Publisher: Blue Bedlam Science Fiction (June 18, 2014)
Category: Science Fiction: Space Opera, First Contact, Action-Adventure, Alien, Romance
Available in: Print & ebook, 373 Pages
NASA discovered the alien ship lurking in the asteroid belt in the 1960s. They kept the Target under intense surveillance for decades, letting the public believe they were exploring the solar system, while they worked feverishly to refine the technology needed to reach it.
The ship itself remained silent, drifting.
Dr. Jane Holloway is content documenting nearly-extinct languages and had never contemplated becoming an astronaut. But when NASA recruits her to join a team of military scientists for an expedition to the Target, it’s an adventure she can’t refuse.
The ship isn’t vacant, as they presumed.
A disembodied voice rumbles inside Jane’s head, “You are home.”
Jane fights the growing doubts of her colleagues as she attempts to decipher what the alien wants from her. As the derelict ship devolves into chaos and the crew gets cut off from their escape route, Jane must decide if she can trust the alien’s help to survive.
“Author Jennifer Wells’ writing genius comes from her vast knowledge of the highly technical subject matter and her ability to put the reader in the middle of it without losing him/her in technical jargon while creating characters that seem completely natural and believable.”– Jean Fisher for Independent Publisher News
“With her first novel, Jennifer Wells adds a fresh voice to the sci-fi genre and distinguishes herself as an author to watch.” –Theresa Kay, author of Broken Skies
“One of the runaway sci-fi hits on Amazon this year has been Jennifer Foehner Wells’ space thriller Fluency and quite frankly it’s a welcome addition to the genre.
Fluency moves at a breakneck pace in a very cinematic fashion, the narrative mostly linear with some minor flashbacks to fill in gaps in the back story. Wells does a fine job of dealing with the technical side of proceedings without resorting to complicated jargon (I know I know, some geeks love the jargon but not this one!) The human technology is believable and the alien technology while advanced, is also impressively practical.
While the strong female character has become a bit of a cliché in sci-fi over the past few years, it’s worth noting that many of these female characters have been written by men. What makes Fluency so refreshing is that Holloway’s character develops in a much more believable fashion given her circumstances. Sure she has to eventually toughen up and fight, but she’s much more than that. She’s a brilliant mind faced with a life-changing event and not just her life but the entire planet’s and her decisions will have monumental consequences. Her ability to focus is paramount and though it may seem she is being manipulated at times, she quickly takes control of her relationship with Ei’Brai. As the story reaches its gripping conclusion it also lays the groundwork for an exciting continuation of this rapidly unfolding saga.
Littered with plenty of nods and winks to classic sci-fi and some clever pop culture references, Fluency is a thrilling, bumpy ride that rarely falters and firmly cements Jennifer Foehner Wells’ standing in the indie scene as an innovative and refreshing new voice in modern sci-fi.”– Eamon Ambrose, Eamo The Geek
“A book that is just as appealing to women as it is to men. I’ll admit, I saw the beautiful cover and thought it was going to be old-school, hardcore sci-fi with lots of technobabble and women in service roles rather than command ones. By the time we got into space I was hooked, and only got more engrossed the further I went.
There’s no flab in this book. It starts out strongly and each scene is carefully considered in how it develops the characters and advances the plot. The pitch rises gradually until leveling off at the end, just as it should.
The prose is straightforward and lets the reading just flow. Dialogue made sense and there weren’t too many narrative sequences. Again, Jennifer Foehner Wells has taken care in crafting a balance of elements.
This is a pretty special book. It’s a modern take on sci-fi, and has a lot to offer. There’s a light romantic subplot, a first-contact scenario, and a high-stakes situation that seems unclear, then clear, then unclear again. This story isn’t predictable and it doesn’t rely on any timeworn tropes. Fluency is something new in fiction, and that always excites the hell out of me.”–Zen, Women of Badassery
My review of Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells will be added at a later date. ~ Patricia, Room With Books
Name: Jennifer Foehner Wells
From whence do you hail? I grew up in rural downstate Illinois. Now I live in Indiana.
Tell us about yourself (ie: education, family life, etc).
I went to college at a small liberal arts college in rural Illinois, called Monmouth College. I studied biology, chemistry, and Spanish while there. After college I worked as a lab technician for a while and then helped manage the store of a locally owned greenhouse for a few years. After that I stayed home to raise children for over a decade—by far the hardest of the jobs I mentioned. When my youngest was getting close to being old enough to go to school full time I had already started using the extra time I was beginning to have to write. I decided at that point that if I could make the same amount of money writing that I would make at a part time job while my kids were at school, then I’d rather stay home to write. That gamble worked. I’m now a full-time writer.
What is your latest news?
