Xenogeneic is a science fiction thriller about first contact with an alien race that lost their civil war and wants to take over Earth.
Dr. Elena Pyetrov’s father vanished in space 18 years ago while searching for extraterrestrial life. As an aerospace engineer, Elena travels into space to search for answers and continue his work. Her ship is pulled off course and crashes. She suspects extraterrestrial interference.
The alien Knoonk lost their civil war in a distant star system and fled to Earth’s neighborhood to hide and regroup. They seek a new home—Earth. Unable to live in Earth’s toxic environment, the aliens kidnap and use humans to genetically modify their species to adapt.
Surviving the crash, Elena and her shipmates are transported to a closed cave system where the Knoonk monitor and control everything. Elena tries to make a connection with her hosts and find ways to work together, but Knoonk leaders rebuff her and force the humans to submit as slaves. The aliens use illusions, distractions, and social experiments to learn from their hostages and keep them off balance. Resistance by captive humans brings swift punishment to break the human spirit.
While Elena continues to look for ways to cooperate with the Knoonk, it becomes apparent that there can be no compromise. The Knoonk want to capture Earth for their species. It is winner take all. With time running out, Elena must dig deep to uncover the alien plan and find a way to stop them before the human race faces enslavement and extinction.
Lance Erlick writes science fiction thrillers for young adult and adult readers. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he explores the consequences of Annabelle Scott following her conscience. He authored the Regina Shen series--Resilience, Vigilance, Defiance, and Endurance. This series takes place after abrupt climate change leads to the Great Collapse and a new society under the World Federation. His latest novel is Xenogeneic: First Contactabout encounters with an alien race aiming to take over Earth.
IREADBOOKTOURS XENOGENEIC INTERVIEW
How did you get started as an author?
My initial inspiration as a writer came when I was eleven. I’d just read a fun adventure story (Sorry, I don’t remember the title or author) and thought I could write as well. Boy was I wrong, but I learned a lot about what I didn’t know and needed to learn. It took a while to get up the courage to try again, but I had the bug and have continued to return to writing whenever I’ve been pulled away.
What or who inspired you?
Writers such as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein inspired me as I was growing up. After my initial attempt at emulating other writers, I felt quite intimidated and inspired by the science fiction writers I came across. More recent inspirations have been David Brin and Elizabeth Moon. In her novel The Speed of Dark, Moon writes from a boy’s point of view. Her successful venture inspired me to write the Rebel series largely from a young woman’s point of view.
With 8 published novels and numerous shorter stories to your credit, how do you continue to find new ideas, new characters, etc., to keep bringing something new to the table?
Ideas pop into my head and swirl around based on what I read, see, or the day’s events. I often have characters and their stories floating around my mind, telling me their problems and asking me to help them find solutions. Often ideas come from imagining “what if” situations involving people in unusual circumstances. Then my imagination takes off trying to figure out how a particular character might handle it.
Basically, my characters arise from background and circumstances such that Annabelle from the Rebel series would be a much different character in the Regina Shen world or in Xenogeneic: First Contact. As an avid reader of history, science, and science fiction, I’m inundated with ideas. If only I had a time machine that would double the amount of time I had each day.
There are a few common themes. I grew up with strong women. At a time when it was uncommon to do so, my mother put herself through school to get a PhD as a single mom and worked her entire life. I had two step-mothers, both with strong personalities. I’ve also had a several other strong influences. That has brought a number of strong female characters to my stories. For some reason, I find it easy to identify with them.
Your stories put your characters in distressing situations that some would say could lead to depression. What do you do to leave that behind so you don't carry the mood into you daily life?
For me, the worlds in which Elena Pyetrov and my other characters find themselves are quite stressful, but I take hope in the fact that she faces up to her challenges and refuses to give up. That striving to overcome can be exhausting to write, but it’s also rewarding. I believe in triumph of the spirit and that with our last breath we must carry on to do our best. That energizes me.
At the same time, I recognize the stories to be fantasies of sorts, worlds I can enter and leave much as I would in reading someone else’s book or seeing a movie. When I’m not in the story, I become detached as a work strategy because most of my best ideas and work come to me when I’m not writing. So, I relish time away from my stories both for idea generation and for a change of pace.
What would you most like readers to know about you?
While I have not lived through what Elena Pyetrov has, my journey has been filled with challenges. What has gotten me through them has been to try to be honest with myself about where I landed, what options I have, and then to do whatever I can to work my way to a better place. One of the darker and yet brighter periods in my life was when I found myself out of work (from a brand new job) with two young children, a non-working spouse at that time, and a brand new mortgage when jobs weren’t plentiful. After an hour of grieving, I picked myself up and engaged in a marathon push to put our lives back together. Interestingly enough, I’d worried about losing my job before this and never again afterwards.
Any advice for young authors wanting to write books in this genre?
Read what you enjoy. Write what stirs your passion. Hopefully these are both in the same genre. If you try to write what’s popular or what you think will really sell, your writing will come out flat unless this coincides with what stirs you. Be true to yourself.
Win a copy of Xenogeneic: First Contact. One person will also receive a $25 Amazon gift card (print open to USA and ebook for int’l) 2 winners total