Biography of Author Kristi Helvig
Helvig was born in North Carolina and grew up in Delaware. She holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.
She has spent her career in Colorado as a successful clinical psychologist and life coach. She regularly gives lectures as a professional psychologist and visits schools where she talks with students about books and publishing.
The geek-for-science-fiction lives outside of Denver, Colo., with her husband of 17 years, two children and their behaviorally challenged dogs. In her spare time, Helvig practices yoga, hikes and loves trying new wines.
Q&A with “Burn Out” author Kristi Helvig
How did you research the true science involved in “Burn Out?”
Google is a writer’s best friend and I always start there, but it can only take you so far. I watched a lot of documentaries on NatGeo, Science Channel, etc. and then contacted an astrophysics department at a large university. Nothing beats talking to experts in the field, and I was flattered that they took time out of their busy schedules to help me.
As you were learning about these scientific concepts, was there anything that surprised you?
I learned that sending all the world’s nuclear weapons into the sun wouldn’t cause it to burn out. Who knew? Finding a plausible way for the sun to burn out early was challenging, and where I definitely relied on assistance from astrophysicists.
Tell us about the themes you explored in the book and what you hope they mean to readers.
Trust is a huge theme throughout the book, as well as how to move forward after devastating losses. Weapons also play a big role in the book. New technology in my main character’s world has allowed for smarter, more lethal guns and she struggles with their impact on Earth’s remaining survivors.
Did your work as a clinical psychologist influence your writing?
Absolutely. I’ve seen hundreds of clients over the years and though everyone processes events according to their unique perspective, the experiences of love, fear, pain, and loss are common to humanity. It’s interesting to see how people interpret life events within their own personal construct.
What do you like about writing science fiction?
That’s easy. I get to make up whole new worlds and then see what happens when I let characters loose in them. It’s creative and fun, and I get paid to do it. I couldn’t imagine anything better.
What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?
Never give up. Eat lots of chocolate. Drink lots of wine. Seriously though, the most important thing is to keep writing and find some good, honest critique partners...and then listen to them. Always strive to improve your craft. Read a lot. Reading is just as important to me as writing.
If your book were turned into a movie, who would you like to see play Tora, Markus and James?
What a fun question! I think Emily Browning would make a kick-ass Tora, and Skylar Astin as Markus would be awesome. James is tougher. Either Cam Gigandet or Alexander Ludwig is close to how I pictured James as I wrote him.
Who are some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy writers?
Lois Lowry, Madeleine L’Engle, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury to name a few. Additionally, though they’re not straight sci-fi writers, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King have had a huge influence on me.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received about your book so far?
My favorite so far was when a fellow author told me how much she loved my main character, Tora, and called her “the female Han Solo.” You can’t get a cooler compliment than that.
Is there a second “Burn Out” book in the works?
Yes, I’m hard at work on the second book, and I’m having a blast with it.