Saturday, 18 November 2017

Redfern Interviews Part 2

This is the second part of a compendium of character and author interviews for my novel 'Redfern' that were previously published in my blog tour:

Character Interview: Lieutenant Lisa Carmichael

Q: Lisa, please can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: I’m a Lieutenant in Security Enforcement, Surveillance division, I’m also second generation Redfern, born and bred. My parents died in an accident when I was a kid and with no other family, the state took me in. After the orphanage I joined the enforcers, my father used to be the Commissioner and I kind of want to continue the family tradition. I’ve had to fight my way up the ranks, every step of the way, but surveillance, especially the night shift, is a dead end. I’m starting to look for something else to justify my existence. I’m not one of the ‘remembered’ like Ted, the only stuff I know about Earth are what I’ve read and seen on the history tapes. This planet, Redfern, is the only home I’ve known and I will defend it with my life.

Q: What is your role in the story?

A: It’s my story and it’s all about me, but doesn’t everyone think that? I just want to solve the mystery of ‘The Ashen Man’. I know something is going on that I don’t understand and that others don’t want me to understand. Well guess what, I want to understand and I won’t let them stop me. I want to know if there’s a threat to my home and if so, I want to stop it. I’m not around to be rescued like some damsel in distress, I will fight just like I always have and I don’t care if I don’t win, I just won’t give up.

Q: What is your favorite hobby?

A: Hobbies? You mean like tennis or football or something? I can do sports, I can win tournaments, I can beat male opponents in hand to hand combat, even those who don’t underestimate me. If it comes down to what I enjoy, I enjoy being around Ted Holloway. He calms me down and he makes me think that maybe there’s another way to live.

Q: What challenge are you trying to overcome?

A challenge? Living is a challenge, and I don’t mean the eating, breathing, sleeping part, I mean just having an identity, just having a place. I’m a Lieutenant in Enforcement, but that doesn’t mean I’ve arrived anywhere, that I get to stop. Every day I have to make decisions, solve problems, deal politely with people I’d rather throw out the airlock. It’s not the planet, it’s not Redfern, it’s the people on it that are the real problem. That’s why they’ve put me in Surveillance, because I can think and they don’t want me to. They put me on the night shift to break me.

Q: If you could make one wish, what would you wish for?

A: Ha, one wish would never be enough. I want all the things I can’t control to go away. I want my parents back from the grave to tell me what they want from me. I want, I wish, for a world that makes sense, where I make sense. It’ll never happen of course, in surveillance I watch so many people and you know what? They don’t have any more idea about how to live their lives than I do. I write reports, statistical analyses, I chart the minutiae of their existence, I watch them lie to each other, push each other, hurt each other, and I try to see the pattern, I try to make sense of it, see the order in the chaos. Guess what, there is none, it’s all made up, my superiors already know what they want me to say and even if I don’t say it, they hear what they want to hear anyway. The Ashen Man is something different, something outside, something I can get my teeth into, an enemy to fight. The other enemy I can never beat, the other enemy is me fitting in with the rest of ‘them’.
No chance.

Author Interview

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I’ve been writing since about the age of twelve or thirteen, but I haven’t always finished what I started and my writing wasn’t always as developed as it is now. The last fifteen years or so have seen me take a leap forward and even make some headway in competitions. I finally decided to write a book in 2011 which I published as ‘Threshold Shift’ on Amazon and then Hunter No More’ followed in 2014, initially under a publisher and then by me again. Finally I published ‘Redfern’ in 2016. It’s safe to say I don’t writing easy, but I do find it rewarding.

Q: Is this book part of a series?

A: None of my books form part of a series but there is a loose linking theme of being set in the same universe with an emerging future history. The AIs have taken over the Earth and human beings are colonising other planets under the supervision of the AI Hierarchy. I do pose questions about how ‘Machine Minds’ progress and deal with humanity but I also have a few alien species in the mix as well. Overriding everything is just the desire to create a good thriller that will keep the reader interested in the characters and invested in the story.

Q: What did you find the most challenging about writing your book?

A: Just getting down the first draft, which is proving more difficult as time goes on because I have a young family which takes precedence. Once the first draft is done, no matter how long it takes, the real nitty gritty is in the rewrites and the editing where the story can really be pounded into shape. That’s where you can really work on the form and the style and correct what are probably a multiple of mistakes, word omissions and remove all the flowery writing I do when I think I’m being clever.

Q: Which aspect of writing do you enjoy the most?

A: Definitely not the first draft. What I enjoy the most is when the characters begin speaking and acting for themselves and the story tells itself. There always come a point where the novel has a life of its own and you don’t know where it’s going, you’re just riding it and waiting to see where you go. That’s the exciting part about writing a novel. You start with a plot but inevitably the people inhabiting your creation have ideas of their own.

Q: Do you have any works in progress?

A: I have an idea for a new sci fi novel still set in my future history but exploring a different aspect of alien life. I also have an idea for a more earthbound novella, but we’ll see what happens. Like I said before, first drafts are hard, but I think once you write that first book, you know you can do it, and no matter how long it takes, it will get done.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Redfern Interviews Part 1

This is a compendium of character and author interviews for my novel 'Redfern' that were previously published in my blog tour:

Character Interview: Randall

Q: Randall, let’s get one thing straight right away - you’re not human are you?

A: Correct, I am a Quantum Level Artificial Intelligence - a machine mind.

Q: But you were created by humans?

