• Becca McCulloch

Sterling R. Walker: Orphan Ship

Sterling Walker writes accessible and personable science fiction. Her character-driven stories create palpable tension as she weaves in jaw-dropping events and mystifying situations. I love the energy in her works and the way she uses dialogue to maintain tension. She never plunges into page after page of technical description, which is great for a non-science fiction enthusiast like me. I love her characters and the energy in her stories. They bridge the gap between young adult and science fiction very well.

Author Q&A

Why did you decide to write this story?

I wanted to shed some new light on human trafficking.

What kind of research did you do for this novel? Is there any detail you found in your research that particularly interested you?

The settings in books 2 and 3 were from my own experience in traveling abroad to China and Thailand. I also incorporated much of the cultural quirks -- good and bad -- into the stories. Since one of my main characters is a medic, I also had to do some research into various illnesses and injuries and come up with some futuristic tools for him to use.

How do you feel that you changed as a person and/or writer after completing this work?

Finishing something felt great, although letting go of the manuscript -- forcing myself to stop 'tinkering' with it -- was hard, too. I've always loved writing but never finished a long work so it was empowering to realize I could do it.

What is your favorite go-to advice for an emerging writer?

A writers critique group can keep you on task, and find beta readers who are authors in your particular genre. Don't skimp on hiring a professional editor and cover artist if you want to have a career that lasts.

What's next for you? Do you have any works in progress?

I'm writing a young adult science fiction series called Vesta Exiled. Writing something new is always a challenge since you have to iron out all the details in the first few chapters to set the tone for the rest of the series. It's much easier to use characters and settings you've already created -- which is why so many authors write sequels into infinity. I like to stretch my creative wings, so to speak, and write something new. I don't want to be a 'cookie cutter' author who reverts back to the same plot or similar characters. The downside is that it takes so much longer to get a manuscript finished. The Orphan Ship was a five-year project.

Author Bio

Author Sterling R. Walker has been writing since she was old enough to spell, filling notebooks and -- more recently - laptops, with her stories. She earned a BA in English from North Carolina State University, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. The Orphan Ship is her first published young adult science fiction novel. It's received good reviews and was awarded a 2012 silver medal from Children's Literary Classics. Walker's exciting sequel to The Orphan Ship, The Lost Sheep, was published in October, 2013. The final book in the trilogy, The Last Orphan, was published in December, 2014. In February, 2016 she released The Orphan Ship Trilogy on Kindle, which combines all three books into one volume. She is currently working on book one in a new YA SF series. Sterling R. Walker lives in North Logan, Utah, with her husband of 29 years and four of her six children. Her oldest son is married, and she has one grandson. The oldest son attends NC State University, along with her oldest daughter. Sterling is a Christian (Latter-day Saints), listens to metal and alternative rock music, likes to travel internationally, and is addicted to dark chocolate with sea salt. She is also launching an editing business in fall, 2017, called Sterling Edits. (Website under construction.) Visit her blog at SterlingRWalker.blogspot.com.

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