Author Interview: Elizabeth Guizzetti

Author Elizabeth Guizzetti is a science fiction author who writes what she wants and hopes to slay her readers with an emotional connection to her characters.

Hi everyone, my name is Elizabeth Guizzetti, and when I am not writing or drawing, I also enjoy hiking and birdwatching. I live in Seattle with my husband and two dogs.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I was twelve, I decided I wanted to be an author. I began writing and illustrating my first fantasy story about a princess who leaves home to go on adventures. I think I just didn’t want to go outside to play, but I also had this idea that writing could be a job and I could make a ton of money. (Haha!)

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Though I have been writing for over twenty years, and self-published my comics since 2008, and have two novels published by 48Fourteen, I only considered myself a writer fairly recently. In the summer of 2015, not only did my second novel, The Light Side of the Moon, come out, but I was also notified that Other Systems was on the short list for the Canopus Award. Seeing my name in a press release on the list with other authors, suddenly I realized I was a “real author” too.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

My latest book The Light Side of the Moon is the second book in the Other Systems Universe, but it is not a sequel. Both novels begin when the Kiposians arrive on Earth looking for healthy young people to immigrate to their colony; then they veer in different directions with different characters. Other Systems follows Abigail Boyd Lei to Kipos. The Light Side of the Moon follows an impoverished girl, Ella Sethdottier, who runs away from an arranged marriage and follows rumors of plentiful jobs on the moon.

What inspired you to write this book?

I originally planned Other Systems to be a stand-alone story, but readers asked for a sequel. Though I wanted to continue exploring the Other Systems Universe, I knew I didn’t want to write a direct sequel. I started to ask myself what would it be like for the people on Earth who chose to stay or were left behind. Pulling out the few Earth chapters in the beginning of the first novel, to ensure society matched, I built the setting of Earth and the lunar colony. Then the protagonist slipped into my mind. At four, Ellie was too young to go. (I mentioned in Other Systems, gravcouch nanites can cause a cascading allergic reaction in young children.) Other reasons why people would stay came to mind and the cast of characters started to come together.

My research began influencing the story. Not only did I look into the science for the lunar colony and rocket speeds, but I began researching stories from the time of penal transportation to the Americas and Australia, Colonial law in America, modern prisons and the Stanford Prison Experiments. Finally, current events always leach into my stories: the atrocities which ISIL has been committing and within the US, police brutality and the demonization of the poor. The Light Side of the Moon took shape.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write character-driven stories, which I would like to read. Then I cross my fingers and hope other people like them too.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The Light Side of the Moon was a challenging book to write and name. I had four titles that I liked—my favorite was Lift. In a blog post I asked for advice and my fans didn’t like my original ideas. So I spent a day writing down a list of possible titles. Two words kept repeating: Light and Moon.

When going over them aloud, my husband suggested The Light Side of the Moon. (He is a Pink Floyd fan.) I realized how perfect it is. Not only is it a story of hope, but the location of the colony is on the Sea of Serenity.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If we don’t work to solve some of our problems now, space travel will not free us. We will bring our problems to our colonies. In a way, it’s the anti-Star Trek.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Margret Atwood, David Brin, C.S. Forester, Tanya Huff, and Stephen King have all written books that touched me in some way—mostly by writing characters that I was willing to follow during their adventures; that at times I would weep for or root for or laugh with or whatever it was the author wanted me to feel.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

Stephen King. I read his book On Writing many times and pick it up now and again to find comfort in his story of failure, and with the help of his wife, picking himself up and continuing on.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I created the artwork. I wanted something that mimicked the feeling in Other Systems, and something that said “hard science fiction.” So I chose to create a spaceship over a planet using the same blues from Other Systems. Then 48Fourteen hired Lyndsay Johnson to do the font treatment. Ms. Johnson is one of the illustrators 48Fourteen often works with.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes. I have two main pieces of advice. First, all authors sometimes feel competitive with each other, which leads to jealousy. I found a great way to combat that tendency. When I get jealous, I try to figure out why I feel that way, then I do an action. For example: if I am jealous over another author’s great review, I send out a couple of review requests.

Secondly, I have heard advice that an author needs to be putting out new work all the time. However, if I want to write well, I need time to write well. Though 48Fourteen had published Other Systems, they originally rejected The Light Side of the Moon, but gave me a long feedback letter. The most important point was to slow down. It took me a few weeks to get through the disappointment I felt, then I really thought about what the feedback letter said and re-read the manuscript.

I did not follow their advice, but it did give me many ideas on how to make The Light Side of the Moon better. For example, my feedback letter suggested I remove the android characters because the editor didn’t feel anything for their storyline. I kept the androids, I just made the editor care about their story. It took me four months, but I sent 48Fourteen another version of the book, which they accepted.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks for reading my books. I hope they grabbed you. I appreciate the time you take to read my books, drop me lines of encouragement, and/or review them.

Elizabeth Guizzetti
Seattle, WA


The Light Side of the Moon

Cover Artist: Lyndsay Jonhson
Publisher: 48Fourteen