Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Crystal Bridge by Charles M. Pulsipher

This weekend, I finished Charlie's book, along with one called Lor Mandela, and a third called Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle. But I'm only going to talk about one book of those three today. It is written by Charles M. Pulsipher, and you can find his blog here.

First off, I want to mention that I enjoyed reading this book. Here's the stuff that Mr. Pulsipher did right. His dialogue was definitely age-appropriate, the science he presents is an extrapolation of the cutting-edge stuff that we hear about today, the pacing is perfect and there's a lot of action, and the idea/trope that Mr. Pulsipher uses to travel between worlds that he refers to as "Kaden's egg" is amazing. I've never seen a magical or scientific device described in such way. It's really kind of neat.

If you want to read the rest of my review, you're going to have to go to Goodreads and look for yourself.  I'm going to turn the floor over to Charles who was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.  So here he is:

Q: What kind of editing did you seek out prior to publishing this book?

A:  I quit my job to finish my novel, so I wasn't swimming in money. I couldn't pay someone to edit my book, so I took advantage of free editing. I self edited the novel about five times. Then I leaned heavily on my wife's skills. She's a high school English teacher. I had my brother read it. He's the biggest reader I know. I had a few other people read through it and offer suggestions. Then I self edited again three more times. I think I caught 98% of the typos. I, of course, just made that statistic up.

Q:  How did you get the idea for Kaden's egg? More specifically...why the egg shape as opposed to any other? I'm just curious. You also might want to explain how the egg works to the readers out there or they'll be wondering why I'm asking you about some dude's egg.

A:  That does sound weird, doesn't it. No, he doesn't lay eggs like some freaky space-chicken. Kaden opens wormholes to distant worlds. He's able to see bits of these worlds before he opens the wormhole. They appear as images floating along the inner shell of a golden glowing egg surrounding him. Kaden's egg was plucked straight from the original dream that prompted the novel. I also liked the organic feel of the egg as opposed to the more mechanical process that Omegaphil uses later.

Q: Of all the worlds to visit, why did you decide to spend the majority of the time on one that had essentially elves, dwarves, and dragons?

A:  I needed a world that readers could relate to. Many of the other ones would be fun for a minute or two, but then the pure alien environment might have turned off some readers. I liked the contrast of the science and fantasy. I don't think that's done enough. I may also be obsessed with dragons. That part of James came from me.

Q:  Are you a plotter or a pantser? If you are a plotter, can you give us an idea of your story-boarding process.

A:  Both. A ploantser or ponttser...something like that. I start with a dream. I then write off the seat of my pants for a while as the dream settles and cements in my head. Then I write out an outline. I follow the outline for a while, but let tangents form when they feel right. Hollister and Penny were tangents. They didn't originally exist. I rewrite my outline several times until I finish the book.

Q: What advice do you have for those who may want to write a science-fiction novel?

A:  Research the science a lot and then use it sparingly. Most readers are going to care more about the characters than the hard science. The hard science fanatics will love the little nuggets of pure science you use. Those who don't understand the science will be able to ignore it and focus on the story. That's just my opinion though. You will find readers who want more science. I'm such a reader, but, as a writer, I know I'm the minority.

Q:  The god Rho seemed like a cross between alien and Cthulhu. What were you going for by making him this tentacled, spider-like dark mass with acid for blood?

A:  I don't like shiny black segmented spiders. I'm okay with the furry ones as long as they aren't touching me. My wife is terrified by all spiders. She points at them and makes this weird noise until I get rid of the thing. I wanted that image surrounding Rho. I wanted readers disgusted, terrified, and darkly intrigued, pointing at it, unable to look away, but wanting it gone every second. Rho's blood isn't really acidic. It tears down and absorbs anything it touches. The explanation as to why is implied in the last few pages of the novel. I won't give that away.

Q:  Who is your favorite character? For the record, poor Evandrel.

A:  I've had several people say Evandrel was their favorite. I have a hard time choosing a favorite. All the characters are like my little brain-children. I love Evandrel, Kaden, Aren, James, and Dveldor. I must admit I even like Rho, Vander, and Diresh. That said, I may be a bit partial to Penny. She was a pleasant surprise that just popped into existence as I wrote about James' strange experiences with the malfunctioning chip. She'll also have a large role in the next book.


  1. It'd be cooler if he did lay eggs like a space chicken.

  2. I know Charlie from Facebook and his funny blog. This books sounds good and I would probably buy it if I didn't have 300 books I have to read first.

  3. Hi, Michael, Hi, Charles,


    I really liked your answer for advice on how to write Science Fiction.

