In today’s interview, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Bradley Woods, the author of Unbounded: Book One of the Homeland Saga. Bradley was featured earlier as a guest and he was kind enough to spare more of his time answering a few questions from a curious mind.
Can you explain how you came up with the idea that one day you would write a book?
I’ve always been creative from a very young age, constantly weaving stories in my head.
When I was in high school, I wrote a few synopses for some stories that I never ended up
fleshing out into a full novel. It wasn’t until years later that I found enough inspiration to write a full novel. It was my final semester in college, and I’d finished enough of my studies early that my only class that semester was my final thesis, while my friends all had a full course load. Early in the semester I had a dream that inspired Unbounded, and didn’t want to waste the extra time that I had. So I sat down late that night and wrote 10,000 words, an order of magnitude more than I’d ever written in a single sitting. It was a very rough start, but I realized the next morning that I had enough material, time, and skill to write a full novel, and spent the remainder of the semester completing the first draft, which, after many months of editing and revisions, would become Unbounded.
Can you tell us more about the dream that inspired your novel?
I often have interesting, detailed dreams that I remember well enough afterwards to keep
a dream journal. This one involved a world where 2% of the world’s population could fly and were treated with various perks and privilege as a result. As a Flier, I ran into some dangerous trouble despite the gifts I’d been born with in that dream world. The source of danger in the dream was a dentist out to steal my teeth, which of course made no sense. It was, after all, a dream.
But despite the shortcomings prevalent in the absurdity of dreams, the core concept of a select group of privileged Fliers became the basic idea of the world of Unbounded. As a bonus, the enterprising dentist served as initial inspiration for one of the early scenes in the book, though naturally the dentist himself didn’t make it in. I also realized that 2% of the world’s population was too common for the perks that Fliers received, enough to have one in most apartment buildings in NYC, so I limited it to just 1000 people per generation. After fleshing out the other details of the world and the story I wanted to tell in a way that actually made sense outside of a dream, I had enough of an idea to write the novel.
Was there an author that influenced your writing style and why?
A combination of authors and writing styles influenced my writing. I took a lot of inspiration from the young adult science fiction series I read as a kid like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Divergent by Veronica Roth. By the time I had started working on Unbounded, I was influenced by other works as well, such as the Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson.
What would you say was your greatest difficulty in writing Unbounded?
The biggest difficulty I had was having to rewrite an entire section that I’d written that just didn’t fit with how the rest of the novel had turned out. It was four chapters that my editor pointed out couldn’t exist based on other, more important parts of the story, and so I cut all of it and replaced it with something that not only made sense, but was just plain better than what I had before. It was like burning a prized work of art, but it was definitely worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
What is your book’s intended audience and to whom do you recommend it?
Unbounded is geared towards a young adult audience, which generally means the main target audience are adolescents 12 to 18 years of age. That said, like most YA novels, Unbounded can be enjoyed by adults just as much as the main YA demographic. Anyone who likes a fast-paced, action packed sci-fi adventure would like the book, but I’d especially recommend Unbounded to anyone who enjoyed popular YA series like The Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Maze Runner.
What is next for the Homeland Saga?
I have a rough outline for the rest of the Homeland Saga that explores the aftermath of the book and the difficulties and revelations that arise from the changes the world goes through after the events in Unbounded. I’m currently working on another novel, but I’m planning on going back to working on the Homeland Saga once that’s finished.
Do you think that science fiction has an impact on our society?
Absolutely. Science fiction has the power to show people what our world and universe might look like in the future, often through the eyes of relatable characters. That insight gives readers a vivid perspective of what our choices as a society can do to impact the future, for better or for worse. By doing so in a fun, engaging story, it can have a positive influence on our decisions in shaping the Earth, and maybe even the universe, of tomorrow.
What do you think the future has in store for us?
I think it depends a lot on the direction we end up going as both a society, and in terms of technology and the climate. The vast majority of scientists agree that if we continue on our current path of carbon emissions, there won’t be much left of an Earth to live on. The decisions we make over the next several years will have a definite impact on the future of humanity.
There is a large amount of division in the world right now, especially between people from different backgrounds. If we can come together and actually resolve some of our differences, the world will be a much better place, but that’s a very difficult task as history has shown time and again.
There’s a lot of science fiction written about both societal dystopias and about the devastating effects of climate change. It’s each generation’s job to work to make sure that that science fiction doesn’t become science reality. If we can overcome these challenges, then we can move forwards to a future where humanity can truly and fully reach for the stars.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Keep writing, every day if you can. Read just as much, you can learn a lot from how other authors write. Look for inspiration wherever you can find it, and write things down when ideas hit you. Don’t be afraid to throw out or change work that can be improved, there’s always more editing that can be done. But once you feel a story is done, don’t keep editing it over and over—get your work out there!
If you had the powers that you described in your book what would be the first thing you would do with them?
I don’t drive much, so I’d likely use them to visit the people I care about the most without having to deal with the hassle of public transportation. Imagine how easy travel would be if you could just fly to your destination, no strings attached!