Celebrating Space with Tammy Witzens

Anyone who knows me knows I’m an avid reader of just about anything sans romance. Give me a book, and I’m going to toss it on the perpetually changing stack of books to read. Giveaways of free books? My idea of heaven.

That’s where I came across Tammy Witzens’ Have a Nice Trip (left, linked to Amazon), and fell back in love with sci-fi novels. Tammy did something that no one has really done for me since Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and that is make me laugh through a sci-fi story more than shake my head as I suspended belief just that much more to get through to the end.

Turns out this is because Tammy is not just a writer. She’s also an artist and going to school for astronautical engineering.

All around awesome? Definitely. And what better way to celebrate Yuri’s Night with a chat with a fellow space lover? I had the pleasure of talking with Tammy for over an hour about Have a Nice Trip, her work as a budding astro-engineer, and prospects for the future in books, art, and science.

What got you into writing books?

I’ve been drawing for 10 years, and wanted to get into sequential art (graphical way of telling things, like comics or story boards, for those of us that didn’t know), but it’s not very lucrative and the education is really expensive. While going to school for aerospace engineering, (which she calls “beneficial to humanity”), I’m writing to get my creative ideas out into the world.

Aves by Tammy Witzens
Aves by Tammy Witzens

Turns out that Tammy’s art is also inspired by her writing and her classes as well.

What inspires your material?

Mother Fucking Flowers, the first part in the Power Continuum Series, started as a dream. I pretty much knew where the story was going. It was inspired by the things I learnt in school.

Granted, that wasn’t all that inspires Tammy. After chatting a bit more about the finer points using real science in literary works, she pointed to a section of the book where the characters are explaining the concept of time and time travel. There, Tammy reveals what she calls a mathematical Easter egg — she was inspired by Russell’s Paradox. (Hint: She alluded to their being more than one of these Easter eggs in the book for you to find.)

The writing though, isn’t your typical over the top sci-fi. Instead, it’s loaded with humour and doesn’t take itself too seriously — a fact which she says is inspired by Douglas Adams. Even the parts that would be heavy on math and physics explanations aren’t what you’d think they could be.

I love mathematics and that goes hand in hand with physics. A lot of people don’t really like math and science, and I feel like it’s because they don’t feel like it’s something that could be fun. I’m an advocate of making these things fun. Trying to get people interested in things that they normally wouldn’t pursue is a huge driving point for me.

What are your plans for the future?

I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut, but I don’t know how practical that is. If I can’t go there myself, I want to build things that do go there.

In the meantime, Tammy has one more book to write and lots more art in her to share. Her dreams for the book are not money, but conversations. She wants people to read the books and start to have a conversation about science, math, and possibilities.

I want to spread ideas and have a conversation.

What do you want people to know?

Don’t be afraid to take an alternative route to the things you want to do.

As a personal note, I grew up in a desert without electricity for 7 years. It put a different perspective on things. Anyone can do anything they want to do if they put their mind to it.

The take away, and something that Tammy said twice during our conversation:

If you believe in something strong enough, you can make it happen.

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