Q&A with Chris Berryman, author of Flying Saucer Visions

1. What is your book about?

Flying Saucer Visions is a story about two worlds coming together, through a gifted boy who communicates with a band of rebel extraterrestrials.

2. Why did you write it?

This book came about as I was having some unique visual and auditory experiences, which I recorded. After examining these materials, a story began to form about a young, eccentric loner with certain abilities. The loneliness and isolation of the early pandemic may have influenced this choice.

Somehow, it struck me that the ideal medium for this concept was an illustrated kid’s book … so the project became a way to share both the visions and the developing story based on them.

3. What was it like writing a children’s book with illustrations?

The process was fun … and challenging! I discovered that writing in simple but vivid language can be quite a feat. The book is written for 9-12 year olds, but I think open-minded adults will also enjoy it.

I was truly blessed when my indie publishing company (Tellwell) hooked me up with illustrator Sheng-Mei Li. She not only brought the book to colorful life but also influenced the character development on my end.

4. Your book explores questions about our existence in the universe. What sort of questions does it explore and did you come up with any answers?

For me, the point was not to come up with definitive answers to any questions but to trigger the imagination about what could be possible. In this regard, I feel the story explores the timeless question of “are we alone in this Universe?” (I think the answer is certainly not!), and also “how can we as humans have a respectful relationship with non-human species?”

Although there are some notable exceptions (such as Close Encounters …), a lot of material that deals with ETs is either fear-based horror or wacky comic entertainment. This book is an attempt to deal with the subject in a direct and exploratory way.

5. What did you learn about yourself as you wrote the book?

Good question. One thing I learned is that writing needs to be a more integral part of my life. For years, my main focus has been theatre and film (and in some ways creating this book did feel like producing a film, shot by shot).

I’ve always kept a diary in some form, and I’ve written a few screenplays. But this book re-initiated me as a student of writing fiction.

6. Did you experience any serendipity or synchronicity as you wrote the book or any other times in your life?

Yes I did. The events lined up in perfect fashion … a theatre production my company (Detroit Theatre Collective) had mounted was shut down mid-run due to Covid, and I was quarantined at home with an unknown future. The material for this book appeared, and I spoke on the phone with a former teacher. She encouraged me to record it, draw it and write it down. The rest just happened … and I’m not a person who ever had a goal of writing kid’s books.

But serendipity happens all the time, and I love when I notice it in my life! I feel it is a sign we are in sync with greater forces.

7. Where can we get a copy?

You can get a copy of the book in hardcover or paperback through the links on www.berrymanbooks.com or find the book directly on Amazon or the Barnes & Noble website.

You can also check back on my new blog via the website for more ‘cosmic conversations’.