    I am not obsessed with sci-fi, but appreciate it for its genre. I enjoy reading about excellent story lines and characters. Since "science" was always my least favorite subject, I enjoy bits and pieces just for the flavor of it.

    Good luck with your novel.


    Thanks for introducing us to Charles' new novel.

  4. It sounds like a good read. I'll have to check it out.

  5. I'm in awe of anyone who quits their job to finish up a novel. Dunno if I'd have the courage to do that.

    Good point about writing a Sci-Fi book so that readers don't get so overwhelmed by the Science that they can't enjoy the story.

    Michael's review actually makes me want to read the book.

  6. Very nice. Wish you much success on your endeavors! ; )

  7. This sounds like a very interesting story. I'm into the portals to different worlds concept myself. Hmm... You can stand furry spiders but not segmented ones. Now, THAT is bizarre. I'll have to check out your book on Amazon. Also, I'm with JL and in awe of you quitting your job to finish the book.

  8. This sounds like a very interesting story. I'm into the portals to different worlds concept myself. Hmm... You can stand furry spiders but not segmented ones. Now, THAT is bizarre. I'll have to check out your book on Amazon. Also, I'm with JL and in awe of you quitting your job to finish the book.

  9. Nice interview. Interesting book.

  10. Thanks, Michael and everyone else too. It was fun writing the book and I hope a few of you get a chance to read it. Don't be too impressed with the job quitting. I am now looking for employment once again. Someday I will pay the bills with my writing, but someday is not today.

  11. Great interview~ the questions and answers give me a good idea of what the story is about and hint at some fantastic characters (I'm not a fan of spiders either, but I'm too superstitious to kill them--I always take them outside).

    I love Charlie's approach to writing sci-fi, especially this quote: Research the science a lot and then use it sparingly.
    So true, in terms of reaching and holding onto a larger audience.

  12. Hi Michael - thanks for the link to Charles' blog - I just hopped over, and what a treat!

    Great interview - now I really need to read that book, it sounds fab
    Laura x

  13. Great interview! The book sounds fascinating.

  14. It's always interesting to hear how other people write and where their ideas come from. Plus, Michael's reviews are always good at selling the books he loves, so kudos to you for getting on there. I'll add your book to my list and look forward to it.

  15. Now, see, I read the review on goodreads before I read your post, and it just makes me scared of when you get to my book. I mean, you liked Charlie's book!

    So I'm getting ready to start this whole review challenge thing over on my blog, so I'll have to add this one to the list.

  16. I read your Goodreads review too. I know how it is to like a book, but have this one thing bug you as you read it. I always like your interviews.

    Charles - congrats on your book. Quitting you job? You don't mess around.

  17. Interesting interview. I like Charles take on combining science and fantasy. I'm not a hardcore science geek, but when I get nuggets in a book, I enjoy them. Also, I relate to Charles liking many of the characters he created.
    Oh, and the spidery creature is a great idea. I'm very much like Charles' wife. I point and scream until my husband the hero does away with it. Reading about one would freak me out.

  18. One of the great things about being self published, I get to fix things. I'll be tidying up some of the stuff Michael found next month along with a few typos another reader found. Still not too bad for this being my first novel and not having an editor with whip in hand.

    Thank you all again for the comments and support. Michael has awesome followers.

  19. This is great. I love hearing about new books. Self publishing sounds like it has its perks too! Thanks for sharing.

  20. Nice interview Michael! The questions were interesting and should intrigue anyone who is interested in the book.

  21. I did the same thing a few years ago - left my job so I could write. It was the best decision, but a risky one.

    Great interview.

  22. Nice interview! I actually think a giant space chicken might be a pretty cool book. Love the term brain-children.

  23. I love Charlie's blog, and I'm so happy to see his book succeed. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  24. excellent, charles... and thx mike :)

    goes on my tbr list :D

  25. There are scary spiders in this book?

    *runs away screaming (like a girl)*

  26. I enjoyed this interview and the book sounds cool.

  27. I couldn't wait. I fixed the typos and issues found in your review today. Want to make sure people have the best in their TBR piles.

    I may also have to include an egg laying space chicken in another book. That seems to be more popular than I expected. High cholesterol and killer body snatching nanites inside every egg. Let's make brownies!

  28. I like the sound of The Crystal Bridge. Why go Fantasy or SciFi when you can go SciFantasy?

    Best of luck with your book, Charles. And thanks for the great interview, Michael.

  29. Great interview...questions and answers!

  30. Good interview, Michael. Your questions were much more informed than the ones I asked him.