by Jennifer R. Povey
For Transpecial, I started with the title. The original concept was an individual who literally, physically, became part alien in order to communicate with the other. That mutated as it percolated, however, into somebody who understands aliens better than humans. This is just as close to the title - somebody who is transgendered identifies with the opposite gender or sex - but proved to be a lot easier to write. It naturally led to those people who, in reality, often find it easier to identify with the non-human. An excellent example are autistic people. Many tend to get on much better with animals than humans. The idea of aliens who's body language is so alien it drives people into a killing rage is only somewhat original - it's just a variant on the 'Uncanny Valley' effect, in which an android or robot disturbs people by being not quite human. The entire book came out of that basic concept.
It also had the virtue of being a space opera. I love space opera and honestly have since the first Star Wars trilogy (I saw the second and third in theaters, was just barely too young for the first, and yes, that dates me). I also am fond of military science fiction and fantasy, but I don't call Transpecial 'military'. I call it 'diplomatic science fiction'. At its heart it's not about the people fighting the war. It's about the people trying to stop it.
As for the rest of my ideas? Sometimes I get them from editors - I write for theme anthologies a lot. Sometimes they just come out of nowhere. A book can start with a title, an image, a character.
Another question we're often asked is whether we're worried about people stealing our ideas. I laugh that off with a simple response - if somebody is actually a writer they don't need to steal my ideas. After all, I certainly don't need any more - right now I have an ideas queue that contains a television show (I'm probably dreaming), two comics with at least 12 issues a piece, a non-fiction book and two novels...fantasy and steampunk. That's not counting what I already have partially written. So, no, I don't worry about people stealing my ideas. I figure they have enough of their own.
Speaking of ideas, here is the end result for several of mine. This is a bit from my soon to be released novel Transpecial. I hope you enjoy it.
Humanity Fired First
The Contact War. Started by humans who could not bear to face the alien, who could not even look at them without killer rage and terrible fear overwhelming them. The destruction of the 'Valley Forge' marked a new and dangerous era for humanity. Key to their salvation? A young woman from Mars, a brilliant linguist with a profound social disorder...for only the autistic, it seems, can see the beauty within the ky'iin. Yet, can this young woman, who barely understands her own kind and has no experience in diplomacy truly stop the destructive war?
Jennifer R. Povey writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role playing games. She has sold fiction to a number of markets including Analog, Digital Science Fiction, and Cosmos. Her first novel, Transpecial, will be published by Musa Publishing in 2013.
To learn more about Jennifer, please visit her website.