Sally Ember, Ed.D., has been passionate about writing since she was nine years old. She’s won prizes for her poetry, stories, songs and plays. She began meditation in her teens. Now, Sally delights fans of paranormal and romance by blurring the lines between fact and fiction in a multiverse of multiple timelines, often including exciting elements of utopian science-fiction and Buddhism. Born Jewish on the cusp of Leo and Virgo, Sally’s life has been infused with change.
In her “other” professional life, Sally has worked as an educator and upper-level, nonprofit manager in colleges, universities and private nonprofits in many parts of the USA before returning to live in St. Louis, MO, in August, 2014. Sally has a BA in Elementary Education, a Master’s (M.Ed.) and a doctorate in education (Ed.D.).
Her sci-fi /romance/ speculative fiction/ paranormal/ multiverse/ utopian books for New Adult/adult/YA audiences, “The Spanners Series,” are getting great reviews.
Sally blogs regularly on wide-ranging topics and includes reviews, interviews, guest blog posts, and excerpts from her books. She also meditates, writes, swims, reads and hosts her LIVE video talk show, *CHANGES*, conversations between authors, from St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Author Interview Questions:
Welcome Sally Ember, thanks for joining us for a FSFNet interview.
I’ve been looking at The Spanner Series. How do you develop your interesting book covers?
I send ideas for each cover about four months in advance to my cover artist, WillowRaven. I pick a scene from one of the first chapters each time. She emails me back to tell me what can and can’t work (since I am not an artist and have no clue about that regarding size, resolution, “busy-ness,” composition, etc.). We go back and forth that way and with an online chat until we’re both satisfied with our decision and she believes she can do a good rendition of our final plan. This takes a few weeks, sometimes. I also give her my deadlines and publication/upload for pre-order dates. She then sends me drafts and I give her feedback on how to refine them until I am satisfied. This also takes a few weeks or more.
For the first cover, she also sent me to a font site to choose fonts. I sent her three of my favorites. She chose the fonts for the series title, the books’ titles and my author name and we are sticking with those for all Volumes.
We agreed on placements for each text piece on the covers and for The Spanners Series’ logo (which I designed and she rendered). The logo is a set of crossed double-ended vajras (dorjes, in Tibetan), which are ritual implements used in Tibetan Buddhist meditation and represent enlightenment, hovering in outer space.
I chose the name for and designed the logo for my publication imprint, Timult Books, and she placed it on my paperbacks’ spines. I placed it in my revised ebooks’ title pages, since I did all my own internal formatting for both ebooks and paperbacks.
The vajras are very striking. Nice touch.
Sally, I know that you have been a keen writer since you were young. What was the defining event that made you start writing the novels?
I was awakened one night in late 2012 by hearing a voice (my own) narrating Clara’s first encounter with the alien holograms. I got up to write it all down and also the outline of the entire first book and the synopsis for each of the subsequent nine volumes for the series that same night. It took about two hours!
What’s the story behind your book title: The Spanner Series?
“The Spanners” are the generations of people (and animals) whose ages make them the Earth inhabitants who are alive through both the turn of the 21st century AND the public announcement of the Many Worlds Collective’s existence, previous visits, and intentions to help Earth survive, thus bridging, or “spanning” both ways of living/thinking/being.
Have you used any real people or events in your characters?
I put a lot of myself and people I know into these books, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. I hope that entertains and intrigues my readers. I also insert well-known people and historical figures as I want to, changing/depicting them as I choose.
Also, many events, with my own explanations for some regarding the involvement of the Many Worlds Collective aliens or others from other planets over the millenia.
What music do you listen to when writing?
Visit https://www.pinterest.com/sallyember/music-of-the-spanners-series/ for a list of and notes about some of the songs that pertain to the characters, scenes, plots, emotions of the characters and my own inspirations for my writing this series. Some snippets:
The incomparable Idina Menzel sings “Starting Over” from the Broadway hit of 2013-14, “If/Then,” which epitomizes Clara Branon’s dilemmas perfectly.
Wow! I’m super impressed at how you have linked the stories and songs together.
Do you have a blog?
What do you write about in your blog?
I have so much more to say, especially regarding current topics, nonfiction, opinions and provocative questions, that can’t be put into my novels. I also need a place to post excerpts of my novels, reveal the books’ covers and link to reviews, interviews and other aspects of my Series’ activities. I’m also planning to blog more about the research behind the Series on a regular basis. I put images and some info on Pinterest that include the Series’ locations, music, science, origins and more; soon, I will write pieces to go with many of those.
