Interview with Debbie Hightower

Author of American Survivor

Retired newspaper reporter who made the switch to writing science-fiction novels.

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What provoked you to write science fiction?
  • I grew up in the space age and always wanted to become an astronaut. Since that didn't pan out, I chose to live vicariously through my characters!! ;-)
What was your inspiration for this book?
  • Reality. All of the concepts in American Survivor are factual. Faster-than-light propulsion, multiple species of aliens including those living on Earth ... they're all real. I'm a past newspaper reporter. Consequently, I felt that someone needed to expose all this stuff.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
  • Isaac Asimov. Larry Niven. Robert Heinlein. Also modern biographical writers including Gene Kranz, John Glenn and Jim Lovell. I'm also addicted to action/adventure authors like Tom Clancy, David Baldacci, and Lee Child.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
  • Regina is a real city but Mercy Hospital is fictional. University of Saskatchewan is a true location, as is Montreal, Quebec. As far as the space shipyard, it was born from the idea that any super-colossal warp-drive ships will need to be constructed in space. And a space shipyard will produce its own issues, as the reader will discover while reading Book One.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • In order to succeed in literary craft, you must first be a prolific reader. Expand your horizons by reading works in multiple genres.
Could you talk a little about your writing process?
  • Major break in protocol while writing my most recent release. There was no chapter-by-chapter outline to follow. I basically went seat-of-the-pants, which was a lot of fun. I wasn't limited by any preconceived boundaries. It was as if I was writing and reading the novel at the same time!
Which character has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • My #1 choice would be Raven Munoz, who literally rose from the ashes and went on to make her wildest dreams come true. Choice #2 is Camillo Hoffman, also an American Survivor, who never stopped believing his engineering team could make warp drive a reality.
If the book were to be adapted for TV or film, who would you see in the lead role? Who did you have in your mind’s eye ?
  • Each of my characters was inspired by a family member. If the series went live, I would have to see what all of them had on their schedules. If not, Raven would have to be played by Jessica Alba, Zoe Saldana, or Salma Hayek. Penelope Cruz would also be a good fit to play Raven.
How have readers responded ?
  • Four and a half stars on Amazon. They are attracted by the aliens in the story. Not so much the nuts and bolts about the military workings. Or how warp drive propulsion is a quantum mechanics phenomenon.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • I am working on my non-fiction debut. Also considering a children's book.
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Smoke and ashes cover most of the North American continent. While emergency responders race against the clock to rescue survivors, government officials scramble to obscure details of the event that claimed the lives of millions. Was the calamity a volcanic super eruption? Or an unprecedented weapon unleashed by an enemy with a vendetta against the United States? After losing everything, one of the survivors hurdles red tape and false flags in an attempt to uncover--and broadcast--the real story.