I just released a novelette called The Grove. It was originally published in an anthology called The Alien Chronicles. The Grove is a prequel to another book I’m writing called Druid (hopefully that will be out in early 2016). I also was recently asked to write the foreword for an anthology of some up and coming scifi authors called No Way Home. That anthology was released in early March.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing all my life. Who knows why we are compelled to do such things. I think it’s just innate sometimes. I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, but kind of always thought that was just a pipe dream. For years I searched for creative outlets. I had moved away from writing and tried several different textile arts, but when I returned to writing a few years ago, that was when I realized that it was my true creative home.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was obsessively writing every day, I considered myself a writer. That would be in late 2010, early 2011. I didn’t consider myself an author until Fluency began to sell well.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Boredom. I was a stay at home mom and I was going absolutely bonkers. I created dishwasher loading protocols and laundry sorting rules…just to cope with the day to day mindlessness of the never ending chores. One day I realized I had to find something else to occupy my brain during the long days at home with small children. I needed an intellectual pursuit, something really challenging, to make me happy. That was how it began. I began writing a story that day and I haven’t stopped four years later.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I would say that I do. I wouldn’t know how to classify it myself, but I’ve been told many times by various unrelated people that my writing has a cinematic quality to it. I’m not sure what that means, but it works for me.
How did you come up with the title?
I honestly don’t remember. I think it just came to me very early in the conception of the book and it never changed. It seems to have worked well.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We are all capable of heroism. We can all rise to whatever challenges we face.
How much of the book is realistic?
Some parts are based in reality—the astronaut food, the size of the capsule, the training. All of their wearable gear: from the adult diaper, to the cooling suit, to the Nomex flight suits, were all based on current NASA gear. The orange space suit I describe was one that had been in development for the Orion program that was originally intended to go to the Moon. At the time that I was writing, that mission had been scrapped. It has since been revived but I don’t know if that suit is back in the mix now.
Some of Jane’s backstory is loosely based on a real linguist. Some of her backstory was taken from internet searches of news articles.
There were some areas where I took liberties in order to make the story more interesting. For example, astronauts are generally unflappable, patient and always reasonable. Therefore I felt a story about 6 real astronauts, all with very similar personality types, would not have been exciting—a bunch of people being very cautious, never losing their cool, and never making mistakes makes for some dry reading. So I had to make my crew deviate from reality in that sense.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Foundation by Isaac Asimov right now. This is really a book of ideas and there’s a bit more political stuff than I usually prefer. There isn’t much focus on character. But I’m staying the course. It’s a classic for a reason and I suspect I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the end.
Are there any new authors that have piqued your interest?
I have several indie authors that I’m watching with interest now. Autumn Kalquist, Susan Kaye Quinn, and Lucas Bale are the first three that come to mind. I expect that all three of them will be hitting it big sometime in the next few years.
What are your current projects?
Right now I’m working on the sequel to Fluency. It’s called Remanence. I’m hoping to have it done by June 2015, but this winter has been really hard on my writing schedule.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The biggest support that came from outside of my family was my local speculative fiction based writing group called Working Title. I joined this group of about 12 writers in December of 2012 and they have been a source of encouragement, inspiration and excellent critiques of my work. I’m very luck to have them.
Do you see writing as a career?
Writing is most definitely my career now.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Speed. I hear of other writers that write as much as ten thousand words a day. I push and push myself but I can’t seem to produce more than a couple of thousand words per day at most. They are good words. But I wish I could get more speed going.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If a career at writing is your goal, you have to be willing to work harder than anyone else. That means writing every day. Writing lots and lots of words. It’s true what they say about thousands of hours of practice being required to become good at anything. Talent isn’t enough. If you only write when you’re inspired, you’ll always be a writer, never an author. Authors write every day no matter how they feel.
Do you have any hobbies?
I have had a lot of hobbies over the years. I have made homemade soap. I’ve knitted, quilted, sown, and made hand-hooked wool rugs. Some drawing, painting in watercolor and acrylic. Origami. I gave nearly all of that up to write full time. I’ve been trying to get back into knitting a little bit, just to relax more.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
We don’t watch a lot of television. What we do watch normally has an element of SciFi or Fantasy. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead are two that we don’t miss. We regularly go see whatever SciFi films are playing no matter the ratings. Jupiter Ascending was the most recent film we enjoyed. Interstellar was an epic tale that we really enjoyed too.
Favorite foods/ Color/ Music?
My favorite foods include sushi and Thai green curry.
My favorite dessert is my own homemade chocolate/butterscotch chip cookies.
My favorite color is purple.
My favorite music is in the category of Electronic Dance Music. I like to listen to it when I’m working.
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
In another life I can imagine myself as a food scientist.
Do you have a blog/website?
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for the support!
It has been my pleasure hosting you here on Room With Books, Jennifer.
Jennifer Foehner Wells lives an alternately chaotic and fairly bucolic existence in Indiana with two boisterous little boys, a supportive husband, a mildly unhinged Labrador retriever, and three adorable pet rats as housemates.
Having studied biology, Jen’s possessed with a keen interest in science and technology. She’s 100% geek and proud of it.
FLUENCY was Jen’s debut. It spent weeks in the Kindle Top 100, going as high as number 4. It remains prominent in several Science Fiction categories. It has garnered 848 five star reviews, to date.
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