I allow myself complete leeway for topics, but I tend to stick to feminist, Buddhist, author/writer, health/science and personal topics, with a few support-of-other-authors, guest bloggers, etc., thrown in.
I’m passionate about improving myself and our world, especially by practicing meditation and engaging in daily spiritual practice. I write about that the most.
Who are your intended readers?
Because many of the The Spanners Series‘ main characters are under 35 (some are under 18) and a few are over 50, these books appeal to Adult, New and Young Adult audiences.
Intelligent, well-read, discerning readers who like a good space opera (multiple volumes, many decades, several main characters, complex plots and situations) and are tired of dystopian fiction, want main characters of varying ages, including over 50, enjoy romance in their sci-fi, like family dynamics and want to know more about science, history, meditation (Buddhism), Judaism, sociology, biology and interspecies communication peppered with humor, pathos and surprises, will love The Spanners Series.
Readers who enjoy being challenged, want longer books, and like to be respected will appreciate my writing a lot.
Those who like Kate Wilhelm, Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert Heinlein, Douglas Adams Marge Piercy, Sheri Tepper and Alice Walker will resonate with The Spanners Series as well.
The Spanners Series books and ideas are not typical of any other series anyone has written or read. For one, it has Appendices (Glossaries, Family Tree, notes on the actual people involved/referenced in the books, the Excellent Skills Program skills list, more). For another, it’s written in the present tense (to emphasize the simultaneity of all time). For many readers, having the verbs all in the NOW requires a big adjustment. Be prepared!
What are your writing plans for this year?
I am more than halfway through Volume IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, and plan to release it in 2016. Each of my previous Volumes was over 500 printed pages in the 5 x 8 format; this one may be longer!
I plan to write parts of all of Volumes VIII and IX with other writers and readers. Vol. VIII is geared to young adults and new adults, so I would like to have those age groups as contributors/collaborators. Vol IX is for middle-aged and older adults, so those age groups are invited to participate in that Volume’s content.
Anyone interested must contact me no later than January 31, 2017, via my website and email address. Put “CROWDCREATING” in the subject. Send writing samples and let me know which volume and topics you’re interested in collaborating with me on and why.
Volume X is going to be a compilation of readers’ questions and my responses, readers’ suggestions and my writing to fulfill them, and other interactions I have with readers about the Series. Send me your comments, ideas, questions any time before and no later than January 31, 2018.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Meditating, swimming, singing, reading, writing reviews (not often), blogging (regularly), reading others blogs (not enough), hosting my talk show, *CHANGES* conversations between authors, spending time with family and friends (mostly virtually), cooking, catching up on others’ posts (not enough or too much…).
What’s your experience of the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network?
Great support, ideas, info, sales, people, inspiration. Thanks!
Favourite food: Vietnamese soup, Pho
Favourite song at the moment: Adele’s When We Were Young
Number one thing to do on your bucket list: Liberate my mind through meditation and meditation retreat to become spontaneously joyful, compassionate, loving and happy enough to inspire others to do the same.
Thanks Sally for sharing your thoughts with us Fantasy Sci-Fi Network readers today. We look forward to reading The Spanner Series.
Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com
WordPress Blog and main Website: http://www.sallyember.com
Patreon Crowdfunding Campaign: http://www.patreon.com/sallyember
FB Spanners Series page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember (Sally Sue Fleischmann Ember)
Google+ Spanners Series page: http://goo.gl/tZKQpv
Youtube Channel: Spanners Series books’ trailers, author readings, *CHANGES* shows and more:
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amzn.com/Sally-Ember/e/B00HEV2UEW/
CreateSpace paperback pages:
Vol III: https://www.createspace.com/5844474
Amazon ebooks’ pages:
Vol II: http://www.amzn.com/B00KU5Q7KC
Vol III: http://www.amzn.com/B0177Z1KRM
Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/sallyember
Authors’ Database: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5338-sally-ember-ed-d
Covers and Logo Art by WillowRaven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/
*CHANGES* conversations between authors: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPbfKicwk4dFdeVSAY1tfhtjaEY_clmfq
Globally, AZ and CS paperbacks of Volume I:
Globally, AZ and CS paperbacks of Volume II:
Globally, AZ and CS paperbacks of Volume III:
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