We are thrilled to welcome Kristen Morie-Osisek and she's telling us about Reasearch with a guest post :)
One of the many fun things about writing science fiction is the research that goes into it. Whether it be trying to figure out interstellar travel, how humans would evolve living in space, or looking up what the atmosphere was like 100 million years ago, learning new things is a lot of fun. It can also be very sobering and informative as one learns about how humanity is changing the climate to match what the Earth was like in pre-history.
For The Sixth Event, I had to do a lot of research into the different extinction events throughout history, as well as learn about the development of our own planet. It was a little tough trying to decide which theories to go with for each extinction event, as well--after all, not every researcher agrees on the final reason for the various extinctions, and the actual events themselves were long-lasting developments, not instant events (with the noted exception of the gamma ray burst theory during the Ordovician). Even the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs caused species deaths over years as species failed to adapt. Weighing all the evidence and deciding on what cause to go with (and deciding which would be most entertaining!) was an important part of writing the book.
Another really fun part of research was looking into all the extinct animals. I tried to go with a few lesser-known ones, too as well as the iconic ones. That’s why we have the triceratops, which a lot of people know about, along with the quetzocoatlus, which fewer people know about but is a really cool critter. It was the largest flying animal in history! I also liked the dino-bird that Chris and Raquel saw—that was supposed to be an Aurornis, a newly-discovered dinosaur that was one of the earliest birds. And Sir Lizardton, of course, was a dimetrodon, which were part of a species of mammal-like animals that pre-dated the dinosaurs. I wish I could have fit in even more extinct animals, but there’s only so much space in the book, and I wanted to keep the plot moving along. I had to put in mammoths though!
It was also fascinating to learn about the history of the planet and see how it relates to events of today. Throughout history, the atmospheric composition has changed over and over, and now humanity is changing it again. Filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide will have repercussions for not only us, but many species on Earth. Climate change is a real threat for how we live now, and learning about how the planet differed eons ago hammered that home.
One of the working titles of the book was "Doomed to repeat." Ultimately I decided that title was too dark, but the theme still remains. If we can look back to the past, it will help us predict how our future might change, and how we can prevent the worst.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys The Sixth Event, and likes being introduced to periods of Earth’s history that aren’t usually explored in fiction!
* * * * * *
The Sixth Event
Evernight Teen Publishing/ 74K words
Eighteen-year-old Raquel isn't eighteen anymore...
During Raquel's first semester of college, she witnesses the end of the world, only to wake up in her old room at her parents' house two years in the past. Even worse, it seems she's the only one who remembers—until Chris Lyley, a boy Raquel always thought was a loser, tells her he remembers the catastrophe.
Before long, they both discover new abilities. They're able to understand any language and teleport through time and space. If Raquel and Chris can figure out what caused the end of their world, maybe they can stop it.
My heart pounded as my white ceiling greeted me when I opened my eyes.
I blinked frantically, the vision of the rock hitting me still fresh in my mind, the instantaneous crushing sensation throughout my body fading to a dull, residual mental ache. Fear crashed and faded in a wave of relief when it all resolved into the deep blackness of my dorm room.
That had been one hell of a dream.
I narrowed my eyes, still staring up at the ceiling. My dorm ceiling was gray, not white.
I sat up and turned to the left expecting the glaring green glow of my digital clock. Instead, I was greeted with the dim shape of a dresser, outlined in the rosy hue of a rising sun.
My pink and white dresser at my parent’s house.
Shock spread through me, sending tingles down to my toes. My bedroom was coming into view, not my dorm room.
A stuffed dog sat at the foot of my bed. Instead of the giant glass window over the football field, my lace pink curtains fluttered in a warm California breeze, a copy of Teen Vogue sitting on the sill.
I rolled over and stood, grabbing the magazine. Justin Bieber smiled at me from the October 2010 cover.
Impossible. This was impossible.
“Elsie!” I shouted my roommate’s name. The magazine hit the floor with a ruffle of pages. The plush, carpeted floor, not the hard tiles of my room at college.
My comfy bed, complete with a feather mattress, took up the same side of the room it always had. My computer desk sat at the far side of the bed, the blocky Dell PC taking up most of the space. A life sciences textbook lay next to it, the image of a tiger on the front coming into focus as my eyes adjusted to the darkness. On the floor, my giant shoulder bag from high school lay with papers strewn around it. I took a step closer, peering at the letters, my heart pounding so hard I didn’t think to turn on the light.
High school biology notes. I had taken biology in my junior year.
I fled, my door banging against the wall as I ran to the bathroom, flicking on the light.
Elsie wasn’t here. I stared into the mirror of my parent’s bathroom, at my frizzy brown hair. I didn’t look so different. A little bit shorter, a little bit ganglier. No freshmen fifteen. I still had that annoying pattern of three pimples that kept coming back on my chin.
But I was still younger. Not eighteen, not a college student.
A girl in high school. High school. Again.
I stared in shock. This couldn’t be true. It must still be part of the dream, part of the green sky and rocks hitting me. I blinked hard, touching my nightgown, pinching my arm until I winced with pain.
“Mom!” I shrieked so loud I thought the mirror would shatter. “Mom, Mom, Mom!”
My mother came rushing in, her robe pulled tightly around her. “Raquel, what is it?” Her hair framed her face in an unruly brown cloud, her eyes wide and face pale. “What’s wrong?” She was as scared as I was.
“What happened?” I shouted as I grabbed her. “What happened?”
“What do you mean?” She pulled me out of the hug, looking into my eyes. “Raquel, what is wrong? Are you sick?”
In the glaring bathroom light, I stared into her wide eyes. She stared back at me, full of concern, full of worry for her daughter.
“The…I died. There were birds dying, and a rock hit me, and I should be in college…” I babbled, and she shook her head, gripping me tight.
“Raquel, it was a nightmare. That’s all.”
“What’s going on?” My dad’s voice shouted from the dark hallway.
“Nothing, dear,” my mother shouted back. “Raquel just had a little night terror.”
“At sixteen?” Disbelief and exhaustion edged his voice. “Go to sleep, Raquel,” he added, mumbling.
My heart pounded harder, even as I shut my mouth, looking back into the mirror. The mirror in my parent’s house, where a sixteen-year-old me stared back. My stomach flipped, then sank into my feet.
I was two years younger. The world was two years younger.
And no one else remembered anything.
Kristen Morie-Osisek has always had a fascination with the natural world. She is an academic by trade who specializes in addiction research, but also has a healthy interest in geology and the history of the planet. She focuses on writing science fiction and fantasy. The Sixth Event is Kristen’s debut book.
Author website: sfwrites.blogspot.com
Giveaway: $20 Amazon Gift Card