Archives for posts with tag: amanda bridgeman

AuroraCentralis BTFB

As part of the official Aurora Centralis blog tour, I was able to ask author Amanda Bridgeman some questions, which she was nice enough to answer.

Aurora: Centralis is the fourth in a Science fiction / Thriller/ Action series. It will be available for purchase on 26 March 2015. For those who haven’t read it, my review of the book can be found here.

Without further ado, let’s head straight to the interview.

Firstly, let’s say that I loved your first three books. Can we expect more of the same in Aurora: Centralis or do you think your readers will finish the book shocked and surprised?

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I think readers will definitely be shocked and surprised with how I end Centralis. It’s the halfway point of the series, so a lot of questions are answered and secrets revealed, which sees part of the storyline come to an end, but another, much bigger, story arc take off…

If your book was being studied in an English class at school, what themes would you draw out?

I’ve always liked the whole ‘working together’ theme. The Aurora team pulling together to do what needs to be done, despite their sex, their race, their age, etc. They each have different skills that they bring to the table, and each one is important because together they make one whole strong entity.

Carrie Welles is a strong yet flawed character. What do you have in common with her? Which of her attributes would you like to have and which are you glad you don’t?

I’m a little fiery like Carrie, I have to admit. And we both swear too much… Although I can be stubborn at times, it’s not quite as bad as Carrie’s stubbornness. So that would be what I choose ‘not’ to have of hers… I would like to be as perfect as she is with her shooting. To be at the top of my game at something, would be awesome. I’ve always pretty much been an average at everything…

I read you based Saul Harris in part on Will Smith’s character in I am Legend. Is Smith who you would cast if your film was made into a movie? What about Carrie, Doc and McKinley?

I did picture Will Smith as Harris when I wrote it, and it was definitely inspired by how Will was in I Am Legend – and to be honest I still picture him as Harris when I’m writing it, so he would be good in the film. But I do also love Idris Elba and think he would make an awesome Harris! If Denzel was a little bit younger, he’d be great too. I’m still not sure about Carrie. I think an ‘unknown’ or relatively unknown actress might be the way to go for her – and she would definitely need to know how to do an Aussie accent!

I always pictured Doc as Colin Farrell (in his younger days), so someone like that with dark hair and dark eyes… With McKinley I’ve never pictured him as a particular actor, but I would very much welcome Chris Hemsworth playing the part. A lot of my friends would like to see Charlie Hunnam in the role, though!

On another blog you’ve detailed your love for sci fi and outlined some of your favourite films (I agree with most of them, but Pacific Rim? Really?). You also noted that a medieval fantasy is also on your list of future works. What fantasy novels have inspired you? Why?

Ha! I was trying to mix up the films a little in that blog by adding Pacific Rim – so they weren’t all straight alien films. I didn’t like it as much as the others on that list, but I didn’t mind it (hello it stars Idris Elba!). It was fun. 😉 With regards to the second part of the question, I haven’t read a great deal of medieval fantasy, so most of my inspiration comes from film. The kind of book I’m planning actually has less of a fantasy element in it now, and is probably more of a historical action/drama (?). It would be like a cross between Willow, Braveheart and The Last of The Mohicans… with a touch of real life Boudica inspiration thrown in. I love a good warrior tale with plenty of drama – particularly one with a romance threaded throughout…

How do you find your studies have helped your writing?

I studied film/tv and creative writing at university, so it certainly was a good foundation for which to build stories upon. It also made me appreciate just how hard it is to make a film and bring a story together! When editing novels you need to be analytical, so that background certainly came in handy!

You had five books written before the first was published. Now that you’re coming to the end of that stash, are you feeling stressed about keeping up your gruelling publishing schedule?

You know what, I’m actually looking forward to it! I feel like I’ve been on an editing cycle for ages now (although that was my choice and I thoroughly enjoy it). It’s been great to get the novels out quickly and allow readers to get hooked on the series, but I do feel as though I haven’t had time to sink my teeth into some real writing for a while, so I’m looking forward to the freedom of having that again – no deadlines! I’ve got a bunch of novels itching to be written, so I can’t wait to get them out onto the page and get them to readers!

What are the things you’ve had to give up to make time for your writing?

