SE Sasaki is a Canadian medical doctor who has worked as a family physician for over 20 years and now spends her time in the operating room assisting in surgery at a hospital in Southern Ontario - and has also been writing for as long as she can remember. The ideas for her Welcome to the Madhouse and Grace Lord Series have come from her experiences in the medical office and the operating room - and the latest in the series, SAVING GRACE, has just been released. She stopped by to chat about it and her writing.
My most recent book, launching on December 17th, is titled SAVING GRACE, and is about the crew aboard the medical space station, the Nelson Mandela, having to prevent an increasingly powerful, destructive alien entity - brought to the station inside a dead explorer - from getting off of the station to create havoc amongst the galaxy.
What inspired the story?
The story is actually about forbidden love between a human and an android, where the android symbolizes those who are not accepted by society or discriminated against whether on the basis of race, colour, religion, gender, or class. It is about the ugly face of prejudice and society’s discrimination.
Without spoilers, what was one of your favourite moments of the story to write? What was it that made you enjoy that section so much?
I loved writing the ending, where the heroes sacrifice everything and love conquers all. I hope that is not too much of a spoiler, but it is a happy / bittersweet ending.
As a writer, have you ever had a character grow to be a much bigger part of the story than you expected? Who was the character and what was it about them that made them emerge from the sidelights?
I have a plant alien/ human symbiont that, surprisingly to me, has become such an essential and lovable part of my stories. Who knew? I get emails and letters from readers all the time who say they love Plant Thing! Well, Plant Thing is central to much of the action in SAVING GRACE, so if you are into plant characters (like Groot, maybe, but bigger?) you will love Plant Thing.
What are your favourite genres to read – and what is it about those genres that draws you in?
I read a lot of different genres and I love them all.
Science fiction, of course, but also Fantasy, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, some Nonfiction. I love good writing. I love to learn something new. I want a book to be about something, like teaching us to try to be better humans, to be better to each other no matter your colour, religion, gender, or nationality, or species!
What were some of your favourite books to read as a child? Which were the first books you remember falling in love with?
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein; Dune by Frank Herbert; The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien; Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov; Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny and Nine Princes of Amber by Roger Zelazny; The Once and Future King by T.H. White.
Who are your favourite authors to read? And whose writing do you feel has inspired your own work most?
I read everything by Frank Herbert, Roger Zelazny, Terry Pratchett, JRR Tolkien, Sherri Tepper, may they Rest in Peace. I still pick up every Guy Gavriel Kay book and William Gibson book, whenever they come out. Also those of Richard Morgan, Joe Abercrombie, Diana Gabaldon, Steven Brust, Connie Willis. I write a lot of humour amidst the mayhem, so I think Lois McMaster Bujold, Terry Pratchett, Steven Brust, Christopher Moore, all have a role to play in the zaniness.
You get stuck on an island and had only one book packed in your travel bag before the ship went down – what book do you hope you have in there?
Hahaha. The entire 6 volume set of Winston Churchill’s The Second World War, because I bought the entire Folio edition set hoping to read it during my retirement and have never even had a chance to unwrap the set from its plastic. It should keep me busy on the island until rescue comes and I will learn so much I don’t know about that time!
I have to ask for readers who might want to know: Is this a kissing book?
No kissing. There might be a hug or two.
Where can readers follow you to find out more about your work?
My website is http://www.sesasaki.com. I am on Twitter at @se_sasaki. I am on Facebook at S.E. Sasaki and I am in the SciFi Roundtable Facebook Group. You can get on my email list through my website when it is finished. It is getting revamped at the moment. I hope to give away my novella, Genesis, to readers who sign up for me newsletter.
You can buy SAVING GRACE at:
A traditional question here at Altered Instinct – what are you reading at present, and what is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
I am presently reading AZINCOURT by Bernard Cornwell as well as SHUGGIE BAIN by Douglas Stuart. (I tend to read two or three books at once; don’t ask me why). I have read so many good books in the last year! A Little Life by Tanya Yanagihara; Agency by William Gibson; Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng; Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, & The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. It is really hard to write, read all of the books I keep buying, and work full time. If I could only get rid of sleeping and eating, it would be a big help...