Award-winning author S.M. Freedman announces the release of her apocalyptic science-fiction novel, Impact Winter (ISBN 978-0-9975427-0-7), the sequel to Freedman’s debut mystery, The Faithful (ISBN 978-1503948044), which is published under Amazon’s mystery/thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer. An international Amazon bestseller, The Faithful was a Quarter Finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and was chosen by Suspense Magazine as one of the Best Books of 2015 in the Debut Author category
Author of The Faithful and Impact Winter, S.M. Freedom answered a few questions about her novels.
Q: Both The Faithful and its new sequel, Impact Winter, are books in a science fiction series about a group of psychic children abducted by a tribe of priests who conspire to use them as weapons against humanity. What inspired you to write a series that explores the themes of kidnapping, mind control, and psychic power?
SMFreedman: “I’m only just beginning to realize how much I write what I fear: Losing a child, things that go bump in the night, the ‘end of days.’ Eventually, I grabbed a bunch of those fears and forced them to join together by asking my favorite question, what if? That’s how I Fidele was born, an international organization run by a group of ‘priests’ who believe they have evolved into a superior breed of human, and that in order for them to thrive, the rest of humanity needs to be destroyed.”
Q: Like The Faithful, Impact Winter features former missing child, Ryanne Jervis, who has been living as meteorite hunter, Rowan Wilson, before FBI agent Josh Metcalf locates her. What’s special about Ryanne and how did you come to choose her as the star of your sci-fi series?
SMF: “In February of 2013 a meteorite exploded above Russia, and it caught my imagination. I started digging and became fascinated with the profession of meteorite hunting. I thought it was the coolest of the cool that people actually work as space data analysts, searching the night sky for threats to life on Earth, and decided I needed to write about it. Hours and hours of research later, Ryanne came to life. She’s sassy, addicted to junk food, haunted by a past she can’t remember, and in denial about certain ‘abilities’ that make her unusual. As a meteorite hunter, Ryanne works at the Spaceguard facility on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. And yes, it’s a real place and a real job, but if you try to sneak a peek you’ll find yourself facing some big guns. Trust me on that one!”
Q: There are strong elements of feminism and motherhood, especially with regard to Ryanne and her mother, Sherry, and Neema and her abducted daughter, Leora, in both of your novels. What made you decide to pursue these thematic issues in the series and, especially, Impact Winter?
SMF: “It actually came as a bit of a surprise to me! It wasn’t my intention to delve so deeply into the bond between parent and child, but as a mother of two that topic is obviously close to my heart. In Impact Winter, several characters are trying to repair broken parent-child bonds after a lengthy absence, whether the absence is due to kidnapping, isolation, or alcohol abuse. The uncertainty, yearning, and heartache of parenthood became the backdrop for everything else.”
Q: Impact Winter has a much darker feel to it than The Faithful. What makes it so different from the first book and in what ways will readers see the returning characters develop and grow?
SMF: “Impact Winter is definitely the dark middle child of the series. Ryanne is haunted by visions of the second phase in I Fidele’s new world order: the round-up and brutal internment of all survivors. And while most of the main characters return, not all of them will survive. I’ve also added one new character, Neema. In The Faithful, Ryanne was run over trying to stop the abduction of Neema’s daughter, and then inadvertently responsible for the murder of Neema’s mother. But Neema remained nameless, hovering in the background. I kept thinking about her. This poor woman was trying to deal with her daughter’s disappearance and her mother’s death, and then she was thrust into global chaos. How would she survive? How would she keep her two remaining children alive? She became a key player in Impact Winter’s storyline. Through Neema’s eyes, we see the aftermath of I Fidele’s destruction. We see the great warrior mama unleashed as she fights to survive and find her lost daughter—and through her, we witness the next step in I Fidele’s plan for world domination.”
Q: What would you like readers to remember most about your books?
SMF: “That they are great stories, hopefully! If my words take readers out of their own lives for awhile and touch them in some small way, then I’m happy.”
Q: Are you working on the sequel to Impact Winter and, if so, what can you tell us about it?
SMF: “Definitely! I took a little break to work on a detective mystery, but Ryanne has been demanding my attention. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I Fidele is far from finished. We’ll also see a lot more of young Jack, as he grows into his role as the protector of the White.”
About the Author
S.M. Freedman is a top-ranked Amazon author in the mystery, thriller, and suspense categories, and is a member of the WorldWiseWriters group. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Freedman spent many years as a private investigator and business owner. She lives in Vancouver and Palm Springs with her husband, two children, and a giant orange cat.