I'm happy to introduce Amy K. Nichols with her debut, the YA --NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE, publishing Dec 9! - Lissa
Hello, My Name is Amy and I’m a Science Fiction Author
How in the world did this happen?!
When I think back to the younger version of me, the one who was a mediocre science student at best, it kind of boggles my mind that I’ve ended up where I have.
The last science class I remember enjoying was seventh grade. My teacher was a really cool hippie-lady. She taught us the dangers of smoking (yuck), we dissected frogs (cool), and she told us how hot dogs were made (I haven’t eaten one since).
Something happened after seventh grade, though. While I always found dissection fascinating, overall I lost my interest in science. I think somewhere along the way I learned (or decided) that I wasn’t good at it. There may have also been a tinge of “science isn’t a girl thing” in there as well. I don’t know if all that originated from me or my teachers, but there was a disconnect between me and the science I was learning.
What I never lost, though, was my love of science fiction.
Growing up, my brother and I spent Saturday mornings watching Science Fiction Theater, The World Beyond, and the best science fiction B movies ever made. Zanti. Them. Godzilla vs. Mothra. I swear I’ve seen every Twilight Zone episode made. My favorite, though, was The Time Machine. That movie rocked my world. My ten year old brain gobbled it all up and began spinning daydreamed stories of my own.
It wasn’t only movies and television shows, though. I loved science fiction books, too. I grew up a voracious reader (still am, actually). Time travel stories, or anything involving portals to other worlds were my favorite.
Despite this, when I set out to write and publish, I never imagined my first book—or really any of my books—would be science fiction. That genre felt out of my league. Reserved for authors who majored in chemistry or scored high on the “thinking” category of the Myers Briggs Test. (For the record, I was an English major, and my Myers Briggs T score is super low.)
When I decided to pursue writing, though, I wrote the stories that came to me. All them had an element of odd. Ghost stories. Creepy stories. Monsters. Supernatural beings. And then, there was this story that showed up one day. A story about a boy who woke up in a classroom and didn’t know where he was or how he got there. He recognized the girl next to him, though. Recognized her from his world.
I kept writing that story, following it to its conclusion, and before long I’d written my first science fiction novel.
After a few years of revisions, I signed with an agent, and that agent sold the novel to Katherine Harrison at Knopf.
Early on Katherine and I agreed that we wanted the science in NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE to be solid. We didn’t want readers to easily dismiss it. We wanted it to hold up under scrutiny. This was a pretty tall order for someone like me, someone so mediocre at science.
Or was it?
Around 2007 I started hearing about this ginormous apparatus deep beneath the Swiss Alps that would answer all the questions of the universe…or create a black hole and swallow up the earth. Black hole? That certainly caught my attention. I started reading up on black holes, time travel, multiverses. I watched shows on the Discovery Channel, and clips on YouTube trying to wrap my brain around quantum physics and string theory. I developed a love for science again. All of that fascinating information sank into my subconscious, just waiting for a spark. Waiting for NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE. Then, boom. My imagination went into overdrive, igniting like it’s own kind of particle collider.
When I set out to research how a boy could possibly jump between parallel universes, that seemingly daunting task turned out to be a lot of fun. Work, sure. It required hours of reading books and scientific articles, looking for just the right theory to fit my story. But like a puzzle, all of the pieces came together to form a bridge from real-life science to the science in my fiction.
I can’t go into a lot of detail about what that science is, or how it works, without giving away major spoilers about the book. But I can share with you what reviewers have said about it. School Library Journal said, “Nichols adeptly simplifies the complex concepts of string theory and parallel universes without condescending to readers.” VOYA said “in particular, science buffs will enjoy the speculative theories put forward.”
I’m a science fiction writer. This mediocre science student turned science enthusiast. And I couldn’t be happier.
Amy K. Nichols lives on the edge of the Phoenix desert with her husband and children. In the evenings, she enjoys sitting outside, counting bats and naming stars. Sometimes she names the bats. NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE is her first novel. Visit her online at amyknichols.com.