J wrote his first adventure story, just for the fun of it, at the age of 10. He was always the guy in class that was told to sit down and quit throwing experimental airplanes out the window and that was at the university. He has been a US Marine, Active and Reserve, serving in the Vietnam War as a radio operator for convoy escorts in an area tenderly referred to as “Leatherneck Square”. He also served in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 as the Communications Chief for a self-propelled 155mm Howitzer Battery, being among the first military units to liberate Kuwait and the Burning Kuwaiti Oil Fields (The “literal” Mouth of Hell). After his adventures in the Arabian Peninsula J returned to his humdrum job, all things being relative, as a Radiochemist at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. As you’ve probably already guessed, J uses his combat experience and recollections of his world travels to make his stories come alive, while underpinning them with his knowledge of basic nuclear physics(That’s “nu clee ur” not “nu clur”). He lives with his wife Patricia, his hamster “Chesty” and his time machine in Rock Spring, Georgia.
The earth’s first faster than light starship, preparing for its maiden voyage, receives a demand from extraterrestrials thousands of light years away. Should the demand be heeded or ignored? Earth’s decision leads to terror, sin, selfless courage, combat, altruism, romance and salvation of an alien world in the distant regions of our galaxy. The crew of the Oberlux will never be the same.
Hello J, I’m so glad you agreed to join me for this interview. We’ll just dig in right away so you can get back to the sequel to Oberlux that your currently working on.
Q. What made you decide to write a sci-fi book ?
I’ve always been fascinated with science fiction in literature. Robert A. Heinlein’s Red Planet had a strong positive influence on me as a young boy. I was also heavily influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ eleven Martian novels and his Venus Series. James P. Hogan’s Inherit the Stars Series was a real impetus for my starting to write science fiction, however. He showed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s that actual detailed science in a novel could be entertaining. These influences got me to writing earnestly in the 1980’s.
I sounds like we like many of the same authors.
Q. What is the most difficult thing about publishing a book?
There are plenty of venues for publishing, so the publishing itself is not the problem. The real challenge is getting one’s book in front of one’s target readers. In my case, people who love science fiction and have the ability to imagine fantastically different worlds and futures with me.
Q.I noticed you went into some technical detail in your book. How much of that is fact and how much is possibility?
My science is based in voraciously wandering fact, luscious speculation, and spontaneous theory with a dash of prevarication. All of which are most likely to come true.
I Studied Chemical Technology and Creative Writing at Chattanooga State Technical Institute, Organic Chemistry and Physics at UAH, and Basic Nuclear Physics and Radiochemistry with TVA.
Q.What has been your overall experience when dealing with other authors?
Other authors have been surprisingly friendly, supportive and helpful. I’ve been writing for quite a while now, but when I actually decided to get serious about making a literary mark in this world fellow writers were the most helpful. I thought authors would be my biggest detractors, but they are fellow travelers.
Q.Is there a website or writers group that you found particularly helpful to your writing?
I think Goodreads is the only website that really allows writers to find each other, share experiences, give advice to one another and actually help. Other websites I’ve seen try to imitate this kind of thing, but right now only Goodreads has enough fellow author members to do this.
Q.Is there a type of music or something else that helps you write when you get stressed out or have a bad day?
It’s somewhat uncanny that you asked me this today. Just the day before yesterday I voiced my opinion on this subject in a writer’s group on Goodreads. I said that I felt a writer should focus on what they are doing and not listen to music while writing. I went on to say that such distractions were not fair to your readers and that by so doing your quality of work would probably suffer.
It was not well received by one writer and he said, in fact, that he had been insulted by my comment. My reaction to this was, “You have a right to your opinion.”, which by saying this I really meant that I also had a right to MY opinion. So, to sum it all up, no, I do not listen to music or anything that would distract my focus. Now, this could be because I’m feeble-minded. However, I like music, so I find when I hear it I tend to listen to it and then the muses go to sleep.
After reading your book, I would say you are certainly not feeble minded.
Q.How long did it take to write your book?
That is an interesting question when considering my first novel, Oberlux. I wrote the first draft of it in 1985 in about a nine month period, type written and double spaced. I’m sure some readers and writers out there have heard of those days. I sent it to every SF publisher I could think of. One publisher sent me a particularly interesting letter, saying they liked it, but not to contact them they would contact me. I was excited. A year later I got a rejection letter from that same office. I put Oberlux aside and wrote about five chapters of another novel and then re-enlisted in the Marines after a 10 year hiatus. Then came the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War. I kept writing fiction off and on over the years, but never confided in anyone about it much. I had considered self-publishing in the late 80’s and 90’s but it was just too expensive at the time. Then in 2010 I heard about Smashwords, but I didn’t have a good feeling about eBooks until 2012. It was then that I decided to dig up my manuscript, brush the dust off of it and read it as a new reader. It had been a good amount of time since I wrote it. I was able to read it with a great deal of detachment, since I figured it would never make it to print anyway.
I was amazed at how entertained I was by it. I had forgotten a lot of the details. Now, mind you, I had not forgotten the gist of the plot, but specific dialog, certain events and the life in the characters I had forgotten. So, I was being re-introduced to the universe I had previously created.
After a complete rereading of it, I decided it was okay to try it on the world one more time. However, it needed some editing and updating. Yeah, updating! Some of the things I had predicted would be discovered in the universe of 2150 had already been discovered by fall of 2011. Eight hundred extrasolar planets for one thing. Rewriting was a necessary task, but a pleasant one. It allowed me to get intimately familiar with my characters again and was the genesis of the novel I working on now. So, to sum up how long it took to write, I guess about two years of actual writing, editing and returning it from the typed page to digital format for an eBook.
Q.Have you found family and friends to be supportive and if so, how?
Oh, family and friends have been very supportive. They are the ones that bought my book in the first couple of weeks after it’s debut. Without their cheering and asking for a second novel, I might not have published the first. A family member, Scott Hill, who is a professional artist, painted the cover for Oberlux and has just recently completed the cover for my next novel. Tatiana, his wife also beta read the final version of Oberlux.
Q.Are you working on any other books?
I’m so glad you asked. Yes, I’m working on a second book, and I’m really stoked about this one. It is tentatively entitled Suszaja Marva: Power of the Cross, which I think will probably develop into a trilogy. I have an idea spinning around in my head and a skeletal outline for the third, but I don’t want to reveal too much at present.
If you’ve read Oberlux and liked it, I’m sure you’ll want to read Power of the Cross. It has many plot twists and turns that hopefully will surprise and entertain my readers, such as what does Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar have to do with a software company in the 21st Century.
Q.Is there anything you would like to share with other authors or your fans?
To my fans I would like to say, thank you and hang on. There is more excitement coming your way this summer. I don’t think you will be disappointed, Templar Knights, time travel, a bumbling 21st Century inventor and a solemn lesson for us all.
Thanks to Crystal Dawn and a couple of other Goodreads authors.
To connect with J. Dewayne Pierce go to: http://www.facebook.com/JDeWaynePierceAuthor?fref=ts