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P.K. Tyler – We’re so excited to have you on the #WomeninSciFi series! Can you tell everyone about the awesome multi-author scifi universe Paradisi Chronicles project, and how it works? Please tell us a bit more about how you became involved, and what it’s evolved to be!
Cheri Lasota – Back in 2015, one of the original Paradisi authors, Amanda Allen, read a blog post by acclaimed Sci-Fi Author Hugh Howey. This is the pertinent excerpt:

“There is so much room to innovate, to get wild and crazy, to try things that have never been tried before (or to bring back things that have been lost to time). Create a universe for several genres; hire the writers you want to develop stories in that universe… What if a 12-book universe dropped on the same day? Don’t stagger them at all, just put them out there at once. What would happen? Why don’t we find out?” ––Hugh Howey, Your Fear is My Opportunity, July 19th, 2014

Amanda wanted to explore this idea and put out a call to local and online authors to gauge interest in a multi-author universe. After all was said and done, we ended up with 7 core founding members who worked for a year to bring the project about.

Our original premise was to create an open-source sci-fi universe that any author could write in at any time. All the authors publish independently, but if they want the official cover banner and inclusion in the official canon, they have to pass a canon review from one or more of the founding members. All sci-fi sub-genres are welcome. We have everything from murder mysteries to action-adventures to sci-fi romance to hard sci-fi. The universe really is the limit!

PKT – This series is set on a future Earth and the establishment of a New Eden. Does this sci-fi work have religious aspects to it, or use religious metaphors?
CL – While we’ve all (thus far) steered clear of religious topics in our stories, nothing precludes authors from exploring those aspects. I will say that several of our authors have explored concepts related to colonization and the effects of alien species on a planet’s environment.

PKT – What is it like working with so many other authors on a single narrative? Does it ever turn into something like the old ‘telephone tag’ game we played as kids?
CL – We’ve worked hard to keep our universe bible updated with any new information that we uncover as we write new stories. We have a great team who thoroughly check for inconsistencies on both the world narrative (Louisa Locke and yours truly) and the science and technology (Bill Patterson and Michael Cooper).

For me personally, the best part of the whole project is working with the other authors and building the Paradisi worlds together. I’ve recently shared characters and storylines with Author Andy McKell, and it’s been a blast piecing our stories together. What’s nice about this project is that authors can write in their own corner of our universe and work quite independently, or they can collaborate with other authors in the group.

PKT – Do you and the other authors of the Paradisi Chronicles ever argue about the differences between science fiction and fantasy? Tell us a story!
CL – Oh, yes. There have been many conversations–and arguments–over the course of more than a year among the founding members. We’ve found that in order for the majority of the storylines to work, sci-fi-based stories tend to work best for the Paradisi Chronicles Universe. Using fantasy-based world rules can tend toward butting up against science-based explanations for technology, orbital mechanics, etc.

PKT – The description of your multi-author series mentions a nuclear winter. How much research did you or the other authors put into making the fallout realistic for readers?
CL – We’ve actually built our universe to be filled out in stages, so that we could leave room for new authors to come in and decide on certain elements later on. The nuclear winter was one of those. While a few of us did quite a lot of research on what was possible and some stories hint at elements that were involved in Earth’s apocalypse, we’ve left a lot of it open-ended for authors who will come after us to fill out with more detail.

PKT – The Chronicles have their own website with a ton of extra features. Could you tell us more about the Space Stations & Spacecrafts? https://paradisichronicles.wordpress.com/space-stations-and-spacecraft/
CL – Before our science and technology gurus came on board, I was the sole individual making decisions on the technology that would be used in the Paradisi Universe–mostly this was because I adored researching those elements. Of all the spaceship propulsion technologies I could have used, I decided to go with something a bit more fringe: EmDrives. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the new advances and studies going on with EmDrives. I just read a Futurism article this past week that said Engineer Guido Fetta “Cannae Inc, will be launching a 6U CubeSat outfitted with a Cannae Drive, his version of the EM Drive. The craft will stay in space for about six months, where it will have time to show if it is actually generating thrust.” You can bet I’ll be paying attention to the results of that!

The majority of my research centered on space elevators, as I will likely write a Paradisi hard sci-fi trilogy featuring the development of the Earth’s first space elevator. I consulted with a space elevator expert for the majority of my research, and it’s the one technology I truly hope becomes a reality.

PKT – How can readers get the latest updates on the story?
CL – The best way to get the latest news on what stories, novellas, and novels are being published or going on sale is to sign up for our group email newsletter here: https://paradisichronicles.wordpress.com/signup/

PKT – Is there a way for prospective authors to get involved?
CL – Yes, authors interested in writing in the Paradisi Chronicles can get started at this link: https://paradisichronicles.wordpress.com/for-prospective-authors/. By all means, check us out. It’s an endlessly fascinating project. I plan to be writing stories in the Paradisi Chronicles for the next 20 years. We have 200 years of Paradisi history–at least–to explore. There will always be room for you!

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Fast Five:

Pav – Writing or Editing?
CL – Editing for sure. My career started with editing, and writing is the most mentally taxing part of the process for me. Strange, I know. But there it is.

Pav – Sweet or Salty?
CL – Sweet all the way! Chocolate forever…

Pav – A peaceful tropical beach, or a trek through the jungle?
CL – I’m a beach girl. Some of my best memories have been standing on shorelines around the world.

Pav – Would you rather live in an underwater world, or an out-of-this-world, word?
CL – As much as I love to look at water, I’m terrified of what’s beneath it, so count me in for out-of-this-world travels. I LOVE space!

Pav – Reading a book, or watching a movie?
CL – I tend to work 10- to 12-hour days 7 days a week, so the only way I can get stories in my noggin’ is to watch movies or listen to audiobooks.

 

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cheri-lasota-author-bio-pic-copy-300x277Cheri Lasota’s bestselling debut novel, Artemis Rising, is a 2013 Cygnus Awards First Place Winner and a 2012 finalist in the Next Generation Indie Books Awards. Cheri also helped to found the Paradisi Chronicles, a massive open-source sci-fi universe set on the fictional planet, New Eden. Her Paradisi Exodus series focuses on the early years of the human exodus from Earth to the new planet. She is currently also writing another sci-fi trilogy and a fantasy series. A freelance author, editor, book designer and marketing consultant for over a decade, Cheri Lasota has dedicated her life and career to helping authors succeed in publishing. Beyond writing her own fiction, she edits/designs/markets for publishing houses and individual authors. In addition, she launched AudaVoxx, an audiobook advertising company.

Thus far there are 7 novels/novellas published in the Paradisi Universe. In addition, we have over 30 who are either writing more stories or plan to, as well as a forthcoming anthology through the Future Chronicles group later this year. Thank you!

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