Author Fredric Shernoff has been taking the sci-fi world by storm with his best selling books including “The Traveler” and The “Atlantic Island” series. In fact, his book “Omega Protocol” just outsold “Ready Player One” as the top best-selling book in Canada! YEM spoke with Fredric about his successful novels, being a writer, and how it feels to conclude his “Atlantic Island” series.
Young Entertainment Mag: Where do you get inspiration from for your writing?
Fredric Shernoff: I pull from my life experiences and from the people I know. Most of my characters are amalgams of people from my life or people I observe. I try to pay attention everywhere I go and pick up on the quirks and circumstances around me. Many of the core ideas of my stories come from little “what if?” thoughts. Getting to explore those thoughts is one of the most exciting parts of what I do.
YEM: Who are your writing influences?
Fredric Shernoff: Stephen King, Anne Rice, Hugh Howey, and surely many others.
YEM: Your books have elements of sci-fi, action, romance, and more. Is it difficult to write novels that combine several genres?
Fredric Shernoff: I wouldn’t say it’s very difficult to write multi-genre books, but it is sometimes a challenge to define them for the audience. Way back when I wrote the first Atlantic Island novel, I struggled with finding the balance between young adult elements and general sci-fi. I didn’t know I’d found the right mix until I started seeing the positive reviews. I think that any difficulties presented are worthwhile because the characters have more depth when they cross genres, and I believe the characters make the story.
YEM: How did you create your character in the Atlantic Island trilogy? Were they inspired by anyone you know? Do you use any of your own character traits when creating characters?
Fredric Shernoff: Dan Wells from Traveler and Omega Protocol is probably the closest parallel to me. He’s almost like an alternate reality version of myself with many similarities and some stark differences. Most of my protagonists have some part of me in there but sometimes it’s very small. Theo Essex from the Atlantic Island Trilogy starts off much like I was in high school, but he quickly becomes somebody very different. Kylee Blair’s struggles with getting older and her self-doubt are things I’ve experienced in my life. There’s something I relate to in almost every character I write, I think.
YEM: Your book is now the top-selling book in Canada! How does it feel to have that kind of response?
Fredric Shernoff: I am constantly blown away by the response to my books all over the world. It’s amazing enough when I see sales in America, but any time I see a purchase made in Canada or the UK or Australia or anywhere else I am just confused as to who these wonderful people are who have chosen to try my work! The Traveler continues to be my biggest seller all over the world, and the big boost it received recently in Canada was a huge honor. Toronto is my favorite city and I’ve always loved my trips to Canada, so it’s pretty cool. Plus, seeing my book move past Ready Player One on the Amazon Canada charts felt good! If I could thank each of my Canadian readers personally, I would.
YEM: Is it bittersweet to end “The Atlantic Island” Trilogy?
Fredric Shernoff: It is. Omega Protocol serves as the conclusion to the trilogy, but it is also the sequel to The Traveler. The fans asked for more of Dan’s story for years and this seemed a way to tie it all together and give him what I hope is good finale. That being said, I’m retiring a huge cast of characters I have written about for over half a decade at this point. I am going to miss them but Atlantic Island was always designed as a trilogy. I think their stories have been told and I’m ready to move on to something else.
YEM: What inspired you to write for young adults? What makes writing for this age group so unique?
Fredric Shernoff: I think I wrote young adult initially because it was the kind of story I always wanted to write when I was young. Again, Theo’s coming of age story that begins with a teenager who doesn’t have the foggiest clue what he’s supposed to do with his life- that was me in a nutshell. It just seemed a natural way to go. Atlantic Island quickly included many major adult characters, but the focus was always on the younger crowd and how those characters found their place in a scary new world. Even in The Traveler, Dan is in his thirties, but his focus on his past and eventual trips there keep the story filled with elements that appeal to a younger audience while still being enjoyable for anyone. Writing for young adult readers means creating characters who resonate with them and their experiences while keeping the content age appropriate. That’s not always the easiest thing to do. The nice thing is that young adult readers are a passionate fanbase and I was able to tell very quickly that I’d done something at least reasonably okay!
YEM: What’s ahead for you? Do you have more books in the works?
Fredric Shernoff: I do have a few ideas, and I’m working on two different projects at the moment. It’s still a little early to go into details but I have one book in the works that is very different than anything I’ve done before, and another that will probably exist somewhere in the world I’ve created with my other books but not directly tied into those events or characters.
YEM: Finally, What advice would you give to young aspiring authors?
Fredric Shernoff: Just do it! I waited so many years because I didn’t think I had it in me to finish a novel. It can be intimidating, but if you just do a little at a time and keep at it, you will get there! Whether you choose to go the conventional publishing route, self publish, or just show it to family and friends, it is incredibly rewarding to write something that entertains others. I have been so lucky to have had thousands of people read my work. I truly value every single sale or borrow or download that I see pop up. Your voice is at least as important as mine and if you have a story to tell, then tell it! Finally, I would say that the biggest help I got as a new author was Hugh Howey’s willingness to allow me to write a novella set in his Wool universe. So if it helps anyone to write something in any of my worlds, please feel free to use them as training wheels. Good luck!