Teenage writer Citra Tenore talks about her inspirations and the story behind her new book, The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1.
I interviewed Citra Tenore as regards what prompted her to write the book, her creative process, and the encouragement behind her new sci-fi novel The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1.
Tell Citra Tenore who you are:
My name is Citra Tenore, which is pronounced like “cheating tenor,” and I’m an American writer from Massachusetts. I wrote my first book, a children’s story, when I was eleven and, after months of editing, published it when I was twelve.
The release of my first book was so exciting that I decided to pursue the dream of writing which led me to spend my entire teenage years working on my latest release, a sci-fi series called Requiem of the Dead Planets. The first volume of the series was published in April this year.
When did thou first want to write a book?
The first time I wanted to write a book was when I didn’t want to be an actress anymore. Growing up I loved the theater world, took acting classes, and knew I wanted to pursue a career in this creative field. However, while taking acting classes, I realized that a good screenplay is probably the most important element of any project.
In my quest to be an actress, I’ve developed a tremendous respect for characters in the entertainment industry who don’t necessarily demand as much attention from the average viewer as more visible people do. I was so young that I didn’t understand the importance of writing, but once I realized that I was fascinated by this field of art.
How long did it take thou to complete thine first book, from idea to publication?
Between screenplay, writing, and editing, the process from conception to publication took about six months. Summer with a Surprise was my first book based on a family trip I took on my pre-college break. Real-life drawing made it a lot easier for me than my last book, but it was still my first book so it was still a challenge.
How long did it take thou from the initial idea to the publication of thine latest book?
For the Dead Planets Requiem vol. The whole process took me six years. I wonder if I’ll ever work on another book that long, but honestly, I started when I was thirteen. It wouldn’t have been realistic for me to publish a dark sci-fi novel without giving myself some time to mature, and I knew I had to wait. In order to write exactly the book I envisioned, I had to grow up a bit.
Focusing on thine latest release, what made thou want to write The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1?
My latest book is sort of a blend of teenage drama, family drama, and sci-fi all rolled into one, so it takes some insight into my childhood to figure out why I wanted to read it. My parents were very lenient with the films I got to see growing up and that can affect a child.
When I was ten I was in love with some goddamn movie heroes of all time. But I also really liked the entertainment for the children. This dichotomy has always been fun for humans. I was ten years old and one day I was watching a Pixar movie and following something like Scarface.
And because I was born in 2002, I belonged to a generation, even before I was a teenager, in which the themes of dystopia and science fiction were very present in young adult books. All in all, by the time I was thirteen, for someone like me who loved pretty much all kinds of fiction, it made sense to write a multi-genre book.
What were thine biggest challenges writing The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1?
My old man. I’m not going to act like a mature 13-year-old just because I published a book when I was 12. No matter how imaginative you are at this age, you still don’t know numbers and you know next to nothing about the world. While I wanted to evaluate the storyboard and continue writing, it wasn’t realistic.
I knew it would take a long time to plan and write a story of this magnitude because what I was aiming for required maturity. Learning patience and forcing myself to admit that I probably won’t release it until many years later was a bit of a drag, but now that it’s out I can say it’s made me realize how much fun it was and made me want to work on it.
Otherwise, I would not have invested six years of my life, my entire youth, in this project.
Who or what inspired thou to create thine character?
Everyone loves a good hero, but some people love an antihero. I belong to this category. There’s no way I would say my main character, Quentin Hanson, is a villain. He’s a teenager growing up in a privileged and very protected bubble in the middle of nowhere in Massachusetts and is catapulted into a situation he never asked for. Adolescence is a difficult time in a person’s life.
Being thrown like a pawn is painful. Combining the two, I think his questionable actions are justified.
Who or what inspired thou to create thine, antagonist?
There are no antagonists in Requiem of Dead Planets, but instead, there are several sides that are technically correct and technically incorrect. Without spoiling anything, it’s in the near future, and while a silent geopolitical war is brewing, there are no mutual attacks.
I have never appreciated nationalism in fiction. Folk pride is so ingrained in real life that I love seeing the stories play on politics and gray morality. It also presents a weighty, overarching dilemma for the already morally ambiguous main character, and I think the conundrum of figuring out who you, the reader, identify with can be genuinely entertaining for viewers.
What is the fire incident in the first volume of The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1?
After about 200 pages, the reader learns that there is a distant and ominous cosmic anomaly that is slowly but surely moving toward us. The Shock of What Is has various groups mobilizing in different ways to prepare for the possibility of an apocalyptic final event.
What is the main conflict of The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1?
When you have several military forces that didn’t like each other in the past, you suddenly felt the need to form different alliances, it’s natural that things get complicated, especially when no one is right or wrong. And because Quentin is already so much a victim of circumstance, facing them because he doesn’t know who to turn to or who to get along with, but he knows I do, is just icing on the cake of all his problems don’t want to be alone.
Did thou plot The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1 in advance, or fly by the seat of thine pants and write freely?
Ideas and plots come to me randomly and I like to write in random order, but never in a million years will I be able to do anything without a plan. Oddly enough, most writers I’ve met are able to write their stories without a page of notes, but then again, they’ve been in the business a lot longer than I have. It might be something I can thrive on, but right now it’s a big part of my life.
Did thou get backing with editing, and how much editing did The Dead Planets’ Requiem Volume 1 need?
I realize that I’m very lucky when assembling it. My dad is a technical writer so I can count on his professionalism, grammar, spell-checking, and all those wonderful things that novelists don’t like, although he’s not very good at creative editing. think. However, a creative writer shouldn’t point it out when something clearly doesn’t make sense.
Because we’re so close, he doesn’t have any qualms about looking me in the eye and telling me he doesn’t understand something I’m trying to say. Having him as editor was strangely unifying. It’s a great time to create links, and when you write a 700-page book like this, a lot of links are created.
The scenes that needed the most editing were the action sequences. Then I go completely insane and neglect grammar rules and spell-checking completely. In terms of smooth scenes, my strengths would be the slower, more talkative parts. Oddly enough, I’m more aware of my mistakes here.
What is the first piece of writing advice thou would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
I laugh at the thought of giving advice to anyone since I’m only nineteen. If I had to, I would say that really taking the time to develop as much as the development of your story is extremely important. Readers want to know who the narrator of their book is. Even if it’s a cliché, you need to understand your voice before anyone else. Art is brutal.
Whether you are a dancer, musician, painter, or writer, there will always be people who are much better than you. But not all viewers want the best. you want to play It’s not about how perfectly you do it, it’s about finding those talents and quirks in your tone that can draw people in and make it memorable.
Can thou tell me which books thou would like to write in the future?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Dead Planets Requiem Vol I, which should take a lot less time than the first one.
As for the other stories, nothing is certain, but I have snippets of a possible speculative fantasy mix that I’ve been considering for about a year. It would be a pleasure to work for a day!
And finally, are you proud of your success? It was worth it?
I’m humbled and proud, yes. I’m happy with what I’ve done and grateful to have been born in an age where technology is democratizing all kinds of sources so everyone can achieve their creative dreams. Every artist’s fear is whether their dream is realistic in the long run, but the feeling of accomplishment never goes away. There is no happier than holding a book in your hand.
It stimulates that almost parental instinct in me where I’m proud, happy, and caring all at the same time. I don’t know anything about parenting, but it seems the only analogy that fits.
Add any links to your books, websites, and social media here so readers can find you:
My books are available almost anywhere online and internationally, and my website is citratenore.com. Happy reading!