, vs. wait for someone to get them out of the problems they’re in…

Tibetan mastiffs are not for the faint of heart…how did you end up with that breed? And do they help your writing or distract from it?

Do not get a Tibetan Mastiff. Worst. Breed. Ever. So much bad, so very little good, LOL. I used to breed them--never again. They're utterly distracting, and it's enormously difficult to have 4 in the same house. That said, they’re pretty.

Was Zuckerberg the inspiration for any of your characters, including animals, subspecies, etc.?

No, &$# that lizard.

If you ever found it was necessary to leave Alaska, where would you move to, and would you bring your Mom with you?

I'd move to Arizona or New Mexico or the high desert in California (probably Joshua Tree area). I don't know what it is about the desert, but that place moves me. It feels so alive, especially when people like me are in the middle of a cold, dark Alaskan winter. I'll probably become a snowbird in my later years. I doubt my mom would go, though. She hates planes, and she’s certainly not gonna be driving through Canada with the current restrictions.


If you were a potato, how many eyes would you have?

Depends on the variety. If I were, say, a Masquerade, I'd have a lot fewer than, say, a Rose Finn Apple. Four compared to like fifteen. Coincidentally, Rose Finn Apples produce like 5x as many tubers as a Masquerade, so there's something you know now. In the potato world, though, I've got a special love for the Merlot (the original, not the new one some sleazy new potato farmer branded and patented so the original guy couldn't use the name anymore) because of yield and the rich inner red color. I also truly love the Magic Mollies (hug yield and DARK purple inside, no white rings) and the Magic Myrnas (rated the best tasting potato in the world...and you can totally tell), both of which were bred here in Alaska. If I had to pick one, I'd say the Merlot, which has (I'm guessing, thinking back) about seven eyes on average.

Who were the most difficult and then the easiest characters to write and why?

Good question! I actually don't have a most difficult character to write. Usually, if it's difficult, that means it's boring, and I immediately catch myself and figure out why and fix it. I think the closest to a 'hard' character to write was the straight-laced Inquisitor Imelda in Alaskan Fury. She was necessary to the storyline, but it was really hard to get into that brainwashed hardass mindset. Now, if you wanna talk about *easy* characters, that would be Slade from ZERO, Anna from Outer Bounds, the djinni from Alaskan Fury, Forgotten from ZERO, and Stuart from Millennium Potion. The more emotional, psychotic, extreme, damaged, or interesting a character is, the more of a blast I have writing it. Oh, and Daviin ga Vora, because who doesn't love a Klingon in the shape of a gigantic earthworm that can go invisible and stab things with his chest?

Why are people who say they dislike science fiction, blown away by your writing and opening up to the the genre because of it?

I think because most traditional science fiction is written by astrophysicist people who fancy themselves smarter than everyone else, and get off on trying to make their 'works of art' as difficult to understand and enjoy as possible, because that will give them some elitist thrill of having written something no one else can comprehend. When you pick up a book and all they want to talk about for three chapters, for instance, is how humanity came up with this cool new ship drive that warps time and space, including every finite detail of how the engine works, I'll just tell people, "The ship warped time and space," and then get on with the characters. Characters make the story, not tech. Nobody reads fantasy to know more about magical objects. Same should apply to science fiction. It shouldn't be written so some nerdy technology savant can get a boner. Science fiction is about the future, and all the cool and mysterious things we could encounter there. It's about thinking outside the box, not recreating the box that we currently know, except 400 years in the future. (For instance, do you *really* think Isaac Newton could have predicted how to make cell phones? And he was at the pinnacle of knowledge of his time...) I say screw trying to come up with the tech myself and just accept that it's there, because we all know that someone, somewhere, will figure out how to make it work along the way.

If you had to live in any of your novel's worlds as an average citizen for 6 months, which would you choose?

Totally Fortune in Outer Bounds. Funny you ask this, actually, because one time when I was really deep in the groove writing Outer Bounds 2, I had this weird Out-of-Body experience where I found myself vividly living as a rebel working against the Coalition on Fortune. It was completely real, totally overpowering, and I literally forgot who I was for 5 minutes. I had to spend five minutes literally IN FORTUNE, trying to figure out why I kept getting this nagging image of a cabin on the end of an airstrip (which my body was sitting in, writing). The nagging feeling wouldn't go away. At first, I thought the image I was getting was of an airstrip in a jungle (Fortune is covered in jungle), and it was only when I started trying to remember how I knew there was a cabin on that runway that I was yanked back out of the world of Outer Bounds and slammed back into my body. When I snapped back to, I had the most AWFUL realization that I WASN'T a rebel stirring up trouble on Fortune and was actually an author. I was so disappointed. I think my exact words when I snapped out of it was, "I'm a WRITER?!? $%#@!"I pouted for several hours after that. Rebelling, btw, is fun as hell.


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

I write for 12-14 hours a day when I’m writing, and usually get a book done within 3 weeks at that speed. That’s utterly unheard of as a writer. Most writers are ecstatic with 2k words in a day. My best was 17.4k in one day. (It was on a smutty story I took offline a loooong time ago.) Probably why I’ve got 16 books published, most of which are bestsellers, with 3 more Alaskan Fang books coming out this week…

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a really fun paranormal fantasy series called Alaskan Fang, which is part of my Alaskan Paranormal universe, Guardians of the First Realm. I have a huge range of fans on this series, with surprisingly eclectic tastes. (For instance, both paranormal romance fans and crusty old Vietnam vets love the books). Three more books in that world, the Alaskan Fang books, are going live in the next 48 hours, and they’ve already had amazing reviews by beta readers.


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

Check me out on Amazon!  Here’s a link to my author profile and the 16 books I’ve published so far.
Or find me on Facebook (shoot me a friend request!):
Or shoot me an email at [email protected]!
Or join my mailing list for freebies and deals and new release news:… 
Or check out my first books in various series:
The Legend of ZERO:
Outer Bounds:…
Alaskan Paranormal Romance:…
Sunny, with a Chance of Monsters:…