Welcome Stacy Overby!
Tattoos is a military style space opera and is the first book in the series. The back blurb can answer the rest.
One hushed cry in the middle of the night, and Eli Thorson's life unravels. A highly trained Black Ops specialist, he's used to danger, but Eli's path forces him to confront the illusions he's been taught his whole life-ones that make him question all the good he thought he was doing. Unable to work for a command that defiles the oaths he swore, he works to untangle the web of lies and deceit he finds woven throughout his worlds. The tattooed marks of his profession run more than skin deep. As a specialist, it is his job to protect the peoples, laws, and all the United Earth Government stands for, even if it means taking down the entire Black Ops Division to do it.
I had to create/recycle languages for this series. With the space opera style, it didn’t make sense to have everyone speaking the same language. There is Universal, which is a common language, but there are multiple other languages out there. I’ve used bits of Greek for some of it and old Norse for other pieces, including some rather interesting insult exchanges.
My characters see quite a few climates. They haven’t played a huge role in the series so far, but they are there. Deserts, rainforests, and more all have had their parts. As for changes, each world is unique and has seen changes over time. One world became a desert, while another has trees that dwarf the Redwood Forests in California.
Faith systems haven’t really come up yet in the series, though they do exist. In Tattoos, Eli’s background is a blend of Vikings and Greek cultures. Without giving spoilers away, there are some nomadic cultures I’ve borrowed bits from to create a culture that fits living in more of an arid/desert like area.
This depends on the people you’re referring to. The main characters in Tattoos are descendants of people here on Earth, so many of their fun activities are similar to the kinds of things we do now. The one major thing that’s different is that they sometimes take off flying into space for a while just for fun. It’s the equivalent of going for a drive now.
For other species and inhabitants of the Black Ops universe, they have some other interesting past-times I haven’t fully explored yet.
The characters in Tattoos are ahead of us for transportation and technology. They have space ships of all kinds. Computers that are reminiscent of ours but better. Their communication devices are called links that adhere to the skin and function kind of like a smartphone. And they have cool weapons, though some of the weapons are older than what we use today, too. For example, Eli’s preferred weapons are a pair of Sai. His best friend, Shawn, has a penchant for blowing things up with whatever he can, which is usually a mix of advanced stuff and stuff similar to what we have now.
There are different races in Tattoos along with humans who have unique abilities. The races aren’t too prominent in Tattoos but develop more as the series goes. Tattoos focuses on characters, both human and not exactly human, who have empathic abilities.
Your ProcessWhen you build a world, what is your process like? Do you do a lot of research upfront, wing it completely, or something in between?
I am a total pantser. The very first draft of Tattoos was written during NaNoWriMo 2011. I didn’t research much of anything at that point. Research has come into play quite a bit since then as I’ve revised and rewritten things. The next two books in the series and the couple short stories set in this world have been more of a mix of research and winging it. I find if I research too much, I end up getting stuck and the story suffers for it.
I would say it’s a little of both for Tattoos. Mostly, the setting is backdrop. However, there are some key events that happen where setting mattered quite a bit. Honestly, setting tends to be one of my weaknesses in that I see it in my head but don’t always do well translating that onto paper. Hence my eternal gratitude to my editors who prod me into getting those details out so they can help influence and spur events in the story.
I do a little bit of both. Again, some of that is because in early drafts I tend to be a little too sparse on those details. But, by the time Tattoos hits print, the details are much more solid. I try to interweave them into the action of the story when I can. It helps avoid long drawn out explanations of setting that my ADHD does not play well with. And because it’s easier to get those details in on subsequent revisions that way.
Hard scientific fact is a very minor part of my world building. I do try to keep the world of Tattoos realistic with itself, though. I think that leads to a blend of some fantastical and unexplainable with some science. For example, science has not yet proven a way to have interplanetary space travel like you often see in space opera, but is a staple part. This is some of the fantastical. However, I also make sure that weapons and technology are fallible, make sense within themselves, and are similar enough to what we know in today’s world to be plausible scientifically.
I work in behavioral health as a program director. I did direct contact counseling with teenagers for nine years before stepping into my current role last year. As anyone who has ever worked with teenagers knows, you need to pay attention to details and look to the world around them to understand what’s going on. I think this skill has helped me learn to look at world building from an interesting perspective.
Most of it lives in my head. Which makes it challenging when I have to try to figure out the details of something I can’t quite remember. I am working now on adding these things to a three ring binder since I have two more books and several short stories that come after Tattoos. Consistency in the series is critical to me.
I think some of the most challenging things in world building for Tattoos were that some of the things I needed to have happen just plain don’t exist to research and I didn’t want to do the exact same things other authors and worlds have done. So I had to create a space opera universe of multiple planets and systems but find ways to make it just a little different from other space operas.
Where can people find you on the web?
Thanks for stopping by and always know where your towel is. Mine? It’s here at my booth. Come by to check it out - https://owscycon.ourwriteside.com/forums/topic/stacy-overby-author-booth-3/
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For more stops on our World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website.
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