Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TBR welcomes Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

TBR: Welcome to TBR, Sandra. Will you share a little bit about yourself?
Sandra: Hi! I’m Sandra Ulbrich Almazan. I write fantasy and science fiction. My day job is at an enzyme company, but I’ve also been a technical writer and a copy editor. I’m married and have one son.

TBR: Tell us about TWINNED UNIVERSES and where it's available.
Sandra: Twinned Universes is a science fiction novel, the sequel to Lyon’s Legacy and Book Two of the Catalyst Chronicles series.
Paul Harrison always wanted to play Hamlet, but he never expected he’d live the role first.
In the aftermath of a family tragedy on 21st century Earth, Paul discovers he’s the clone of Sean Lyon, his great-great-grandfather and a famous TwenCen musician. Suspecting his mother’s death was no accident, Paul comes up with a plan to trick the answers out of the great-uncle who had him cloned. But in order to make his plan work, Paul needs help from Sean himself—and Sean’s time is running out in the TwenCen universe next door. Although Paul’s family lives on the spaceship that travels between the universes, he’s never been allowed on TwenCen Earth. Now, with the help of his friends, his disguise-creating holoprojectors, and a quantum quirk, Paul must make his way to Sean while evading other time travelers who fear he’ll change the history of the TwenCen universe. If Paul is to achieve justice, he must not only risk his own life, but the wormhole connecting the universes.
You can buy Twinned Universes at the following sites:

TBR: Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
“You’re old enough to make your own choices. You can do whatever you want—even if Jo wouldn’t approve.” Great-Uncle Jack lowered his voice and drew Paul near, like a conspirator. “I can give you more freedom on Earth than you’ll ever get in that cramped old spaceship.”
Freedom. The word made Paul’s skin burn. Or was it the light in Great-Uncle Jack’s eyes, the way his touch felt more like a cage than a chance to escape?
Paul drew away. “No, I’m going with my family.”
“Are you sure?”
“I thought as much, but I had to ask. It’s OK.” Great-Uncle Jack frowned. “If your family means so much to you, why don’t you write a little tribute for your mother?”
“Me, write something?” Paul swallowed. He couldn’t write anything with such sweeping majesty as a Shakespearian sonnet. “I don’t know where I’d start. I mean, I know the rhyme scheme, but fourteen lines aren’t enough.”
“That’s a short song.”
“Song? I guess you could put a sonnet to music, but I don’t know how to do that.”
“It’s in your genes. You could do it if you wanted to.”
Paul groaned; he’d inherited Mom’s long-standing argument with her uncle. “No one cares about Great-great-whatever Sean anymore!”
“Everything comes back to him.” Great-Uncle Jack narrowed his eyes. “When will you accept that?”
“Why should I? Mom always said I had choices. Some bastard took her from me, but you can’t take that.” Paul’s throat seemed to thicken; he had to use a stage voice to force the words out. “I’m sick of hearing about Sean F[...] Lyon. Leave me alone.”

TBR: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Sandra: I’m a big fan of the Beatles and would have loved to see them perform live. I came up with the idea of sending a time traveler back to clone John Lennon and hear the Beatles perform in Liverpool before they became famous. That idea inspired what would become Lyon’s Legacy, although I ended up using a fictitious rock star instead of John Lennon. The clone then demanded his own story and his chance to visit the man he’d been cloned from, so that’s how Twinned Universes came about.

TBR: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Sandra: I’m a pantser. I’ve tried outlining stories before or during the writing phase, but I end up ignoring the outline.

TBR: Any tips or tricks for world building you’d care to share?
Sandra: Since I write about the future, I spend a lot of time reading science news articles and looking for ways they might affect daily life.

TBR: Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Sandra: My characters wear clothes that can heat up, cool down, and clean themselves. I’d love to have clothes like that right now!

TBR: What's next for you?
Sandra: I’m currently working on Catalyst in the Crucible, Book Three in the Catalyst Chronicles series and sequel to Twinned Universes. I also have several fantasy short stories and a fantasy novel in the works.

TBR: Any other published works?
Sandra: My first published story was “A Reptile at the Reunion” in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. Since then, I’ve self-published Lyon’s Legacy and several fantasy short stories.

TBR: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Most rewarding?
Sandra: The most challenging part of writing is getting started every day and writing in short blocks of time. I’m a panster, so sometimes I lose a good chunk of writing time figuring out where my current scene should go, and as a working parent, I might only have half an hour or an hour to get words down. I try to compensate by writing myself notes in the text so I know where to go next. The most rewarding part of writing is connecting with someone else, someone who gets what you’re trying to say.

TBR: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Sandra: Some of my favorite authors include Patricia McKillip, Connie Willis, and Julie E. Czerneda. I’m currently reading All the Paths of Shadow by Frank Tuttle, but I’ll be done with it by the time this interview airs.

TBR: Where can readers find you on the web?
Sandra:  You can find me at these sites:
Twitter: @ulbrichalmazan

TBR: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Sandra: If you could clone an historical figure, would you? Why or why not? Whom would you choose?

TBR: Thanks for visiting TBR, Sandra. Best of luck to you.


  1. Thanks for hosting me today! I'll be back as my schedule permits to answer questions.

  2. I knew I LOVED Sandra! I'm a huge Lennon fan. ;D

  3. Congratulations, Sandra, and good luck!

    Re: cloning
    Much as I'd love to bring back some of the greats, I feel that all of us get one shot at life. You can reproduce genius all day long, but that doesn't mean that person will use that gift the way his predecessor did. At heart, we're still individuals, no matter how we're created.

  4. awesome interview :) I love the Beatles. My uncle was in a cover band when I was growing up and he was always singing their songs to me :)

  5. Lisa and Michelle, it's always great to meet more Beatles/Lennon fans!

    Maria, thanks! I agree all individuals are unique, even if their DNA isn't.

  6. Great interview! I think I need to check out the Catalyst Chronicles :)


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