Interview with Marcus Abshire, Author of Dark Burn

What can you tell us about your new release, Dark Burn?

Dark Burn is an action-packed adventure featuring a MC with a checkered past, riding the line between darkness and doing what’s right.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I read constantly, for years I found a new author and read everything they wrote. One day I picked up a book from the library that was so bad I decided that I could do better. I wrote the first chapter of what is now REDEMPTION and sent it to my brother without any context. He thought it was something a famous author (I won’t name who) wrote, and I realized it wasn’t half bad.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I don’t have a top 5. I have read so many books that it would be hard for me to pick just 5.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I’d have a successful Indie author on and ask them what was their secret to success.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love losing myself in the story. There are times when I stop writing a certain scene or chapter and it feels as if I have surfaced from a deep dive, as if I have been in a different world and am waking up.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work full time, so usually it’s getting up, getting my butt to work then afterwards, if there is any energy or time left in the day… I try to write.

What scene from Dark Burn was your favorite to write?

The big finale. I love the huge conclusions, usually I make sure they have a lot of explosions, fighting and magic involved!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

No motto, I just try to be productive, try to look on the bright side of things. Life’s a garden…dig it.

Marcus Abshire is the author of the new book Dark Burn

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Interview with Maria Trautman, Author of After All…

What can you tell us about your new release, After All…?

After All has been in the works for a few years after I uncovered the many diaries I wrote as a child due to the abuse in my mother’s care and later in my uncle’s house where the abuse continued.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

With my life experiences and lessons, I wanted to share them with the world. I would like to be an inspiration to every abused child, lessen their suffering and let them know that with faith, courage and perseverance, there is hope.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Seat of the Soul
The Four Agreements
Lunch with Buddha
The Institution
Medical Medium

Just off the top of my head but there are so many more.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I would have Gary Zukav, the author of The Seat of your soul. I would want to know how he knows what he knows.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I like the fluidity of thought when the mind is engaged.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up thinking about writing, most times. My dates are usually planned ahead so after breakfast, I take the time to visit with my computer and write my thoughts down and do research for the advancement of After All…

What scene from After All… was your favorite to write?

When I first arrived in Canada. The relief, the euphoria and the hope.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Prepare yourself for the harsh reality of this book. The raw anguish, the struggles and strife.

After All…

It just might be worth every heartbreaking moment”

Maria Trautman is the author of the new book After All…

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Interview with Bella Klaus, Author of Allure of the Vampire King

What can you tell us about your new release, Allure of the Vampire King?

Allure of the Vampire King is book one of the Blood Fire Saga, a paranormal romance series where supernaturals exist and live in a magically protected city. It combines action, heat, and plot twists.

Three years ago, Mera Griffin had to flee the Supernatural World after suffering a humiliating rejection from her Vampire King fiancé.

When she finally gets over the crushing heartbreak and decides to start dating again, her ex shows up in town, claiming that her life in danger. His solution is for her to move into a safe house with him, but she doesn’t trust him or the way he lusts after her blood.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I love telling stories and have always wanted to write. Most of my inspiration comes from dreams. My mind tries to make sense of things I’ve seen during the day and often translates them into fantastic tales!

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

I love both contemporary literature and the classics, so it’s difficult to whittle the list down to five. These are the most memorable and have had the biggest impact:

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka

Dark Lover – JR Ward

Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I would invite Mary Shelly and ask if she ever considered writing a story where Victor Frankenstein made a companion for his monster. That’s a story I’d love to read. Imagine waking up in a strange body with the monster claiming that he’s your mate?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The thrill of excitement I get when the main characters meet and I’ve got to write the sparks!

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m an early riser and I like to exercise first thing in the morning. After breakfast, I read through yesterday’s words and edit so that my brain is warmed up for the afternoon. My husband works from home, so we always break for lunch at the same time. After that, I continue writing for two or three hours. The end of the work day is reserved for catching up on admin, and the evenings are for relaxation and dinner.

What scene from Allure of the Vampire King was your favorite to write?

The ending. It’s pretty crazy and unexpected.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Picasso.

Bella Klaus is the author of the new book Allure of the Vampire King

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Interview with G J Ogden, Author of The Star Scavenger Series

What can you tell us about your new release, Star Scavenger: The Complete Series Books 1-5?

