Today’s Friday Five focus is Edwin Peng, author of YA science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels.
Edwin Peng lives in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska, with his beloved Pokémon buddy, Eevee. During the day, he indulges in super-villainy by performing high-power laser research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At night, his secret identity is that of a literary superhero fighting to make the Young Adult Science Fiction genre less clichéd and more inclusive. He is the author of the Star City series, which features bad-ass heroines and space aliens who love blueberry pies. The first novel was released by Evolved Publishing on December 4, 2017.
Star City is the first book in the Star City series. When space aliens make contact with Earth, 18-year old Emma Smith is ready to serve. She answers the call of the United States State Department for the college freshmen to serve as student ambassador to the visiting Ba’ren delegation. As political struggles intensify between feuding human and Ba’ren factions, anti-alien sentiment on Earth reaches a lethal pitch. Emma is determined not to be a pawn in this complicated game of life and death and must risk everything to help maintain the fragile peace between the two species.
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1. If you could pick just one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
If I’m stranded on a deserted island, it would have to be Robinson Crusoe.
2. What are some of your favorite words and why?
According to my editor, I use “very” a lot in my manuscript, so I guess that would be my favorite word.
3. What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about YA/sci-fi, that you think they need to know?
YA is a lot more than – or at least, CAN be more than – novels about abusive, glittering vampires. There are so many aspiring and current authors who are writing quality YA novels. Ignore the disparaging stereotypes about YA and its readers – try some yourself!
4. Where do your inspiration and ideas for your stories come from?
There were many sources of inspiration for Star City. My dayjob as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln provides plenty of ideas about future scientific discoveries and technologies. History, economics, and linguistics provided many of the ideas found in the Star City series. For instance, the many attempts at constructing an universal language for all humans is what I had in mind when creating Ba’zek, the language of the Ba’ren.
5. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever researched for your works or biggest/most out-of-the-ordinary thing you’ve done while researching?
Researching sounds for the Ba’ren language is fascinating – and can make you look weird when you’re straining your facial muscles to make weird sounds.
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Star City is currently available on Amazon.