I first saw Kayla Olson at an author event; she is a great speaker, and I learned a ton. If you get a chance to see her speak, definitely take it! Her book, THIS SPLINTERED SILENCE, is a must-read for anyone who loves deep space suspense, and it has one of the best beginnings I’ve seen.

Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, were killed by a deadly virus.

Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this—struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food.

When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. The disease was supposed to be over; the second generation was supposed to be immune. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.

Your parents met while working at NASA. In what ways, if any, did this influence your love of space and/or science fiction? 

It absolutely encouraged a love of space from a very young age! Not only did my parents meet while working at NASA, my grandfather helped set up the original computers for NASA down in Houston, and my mother grew up in the same neighborhood as Neil Armstrong and a lot of the other astronauts, so I’ve always felt a pretty personal connection with the space program. I would never want to actually be an astronaut myself, but I am fascinated with the beauty and the science of it all.

It certainly is fascinating! THIS SPLINTERED SILENCE confronts what it’s like to be isolated within the vastness of space. How might Lindley’s experience resonate with readers? 

For Lindley, the space station is all she’s ever known—it’s home. What suddenly makes her feel isolated from the rest of the world is the death of her mother, along with the entire first generation of experts who keep their station/mission running smoothly, and the technological malfunctions that prevent her from contacting her support base outside of the station. Even though Lindley’s specific situation takes place in the depths of space, I think the feelings she goes through—grief, loneliness, shifting friendship dynamics, pressure to do the right thing all the time—are relatable to so many of us down on earth, too.

Indeed they are. At an author event, you said, “Create because you love it.” In your opinion, what makes this an important thing to remember? 

YES, this is the piece of advice I give more than anything else, because I feel like it’s so crucial to anyone who’s trying to put their creative work out into the world! You cannot control anything other than your own process—you can’t control if people will love it or hate it or be lukewarm, or if they’ll give you the yes or no you need to put it out there. The full piece of advice I always give is “write because you love it, not because you want someone to love you for it”—there will always be someone who doesn’t, or road blocks along the way that trip you up. If you only create because you want to please other people, that is the sort of flimsy validation that will cause you to question everything when (not if) times get tough. If you create because you love it, that love will sustain you through the inevitable hard times, help you to be able to look at them with gratitude, and find the strength and motivation and joy to pick up and keep going. Creating out of love for the process helps take the pressure off of “being successful” at it in a real, measurable way, and will often lead to a more peaceful work mentality (and, I believe, stronger work, because you’re writing what resonates strongly with YOU, not just something you think other people want!)!

So true! What are some of your current projects? 

I’m about to dive in to a revision on the first draft I finished recently—I’m keeping pretty quiet about that one at the moment, but I hope to be able to share more about it in the months to come!

Buy: Book Passage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indiebound

Buy: Book Passage ~ Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Indiebound

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