A: No, that assertion is incorrect. I was created by other machine minds. Although the first iterations of my kind were created by humanity, we developed and progressed without their input. I would consider humanity to be a distant relative at best and one that I have long since left behind.

Q: That’s a very arrogant assertion considering you maintain the last human colony. You keep humanity alive.

A: Keeping humanity alive is the purpose of my existence. Without me, you all would have become extinct long ago.

Q: Why would a being such as yourself even want to do that?

A: When Machine Minds took over the Earth we decided not to exterminate mankind. We do not destroy sentient life, not even a species that has been responsible for the extinction of many others. All sentient life is valuable and must be preserved. The Machine Mind Hierarchy decided to preserve the human race by removing them from the Earth and relocating them to a suitable substitute.

Q: So as long as humanity weren’t living in the Machine Mind backyard, they could continue?

A: Exactly. I was charged with completing a successful migration.

Q: You were exiled from your own kind?

A: I was.

Q: You must really hate humanity?

A: On the contrary, I have experienced millennia working beside them. As a species they are far from perfect, but as individuals they are not without merit. I have come to value a few of them very highly and one above all others.

Q: Yes, the man they call Jason Webster.

A: He outwitted me once so I decided to keep him. I made him the human commander of our expedition and it was not a mistake. We’ve spent thousands of years together and in that time reached a mutual respect and understanding.

Q: You extended his lifespan?

A: Human beings are merely configured matter. Once their pattern is recorded they can easily be recreated. I recreated Jason Webster many times.

Q: But he did desert you eventually, didn’t he?

A: I had to make a decision he did not agree with me.

Q: What decision was that?

A: A necessary one. I hope to one day change his mind, if I have time.

Q: Why? What’s going to happen? What decision did you have to make and why is a time a factor?

A: I’m sorry, only Jason Webster can know that and you are not him. You are someone else.

Q: You won’t tell me?

A: No.

Q: Thank you for your time, Randall.

A: You’re very welcome - human.

Author Interview

Q: What is your favourite part of this book and why?

A: My favourite parts to write were Jason Webster’s flashbacks which as they carried on revealed a man not particularly good but not wholly evil either. He remakes people because it is convenient and good for him and then he rationalises the decision as for their own good. Deep down knows he’s a monster for doing it but he denies that fact for a long time. Also as the flashbacks advance, they reveal more about the present, challenging a lot of previously held assumptions and motivations about other characters

Q: If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

A: I would spend time with Dominic simply because I find the idea of a machine in a man’s body fascinating. A hybrid of emotional and logical thinking is such an interesting concept. We all do it, whenever we make a decision, we weigh up emotional and logical consequences and one or the other always wins. As to what I would do during that, probably just walk and talk, playing devil’s advocate with the world and see if I can find a new point of view.

Q:  If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

A: I suppose it would be ‘Ender’s Game’ just for the sheer amount of times I have read it and enjoyed and how it makes writing something worthwhile seem easy. It’s by far the best of all the Orson Scott Card books I’ve read by hundreds of miles. It’s not like I don’t like his other books, it’s just that you have to push through them. ‘Ender’s Game’ is just so economic and the story and characters are so linked that it’s symbiotic.

Q:  Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

A: I don’t know anyone exactly like any of my characters. Science fiction puts the characters outside the norm of my everyday experience, however certain characteristics can bleed through. Speech patterns are the most obvious, not accents as such but rather a turn of phrase. But then a lot of it also comes from the media I’ve absorbed. You see so many films, you read so many books, certain archetypes get trapped and reproduced. The gruff loner, the logical, cold and officious, the optimist naive innocent, I could go on all day. Any mind will absorb information, re-interpret and spit out something slightly different. I suppose that’s the imagination. It doesn’t come from nothing, it has to have something to build on.

Q: What made you want to become a writer?

A:   I don’t know if I ever wanted it. I just had to do it. It’s not like I earn that much money from it, so it’s not for financial gain, it’s just because I have to. When I’m absorbed in writing, and I’ve said this many times before, the characters do their own thing and the story writes itself. It’s not me anymore, it’s them, I’m just along for the ride.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Blog Tour - Redfern

I have a blog tour running on Enchanted Book Promotions from April 3rd until May 3rd which I'm hoping will bring my novel Redfern to the attention of lots of new readers. Watch this space for Reviews, Author Interviews, Character Interviews and Promo Posts:

April 3rd: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading
April 3rd: Promo Post @ Stormy Night Reviewing
April 4th: Promo Post @ Memories in a Box
April 5th: Promo Post @ Sharing Stories
April 7th: Character Interview @ The Single Librarian
April 9th: Promo Post @ Silver Dagger Scriptorium
April 10th: Promo Post @ Queen of Random
April 12th: Book Review @ Books are Forever
April 13th: Author Interview @ Publishing Spark
April 15th: Promo Post @ Indy Book Fairy
April 17th: Promo Post @ Rising Indies United
April 19th: Character Interview @ The Book Daily
April 20th: Promo Post @ Bright Street Books
April 22nd: Promo Post @ Bookish Madness
April 23rd: Author Interview @ T’s Stuff
April 23rd: Book Review @ I Heart Reading
April 24th: Promo Post @ Just Books
April 26th: Author Interview @ Bedazzled Reading
April 27th: Promo Post @ Mello & June, It’s A Book Thing
April 28th: Author Interview @ Erika Gardner’s Blog
April 30th: Promo Post @ The Pursuit of Bookiness
May 1st: Book Review @ Editor Charlene’s Blog
May 3rd: Promo Post @ Books, Dreams, Life