10 Questions With Nina Tozzi

Welcome to the eighty-first edition of 10 Questions With…

Today our guest is:

Nina Tozzi

10 Questions With (13)Tell us about yourself.

I liked to write when I was a child and even won a couple of story contests, but gave it up after being squashed creatively. I earned a bachelor’s degree in geosciences and worked in the field of geographic information systems for many years. It was living in Burbank, California, that inspired me to take up writing again. Everyone there was either a writer or an actor. You were a freak if you weren’t writing. I took some acting and writing classes at the Burbank Adult School to get started and have been writing ever since. This was also about the same time that my husband/author Eric Tozzi, who had been writing screenplays all his life, switched to writing science fiction as well, so it was great that we were both writing.

1.)  What is something that many people might not know about you?

I went back to college in my late twenties, while I was a single parent, and earned a degree in geosciences from the University of Arizona. During the three years I attended U of A, I worked for the Planetary Imaging Research Laboratory, processing images for the Galileo Mission to Jupiter. I took high-resolution images from Galileo, mostly of the moon, Ganymede and mosaicked them into low-resolution images from the earlier Voyager Mission, for regional context, then posted them on a server at JPL for scientists from around the world to download and use in their research.

In addition, one summer I participated in a pilot remote sensing project inside Biosphere 2, using the same filters on a camera that Galileo was using. When Galileo flew past earth, it detected differences in vegetation in the infrared and near-infrared ranges that scientists were not expecting. Anyway, I was one of the dorks in a white lab coat carrying a clipboard, measuring plants inside Biosphere 2, while tourists, who had paid $10 a ticket, toured around outside and pointed at us. I co-authored an article about my research, which appeared in the journal, Ecological Engineering, so technically that was my first published writing.

2.)  What inspired you to write your first book? 

I grew up in a family of narcissists where I wasn’t allowed to have feelings or be human. My father died when I was four and my family thought that because I was so young, I didn’t understand, so therefore I didn’t feel anything. Then they continued treating me that way throughout my entire life. When I was ten, my mother joined a cult and moved us across the country where I grew up isolated from extended family and was not allowed to have friends. Janey X39 is a metaphor for how I felt, and it was cathartic to write it.

3.)  Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I really don’t have a favorite author right now. I am still in the process of rediscovering myself and who I am because there were several years when I did not read or write, or do anything creative, but just worked all the time.

When I was in high school, I enjoyed science fiction by Asimov and Zelazny as well as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and of course Stephen King. When I was working as a GIS Programmer in downtown LA, I read a lot of mystery and detective novels on my express bus every day. It was at the library, which sat on the corner where my bus dropped me off every day, that I finally rediscovered science fiction with Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. Authors I’m currently reading include Kurt Vonnegut and Phillip K. Dick.

51gzKiefacL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_4.)  If you could have dinner with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I would really like to have dinner with Simon Armitage, who is my favorite modern-day poet. As well as enjoying his poetry, I liked his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which preserves a lot of the alliteration in the verses. He seems like he would be very interesting to talk to and I love his Yorkshire accent.

5.)  What book are you reading now?

I’m reading Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.

6.)  Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I am interested in the work of horror writer Justin Tate, who is a local author in my area.

7.)  If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?

My writing style is improving with each story, so I suppose I could go back and rewrite them, but I would rather put my time and energy into the next book.

8.)  Can you share a little of your current work with us? 

I am currently writing a science fiction short story called Ghosts of Omega Nine, which is a sequel to my story Outpost Omega Nine, but definitely stands on its own as an independent story.

Bonnie, exhausted and drunk, but unable to fall asleep, lingered in a state of semi-consciousness, her mind reeling, anxious about the plants, unable to get Tom’s shimmering blue eyes out of the video screen in her mind. Sweat seeped out of all her pores, soaking through her pajamas and into the bedsheets. She got up and adjusted the temperature control.

Shadows danced around the room, pantomiming a grand production in which she, Bonnie, was the central character, a princess locked away in a tall tower, lonely and dejected. An oily, bright green, creeping vine slowly wrapped its way around the tower, slurping, dripping slime, inching its way closer and closer.

She lay back down on the bed and slept fitfully, tossing and turning. Neither awake or asleep, she heard a slight knock on the door, and felt a presence enter the room. She wanted to wake up, to open her eyes, to fly through time and space, back to Earth—home.

9.) What song best describes you and why?

The song that best describes me is Blackbird by The Beatles.

It’s one of the first songs I learned to play on my guitar, and I can relate the lyrics to my life, in that I am taking the opportunity to overcome my obstacles and do the things I’ve always dreamed of doing.

10.)  A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here? 

“Oh my God, I just walked through a thinny, and emerged in hell!”

“This isn’t hell,” I say. “It’s Arizona.”

“Same thing,” says the penguin dripping in sweat. “Right?”

“But it’s a dry heat,” I say. “Everyone says that.”

“Really? Is that good?” He wipes his brow with a handkerchief with an embroidered candy cane on it.

“It’s only like this for six months out of the year,” I say. “You get used to it.”

The penguin frantically clicks his heels together and chants, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place—”

“Does that really work?” I ask.

“Sure it does!”

