Here’s Who: a short, first person introduction to the writer
Here’s Why: the writer writes speculative fiction
Here’s What: an example of the writer’s work
Here’s Where: you can find out more about the writer and their work—and I really hope you will!
Today I am very pleased to invite you to meet Beaulah Pragg.
Here’s SpecFicNZ–Christchurch: Featuring Beaulah Pragg
My name is Beaulah Pragg. I’m a young self-published Sci-Fi / Fantasy author living in Christchurch. By day, I work as a graphic design tutor at Yoobee School of Design, teaching software such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. I also teach creative writing to home schooled children at the public library. I’m the co-founder of the Christchurch Writers’ Guild, a free-to-join network for aspiring and published authors, and a 2013 committee member for SpecFicNZ, which works to support SpecFic (sci-fi, fantasy and horror) authors in New Zealand. I’m always on the go and take my laptop with me everywhere so that I can sneak in writing time between meetings or while waiting at a cafe. I love listening to people talk about their experiences – their generosity helps me write characters that would otherwise be horribly stereotyped.
I’ve always loved to read fantasy, and to watch science fiction, so I suspect writing Sci-Fi/Fantasy was a natural evolution from that. My favourite stories growing up were Harry Potter, anything by Tamora Pierce, and the Famous Five (though it disturbed me even as a child that Julian and the gang never grew up, despite the number of school holidays they had…)
I got into writing because of a fantastic English teacher in my final year at High School who managed to convince me I wasn’t totally rubbish. Because of him, I had a go at Nanowrimo. The result was pretty terrible, but I tried again the next year, and the one after that. Most of my word count consisted of character interviews and world building, which I know is sort of cheating, but no one seemed to mind. Soon enough, I’d built a place and a cast of characters I was passionate about. I even had some big ideas to explore, like religion, gender, and the bonds between siblings. The main reason I persisted in my writing was because it served as a fantastic form of procrastination when I had essays due or exams to study for at Uni. By the time I graduated, I had a pretty solid plot for my first book and so many friends excited about it I had to keep going until it was done.
Way back in 2006, I started off with two gods watching a poor unsuspecting thief. They’d made a bet about whether his final tally in the Book of Life would be positive or negative (i.e. which of them would get to keep his soul). Of course, in order to win, they began to nudge him one way or the other. It was a cool idea… but I never wrote it.
Instead, the gods are now alien scientists (siblings Mikael and Maat), watching a human society from their orbital space station and taking notes. They’re just kids themselves – recent graduates of the Narian Academy of Science, on their very first mission. Mikael is desperate to prove himself to his over-achieving mother while Maat is all caught up in human dramas (reality-tv style).
Mikael begins to watch them when a baby princess (Juliana) becomes host to a never-before-seen energy entity. He believes this entity is his ticket to promotion, but first he has to get a positive scan, which turns out to be harder than he thought. The years pass and he becomes quite attached to her, but his time is nearly up. Soon, all life on the planet will have to be wiped, ready for a new experiment. He’ll have to make a choice between that promotion he’s always wanted and the people he’s come to care about.
I loved writing a Sci-Fi/Fantasy mash-up. It’s got everything from faith versus science to the strength of sibling love – even the fight for male rights in a world ruled by women. I’m onto book two now, and if I’d known what I was getting myself into, I might have been a bit overwhelmed, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Check out my website, my Chronicles of Tyria blog – including interviews with my characters, short stories from the world of the book, and fan art. I’ve also got a few short stories not set in Tyria (including some which have been published online).
The “Here’s SpecFicNZ–Christchurch” series will continue posting every Wednesday for the next three weeks.