Story Behind the Story: Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans by Sonya Rhen

by EilisFlynn

Elizabeth Flynn, who writes as Eilis Flynn, is an editor and writer. Find her on social media.

January 6, 2021

Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans!

Here’s Sonya Rhen, whose Shredded Orphans combines a bit of David and Goliath and a bit of Red Dwarf, explains what happens when you watch sci-fi TV—and then have a very vivid dream. 

What’s the theme behind your story?

The little guy can go up against big corporations and still win. Even the smallest actions can have bigger consequences.

What’s the logline?

In a world where Corporates rule everything, the Shredded Orphans seismic rock band are literally slaves to their jobs: playing music by night and saving the Universe by day.

What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you?

I hate to even mention this, but it started with a dream I had of this group of people traveling through the desert. They were stranded, but they were still bantering with each other as if they were going to the mall or something. I had this dream years before I wrote the book and I think it was heavily influenced by a short-lived sci-fi show called Space Rangers. I think there were only five episodes ever shown on TV, but I was still fascinated with the camaraderie of the characters.

How did the original idea change as you went along?

I was originally thinking that they were a band of mercenaries, because it seemed that all sci-fi shows with spaceships were either mercenaries or military. Then the idea for a band started taking shape. My husband and sister were both in several bands and I had been to many of their concerts as well as a lot of other local band concerts in small venues around the Seattle area, so I felt I could get a lot of inspiration from that. I really had fun merging the sci-fi and rock star story elements.

How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?

I started with the image I had of the band of (and at the time didn’t realize how terribly cliche it was) four men and one woman walking along under the hot desert sun. I gave them all roles in the band. As I started writing, I had watched the TV show Firefly, another short-lived, but better-known TV show, and Farscape, so I think the characters were heavily influenced by both of those shows. I also really love Red Dwarf, but I don’t think I’ve achieved that level of funny.

I hope that my characters fleshed out to be more of their own personalities, with their own quirks by the time I finished writing the book. The lead singer, Lix, probably has a lot of my sensibilities, but is modeled a lot on my husband and some of the stories that he’s told me about band practice. I wanted Ophelia, the backup singer and trapeze artist (because what self-respecting band doesn’t have their own trapeze artist?), to be a tough, athletic, no-nonsense kind of woman. And while she is, a kind of softer, motherly side of her seemed to emerge throughout the book. I actually quite like that change. Chitto was supposed to be the calm meditative one, which he still is, but then he developed into a bit of comic relief for the book. Or does a humor book not have a comic relief? Anyhow, he’s a lot funnier than I had planned on.

Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?

I’m very pleased with the way the book turned out. As a first novel I think it feels like a complete story and when I read it, I forget what I’ve written and it still makes me laugh. Probably, there are some words I would tweak now and maybe move some punctuation around, but on the whole I’m quite happy with it.

Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal? 

I would so love to make a movie deal for Space Tripping! I modeled Lix’s mohawk after Jared Leto’s, but I think Lix’s personality is more in line with Keanu Reeves. I could see Gillian Anderson as the tough Ophelia, but perhaps someone younger like Molly C. Quinn from TV’s Castlewould be better for the red-headed trapeze artist.

What else do you want readers to know?

If you like light and funny with a touch of sci-fi, then Space Tripping with the Shredded Orphans is the perfect book for you.

Bio: Sonya Rhen is the author of the humorous Space Tripping series. She lives east of Seattle with her husband, two children, grumpy old cat, and two manic dogs. When she’s not writing, you might find her dancing.

To check it out:

Buy link:    (This is a link to my website book page with all the buy links on it.)

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