The Star Scavenger series follows Hudson Powell, an ace pilot and lost soul with a strong code of honor who unwittingly rekindles a deadly conflict with an ancient alien threat. Disillusioned with his job working for the corrupt Relic Guardian Force – a police force that protects alien wreck sites found across the galaxy – Hudson quits and enters the seductive world of relic hunting. Think Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider combined with the planet-hopping action of Firefly.

During his adventures, Hudson stumbles upon an ancient relic that awakens an alien killing machine that has been dormant for millennia. And now this entity aims to finish what it started and wipe out all corporeal life in the galaxy…

The five books in the series cover Hudson’s journey from reluctant RGF cop to hopeful savior of the human race, taking in numerous alien worlds in the process. It’s an action-packed series full of twists and turns and some obnoxious bad guys. One reader even quit the series because he was so angry that one particular character didn’t die in book one! All I’ll say is that the reader should have persisted to find out what happened to him…

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I don’t think it was one thing in particular. I’ve always loved science fiction and the idea of creating my own stories appealed to me from an early age. I used to do a lot of fantasy role-playing as a gamemaster, so I think that was my first experience of crafting stories and adventures for others to enjoy.

I’ve also always loved writing. I worked as a technology journalist and actually started writing my first novel almost twenty years ago, but gave up because – well, it’s hard, and life gets in the way. However, getting older gives you some perspective and I finally realized that writing books is what I’ve always wanted to do.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

It’s a lot of classic science fiction, often with an apocalyptic angle. That might sound quite bleak, but I’ve always been drawn to the post-apocalyptic setting. There are hardships and dangers, but it’s a fresh start and a chance to do things differently. There’s hope and hope is a major theme in most of my books.

For example, I love On the Beach by Nevil Shute. It might have aged in the fifty years since it was first published, but its impact is undiminished. I am Legend is another of my favorites in the apocalyptic mould, though perhaps this is more along the line of Zombie Apocalypse, rather than sci-fi.

On the military sci-fi / space opera front (which is a lot of what I write), I think the Forever War by Joe Halderman is a must-read. My two favorite sci-fi books, however, are both by Alfred Bester. I flit between whether The Stars My Destination (Tiger Tiger) or The Demolished Man is my top, but at the time of writing it’s probably the latter. Both are amazing books that get better on re-reads.

Hudson Powell – the protagonist in The Star Scavenger Series – is named after Lincoln Powell, the Prefect of Police in The Demolished Man, though the characters share few similarities!

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I’d love to talk to sci-fi authors new and old about where their ideas come from. So maybe Alfred Bester, since I’ve already mentioned him, but I’d love to ask the same question of a host of authors and see how their answers differ.

For me, a lot of the time, my ideas come while I’m out walking or quite often in the middle of the night. Sometimes I’ll wake up with the nugget of an idea, and I’ll have to grab my phone and email it to myself, otherwise I’ll forget and it will be lost.

For example, for one of my other series – The Contingency – it all came from an article I read about how lava tubes on other worlds could be large enough to house entire cities. I thought nothing of it at the time then woke up in the middle of the night with the story idea in my head! For Star Scavenger, it was a mash-up of all sorts of things that were floating around my head at the time, but the email I sent to myself (so I didn’t forget) had the subject line “space relic hunters”. In three words, that sums it up pretty well!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

It sounds corny, but for me it is escapism. It’s like watching your favorite TV show, but you’re the writer and director, the star of the show and the villain. You can be evil and ruthless one moment, heroic and inspiring the next. It’s certainly harder than probably most people expect or realize, as it requires a lot of commitment, but it’s incredibly rewording and enjoyable too.

What is a typical day like for you?

I aim to write a chapter a day (roughly 2,000 words) every day. The only day in 2020 where I didn’t write was Christmas Day! The rest of my time is spent editing other works-in-progress and managing the admin and marketing side of publishing. I’m hybrid-published, so some books I publish and manage myself and some are published by a specialist Sci-Fi small press (Aethon Books).

If I get time in the evening, I’ll spend a little bit of time on Rimworld (amazing game!) and then watch an episode of whatever TV show / boxed set is flavor of the month. I wish I could forget what happened in season two of The Mandalorian so I can watch it and be surprised all over again!

What scene from Star Scavenger: The Complete Series Books 1-5 was your favorite to write?

