Name: Jesikah Sundin
D.O.B: June 20th
Country: United States of America (Washington state)
• Legacy (The Biodome Chronicles #1) – January 20, 2014
• Elements (The Biodome Chronicles #2) – September 9, 2015
• Transitions: Novella Collection (The Biodome Chronicles #2.5) – May 13, 2016
• Gamemaster (The Biodome Chronicles #3) – Fall 2017
Click HERE to read the first chapter of Legacy.
Little Dino: When did you first think about wanting to be an author?
Jesikah Sundin: I’ve been a storyteller all my life. However, I didn’t consider novel authordom until high school, when I met my best friend and eventual writing partner. Until then, I pursued journalism. And, yup, I was a part of the school newspaper, eventually earning the coveted Editor-in-Chief position. In college, I focused on geophysics and marine biology with the ultimate goal of becoming a technical writer for NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). My friend is now a journalist and writing historical fiction and I’m now a science fiction novelist.
LD: How long have you been writing?
JS: Hmm … The word “writing” can mean so many things. And for me? It’s a complicated answer. So. I’ve been storytelling as far back as I can recall memories. My imagination carried me away often. I’m a professional day-dreamer. Ha! Literally. But, when a child, I would often create stories for the wildflowers and the trees, singing it as though my life were a musical. You know, regular Disney princess stuff, haha! And, yeah, I was that lonely.
You see, I was seriously ill and spent the vast majority of my childhood in and out of the hospital, in induced comas and connected to machines. I wasn’t allowed to go to school for fear for my health because I lacked a neutralizing antibody for most common respiratory viruses. Every three weeks, from age 5 through age 13, I sat next to chemo patients as I received gamma globulin intravenously—my miracle drug. By age 9, the doctors released me part-time to school. At age 10, we moved from Southern California to Northern California where I began full-time school in the fifth grade … the first time I had attended a school full-time since kindergarten.
Although I had tutors, my writing skills were atrocious. And I didn’t know it at the time (and didn’t find out until college) that I suffered from dyslexia. So, technically, I didn’t actually start writing until I was 10 years old. Before then, I didn’t know how. I was an avid reader, though, and absolutely loved words. My fifth grade teacher noticed my storytelling leanings and stubborn/competitive streak and used it against me, nurturing and pushing my writing skills until I could keep up with my classmates. I am eternally grateful to her. Mrs. Keller, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU!
Writing became my sweet obsession in middle school and high school as a way to escape my ever present social anxiety and PTSD—both resulting from my childhood illness issues. As an adult, I *still* struggle against social anxiety and PTSD, but I also know what it’s like to feel yourself dying. Nothing is as scary as that. And writing is *still* my sweet obsession. Words are beautiful magic. They enchant my soul.
Oh. I now have that needed neutralizing antibody, but I still have an auto-immune disorder that plagues me from time-to-time. Nothing serious, though.
LD: What was your debut book and when did you publish it?
JS: LEGACY was my debut book, published in 2014. It’s not the first book I’ve written, though *wink, wink*
LD: What genres do you enjoy to write?
JS: I loooooove to write ecopunk fiction and epic fantasy, especially when both have forest themes and/or settings.
LD: Where do you get your ideas from? (Real life situations? Dreams? Movies? Etc)
JS: Oh golly, that’s another complicated answer. Well, the long and short of it is … yes. Most ideas are a culmination of many things. The Biodome Chronicles in particular is inspired by The Biosphere 2 Project from the 1990’s, Elon Musk’s race to colonize Mars with civilians as well as his tech designs to shape an era of transhumanism, and this strange, transitionary age we find ourselves in. We live with high-technology and medical advancements but quickly dole out essential oils as remedies for most ailments and seek organic labels for our every-day consumption (and dare I add, our public appearance), all to protect the Earth being destroyed by said high-technology and medical advancements, also enjoyed by the same people. I find this juxtaposition of old world – new world fascinating. What a confusing message for tech-dependent generations. The irony is not lost on me…
LD: How do you deal with bad reviews or comments on your work? (If you get any at all)
JS: Meh. Shrug it off. Anyone who has spent any amount of time within the fine arts will tell you that art is subjective. And, if you’re a writer (or artist) then you *should* be used to criticism. LEGACY not only passed through the critical eye of my editor several times, but also 10 beta readers who tore it apart for the benefit of future readers. Savages. All of them. My poor baby was left in dangling threads and I had to use my writerly healing powers to make it whole it again. Actually, I love them dearly for it. LOVE.
It’s delusional to think one’s published story is the right story for ALL FREAKING READERS IN THE WORLD. Geesh. The hubris. I have read stories that I didn’t enjoy. Or have read works from authors whose writing style makes me cringe as a reader. I *know* other readers may (and have) feel the same about my books. That’s OK. Part of the process. Negative reviews are beneficial as they let other readers, similar to their preferences, know that this book is probably not for them, too.
Negative reviews that are intentionally cruel, though? After the initial twinge of pain and embarrassment, I move on. Because … Seriously people? One can be constructive without being mean – they are not the same thing. And it’s an asshole move to put down readers who enjoy books different than you, as if they are less intelligent beings or somethings. I see this a lot on Goodreads and Tumblr, unfortunately.
The lesson here: don’t exhibit author or reader hubris. Give and accept well-meaning, constructive feedback. It can help you grow as a writer and help you understand *exactly* who your reader tribe is.
/negative review ramblings
LD: What advice do you have for new writers? And is there any helpful websites you’d like to share with them?
JS: The best advice is to keep writing. Your first story may not be the right story to market. Or the next one. Those stories are important, though. They are training grounds. Writing is a craft. A muscle that gets stronger with use and consistent exercise. Writing is also lonely. Find a community of writers to encourage you each word-of-the way. They will push you when you don’t think you can continue and celebrate your achievements when you do.
And, be you. ALWAYS. Don’t write stories you think will sell. Write stories that make you glow, stories that feed your craft. Write stories you’d want to read because, until it’s published, you have to read it a lot 😉 And after you publish, you continue to read it at author events and quote it on social media.
Websites? Goodness. So many. Facebook is ripe with writerly groups easily found with a quick search. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a popular site. I’ll be honest … I don’t really use a lot of writerly websites as I was lucky enough to have friends who were already published. My process from writer-to-published-author was more organic in that way.
Good luck and happy writing!
Little Dino and Jesikah Sundin off to read now ~~~