Interview with Abby Goldsmith

Majority: Interview with Abby Goldsmith

It’s our pleasure to host Abby Goldsmith, the author of the space opera series, Torth. Today we are celebrating the release of the first book in the series, Majority which is now available on Audible too.

Meet the Author
Abby Goldsmith

Abby Goldsmith is the author of the Torth series, with 750,000+ reads
on Royal Road. She’s a member of SFWA and an alumni of the Odyssey
Writing Workshop, with short works in Escape Pod, Fantasy Magazine,
and Writer’s Digest Books. She lives in Austin, Texas as a video
editor and game artist and is married to her favorite reader.

Connect with Abby Goldsmith

About the Book
Majority by Abby Goldsmith

In this action-packed space-opera adventure, one disadvantaged hero must ask How do you defeat a galactic empire that can read your every thought?

The Majority always gets what it wants. Thomas Hill just wishes it didn’t want him. There’s no way to escape a galactic mob of mind readers, no way for him to blend in with his foster family and other average Americans.

Because Thomas invented a way to save his own life. His custom medicine halts the progress of his degenerative neuromuscular disease. Newscasters proclaim him the next Einstein, but mere humans have no idea his bioengineered processing capacity rivals that of a supercomputer. They just think he’s smart.

However, there are other bioengineered supergeniuses in the Majority. In fact, it’s shepherded by them. Some-such as the teenager known as the Upward Governess-are secretly trying to devise opportunities to break free from social constraints so they can invent weapons of planetary annihilation and become unchallenged masters of all living things.

If Thomas is going to end the utopian tyranny of supergeniuses and their sycophants and slaves, he’ll need more than cunning. He’ll need social skills. Oh, and power. Lots and lots of power.

It’s a good thing his friendly foster sister has befriended a colossal superhuman. Ariock is oblivious to his own dangerous powers and wrongly assumes he’s just an overgrown loser. Superhumans like him are doomed to die as entertainment fodder for the Majority-unless Thomas can figure out a way to trick thirty trillion telepaths . . .

The first volume of the hit sci-fi fantasy series-with more than 600,000 views on Royal Road-now available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and Audible!

Interview
Welcome to the Asylum, Abby! Take a seat by the fire, have a glass of beverage of your choice, and tell us something about yourself that’s not in your bio! 

Thanks, glad to be here! How about this–I’m creating lots of low poly 3D artwork for my husband’s indie game in progress, First Earth.

What inspires your writing? Do you listen to music, stare into the fire, listen to the whispering of the wind, make deals with the Devil?

Um, all of the above? Except instead of making deals with the Devil, I glance at the birdfeeders and watch cardinal mating rituals. Birds and squirrels play for my amusement. 

What was the most memorable place you’ve visited? Did it inspire any of your work? How has that experience affected you personally?

I’ve visited Japan, Spain, South Korea, France, Aruba, Italy, and several other countries. There are many beautiful and amazing places in the world, and I would like to continue visiting them. But I will actually mention a place close to home: White Sands, New Mexico. That has to be one of the most spectacularly gorgeous places on Earth. Sunlight reflects off the dunes of gypsum crystal and creates the most unreal sunsets I’ve ever seen. So huge! So colorful! Witnessing a sky like that really makes one appreciate the range of beauty that is possible, perhaps not only on Earth, but on alien worlds. 

Tell us about your publishing journey! When did you start writing, what was your first published book and what were the most important lessons you’ve learned so far? How did you utilize those lessons when preparing to publish your upcoming book, Majority?

I’m pretty sure I’ve had one of the wackiest journeys to publication possible for a fiction writer. I’ve always been a writer. When I was 12, I had completed several novels, including a 400 page tome which my well-meaning mom submitted to one of the Big Five publishers through a personal connection. That editor had no idea that I was a child. This was in the 20th century, and her scathing rejection letter included insults that would have gotten her fired today. She assumed I was a deranged adult. That rejection devastated me. Later on, the editor learned I was a child, and she offered to work with me, but I had already decided to switch my focus from writing to film. I went to CalArts for character animation, and my story-focused student films were screened in major international film festivals. I wound up with a career in video games. But I secretly began to write novels again. I just couldn’t stop myself! 

I won’t go into the trials and tribulations that comprise the publishing industry as we know it. To shorten this story–my first sci-fi story was published in 2003, and I was paid $5 Canadian for it. I sold a few more, including one in Escape Pod, and one that will be sent to the moon aboard the Lunar Codex. But my heart is with big epics with large casts of characters and deep explorations of unpopular opinions. I serialized my 1.1 million word series online, gained an audience, and got an offer from Podium, which I am glad that I accepted. 

Was your approach to Majority any different to your previous novels? I assume, as many other authors, you have quite a few ideas to begin with. How do you decide which idea to focus on? 