That’s hard – it’s like asking which is your favorite child! I think there are moments in each book where I sat back after finishing a scene and just blew out a heavy sigh. Sometimes it’s because it’s a sad moment and sometimes because it’s a cathartic moment, where someone or something gets what’s coming to them.

I spend a lot of time building storylines through the books. They all spider off in different directions, but come together at the end. I love endings, even though they’re hard and bittersweet as a writer. In Star Scavenger the ending (as is often the case with my books) has elements of sadness, but also hope. Always hope. There can be sorrow, tragedy – planets literally exploding – but always there is hope. Hope is so powerful, especially in science fiction where the odds can seem insurmountable. The characters have to believe they can win the day, and the reader has to be along for the ride.

So the final scene in book five – The Last Revocater – where the heroes are all together on the cliffs above Alamere Falls outside San Francisco was very satisfying. I think in general the Star Scavenger series builds to a really satisfying end. Though I also love the cheeky little Epilogue. I think readers who make the five-book journey will enjoy that too!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

I don’t, though my characters often do. Hudson Powell from the Star Scavenger series is a ‘by the book’ guy. He won’t break his code, even if that means leaving an enemy alive. Some people find that concept maddening, but it makes for a more interesting character. And, ultimately, as the series shows, you can be a ‘good guy’ and win the day, so long as you never give up hope.

So I’ll just steal John Cena’s motto and say my motto (or at least the motto of my stories) is, ‘Never Give Up’.

G J Ogden is the author of the new book Star Scavenger: The Complete Series Books 1-5

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Interview with J.K. Jones, Author of Years of Silence

What can you tell us about your new release, Years of Silence?

It’s raw. Gritty. An unapologetic story about a character coming to terms with himself. Zander Wright is formidable, reliant, also insecure, and downright belligerent. He is equal parts of the villain as he is the protagonist. Three friends, two lies, one truth. It’s not only the tagline of the story but exactly what it is about. What if your best friend was also your rival? What if that same friend is trying to kill you? This book is more of a psychological thriller than anything else, elements of floral horror and magical realism.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve been writing since I was a child. Cliched I know, but to put things simply I’ve always been a writer. In High School I failed English three times, and in that failure, I was determined to do better—to be better. If I could pinpoint things back, I guess it would be when I was in night school, redoing an English course that I had failed. My new English teacher happened to be a Drama teacher, and he made the characters come alive for me in ways I never thought possible.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Fall on your knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Heaven’s Officials Blessings Mo Xiang Tong Xiu

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

That’s a good one. Probably, Vladimir Nabokov. My first question would be: why doesn’t Humbert get a happy ending? Also, what inspired you to write such a provocative novel?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Nothing. I hate it. Just kidding! Everything. I love everything about writing. It takes a lot to sit down and write a full-length novel. Most people will never understand how much research it takes or even the struggle to get your book recognized. My favorite thing is creation. The idea that someone that be created from just a simple thought or idea, and brought to life seamlessly by my imagination.

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me involves a warm, steaming cup of coffee. By then I feel much more human. Afterward, I usually work full time, which takes up most of my days.

What scene from Years of Silence was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene was honestly the ending. I love writing it because Zander finally came to terms with something he’s been struggling with his whole life. It was such a catharsis moment, for him and for me. I found there was so much beauty in that.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“I need you, the reader, to imagine us, for we don’t really exist if you don’t.” ― Nabokov Vladimi, Lolita

J.K. Jones is the author of the new book Years of Silence

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Interview with Raine Miller, Author of My Lord

What can you tell us about your new release, My Lord?

It’s a contemporary erotic romance about a British Lord and government cabinet minister who has some really explosive chemistry with the American art conservationist who arrives at his country estate to evaluate his large collection of paintings. My Lord is book 2 of The Rothvale Legacy which centers around the incredible collection of art Lord Rothvale has recently inherited and needs an expert’s help in getting it sold and into museums where it can be appreciated. There’s some mystery, and a bit of intrigue, and a whole lot of romance. Fun fact: It’s been a six-years between the publication of book 1 and book 2.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My mother, who is now gone, gave me a subscription to Writer’s Digest ten years ago.  I started reading the articles and was inspired to write my own romance.  I wanted to write the kind of book I would like to read myself.  She really encouraged me and was so proud of me when I made the New York Times with my fourth book.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel, and Lover Unbound by JR Ward.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Jane Austen.  I’d ask her to tell us about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett’s wedding night!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Being able to create fictional worlds in my head and then share those worlds and characters with my readers.  As if those characters are real people, and I guess that’s what makes it my favorite part of being a writer.  I believe that my characters are real people out in the world living their lives. I also love being able to have the ability to stop time.  Like my six-year gap between publishing book 1 and book 2 of Rothvale Legacy?  Only six seconds of time has passed in their story.  That’s some serious power right there.