A social life? No, thankfully all my friends are married with kids so they don’t have social lives either. 😉 I suppose being single, the hardest thing is not having the time (or the patience) for dating! I literally don’t have time, nor care, for the game-playing. Seriously, he’s gotta be pretty worth it to entice me away from writing. I guess this is why I’m single… But hey, if the right one comes along, I’m sure I can find the time to put the books down for a while… 😉

AuroraCentralis BTFB

As part of the official Aurora: Centralis blog tour, I was lucky enough to be one of the first to read and review Amanda Bridgeman’s newest book.

Aurora: Centralis is the continuation of Bridgeman’s Aurora series. The series follows a crew of space marines as they track down a group of superhuman “Jumbos” who were created as part of a top-secret military project. (See my prior review of the second book in the series Aurora: Pegasus.)

At the end of the last book, we were left with Carrie agreeing to carry her unwanted, test-tube Jumbo twins long enough for the United National Forces (UNF) to study the foetuses. In return, the UNF would overlook the past indiscretions of Doc and the rest of the crew.

Aurora: Centralis opens with the heated tensions this decision causes.

Carrie has every intention of aborting the twins as soon as the time period the UNF has specified is over, yet the UNF doctors are working hard to change her mind. The twins’ fathers are split on the topic. McKinley wants nothing to do with his Jumbo baby and wants Carrie to abort immediately; damn the consequences. Doc on the other hand is forced to be there at every consultation Carrie has with the doctors and his attachment to his unborn child grows stronger with each visit.

Captain Harris finds it hard to keep the Aurora team operating given the emotional fallout, especially with the UNF breathing down his neck. To make things worse, his dead relatives won’t stop appearing in his dreams.

Meanwhile, the UNF aren’t the only ones interested in the twins, and if there’s anything Carrie’s enemies have shown in the prior books, it’s that any high security UNF installation can be broken into if you have the right connections….

Although the threat of violence is never far away, a lot of the action in Aurora: Centralis is interpersonal interaction and relationship building. This might put some readers off, but for those who have fallen in love with the colourful crew of the Aurora, it’s thoroughly enjoyable. There were also some serious curve-balls in the plot that are bound to please those who like to be surprised.

To this point in the series, I’d felt like the Aurora books had adhered to a well-known trope, enabling the reader to at least have a general idea of where the storyline was headed. Centralis ends this. Before starting the book, there were certain things I was sure were going to happen. I wasn’t looking forward some of them, but I saw it as inevitable that things would play out as I had foreseen.

Boy was I wrong. Totally totally wrong.

If you wanted a corny catchphrase for Aurora: Centralis, it could well be “there’s no such thing as a coincidence”. During the story, loose threads that had been left dangling in prior installments are neatly knotted into the fabric of the story, bringing new understanding that changes absolutely everything.

Because of these revelations, the book has a distinctly different flavour to the first three. There’s no more raising the stakes until the reader is almost falling off the edge of their chair. It’s more like all the bets are called and we see everyone’s cards and understand who has won, who has lost and how much the damage tallies up to be. To continue the gambling metaphor, everyone knows the game is over but that another hand is going to be played and no one’s exactly sure who will be playing and how much of their prior winnings they’re going to invest in the new round.

What I’m trying to convey is that by the end of Aurora: Centralis the storyline reaches a kind of conclusion, but we also see the seeds of a new beginning. I expect readers to be split on whether they like or hate the ending. I personally thought it was great.

In summary, although Aurora: Centralis was different from the books that preceded it, I devoured it just as voraciously. I enjoyed it so I’m going to give it a 4/5.

The shortlist for the Aurealis Awards, which recognises Australian fiction in science fiction, fantasy and horror genres, has been released.

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It’s days like these that I regret being a cross-genre reader. With all the books I want to tackle, how can I possibly work my way through a shortlist where I have read precious few of the books?

I have read Amanda Bridgeman’s Meridian, the third in her sci-fi series about a crew of space troopers as they fight against a scientific experiment gone rogue.

I’ve also read The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke, a story of a gifted cleric whose world is turned upside down when a foreign artifact attaches itself to him, complicating his quest to safeguard his religion against gathering forces.

I enjoyed both immensely and intend to read the next books in the series.

Otherwise, Juliet Marillier also made it into the list. I have never read a book of hers I didn’t like, but I have not read Dreamer’s Pool. Scott Westerfield too — I enjoyed his Uglies series. Again, I have not read the title he has been shortlisted for.

