Hello, friends and visitors! I am pleased to present my very first author interview, with someone whose genre and writing style is very different from my own. I consider it an “exploration in diversity.” My questions basically center on the first book in the Driven to the Hilt series, The Deepest Cut. It’s about a boy named Joshua who lives in a mining colony on a planet called Cyprus Grove. In the nearby swamp lives a deadly creature.
Can Joshua survive the swamp? And what about the criminal underworld lurking nearby? Which is more dangerous – the plants, the animals or the people? A word of caution: This book contains some disturbing elements and deals with topics some might find unsettling. But if you like action and adventure, it will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is not a humorous book, though it is sprinkled with bits of comic relief. It has a strong message throughout and gives the reader much to think about.
So, on to the interview:
How long have you been writing?
“I have been writing seriously since May, 2013.”
What inspired you to start writing?
“It is ‘who’, actually. Between jobs at the time. my son Jacob came to keep me company while I was recovering from having my cancerous prostate removed. Sitting in the hospital room with time on our hands, he described an idea he had been developing in his mind for a novel. Then he asked me if I had any ideas for an interesting story. I did. But it was the two weeks of surgeon mandated recovery at home that is likely responsible for the thoughts becoming reality. After discharge, Jacob asked follow-up questions that prompted much more thought about the story, and after bouncing ideas off the rest of the family and getting encouragement from them, I had the time to actually begin writing.”
What sources have provided the most useful information on topics related to your book?
“Well, mostly a lifetime of reading science fiction, I suppose. And there is more than a little personal experience in some descriptions. Of course, the Internet is a wonderful source for gleaning little tidbits of facts that spice up any presentation about a specific topic. Finally, my brother, Chris, does research at National Defense University and has sent me information on a number of latest gadgets being considered by the military (nothing classified, obviously).”
Based on your detailed descriptions of places in the book, it seems as if you’ve done a lot of traveling. If so, what is the most interesting place you’ve been to?
“In a general sense, my descriptions of The Swamp were informed by being in the wilderness throughout the Boy Scout experience, both my own and with my son. We backpacked many miles of mountain and desert trails throughout Arizona, explored Yosemite, the Pine River in Colorado, the Lost Coast of Northern California, Philmont High Adventure, and more. Several trips to Hawaii also provided first-hand exposure to a tropical ecosystem. And, of course, I’ve traveled to many fantastic places in my mind, through my aforementioned sci fi reading.”
What effect do you hope this book will have upon your readers?
“First and foremost, I would like readers to come away with an enhanced appreciation for the importance of taking conscious control of their own decisions. As a psychologist, I see so many problems that arise when people passively allow the world to act upon them, convinced they have no choice but to endure whatever is thrust upon them. I would love to think that someone might take heart from Joshua’s example and instead of giving up, takes control of what they can to make positive changes in their life.”
Joshua is very interesting. What advice would you give to writers about developing their characters?
“Ha! Confession time. My initial attempts at writing about Joshua focused on describing his physical capabilities, which I believe were reasonably successful. But after some kind but honest feedback from my main beta readers (Jacob and Chris), I realized my main character was a paper cutout movie action hero stereotype. Thereafter, I concentrated on developing a boy who was good at heart, but did not always have the answers, who made mistakes and bad choices, a boy who actually felt things, the full range of emotions that life evokes, especially when you are alone and facing the unknown wilds of a far flung mining colony.”
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