What can you tell us about your new release, The Spark Anomaly?
The Spark Anomaly transports you to a world that is not so very different from our own. However, certain subtle differences have a huge impact on the characters, their situations, the environment, and the interactions between them. The characters are thrown into an action/adventure global mystery that they need to solve to save the world. The principal characters are:
- Arnold Spark, an engineering adventurer who searches the globe for the apocalyptic truth behind recent cataclysmic events;
- Soona, a lonely lunar robot with a mysterious backstory who must escape her cruel human captors to search for answers on the comet Charybdis;
- Helen, a bereaved widow who blames Spark for her husband’s death;
- And Cathy, a shy college student who is oblivious to Spark’s quest but dutifully solves his disguised homework problems.
I relate most to Cathy, because she reminds me of myself when I was in college, and I admire Soona the most for her grit and heart.
As an engineer, I had a lot of fun designing yet-to-be-discovered scientific laws and new technologies to permeate their world, but I tried my best to keep them in the background so as not to slow the story’s pacing.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I first started writing as a substitute for fulfilling my lifelong quest to create sentient life. Years ago, I designed software that simulated the evolution of an alien world. Through strict survival-of-the-fittest principles, life forms evolved that exhibited complex behaviors, including species that learned to ambush prey and hunt their parents. After watching these newly evolved creatures chase each other around my graphics screen, I knew that this approach was the best approach to one day create sentient life. I imagined spending the rest of my days designing ever more complex life forms.
However, after realizing that the effort to create sentient life would be massive, I decided instead to write my first novel, Prena’s Eye, about a simulated world and my imagined success in creating intelligent life. Then once I had started writing, I fell in love with the process. Now I’m hooked.
What is your favorite novel?
My favorite novel is Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. I love how Follett relentlessly drives the plot with lots of action, plot twists, and compelling three-dimensional characters while seamlessly weaving in historical facts and explanations of the technical challenges of cathedral building—without ever boring the reader.
I attempted to strike a similar balance in The Spark Anomaly by integrating a fully realized world set in 2067 with a fast-paced story, plot twists, and exciting characters.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
The last thing I would ever want to do is host a literary talk show. But if I had to choose a guest, I might pick Douglas Adams. I would ask him about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. He should have better insight into those matters now that he’s dead.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
The high I get from writing a novel is like the high I get from reading a novel, but with ten times the intensity. I delight in watching a new universe come to life. I fall in love with my characters. And even though I’m the cause of their misery, I sympathize with their situation.
What is a typical day like for you?
I try to write for at least an hour every day, first thing in the morning. Then I compete in an ongoing Internet-based stationary bike competition.
During my commute into the office, I daydream about plot lines and characters.
I spend the rest of the workday as the CEO and CTO of a pair of high-tech engineering companies I co-founded. I have over fifty engineers and programmers working for me.
In the evening, I go home to my wife and three children, where I typically referee my children’s ongoing civil war.
What scene in The Spark Anomaly was your favorite to write?
I don’t have a single favorite, but I enjoyed writing the Anechoic Library scene because it was an emotional turning point for my heroine. I also had a lot of fun designing the sound-canceling technology, imagining interesting ways that the system might fail, and then making use of that information in a poignant plot twist.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
I’m not sure a single quote can sum up my philosophy on life, but I’ve always liked the Albert Einstein quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
This quote rings true for me as both an engineer and a novelist.
I also like the quote attributed to Lucille Ball: “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”
I realize this statement is counterintuitive, but she was right. And I love working on too many projects.