He keeps repeating his chant. After ten minutes, he collapses onto the floor, sobbing.

“Want a margarita?” I ask him.

“Will that help?” he asks.

“Uh, sure,” I say.

I go into the kitchen, blend up his drink, and return to see a burnt spot on the carpet. The penguin is nowhere in sight. I guess I’ll drink his margarita.

Go ahead, pimp whatever book you want:

Outpost Omega Seven” is available now on Amazon.

Cathy and Wayne are a young couple who man a remote outpost at the junction of three trade routes in the boondocks of space. For Cathy, it’s been a welcome escape from her interfering family, but when Wayne renews their contract for an additional two years, without consulting her, homesickness for Earth drives her to the brink of desperation and the unthinkable.


410P1ruI8AL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_GIVEAWAY:  Nina would like to giveaway an ebook copy of “Outpost Omega Seven“.  Answer the following question in the comment section in order to be registered for the giveaway.

What is your favorite story that takes place in space and why?  It can be a book, movie, comic, or television series.

This giveaway will run until Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at 8:00 am EDT.  Good luck to everyone!


I want to thank Nina Tozzi for joining us today for this edition of 10 Questions With…

I hope you enjoyed learning about her as much as I did.

If you want to learn more about Tozzi or her books, you can visit her Amazon page here.

You can also follow her on Twitter.


Thank you for taking the time to read this interview. If you liked it, please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you would like to receive exclusive news, updates, and giveaways from The Leighgendarium, please sign up for the newsletter here.

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Preston Leigh, with the help of many in the indie community, is the founder of The Leighgendarium.

23 Responses to 10 Questions With Nina Tozzi

  1. Wow, you have been through a lot and I admire how you keep on persevering. My favorite space story has always been Star Trek, from the original series and movies to the new movies. I heard they have a reboot of the series coming up too. Love Captain Kirk and the crew of the enterprise.

  2. Nina, thank you for sharing.

    I enjoyed getting to know a little about you.

    Space? I enjoyed Spaceballs, Star Wars which I’m sharing with my husband, Farscape, Andromeda… I enjoy all of those because of the cast, the characters they play, the story/stories they tell. I think my favorite space movie is Event Horizon. Deep space, is like the deep ocean, we just don’t know what can or will happen out there. Great visuals too, in the movie.

  3. Profile Cover Art

    Nina, I read and very much enjoyed your story in Tales From Pennsylvania!

    I really enjoyed the Star Wars movies but the space movie that always chokes me up is Disney’s “The Black Hole”, which I saw in 1979. Tension, heartbreak, action, heroic sacrifice, awesome spaceships, cool robots like Vincent, a genuine evil and the scariest black hole you ever saw! I watched it again recently with my children and it still gets to me, bringing me back to my childhood and recapturing that sense of wonder that I had when I first saw it.

  4. The Martian. He never gave up or lost that awesome snarkyness attitude. I would hope if I’m ever even close to that type of situation I’d be like that.

  5. Logan Thomas Snyder’s Lazarus Particle!!! It’s like 2 books, part 1 is a cool set-up, with lots if mystery and character development. Part 2 continues the character development in a corkscrew pattern, you discover you know nothing!! All of the parts are full if amaze-balls science, but part 2 blows it all up and at the same time ties it all together!

  6. The original “Star Trek” TV series…..it seems hookey now, but for it’s time it was very progressive. Communicators are now in everybody’s pockets (cell phones) & CT scans are common…..

  7. Thank you, Nina Tozzi, for sharing your story with us. You’ve come a long way and I am happy for you where your journey seems to be headed. I applaud you your perseverance and hope you have much success in your endeavors as a writer.
    I’m going to deviate a bit from the ‘norm’ about books that take place in Space. You see, I have read a LOT of adventures and Space Operas have been among the many books I’ve read this last year alone and I have loved them all, for the most part (that’s the truth, actually), so to pick just one? Practically impossible… Like asking me which Egg out of a carton (from the eggs I have gone out to my chicken yard and brought into the house) do I like Best… How do I choose? I just love the incredible edible egg, that’s all there is to it. So, I shall deviate a bit…

    I am going to state there are two authors whose works stand out HUGE in my mind at this Very Moment in Time. One is Nick Cole (EVERYTHING by Nick Cole is worth reading) and specifically his book ‘CTRL ALT Revolt!’ which has some pretty FAN-FRICKING-TASTIC space fighter scenes in it. If anyone here has not yet heard of it – Where HAVE you been this past year? And – READ IT, already. You’ll be VERY glad you did.

    Next and far from least would be Lucas Bale’s works, many of which have space travels to get to where the meat of the story is at. Again, if you are unfamiliar with his works – Get Familiar. Your mind’s imagination will be pleased you did, and not just for the Space Travel, but for the excellent penmanship and imagination. Try ‘What It Means To Survive’ for a bumpy space ride to a very unfriendly place, or ‘Atonement: A Beyond the Wall Novella’ for a psychological thriller that also must get to where the action is by means of space travel.

    Thank you for the opportunity to win one of your books, Nina. Not to be mean or cruel to the other contestants, but, yeah… Since you’re only giving away one, I hope I get it.

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