Horror/thriller writer Greig Beck also featured. I have been considering reading his novels for a while, but somehow they haven’t made it to the top of my pile. Maybe now is the time.

Fans of Garth Nix will be happy to see his name. I’m almost ashamed to say I’ve never picked up one of his titles.

Sorry to all those authors I am not mentioning here. I congratulate everyone who made the shortlist. The judges received over 750 entries across the 12 categories, with entries reaching an extremely high standard. I don’t envy them having to make the choice.

Aurora: Pegasus is the second in Amanda Bridgeman’s Aurora series.

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Carrie Welles and Captain Harris have survived the attack of the superhuman “jumbos” on the Darwin. But Carrie’s still having nightmares, to the detriment of her new lover Doc. And Harris is starting to think he’s losing his mind as dead relatives dominate his thoughts, mouthing doom laden premonitions.

Harris soon discovers their fears are founded. The jumbos that the crew of the Aurora left incarcerated on the Darwin space station have broken free. The United National Forces (UNF) are blaming Harris for leaving them there in the first place and expect him to find them.

He hatches a plan to catch the jumbos. Use Carrie as bait. But Harris suspects there’s still a turncoat in the UNF and the jumbos always seem to be three steps ahead. Making things worse is the forbidden nature of Doc and Carrie’s relationship. Will their feelings for each other unravel the mission?

I couldn’t stop reading this book. I was rude to someone I regularly talk to on my daily commute because I couldn’t bear to waste the time speaking to them that I could use to read.

While Aurora: Darwin has an Alien feel to it because the marines head towards an unknown danger in the middle of space, Aurora: Pegasus has an Empire Strikes Back atmosphere. It’s got the romance – complete with a (sort of) love triangle. It has the surprise revelations. It has the same cliffhanger ending that leaves the reader gasping for more.

Yet what really made this book for me was Bridgeman’s ability to raise the stakes (completely lacking in the last book I reviewed). While it’s pretty obvious from the start that the plan to use Carrie as bait will not go smoothly, Bridgeman does more than simply deliver the disaster we expect. Instead, she creates a nightmare situation the reader is almost too horrified to read.

One by one, Bridgeman removes the stabilisers that keep Carrie on an even keel: Her trust in the plan; Her father’s devotion; Her bond with her fellow soldiers; Her relationship with Doc; Her self control; The support of Captain Harris; The Aurora.

When there is nothing left, what will she do?

I loved the book and I will be counting the days until the next one is released on 11 September. I am giving it a 4.5/5.

I bought 60 ebooks in 2013. Given I also read books in hard copy, I was a bit blown away by that. At least one book a week.

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I decided to go through my purchases, because I have been slack with reviews and there were definitely some good books. Some stinkers too. Here are my five faves:

1. Ready Player One, Ernest Cline – I wrote about Ready Player One in this review. The book is an eighties nostalgia kick. If you were a gamer, you’ll love it.

2. Aurora: Darwin, Amanda Bridgeman – I almost didn’t read this book because the prologue was so awful. But at some point I picked it up again and fell in love with it. It has a feel similar to that of Alien the film, as a spaceship crew heads into a situation they know nothing about. The suspense is good, the characters believable. Looking forward to reading the sequel.

3. Lexicon, Max Barry – This book had me at the first page. The action was fast, the dialogue snappy. It’s about a group of people who can use words like superpowers – any author’s dream! If you’re ever uncertain of how much to reveal to the reader and when, this book does it perfectly. The narrative never gets bogged down in explanation – Barry only feeds the reader what they need to know when they need to know it. A large section of the book is also set in Broken Hill, so it gets the Australia tick of approval. It was one of my more expensive purchases, but I don’t regret one cent.

4. The Rook, Daniel O’Malley – It’s not unusual for a main character to wake up with no memory and read notes from themselves. It’s less usual for the author of the notes to have a completely different personality than the reader. Thus the book begins with a powerful clash of personalities between the main character pre and post losing her memory. The amnesiac goes to work at her paranormal secret service type agency, it only gets better. I’m looking forward to the next one.

5. Raven’s Shadow Book One: Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow), Anthony Ryan – When done well, the coming of age warrior story is always a good one. Even though we know how the general script runs, it’s interesting to see how each handles the characters’ sense of brotherhood, the betrayals, the romances. Again, can’t wait for the sequel.

(Image credit: OMG, by Andrea Schaeffer, CC2.0)