Hello and WELCOME Janet to the second EVER online interview of Scribble’s Worth, and the first of the year! How are you feeling today?
I’m feeling great, thanks, excited to answer your questions!
Janet, you seem to have it all. A best-selling book that is simply awesome, and extremely pertinent; great skill when it comes to writing and story telling; and a unique energy. How does it feel like, to be a bestselling author?
It feels great, thank you for asking! I do believe that no one has it all in this life. Life is karmic and we are all here to learn some lessons.
Like life itself, I find that writing is a journey and not a destination, so authors never arrive. My main objective is self-expression through creative writing, but the publishing part and any marketing success is the cherry on top of the cake that motivates me to keep writing.
Have you ever dreamed of having this title? Can you tell us a little bit of your journey with this excellent Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Fantasy book that is “Sky Curse” and how did it get to be a best-seller?
When I was writing the first Sky Curse novel, I was hoping it would make some kind of positive difference in the world. An assumption I call “creative chutzpah.”
Sky Curse: The Chosen Five became Amazon’s #1 New Release immediately after being released in August 2022. When I saw the banner on Amazon, it was a huge surprise. I wasn’t sure how it had happened. I guess there was already a bit of a buzz, a word of mouth around it. I had started marketing Sky Curse back in 2020, but there was a significant delay around publishing it.
I had to split the manuscript into two books and that involved some extra work, so when the first book eventually got published, a lot of people wanted to finally read it. The delay that used to worry me just might have turned out to be a blessing.
After the book’s release, I was a literary guest at the Toronto Fan Expo Canada in August 25-28, 2022 (where I participated on author panels) and later took part at Atlantic’s Canada Hal-Con in October 28-30, 2022. Those sci-fi conventions were great opportunities to present the book to potential readers from around the world and get a glimpse into their thoughts.
I received consistent positive feedback from convention participants about the book’s cover and the blurb on the back. Those who came back a few days later to get an autograph and say they absolutely loved it were eagerly awaiting the next books in the series. Many offered to recommend the book to their friends.
Then came the great book reviews on many fantastic websites like Scribble’s Worth, Literary Titan, Readers’ Favourite, The Book Commentary, etc. (Their staff tirelessly promoting the book on their websites and social media.) Social media influencers were also referred to my book by an Amazon algorithm after becoming #1 New Release. Reader reviews on Amazon were getting very generous (“Janet Kravetz…is quietly becoming a major voice in apocalyptic thinking…”) and the same happened on Goodreads (“This book is just a masterpiece! I loved it!”)
Media outlets around the world have been interviewing me in their magazines, newsletters, and on their popular radio/podcast shows. I also published articles on the internet. In November 2022, Sky Curse won a November 2022 Literary Titan Silver Book Award as well as two silver medals at the 2022 Global Book Awards.
In addition, Sky Curse also climbed up in sales ranks in November until it was #1 in sales in two categories on Amazon. While all book sales tend to have their ups and downs, I have a feeling that it’s only the beginning of the journey for the Sky Curse series!
OK! Let’s dig right into it! Sky Curse. The book is quite fascinating, a story that revolves around climate change and technology and trying to go to Titan. What compelled you to write this book Janet?
Somewhere in 2014, I had a profound realization.
It all started when my book Reaching Beyond Ourselves: Leading a Spiritual, Peaceful and Diverse World had just won an international book award. I realized that the world cannot be spiritual, peaceful, and diverse as long as climate change and the ever-growing scarcity of natural resources is threatening our near future.
As a sci-fi author, I think that the future facing humanity is both exciting and very unpredictable. The Sky Curse series is a highly entertaining educational piece as well as a call for action to discuss the most pressing questions of the next decades. These questions happen to be related to climate change and technology. This book review says it best:
Yes. There is a lot of educational content in Sky Curse, and a lot of science too. Can you share your favourite parts to write as an author?
My favourite parts to write are those that teach the reader new things about the past, the present, and humanity’s possible futures. I insert surprising educational nuggets in an action-packed novel. For example, the importance of healthy soil for any civilization’s survival as we learn from the ancient Maya civilization’s collapse and the collapse of the Roman Empire.
