Welcome! Thanks for tuning in for another day of SciFiMonth.
Only two weeks in but we’ve already had a full fortnight of amazing content from all over the blogsphere. Here on the blog, I’ve had the honor of hosting authors making science fiction one of the most creative genres in literature.
This month is shaping up to be almost like an exciting convention! So far we’ve heard about The Future of Hope and Human Connection from Sarah Mazza, learned how to redraw the map by Blending Sci-Fi and Fantasy with Jordan Loyal Short, dived into the expanse (you know I can’t resist some word play) of Worldbuilding Inside and Outside the Book hand in hand with J J Blacklocke, and even took a fantastic trip down memory lane as Sean Willson asked himself Why He Reads Science Fiction.
Today, I have the pleasure of hosting author Michelle Saftich for an interview, where we talk about her latest release The Hatch, the inevitable advancements of technology, migration, family, and Michelle’s own interest in tarot reading.
I’ll be posting my review of The Hatch tomorrow, but right now I hope you’ll enjoy picking the author’s brain with me, and if you’re curious about Michelle’s work, you can always grab a copy on the links at the end of this post.
Meet Michelle Saftich
Michelle Saftich was born and raised in Brisbane, Australia. Inspired by her grandmother, a successful Australian playwright, Michelle knew she wanted to follow in her footsteps and be a writer from an early age. Surrounded by artists, it was easy to follow her aspirations. Her husband, Rene, is a musician/songwriter, her mother, Mandy, aunt, Louise, and cousin, Kirsty, are fine artists and her sister, Glenda, is an award-winning teacher of performing arts.
Throughout her childhood, teens and into her mid-life years, Michelle has spent much of her free time behind a keyboard, writing manuscripts and exploring various writing styles and genres.
She has a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree with a major in journalism attained from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She has worked as a newspaper journalist and sub-editor and also in communications management, media relations and marketing. She spent two years in Osaka, Japan, teaching English.
She is married with two children and has several pets – a cat, a dog and two guinea pigs. Having a side interest in reading the tarot cards and exploring her sixth sense, The Hatch, is a story close to Michelle’s heart. It was released on 31 December 2019.
⌲ Hello, Michelle! Thank you for joining the Galaxy for this wonderful month of Sci-Fi, it’s a pleasure to have you here 🙂 For introductions’ sake, can you ask the main character of The Hatch to describe you?
I would like to think that my main character, Britta Tate, would consider me a good friend, someone who understands her deeper view of the world and the way she relates to it. She would probably describe me as empathetic, an introvert or extravert depending on the situation, a dreamer and an adventurer, but also very practical and detail-oriented.
⌲ What makes Britta such an exciting main character both to write and to read?
Britta is everything I aspire to and I hope others see her that way. Having a strong sense of connection to everyone and everything, she can be herself without worrying about the judgement of others. She values her own wellbeing as it is important to her connectedness and she is incredibly self-aware. She is strong, loyal to family and always led by her intuition. On the downside, she struggles with her emotional responses as she is sensitive and cares a lot about others. This can interfere with her intuition. And she grapples with ethics – having an insight doesn’t always mean it is ok to share it. These are noble internal conflicts to have.
⌲ How do Britta’s psychic powers play into her character and her growth? Do you believe at some point our greatest gifts can become the biggest challenges?
A good question. And yes! What we see with Britta is that her psychic abilities give her more cues from which to make decisions and so she is always trusting that she is where she needs to be in order to learn and grow. However, this trust takes her into the unknown and up against corruption at a high level. Her gifts certainly draw challenges to her, but it is rewarding to see Britta step up, go through and overcome these challenges. In many ways, her intuition opens doors but doesn’t let anything in that she can’t deal with. I think many of us tend to focus on our gifts or strengths and we find they get tested as we see how far we can take them.
⌲ Britta’s mother delivers her an ominous red herring of the future of humankind in space. Do you think the advancement of technology is one of the things pushing our evolution ever further and are there any red flags to that?
Technology is rapidly advancing all the time and if our future does involve colonising other planets, we would be taking humanity into untested waters and the psychological impacts of that fascinate me. I do believe that with science being the driver of change, we need more than ever to look to our intuition to navigate the ethical conflicts that will arise as well as to negate the increasing disconnectedness that can come about from technologies decreasing human interaction.
⌲ You mentioned in your bio that you have an interest in tarot card reading and exploring your sixth sense. In what way(s) did those interests bleed into The Hatch?
I started reading the tarot for family and friends over 20 years ago and have predicted things for them which have come to pass. I have also experienced seeing flashes of my own future, often just in my mind’s eye or in a dream. Seeking out other psychics, I have had readings that have been simply amazing in their accuracy. How this works, how it is possible to see a future event, is something I love to think about and explore. I was trying to do this in creating Britta, an advanced psychic who could also astral travel. It was so enjoyable seeing the world from her perspective and watching her wield her sixth sense to advance her cause for the good of all.
⌲ I read that your desire to become a writer was inspired by your grandmother, that your first published novel, Port of No Return, was based on your father’s family life, and that you also got the offer on your manuscript on your father’s birthday. Family seems to be such a central theme of your work and your life. How did that translate into The Hatch?
I am very close to my family – in all my roles as daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, mother and wife. Family is in my heart and so it is at the heart of The Hatch. Britta Tate is wanting to find out what happened to her big brother and she is mourning the loss of her mother. She cares very much about her father and younger brother, Neath. These relationships are integral to the plot. It is not just her intuition that motivates Britta, but the love of her family too.
⌲ In both Port of No Return and its sequel, Wanderers No More, migration is one of the main subjects you approach. It’s the same with The Hatch, but applied to a futuristic context. How did you decide to make that past-future shift and how did you approach migration in The Hatch as opposed to your previous works?
We see in history that people have migrated from one country to another, bringing with them a range of different cultural aspects. Yet over time they have been able to change and adapt to a new way of life. It shows that we are capable of great adaptation, perhaps because at our core, we have more in common than not. We all want love, growth and a meaningful life.
It is that which stays the same that makes it is easy for me to imagine a future migration. Yes, the environment is different, the way of life is different, but ultimately, we will still be human with all the same strengths, flaws, needs and wants. It was interesting taking these same issues to a new planet, where straight away we are confronted by leadership struggles, lies, greed, migrant exploitation and environmental threat. At the same time, we saw the possibility of a cohesive, beautiful society finding a balance between work and play. We are human and ever hopeful.
⌲ You’ve managed to share the love of sci-fi with your kids. What are some of your favorite works in science-fiction that you’ve shared with them?
I read the entire Harry Potter book series outloud to them. We read the books before watching the films. We have watched endless films in that genre – all the Marvel movies, of course! Being totally immersed in this genre really helped me to embrace it and see it. I’m a visual writer. For me, The Hunger Games was an inspiration for The Hatch.
⌲ Lastly, you already have the sequel to The Hatch written (congratulations!). What are some things readers can expect from it and when can they expect it to be released?
The sequel to The Hatch takes Britta on a journey into another universe, where she will need her psychic and emotional strengths to overcome adversity. But she will face an even greater power struggle when her psychic abilities are blocked and she has to learn to cope without them. Can she still identify with herself without her gifts? When she is captured by her greatest enemy, she has to stay strong, even when she believes all is lost, including her own sense of who she is.
The sequel is currently under review with Odyssey Books and a release date is pending.
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