Majority is a series starter. I find it more sensible to talk about the series as a whole, because it’s one gigantic cohesive story, like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones (except mine is complete). In this series, I dig deep into individualism versus collectivism, the nature of generational trauma, vast power imbalances and the havoc they cause, and a very deep dive into the legacy of racial hatred and slavery that echoes what we see in America, except reexamined through the lens of sci-fi. There’s also a lot of trope subversion. The dual protagonists, Thomas and Ariock, are a brain and brawn pair, and their powers complement each other. I was excited and passionate about this project all the way through. I still consider it to be my magnum opus! We’ll see how I feel about my next epic series. 

Talking about Majority, what was the main inspiration for the story? Which aspect of the book was the most challenging to write and why?

I rewrote the beginning of Majority 800 times. The main hurdle was introducing Thomas as the main character. This series isn’t appropriate for Middle Grade readers, but Thomas has to be 13 years old for plot reasons. He has a power to absorb knowledge from anyone he sits near, so although he is a child in a wheelchair with a fatal neuromuscular illness, he has the knowledge and cynicism of a very old man. He doesn’t identify as a child, and the regular characters in his life understand that he’s not really a child. But the ultra-complex character of Thomas is very hard to convey in Chapter 1. I have to grab readers and gain their trust very fast in order for them to feel okay about spending time with such an atypical main character. Especially when he gets abducted by aliens in chapter 7.  

Majority is being released on September 5, 2023. Congrats! If you could launch a release party with your MC(s) present, how would that go down?

Ha! Assuming they don’t hate me for throwing deadly obstacles at them every microsecond of every day… Thomas doesn’t really do parties. He might go to be polite, and look tolerant for fifteen minutes, but he wouldn’t stay late. Ariock, on the other hand, would likely steal the show and overshadow me. Everyone would want to hang out with the galactic hero and never mind the middle-age writer from middle America! 

Let’s talk a bit about the characters. What was one thing about your MC(s) that you can identify with, and what was the most challenging bits of their personalities to write? 

There is a piece of me in all of my characters, including the villains. I’m not the absolute smartest person in the universe–my character Thomas is–but I definitely have that feeling of being “other” a lot. That part of me is in Thomas. As for Ariock, the big galactic hero and Chosen One, well, he is burdened with some of my own insecurities and paranoia. 

I’ve talked about the challenges with introducing Thomas. There were a million other challenges with writing him. For one thing, his POV is close to being omniscient. He always thinks a few steps ahead of other people, he always knows what the people around him are thinking, and he never lies. I have to keep his parameters at the forefront of my mind whenever writing his POV.

Ariock presented a challenge simply because he is a ludicrously overpowered Chosen One. It is a real challenge to make a character who inherits great power and great wealth to be likable. I think I pulled it off, especially in the later books of the series. But it was not easy.  

If you were a character in your book, how would you be described? And what your profession/role would be? How long do you think you would survive in that world?

I’m guessing I would be one of the tech savvy beaked aliens known as ummins. And I would just desperately try to survive without being enslaved by Torth, abused by gang bosses, tossed out an airlock, getting eaten by telepathic cannibalistic bioengineered apes, or ending up as collateral damage during a battle that involves Ariock. I would hopefully survive the downfall of the Torth Majority and live to see a better galaxy. 

Describe an asylum set in the world of your book, Majority!

In Majority, the heroes are surviving in a New GoodLife WaterGarden City, an alien utopia ruled by the Torth Empire. Anyone who is not a Torth is a slave. For the enslaved masses, their only refuge from terror are the slave zones throughout the city. Slaves look for plain metal doors in a city where most doors are camouflaged to blend in with indoor gardens. Those metal doors lead to places where slaves are permitted to talk out loud and rest. Slave zones aren’t pretty, and they can be dangerous, with gang activity. But they are far safer than the rest of the city, where any passing Torth can read the mind of a slave and know everything they might be thinking or planning. 

What you would say is the main message of Majority? Is there something you’d like readers to take away from it?

Watch out for peer pressure. The Majority can change its collective mind on a whim, or due to a social influencer, but it always believes it is right. Popular opinions can be deadly. 

What are your future plans? Are you working on something now? Do you have plans to visit any events?

I’m working on a new progression fantasy series that I plan to launch in a few years. No one knows why costs of magic spells are skyrocketing–until a bookish orphan challenges the whole system by reinventing magic from the ground up. Oag’s version of spell casting is so efficient, it doesn’t even require blood sacrifices.  

I’m sure I’ll show up at a few comic cons and maybe DragonCon next year!

While you are locked in here for eternity, we will allow you to invite one visitor (fictional and otherwise) – who would you invite? And no, they can’t help you to escape.

My husband. I know it’s a boring answer, but I drank the honesty serum. At least I know I’ll get along with him! We can talk about art, game design, progression fantasy, litrpg, social commentary, and continue trying to solve global problems for all of eternity. 

Well then, it was a pleasure to have a chat with you! Please allow these nice attendants to escort you out. We hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the Asylum! Any last words?

/author mode/ Buy my book! The rest of the Torth series is available on my Patreon /AbbyGoldsmith. 

Thanks for the interview!

*locks door*

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Grab a copy of Torth by Abby Goldsmith which is out now by Podium!

Majority by Abby Goldsmith

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