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Memories Don’t Lie: Sci-Fi Debut

Memories Don’t Lie, the debut science fiction/Action adventure novel by Pauline Yates

Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Author Pet Corner!

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Memories Don't Lie

Memories Don’t Lie

Sarah Wilson, orphaned niece of Lieutenant John Wilson, is determined to escape his restrictive upbringing and find her place in the world.

Her journey takes a deadly turn when she uncovers secrets about her past, hidden deep in her mother’s memories, that threaten everything Sarah wants.

They could cost her everything she holds dear—and her life.

To purchase Memories Don’t Lie, click any of the following links: Black Hare Press, Books2Read, Amazon, Barnes and Noble & IndieBound

Author Interview — Memories Don’t Lie

Memories Don’t Lie introduces main character Sarah Wilson. What would you like readers to know about her?

Sarah Wilson is the 17 yr old orphaned niece of Lieutenant John Wilson, and her goal is to claim the Tactical Skills top graduate title so she can join Red Bluff Military’s best Civilian Safety Response team. With exceptional speed and shooting ability, she’s a natural, according to her trainer. And everything I just told you about her is a lie, as Sarah finds out.

Memories Don’t Lie is set in a futuristic California, what led you to that location for your debut novel? How does that contrast to where you live?

I live in Australia, so California is far from home, but I grew up reading stories set in America more than any other place so it was natural for me to set my stories there. When I started writing, the majority of publications I targeted were also in America, and so it made sense to set the story there, and use American English. It’s also a place I’d love to visit, and I did, in a way, during the research for this novel.

What kind of research did you do for Memories Don’t Lie?

Aside from trekking across California via Google maps and Google Earth, and asking for detailed descriptions from my American editors, other areas of research included genetic engineering in humans, gene doping in sports, memory functions in the brain, cyber security, military base locations and training programs, types of weapons, and paramedic responses to trauma and injury. And boxing from videos on YouTube.

Tell us about your publishing journey:

Memories Don’t Lie was the first serious piece of fiction I wrote. The second and third in the series followed, then I went back to Memories to edit. During all of this, I was introduced to short story writing, which I’d never considered.

My first attempts were in short story competitions, and I surprised myself by doing well. The beauty of writing short stories is that they teach you how to write better, ie: tighten your sentences, cut the fluff, and strengthen the story structure. I applied everything I learned to my novel, but they also provided a quick sense of accomplishment. Novels take years to develop, and even longer to get published. A short story can be written, submitted, and published in a few months. Having some strikes on the publishing board is also great for your author bio. I went from having nothing published to award finalist with a credible publishing history.

When the time came to query Memories, I was confidant I had enough to catch a publishers eye. The truth was, querying was harder than I expected, and it didn’t seem to matter what I’d done in the past. My responses from agents were no response, form rejections, or ‘we love it but it’s not for us at this time’. The process flattened me. I began to question whether I wanted an agent because I’ve always communicated well with my short story publishers and I wanted representation that was more personal and direct. So I took a chance. I contacted Black Hare Press, an Australian publisher who I’d sold many short stories to and who work as hard as me, and asked them to spare me the agony of querying.

The rest is a dream come true. I sent them my book, and they sent me a contract.

Artwork for the Series

Memories Don't Lie

I asked my daughter to bring my characters to life in art form. She did such a great job, I shared them with the publisher. Her artwork now features in my book, on the chapter headings, title page, and on the ebook version.
Credits for pics:
Author photo – mine
Cover – Black Hare Press
Other artwork – Chryselle Webb (daughter)

(Love this! Very cool)

You also write short fiction, both sci-fi and horror. How does your process differ (or not) between those genres and between the different lengths of the manuscripts?

With short stories, you need to hit the ground running. There is no room, especially if there’s a word limit, to give detailed descriptions about scenes and characters. Everything needs to be short and sharp. There’s also no room for multiple characters. Every character you add has a backstory and an agenda and adding in those details, even if short, can blow out your word count. Regarding the different genres, I don’t have a problem switching between them, although once I had to write a spy story for a competition and I accidently turned it into a horror when everyone died at the end.

Every genre has a set of conventions that are needed to make the story work, so it’s important to know those. And regardless of length, every story needs a hook, a relatable character, a goal, and what’s at stake.

What are you working on now?

I have a couple of short stories in the works, and I’m also working on the sequel to Memories. What gets finished first remains to be seen.

Final words of wisdom for aspiring writers:

Read broadly, and not specifically in your genre. See what works, and what doesn’t. Write every day, even if only for ten minutes. It doesn’t take long for the habit to set in, and for the words to start flowing. Be brave in your writing. Try different methods, different genres, to find your voice. Write short stories, the shorter the better, to hone your craft. Don’t give up. Writing is a journey, and everything you do is another step forward. Finally, just enjoy it, because honestly, what is better than writing.

Author Pet Corner!

Whooska and Sasha!

I have so many pets in my life – a horse, fish, the native birds I entice around, and yes, the carpet
snakes that live in my work shed, and a really cool blue-tongue lizard, but my two best buddies
Whooska – my 20 year old cat, who is quite happy to use every one of his nine lives. For the last
ten years, he’s woken me at 3am for food. I can’t leave it out for him because he insists on fresh
food straight from the packet and yowls incessantly if I ignore him.
Sasha – my 7 year old rescue Border Collie X – she’s my shadow and terrified of the cat.

Pauline Yates — Author of Memories Don’t Lie

Memories Don't LiePauline Yates (she/her) is the Australian author of Memories Don’t Lie; a fast-paced science fiction novel inspired by her love for dark and dangerous action and adventure.

An Australasian Shadows Awards finalist, her short-form horror and dark fiction appear in numerous publications in Australia and abroad. Pauline loves writing at midnight when her muse is the most volatile and enjoys taking pictures of the sunrise—if she wakes up in time.

To learn more about Pauline, click on any of the following links:

TiKTok: @midnightmuser1

Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell

All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery



The Foundation of Plot, a Wait, Wait, Don’t Query (Yet!) guidebook. Amazon #1 bestseller

Header image by mirerek8 on Pixabay

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

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