Another fun part to write was human/cyborg interactions with advanced androids. I had to imagine having an advanced android for a boss and how that might play out for my cyborg protagonist, Cecilia. I’m not usually into robotics, but if humans will soon have robots working in their households and will be working for robots in offices, then I’m happy to put some serious thought into what that might look like.
We found it interesting that the main character is just like an ordinary person when it comes to the whole climate issue. And that there’s that sort of resistance to act on her part. Can you tell us more about that?
Cecilia starts her journey as a Universalist, someone who wishes to escape Earth’s environmental chaos and go to Titan to seek a better life and future for herself, without the constant natural disasters. She feels powerless to do anything to solve her own personal problems, let alone do anything about the climate crisis. Instead, she succumbs to the herd mentality of Universalists, worshiping technology and being unable to imagine a life without her cyborg implants. Then everything changes at once when she decides to embark on an adventure of a lifetime — a true hero’s journey.
Did you do this on purpose, in order to “shake” people off their conformity on these issues?
Yes. The protagonist Cecilia is just like any one of us. She’s quite ordinary with a lot of problems of her own. She has nothing to do with climate change activism. Until she gets hold of a mysterious crystal that gives her some magical powers. With her newfound abilities, she tries to save the world from an impeding apocalypse.
Moreover, many people, especially teens and young adults, suffer from climate anxiety, but unfortunately feel helpless to do anything about it. They give up. They call the subject “depressing” and steer away from it. They get depressed about their future and the future of the next generations. That’s exactly how I felt before I started writing the Sky Curse series.
Sharing my feelings on the subject with the world made me feel that I’m actually doing something about it, however small. It’s an empowering feeling to have and it’s that exact feeling that I want to share with the world. I would like to start some empowering and educational conversations around topics that cause climate and even AI anxiety. This book aims to inspire sustainability-related action without causing any feelings of guilt or inferiority to the readers. There is no preaching here.
Technology-issues and the dangers of AI are also touched in here. Why should readers pay attention to this aspect of Sky Curse?
I believe that the world has never been more fragile than it is now, but it’s definitely worth saving. We live in unprecedented times when our sustainability efforts as well as our technological advances and failures will soon define humanity. We must understand important questions: Will humans soon live, work, collaborate, compete, and integrate with machines? Will humans become an interplanetary species? Will human cloning become the norm? If so, what would that look like? What are our collective and individual roles in imagining and then shaping this future?
One of the most interesting parts of this book, and your approach to this book is that it is not just Sci-Fi, it also has elements of Fantasy! And it turned out pretty GREAT! Was it hard to balance these two, I mean, clashing genres, eh?
I believe in equal rights. Cyborgs and androids should be able to enjoy magical Mayan crystals too, eh?
In spite of this whole Sci-Fi-Fantasy combination, readers of Sky Curse actually applauded you on this. How do you, Janet, feel about that?
I think this combination worked well for Sky Curse: The Chosen Five and I’ll probably add even more fantasy elements in the next books.
We got some “off-the-hook” questions now. How did you feel like when your book passed the grade of Scribble’s Worth Book Reviews, on one of the most selective book review sites on the net, with flying colors?
Scribble’s Worth Book Reviews’ reader was among my first readers of the book. I couldn’t wait to read the review once I was informed that it got published and I wasn’t disappointed. The reviewer was spot-on, calling the story what it was — a “genre blurring” series.
Fun fact, as of November 15, 2022 the novel is:
- · Winner of a 2022 silver Global Book Award in “Teen Sci-Fi” category
- · Winner of a 2022 silver Global Book Award in “Teen Fantasy Fiction” category
- · Finalist of a 2022 Global Book Award in “Sci-Fi” category
This is to show that your observation was correct, it really is “a genre blurring” series.
What did you think of the review Sky Curse got from us?
It is an immersive, in-depth review that draws attention to a few important things about the book, like the start of the book being a bit slow, so readers can first gain their footing in this new and technologically-advanced world. But then it becomes a real page-turner.
“This book has a slow start. That much is a fact. However, once the story really gets underway, it will capture your attention and even pull you to the edge of your seat.”