What is a typical day like for you?

My children are grown so I don’t have to be up early to take them to school anymore, so I am not an early riser.  I get up around 10 ish and have my coffee or tea and start in on writing my latest, or other tasks that aren’t as fun like ads and social media and promo.  We take the dogs for a walk in the afternoon before it gets too windy or chilly and that helps break up the time being inside.  By about 5:00 ish I’m ready to put it away for the day and do dinner and usually watch Jeopardy and whatever show we’re watching at the moment.  Unless it’s hockey season.  Vegas Golden Knights games take precedence over anything else that’s happening.  I love my hockey.

What scene from My Lord was your favorite to write?

The final chapter or epilogue in a romance is my favorite usually.  I try to layer it heavily in beautiful imagery and make it memorable and swoony.  In My Lord, Ivan takes Gabrielle riding on the estate to visit a special place where she gets to “meet” two characters from my historical romance, The Muse.  I really enjoy tieing in little Easter Eggs from my historical books into my contemporary ones.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”

Raine Miller is the author of the new book My Lord

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Interview with Esther E. Schmidt, Author of Broken Deeds MC: Second Generation #1

What can you tell us about your new release, Broken Deeds MC: Second Generation #1?

Broken Deeds MC handles cases the government can’t close; they take charge and won’t stop until justice is served. Archer just took over as the president of Broken Deeds MC and claimed his woman. Getting married, become parents, it’s a lot to balance for a young couple. This story is about facing their newly found rut and holding strong through every situation. About how life can easily take a turn, robbing them from moving forward and end dreams where new life barely started.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

At this moment there are two books on my nightstand. An early copy of “With This Ring” from Natasha Knight (an arranged Marriage Mafia Romance). And “Burning Dawn” from Gena Showalter, a paranormal romance I love to reread.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Ha. I have three teenage daughters who hardly ever listen to advice. But I guess I would say…Be fearless. Always follow your gut, even if you fail. Chin high, shoulders back, spine straight; life will always find a way to throw things at your feet but you have the strength to muddle through. Oh, and last, but not least…you can do, and learn, anything; as long as you want it.

 If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

Doing nothing. Relax. Every day is busy enough with work, kids, the house, pets, everything is time consuming so if I had an extra hour each day, I’d use it for myself…just to hit pause and breathe.

What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?

My kids, my dog, my iguana; family. They always seem to be able to put a smile on my face no matter what.

What scene from Broken Deeds MC: Second Generation #1 was your favorite to write?

The real-life parts. Mostly the part where Beatrice is having a bad day and runs into her friend. Life is messy, and it’s a good thing to have a brotherhood who have your back when you need it.

This story might be fiction and romance but it’s about reality. The struggle of a young couple trying to balance work, having kids, their relationship, all the ups and downs in life while trying to solve (crime) cases. Early reviews mention “this book feels real” and it really hits me in the heart how they experience exactly how I meant this story to be.


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The Story Behind Fables & Other Lies by Claire Contreras

By Claire Contreras

I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I was an only child for eight years, and had little friends up to that point, so I guess in a way my imagination was my salvation even before I began writing. All of my books are a testament to it, but none more than Fables & Other Lies, which is my most recent release. It’s difficult for me to classify this book. Is it a gothic romance? Is it folklore? Is it fantasy? I guess it’s all of those, or maybe none of those. The one thing I can say for certain is that it stemmed from Caribbean folklore.

My parents moved here from the Dominican Republic when I was just shy of three years old, so of course, I’ve always considered myself to be American above anything else. Still, my Dominican culture is thick and runs deep and there is no escaping it. From a young age, I’ve been listening to folklore from my birth country. My grandmother used to tell me a lot of these stories before bed each night. They all heeded some kind of warning of the occult, and I think they were meant to scare me into not doing anything outlandish, like go swimming after dark, or walking into the woods alone. Unfortunately for my grandmother, I’m a sucker for the macabre. I mean, I had Charles Addams comics pasted on my walls beside all of my JTT posters. My parents thought I was strange, to be sure, but they never outright said it, and when I started writing short stories about ghosts I think they were just glad I had something to do to pass the time.

