Interview with Author Gissel Brito

My guest today is Gissel Brito. Hello! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you here.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
The Universe Between Us is a dystopian Sci-Fi thriller following two characters as they both struggle to survive. Eliza, the main lead, is a witty, sharp-tongued, young woman who is abducted and taken to an alien planet for experimentation. As she struggles to stay alive, she must find a way to stop the aliens from achieving their harrowing plans. Anzu, my second protagonist, is a coerced space cadet who must choose to betray his people and help Eliza escape, or die. 

It went live on April 2, 2016, and it's currently enrolled on KDP Select, so anyone can find it on Amazon and also read it for free on Kindle Unlimited. I also have a paperback edition available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

It sounds interesting! 

Is there anything that prompted The Universe Between Us? Something that inspired you?

Yes, definitely. I grew up feeling passionate about the universe and someday encountering intelligent alien life, however it may be. After mulling over a way to bring all my ideas together, I, one day, finally decided to sit down and start writing it. At first, I was a little skeptical and thought my ideas were ridiculous, but as the word count increased, I felt more and more involved with my story to the point where it has completely taken over my life. And I love it. So I think the inspiration is something I cultivated as I wrote. It's exciting to see people I created, living on a world I imagined, interact, struggle, and redeem themselves. 

That's great!

So, when did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?

I remember writing as a child--I even won a poetry contest. But then I stopped, and after ten or so years of overcoming countless obstacles as I tried to fulfill my dream of becoming an engineer (I still do), I rediscovered writing, and it has been the best therapy for me. It's like, wow, I finally discovered what I really, really want to do in my life. This is what I love, and if it's meant to be, you know, being successful...I would love to make a living as a writer. What a wonderful career. 

Oh, I hear you! And I love to hear about an author's journey!

Do you have any favorite authors yourself, Gissel?

I grew up reading Harry Potter, so J.K. Rowling is and will always be my favorite author. Then there's Isaac Asimov, Kafka, Card, Clarke, Orwell, Beth Revis, Margaret Atwood, and so many others. 

It's hard to narrow them down, right? ;)

So, do you write in a specific place? Time of day?

I write in my room, nothing special--a big construction project right out of my window. You can imagine the view and the noise. My dream is to own a cottage in the middle of a pine forest with a nearby lake and a snow-covered mountain, though. So that's where I imagine myself writing. 

Wow, that sounds like an amazing writing location. 

Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers? Any advice?

Write for the joy of it, and always believe in yourself. 
Sounds like a good plan. That's great advice! Thank you for offering those words of wisdom. 
And thank you so much for stopping by to visit us here today at Writing in the Modern Age.  It was so nice having you!  :)

Readers, here is the blurb for The Universe Between Us.

Aliens, conspiracies, power struggles, sibling love, and romance!
  In another universe, a high-tech alien empire works on a secret experiment. But there’s double espionage, and an intriguing conspiracy brews.

One side seeks universal dominion. The other craves to overthrow the government.

Both forces rely on Eliza, the witty nineteen-year-old girl the aliens abducted for experimentation.

But Eliza is not stupid, albeit her harrowing situation, imprisoned in an underground facility and subjected to torturous experiments, she discovers Anzu, the charismatic alien who flew her to her nightmare and can’t keep his eyes off her, has a secret, one that could cost him his life. But that’s hardly Eliza’s problem. Especially after she finds out she’s mankind’s last hope.

So, determined to stop the evil Commander from eradicating all life on Earth, Eliza uses Anzu’s secret as blackmail to coerce him into helping her save Earth. And Anzu must now choose to betray his people, or die.

Here is an excerpt.

Anzu stood in front of Zaoni’s most dreaded door, ready to enter the jury room and plead guilty for his sickness. A shot to the temple, to him, was better than having Damkina blow him up.
It was the same white door with gleaming aqua lights he and Sief had watched when they stood nervous waiting for a verdict. Centered on the door, it read:

