Come See the Light (Author Interview)

  



https://www.normanluce-writer.com

Come See the Light looks like an exciting young adult, science fiction book.  Can you tell us a little about it?

Come See The Light is a story about, among other things, uncertainty, duty, self-discovery, friendship, and hope. It’s based on a short film I made back in 2016. It’s set in a future where all non-biological electricity suddenly vanishes. No lights, computers, cars, or any such forms of technology are possible, resulting in humanity reverting to old-west style living. Our hero is a young girl named Maya (after the mother of Buddha), born well into the aftermath of the event known as The Wave, which demolished all the power. She finds the location of the machine that caused it all and sets out on a journey to find it, along with her loyal and helpful fox companion, Inari. Along the way, she will see how the world has adjusted to the sudden change and will decide if power may be restored or not. She must learn from her experience and make a choice herself. 

 

Any plans to turn it into a series?

Indeed, there are. I am working on a prequel story about Inari the fox and her upbringing. What made her the fox we know in the first book, and what contributes to her intelligence and empathy. After that, I plan to work on a direct sequel to the main story.

 

How long did it take you to write Come See the Light?

I started writing the book in January 2021 and hammered out the first draft in about six months. I would have taken less time were it not for a bad case of writer’s block towards the ending. Once I finally completed the first draft, I showed it to as many friends and family members as possible for feedback and editing notes. Especially my dad and my “first-cousin,” both of whom are my primary collaborators and have been instrumental in helping me craft the story. From there, as they say, the key to writing is re-writing, and I spent the rest of the year working on editing and making changes to tell the best story possible. After about twenty drafts, I felt it was finally ready and began preparing it for the book's release in July of 2022.

 

That’s an amazing cover.  Can you tell us a little about it?

Thank you for the compliment. The cover was crafted by an incredibly talented Ukrainian cover artist named Rebecacovers. I found her on fiverr.com and was impressed with her work. I had a different cover originally crafted by another talented artist, Jonathan Herzog, whom I met through a mutual friend. I liked his original cover, but my editor commented that it didn’t match the intended tone of the story, and by the time I completed the book, I had wholly changed Maya’s character design. So, I went with the present cover but offered Jonathan a chance to feature his artwork in the book's appendix. I have also promised him that if I ever produce a graphic novel adaptation of the story, I will want him to illustrate it for me.

 

Can you tell us a little about Maya?

Maya is an amalgamation of many influential fictional characters and non-fictional people in my life. She is compassionate, capable, and always wants to do the right thing, no matter how challenging it may be. 


Her first technical appearance was in the original short film I made, portrayed by my friend Sarah Liz Amoroso, who also wrote the forward for the book. Maya is also influenced by my older sister and niece, two of the strongest and kindest women I know. 

 

Maya’s primary fictional inspiration was from my favorite Hayao Miyazaki film, NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind. Both are women characters skilled at survival, are capable fighters, compassionate, and have a natural charm with animals, not to mention the post-apocalyptic setting.

 

How did you come up with the story and ideas in Come See the Light?

After my friends and I made the short film for the San Jose 48-Hour Film Project, we originally intended to write and produce a feature-length film version. Sadly, due to several conflicts and issues (including the pandemic), we never got around to making it happen.

 

So, I decided to take the newly found spare time I had to bring our grander story to life but in book form. 

 

The story was mainly influenced by my first solo road trip to Ashland, Oregon I took back in 2018. Many of the landmarks mentioned in the book were places and things I noticed and admired on the trip. 

 

I also took some inspiration from my favorite video games, The Last of Us and Assassins Creed. The latter is in the use of Maya’s hidden blade weapon. That was intended as a subtle jab at Ubisoft’s blatant and terrible sexism when they claimed they don’t have a woman lead character in one of their most successful game franchises because “Women don’t sell!” I may have taken offense to that remark. 

 

Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Come See the Light?

My biggest challenge, among others, was honing the discipline to keep moving. The most important lesson from my experience is best described in a line from one of my favorite movies, Finding Forester, delivered by the late Sir Sean Connery. The line goes, “The first key to writing is to write; not to think," meaning it’s more important to power through the first draft than it is to stop every five minutes wondering if what you’re writing is any good at all. 

 

There is a tendency to be afraid of what you’re writing and to constantly stop and think about how you could make it better in the heat of the moment. The problem with that mentality is that you can spend so much time on a single paragraph trying to “improve” it before moving on to the next one; by the time you finally do move on, you’re already exhausted and probably don’t feel like doing anymore. 

 

This mentality can cause one to never even finish the first draft because they spend too much time trying to make it good when that’s not the goal of any first draft. 

 

The first draft is a skeleton, and every subsequent draft is a process of adding muscle, flesh, and details to form it into a beautiful and exciting living thing. 

 

What do you like to do when not writing?

I enjoy performing in theater, making videos and films with my friends, and swimming. I’m also fond of hiking and traveling whenever possible.

I also pride myself as a coffee enthusiast with many ways of making good coffee. Presently, I work at Nespresso as my day job, and I love it wholeheartedly.

 

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I graduated from the Foothill College Theater Conservatory, an intense two-year training program for actors, and they have been the best two years of my life (so far).

 I performed in choir as a 1st tenor in High School.

 My grandmother was a librarian and possessed walls of books.

 My favorite movie of all time is Ronin (1998).

 

Where can readers find out more about your work?

My website where you can find links to my book. You can also find a link to my blog where I review movies and discuss all things cinema.

You can also see some of my previous video & film work on my production groups YouTube Channel for Dragon Farm Productions.

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