From the folklore my grandmother used to tell me, I created worlds inside my head. Worlds filled with “what ifs”. I’m fascinated by the things that make us jump or turn the lights on, but I’m also enamored with the feeling of hope that love brings to our lives. When I was writing Fables & Other Lies, I revisited the folklore I’d heard as a child and laced it with a story about family, betrayal, loss, and an unexpected, yet unforgettable unconditional love. My grandmother passed away long ago, but I like to think that she’d be proud of this story and get a kick out of the fact that all of those spooky stories she used to tell me inspired it.

Claire Contreras is the author of the new book Fables & Other Lies.

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The Story Behind Return by Sea by Tracey Jerald

By Tracey Jerald

Emptiness.

Isolation.

Loneliness.

Sometimes such deep feelings can throw a kick hard to the soul. They can keep punching you, and punching you, even amid a room full of people. Sometimes they develop from something as a small as a kernel of darkness or they can surround you with the force of a Category 5 hurricane. They can come out of nowhere or you can pinpoint the exact moment the gloom descends upon you.

And there’s no way to stop it from occurring.

Death affects many people like that. Then again, these same emotions can be evoked by the pain caused by love.

In Return by Sea, MMA champion Nicholas Cain has spent his life on the edge of those emotions. Even with the men he calls his brothers, he’s kept himself at a wary distance, afraid to get too close. But more than with the men, there’s a single woman he persistently sabotages himself with – Maris Smith.

Maris is the last of her family after the death of her beloved brother, Jed. Although adored by her friends, there’s a weariness that’s settling deep inside her soul. All she wants to find is the one thing her brother wanted her to have – happiness.

Two broken souls fed by anger and heartache? You guessed it. It’s time to return to Alaska for the conclusion of the Glacier Adventure Series!

But in addition to being breathtakingly emotional and inspirational, this story is also enemies-to-lovers. Quite literally, Maris disdains Nick despite his celebrity status. Maybe because of it. Also, these two weren’t just apart mentally, but physically.

I definitely had my work cut out for me to help Nick and Maris fall in love. Misunderstandings, time, regret, all swirled together until I felt like I’d been tossed through a storm right along with them.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the idea of writing about a brotherhood of friends was sparked by my time at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show in Ketchikan, Alaska. But the inspiration for Maris and Nick’s story actually came from some close friends. They taught me about something so life changing, it caused my eyes to open wide and my heart to clench around the emotional toll it takes to go through certain life events. So much so, the book is dedicated to the two of them.

Well, maybe not just the two of them.

I hope the final installment of the Glacier Adventure Series will wreck your soul and have you falling in love all at the same time. It can be read as a complete standalone, but you’re going to want to go back and grab the other stories to complete your understanding about the brotherhood that was started all those years ago.

Trust me. They’re lumberjacks. You need them in your life.

Tracey Jerald is the author of the new book Return by Sea

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Interview with Marti Ward, Author of Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles

What can you tell us about your new release, Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles?

You’re sixteen about to turn seventeen. You and your twin brother are picked up early from school for a surprise birthday treat… and that’s the last thing you remember before you wake up on a spacecraft in a wormhole with no memory of how you got there.

The ship’s doctors don’t really understand your amnesia and aren’t helping, and whenever you wake you are at sea. Then one morning they are all gone – the crew are dead or incapacitated, except for a 20-year-old vet. The Quantum AI is also out of commission. You’ve been dropped out of the wormhole early, somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy.

You and your brother are interested in engineering, space and robotics – and now you’re as close to engineers and navigators as we’ve got. It is your job to figure out how to get the ship and its 500 cryopassengers across the lightyears to our destination. And your improbable plan has just been given the go…

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve been reading since I was three, and writing SFF since I was six, published at seven. But it was not so much that I wanted to be an author, as that there were stories to tell, authors to emulate. In fact, my early Ghostie story was strongly influenced by Casper the Friendly Ghost and somewhat derivative; my Magic Sixpence story was influenced by fairy tales, Greek legends and Enid Blyton; Astroboy and 2001’s HAL were inspiration for my PhD research and Machine Learning of Natural Language book (and HAL gets a not-so-positive mention in Casindra Lost).

