Dax Murray


This is the second post in a blog series I am calling “Things I Didn't Know I Needed to Know!” In this series, I will speak to authors about their research process for their novels and the strange things they found themselves searching the internet for at 5 am!

Today, I am hosting Ingrid Moon, author of THE HANDLER'S GAMBIT and discussing the side quest she ended up embarking on involving quantum mechanics and astrophysics as she wrote the Saxen Saga.

Promo Image with A photo of Ingrid Moon smiling next to her book, The Handler's Gambit--a cover of the book features a large starship moving to the left and a line of fighter ships coming at it against a blue space background. In large, block sans serif font the title reads "The Handler's Gambit". Promo text reads 'Things I Didn't Know I Needed To Know"

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your novel!

I'm a mixed bag of careers, all of which involve writing, producing, education, marketing, and technology. Honestly, I can't get a job because I don't have a career focus. ANYHOO, I'm a GenX lady with a kid and lots of pets and not enough time on my hands.

Enough about me!!! My novel is The Handler's Gambit, a complete overhaul from a book I published in 2011, about a young officer trapped in an evil warlord's fleet, who is trying to get out of his situation and take his assassin ward with him. But of course, not only is this a perilous quest, but once he gets out, the danger really begins.

Promo image with a blue digital design background. On the top are two book covers, LEGACY and AIRLOCK 9 and then block text saying THE SAXEN SAGA. Beneath are images of the HANDLER'S GAMBIT on a tablet and with headphones over it. Next to theat is THE WARRIOR'S SHADE as a hardcover and on a tablet. Signing up for Ingrid's newsletter gets you free copies of LEGACY and AIRLOCK 9! Pick up The Handler's Gambit and pre-order The Warriors Shade today!

Did you have to research anything outside of your regular wheelhouse?

I had to research science, military structures, cryptography, and mostly just how to write well. I'm already a science nerd, so it's really about keeping up with the current stuff. Like I could add quantum concepts into the worldbuilding to make sense of things like the space-jumping trope and having time be universal across an entire galaxy. That, and I wanted the systems the fleets were in to be realistic, and as a result I wrote AstroFiction: A Worldbuilder's Reference for SF & F.

While you were researching, did you find anything particularly fascinating?

Quantum entanglement is pretty nifty. Concepts around entropy are pretty killer. Did you know that the “holographic principle” of black holes sounds fancy, but it's really just how entropy explains the surface area of the event horizon rather than its volume. Who knew!?

Did any of that research make it into the final book? Why or why not?

Yes. I used a lot of the astrophysics details from our own galaxy, such as the bow shock effect of runaway stars like Zeta Ophiuchi. I then extrapolated the idea that if this is space gas being lit up in the bow shock (compressed), it might cause chemical reactions like precipitants that could be mined. I have no idea what the space gases are composed of or what this effect would produce, but I don't have to mention the details of what they mine, just the idea it could happen. Same with quantum entanglement. If the Higgs boson controls the mass of a particle, and you can entangle two particles of indeterminate distance, why couldn't you transfer the “information” of a particle through that Higgs field to regenerate identical mass on the other end? Let's just pretend that in 12,000 years, it might be worked out. I was also learning about identity on the internet, zero-knowledge proof, and the idea that you can transfer information about yourself without giving any of it away. So, I can prove to you that I am over 21 without telling you my birthday, and you can trust that it is true. I tried to work some of that into the “grooving” (hacking) parts of the story, although a lot of that came out (it can be boring to watch people “hack”) and will be in the second book.

What is your research process like when you are trying to find information to help with your writing?

Google, one of my 10,000 science textbooks, ChatGPT is very helpful to get basic concepts, so I know where to start looking (like is there a vocabulary word that ChatGPT spits out that I can go look up more details on?), Wiki is also another good place to start. As a K12 teacher, I did not discourage Wiki for such things... the sources at the bottom of a good page are where I told kids to go start. Anyway, mostly, I find a need for a scientific or technological principle, then research it, and then write about it in the context of my story.

Anything else you want to add?

In addition to AstroFiction, I am in the process of writing BioFiction, which focuses more on the biology of things, which will be more helpful to fantasy writers, I think, and then RoboFiction, which will be more about the tech side of things: AI/ML, Crypto, and things related to engineering in space fiction and probably steam and cyberpunk.

Not only is Ingrid Moon working on her fictional books, but she's also putting together technical manuals, field guides, and reference books to make sure the science in your worldbuilding makes sense. I've already picked up AstroFiction and am eagerly waiting for BioFiction's release!

Other Places You Can Find Ingrid Moon

IngridMoon.com || Facebook || BlueSky || Amazon Page || Goodreads || Campfire

And don't forget to join her newsletter! Ingrid Moon will also be at WonderCon March 29th – 31st, 2024 and at San Diego ComicCon July 24th – 28th, 2024. Contact her if you'd like to have a book signed during these events!

If you want bonus material and an immersive reading experience, THE HANDLER'S GAMBIT is also available on Campfire. Campfire recently released a dedicated mobile app, and I can vouch for the fact that it's one of the best mobile and digital reading experiences out there.

A promo image; Background that is dark blue and orange; In the top corner is the Campfire logo; Promo text reads "your next great read stars here; Now available on campfirereading.com and the image of the HANDLER'S GAMBIT cover, a starship being fired upon by fighter ships.

About Ingrid Moon:

How many cats should one person have before they are called a crazy cat lady? How can a person love pigs more than humans (or cats)? And who is that mysterious husband in the back of this photo behind my absolutely gorgeous cat Ikey (RIP)?

I love to write. I love science. I love science fiction and fantasy. I love strange things and mysterious things and far-away things. I also love to read, but it has been more difficult finding time to do that these days.

I am a part-time educator, most-time freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles, CA. I have a background in corporate and entertainment marketing (B2B and B2C), as well as technical production management. My background has given me many skills in many industries and demonstrates my adaptability and ability to learn and apply concepts quickly. I also love turning those complex concepts and processes around and making them simple for others.

Animals are my jam. Space is my other jam. It’s like having a jar of strawberry and a jar of raspberry. Sometimes, it’s hard to decide which one will go best with peanut butter and my digestive system that day.

If you are an author and want to be featured in this series, please contact me.

#ThingsIDidntKnowINeededToKnow #Interview #TheSaxenSaga #TheHandlersGambit #IngridMoon