Interview with Debbie Hightower

Author of Kon-Tiki

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

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It can't happen, but it did. In your new book Kon-Tiki, how did the annihilation of the United States affect the space race?
  • A holocaust that took away so many people is going to leave a scar on the face of history. This narrative is based on the belief that an unspeakable tragedy will serve as a source of inspiration, fueling future exploration. Humanity's best chance for survival is going to take place as a multi-planetary species.
What was your inspiration for this book?
  • To be quite honest, I saw these events in Biblical prophecy with the fall of Babylon. The characteristics of the league of enemies who take out the country are clearly prophesied in the form of oracles on Babylon given by Isaiah and Jeremiah. The invaders come from the heavens with superior weaponry having one hundred percent accuracy. They are terrible in appearance and speak a language that no human can understand.
Which authors do you admire? How have they influenced your writing style?
  • I cut my author teeth on the writings of science-fiction authors including Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Larry Niven. Recently my bookshelf is stocked with action-adventure authors. Tom Clancy, David Baldacci, Lee Child.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
  • The United States definitely matches the criteria for prophetic Babylon. After it becomes an uninhabited wasteland called The Big Scorch, the story focuses on various locations in Canada, Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
  • I'm a retired newspaper reporter with strong skills in research. If you don't have a similar background, write what you know.
Could you talk a little about your writing process?
  • I don't have an office. I have a laptop that can be taken outside and on camping trips. Writing with an outline is not nearly as much fun as just letting go and letting it flow. Often my writing is not chronological. I may write the final chapters before the middle ones.
Which character has had the greatest impact on readers?
  • It would have to be Raven. She experienced a difficult childhood that taught her to utilize the resources at hand. That resilience helped her to literally rise from a near-death experience and go on to not only write a book but also achieve her greatest dream. Also Camillo Hoffman, the aerospace engineering genius who knew that humanity would eventually master the principles of faster-than-light propulsion and antigravity.
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 ?
  • My top pick for Raven would be Penelope Cruz. If I could find someone remarkably similar to James Spader, who played Dr. Daniel Jackson in the 1994 Stargate movie, I'd hire him. Or slap a pair of wire-rimmed glasses on Chris Pine.
How have readers responded ?
  • Beta readers devoured it. It was recently released on Amazon, so no star ratings have been submitted yet.
Where next? What are you working on now?
  • I am working on my non-fiction debut and perhaps a children's book.
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Like the ancient Polynesian explorers, migrants aboard the mothership Kon-Tiki endeavor to travel great distances using celestial navigation. A sudden cataclysm renders continental United States into a forbidden zone known as The Big Scorch. Believing the danger to be past, the remaining officials attempt to pick up the pieces and conduct the country's business as usual. General Leonard Bardick discovers that instead of one nation, this time an enemy intends to wipe out the entire planet. A trip to establish a new colony on the exoplanet Equinox may be humanity's best chance for survival. Rocket designers must hurdle physical, political and economic barriers before making another warp drive mothership a reality. As if that wasn't enough, a turf war over command of the Kon-Tiki heats up. Given the obstacles that lay before them, humanity's survival may depend on help from a hidden source