Also, the review mentions that Cecilia is an unremarkable character at first. That’s done on purpose to demonstrate her personal growth throughout the book from being a cyborg/machine-like individual to going though a true spiritual transformation/awakening. “Page by page, Cecilia evolved to be more interesting.” I think those points were really important to bring up in this book review, which I absolutely love.
What were your first, and last impressions you had from the whole process of having your book reviewed and promoted by Scribble’s Worth Book Reviews?
From friendly follow-up emails to continuous promotions on social media and various publications, this has been an impressive service and I feel grateful to benefit from it.
Now back to you and your books. For fellow writers reading this, can you talk a little about your writing process?
I’m a professional researcher and in writing fiction, the research seems to never end. I make sure to process as much research information as possible (in my three languages) and then include it in my writing in entertaining ways.
My style of writing is philosophical with a splash of humor. I mostly blend my own life experiences with some research-based facts and a drizzle of thoughtful imagination. For example, the Sky Curse novel deals with fascinating and current philosophical questions explored through humor and action, with a protagonist who finds herself caught between two very different worldviews. Here’s a passage to exemplify my writing style:
Cecilia was starting to feel nervous, and changed the subject of their discussion to put Malee at ease, as they followed along in the crowd.
“Have you heard the news? History has been made today. I just found out on the way home from work. The colony on Titan has just announced its constitution — a direct democracy. Each of the fifty thousand citizens of Harmony can elect their leader directly, not just the political party. Herman Spiderman might not be the leader of the colony anymore. Isn’t that interesting?…”
Cecilia smiled to herself. Though she was thrilled at the news of Harmony’s new democracy, she hoped they would still reelect Herman Spiderman, or Herman Sandy, as he had once been known. He was the founder of Harmony, and was quite the character. He had first obtained fame and fortune from his role in the blockbuster movie, Spiderman: Colonizing New Planets, that had come out in 2040 and was about Spiderman’s survival adventures in space. Herman had then changed his surname to Spiderman and proceeded to invest all of his newfound fortune in establishing the colony on Titan.
Along with a few settlers, he had reached Titan and established the infrastructure for more to follow. Within a mere five years, using AI construction robots and 3D printers, they had built Harmony into the sprawling spiderweb structure that it was today. Multiple domes connected by tube-like bridges made Harmony as modern a city as any on Earth.
What are some lessons that you wish you knew earlier in your writing career?
I didn’t understand the importance of international marketing when I released my debut poetry book. By the time I released Sky Curse, I knew that marketing is even more time-consuming than writing a novel and this time, I was ready for this incredible journey.
For your fans and those who are curious about this whole “Sky Curse” hype, (that is worth checking out btw… here’s our review…;D ), what is THE 3 biggest selling points for this book? What are the 3 things that will have anyone curious about it say: “YEAP, I HAVE TO READ THIS”?
Readers say it’s a page-turner that…
- reads like “news from the future,”
- which helps understand the present,
- while learning from the ancient past (the Maya, Roman Empire, etc.)
What is Your favourite part of the book, both in writing and reading?
Poetic-style prose reads best, I think, and is my favourite part to write. Here’s an example from Sky Curse:
“We are here now because we are all killing each other and this magnificent planet. We are all turning the morning sun into a mass murderer as billions of humans die of thirst and hunger and others drown in floods and tsunamis. Earth is slowly dying and killing us and we’re not doing enough to stop it from happening.”
What are the other books of yours that readers HAVE to check out, after they read Sky Curse?
Reaching Beyond Ourselves: Leading a Spiritual, Peaceful and Diverse World is my poetry book that tells my own personal story of enjoying different cultures and speaking different languages on my journeys from Ukraine to Israel to Canada.
A message to your present and future readers of Sky Curse please.
Thank you so much for picking up my book. Remember, Sky Curse can be a great holiday gift, especially for teenagers and young adults.
I hope you enjoy reading it and that you leave an online book review. Please don’t hesitate to email me some constructive criticism, as I love hearing back from readers and hope to use your feedback in my next books.
Thank you so much for being with us Janet, and thank you for trusting
your book to our services! Keep being awesome! Cheers!