My father had a huge library including the Britannica Great Books and Encyclopaedia, the accumulating works of C.S. Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Capt. W.E. Johns, Earl Stanley Gardner, Agatha Christie and many others. He also wrote, but never published, science fiction stories that I really enjoyed. Once I’d finished his library, I read my school library and the public library – starting with the children’s section but then moving on to general fiction. Though it was really the science fiction that caught my attention and directed me towards science. But a good SF story still needs deep characters, some mystery and suspense, and a good dose of adventure.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Asimov’s Caves of Steel and other robot stories would top the list – and the three laws of robotics are never far from my mind today as a roboticist and psychologist in the line of Susan Calvin.

Andre Norton also made an impression – and I just reread Time Traders which holds up perfectly today 60 years on.  I fell in love with Anne McCaffrey and her dragons and their riders – Dragonriders of Pern – I’ve reread all of her dragon books recently as well as the more recent ones with and by her children.  Marion Bradley Zimmer’s Darkover and Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series also showed me other people from the inside out.

These four women showed understanding of people, character, that their male counterparts lacked.

But that’s ancient history – I should mention some modern authors who, while not scientists, did the research to present serious science as the basis for serious fiction. I was really impressed with the Wake, Watch, Wonder trilogy of Robert J Sawyer.

Douglas Phillips and Douglas E Richards are also upcoming authors in this hard science fiction genre that I aspire to – although the science is not quite as true as it could be and should be and I try to make it.

And who says I can count? I have computers to do that for me…

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Robert J Sawyer – I’d start with the WWW series. How did he come up with the idea of connecting a story about a blind girl and a story about emerging artificial intelligence – what came first? What was the seed idea? How did he research this? How did he put himself in the minds of these two diverse characters?

I am an expert in the areas of neuroscience, biomedical engineering and artificial intelligence that form the background and drive for these stories – and Sawyer got the science exactly right… He also got the characters exactly right…

I recommend this trilogy to my students!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Once I understand the world I’ve built and the characters I’ve created and the general direction I’m headed, what I like is the way the characters and the plot take over – I’m living their lives, their situation, and I just write it the way they see it, feel it, experience it.  The planning takes months…  But once I get to the writing proper, the book writes itself in a matter of days…

What is a typical day like for you?

Typical? I don’t have enough days so boring as to be typical.

Most of my days involve teaching and mentoring students – and when dealing with people, nobody’s the same as anyone else, so it’s always interesting. My research and my writing also involve people, real and imagined, so they are also always different.  I’m always working on multiple projects at once, my own personal projects as well as those involving students or teams of researchers. The science you see in my fiction books relates strongly to the science I’m working on: neuroscience, psycholinguistics, robotics, neural networks, forensics, health/medical interventions…

The hard thing is to find a day when I can concentrate on one thing. Casindra Lost and Moraturi Lost were written during holidays – mostly between Christmas and New Year; Moraturi Ring was drafted during three weeks training it around Europe on a Eurail pass. Much of my writing has been on trains and planes, and much of it in the quiet of the night once everyone else has gone to bed. Or sometimes an intense weekend, making sure I hit a deadline.

What scene from Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles was your favorite to write?

It’s a secret…

The problem is favorite scenes are the most thorough spoilers, the ones that turn your world upside-down, where everything goes wrong, where the unlikeliest of characters comes up with the unlikeliest of solutions, …

But there’s also the scenes full of emotion, the funeral, the standoff, … Although often it’s emotion that has to be suppressed, internalized…

If I had to pick one it’d be the one that shows you the problem with keeping secrets!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Don’t believe everything you’re told!”

Or in Karl Popper’s philosophy of science, “It is a scientist’s job to try to disprove their own theories.”

This is the basis for much of my science – doing what others say is impossible, proving that they’re wrong.  And just because a character says something doesn’t make it true either.

It is also behind much of my fiction: poking at those areas where our scientific theories are at their weakest, at misguided academics battling to save their crumbling ivory towers; targeting penny-pushing bureaucrats who know nothing about anything – least of all “the bottom line”.

B087PJY7G3 cover image

Marti Ward is the author of the new book Moraturi Ring: Paradisi Chronicles

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