Be an honored citizen and save us from social havoc
For Zaoni, by Zaoni

Below this, the images of recent citizens that had gone through an honorable execution glowed. Anzu imagined his image floating on this door too, and swallowed.
With sweaty hands, he remembered when he and Sief, both fourteen cycles, fled to a remote island near Zaoni's South Pole. They had planned to live on that island forever, away from the stupid rules and regulations. But they were followed and processed.
He shook his head at the memory, looked around, and sat on a nearby glass bench to reflect a little more about taking this decision. Standing in front of the door was not proper. It would raise suspicion.
He sat with his shoulders bunched, his chest tight, for he still remained unsure if he should indeed confess. Then he rubbed his forehead and ran his hand through his hair. Eliza hated him as much as he hated himself. If only she could understand him. But asking her to comprehend him remained ridiculous; he had lied to her, out of fear, after all. Moreover, she didn’t even have to talk to him, and if she desired to kill him, he well deserved it. He’d bow and let her cut his head off. 
As he stared at the door, citizens walked past him. Citizens who deserved their lives, for they were free of emotion. Then he closed his eyes and put his hands on his face, but the whoosh of air near him drew his attention. Glancing up, he saw Baak standing next to him. Anzu's stomach twisted, and he fought to hold on to his composure.
"Anzu," Baak said, taking a seat next to him. "What brings you here? I thought you were on active duty somewhere near Ral, I believe."
Anzu looked him in the eye and clenched his hands. "Not today." Anzu cleared his throat. He had to speak up. "I am thinking about this thing called life. I sometimes fee— I sometimes wonder if I deserve it. If we deserve it."
Baak narrowed his eyes. "Now, do you?"
Anzu glanced at his hands, the same ones that had taken Luvia’s life away and almost Iris’s. He became marked for life. With a hurting heart, he said, "Yes. You see, I have been watching how your experiments take away the happiness of a being who needs that happiness to live..." Anzu met his gaze, holding his tears, jaw clenched. "We are doing something wrong." He paused to catch his breath. "Terribly wrong. We were emotional once, weren't we? Why did we choose not to anymore? Why is it illicit to feel, and why must we execute those who do?"
Baak listened to him attentively, in silence.
Anzu glanced at the confessions door. "I despise the society I belong to."
Baak clapped Anzu's shoulder. "Change it."
Anzu heaved a breath. "How? I have no power. But you do."
Baak pressed his lips together, his eyes kind on Anzu's. Anzu looked him in the eye, wondering if he should let Baak know of his sickness. It would make no difference if he confessed or if he didn't, when all was already lost. So Anzu spat his situation, his torments. "You don’t need to test me like we had coordinated. I feel, Baak. I feel," Anzu admitted, feeling a bitter type of relief and, at the same time, a heavy heart incapable of beating, of pumping blood, of giving life back to him.
“Hm. I see.”
Anzu looked at his hands and fidgeted with them. "Living with feelings and not having the liberty to express them is like committing suicide and failing to die." He met his gaze. "But even worse is watching those who suffer and empathize with them, and yet I am powerless, unable to help them, because somehow, my life belongs to someone else, to the one with the real power."
Baak gripped Anzu's shoulder. "Must you die?"
"Are you sparing my life?" Anzu asked.
"Wrong question."
"I am already dead inside," Anzu said, rubbing his hands. "I am a murderer. What difference will it make if I’m alive or dead?"
Baak eyed him in silence, then he said, "Me and Uziel designed you, Anzu. I always knew you felt."
Anzu glowered at him, shocked at his confession. "What?"
Baak held Anzu's hand down. "Like Eliza, you are nothing more than a scientific experiment.”
Anzu opened his mouth to speak, but Baak waved his hand in the air, and said, “Listen. Eliza is free to feel, you aren't. Both somehow suffer, thus I have proven most emotions are useless while others are necessary."
Anzu closed his eyes, his face burned, jaw clasped. Hate inflamed his heart, hate for his people, who used science for nasty social experiments. He was alive! Conscious. His being, bleeding. And for the sake of science, Baak had observed Anzu throttle himself in treacherous ways?
Anzu glared at Baak and bristled.
Baak smiled at him.
"You are sickening," Anzu said, controlling his reactions but desiring to punch him in the face.
Baak heaved to his feet, and his eyes bore into him. "No, no. Thanks to you, I will find a cure."

Purchase Links: 

This book sounds fascinating! We'll be sure to check it out! :)

Author Bio
Gissel Brito was born in Miami, Florida, to an Ecuadorian mother and a Portuguese father. She grew up in Ecuador, the country that inspired one of the settings of The Universe Between Us. Gissel is currently living in Florida, where she is working on her latest book's sequel and on a middle grade Sci-Fi adventure.

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