It’s my pleasure to introduce, Lela Markam, fantasy and sci-fi author on to my blog today for a chat about her new book, and gathering inspiration from the headlines. Over to Lela…
The Fun Stuff:
What part of the world do you come from?
I was born, raised and chose to live in Alaska. I’ve travelled, but this is home and an adventure like none other. It’s the one place I’ve been in the world where you can live in a modern city and be out in the deep woods with the man-eating animals with only a half-hour drive.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had all sorts of different ideas. My dad was a chef and my mother was a diner waitress. I knew I didn’t want to do THAT for a living. I studied to be a journalist and was a reporter for the town newspaper for a while.
I am delighted to have sci-fi author, Arthur Doweyko on my blog today talking about his latest book, As Wings Unfurl, flying like Superman, and the joy of writing science fiction.
The Fun Stuff:
What part of the world do you come from?
I was born in Aldershot, England and spent early years in London. My family moved to New Jersey where I spent most of my youth.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A high school vocational test indicated I had an aptitude for both science and art. I followed my father’s advice to pursue a career in science, but kept art (painting and writing) close by.
List three words to describe yourself.
Creative, scientist, artist.
Who would play you in a film about your life?
I don’t think my life is interesting enough for a movie. Having said that, there are a number of misadventures that I did get into and for some reason Benedict Cumberbatch comes to mind.
What’s your favourite snack food when writing?
I don’t eat while writing. I don’t listen to music either. I lock myself away in my man cave and crawl out when exhausted. (I do love raisinets while watching movies).
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Flying. I always wanted to fly like Superman, and not just for the thrill of it. I wanted to catch crooks and save damsels in distress.
The Sensible Side:
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I wrote short stories in high school. I used to pass out type-written booklets during trig class. There has always been within me a strong urge to share a vision or a story. I get a real kick when a reader’s eyes light up. I’ve been a scientist for most of my life and most of my writing was aimed at producing a non-fictional (I hoped) report or paper or chapter. Since retiring recently, I now spend most of my time unleashing the stories that have floated around in my head for years. I teach college chemistry as an adjunct faculty at a state college.
Where did the inspiration for As Wings Unfurl come from?
Inspiration is tough to define, and even tougher to pin point an origin for. My best guess is that the idea came from the melding of at least two experiences. In parochial school I had just learned about guardian angels, and one morning on the way to school I was sure one of those winged creatures saved my life. I even argued with a nun about it. The Vietnam War produced thousands of altered lives, men broken in body and spirit. When they returned home, they were generally despised. We’ve forgotten how bad that was. So there you have it. A dejected amputee veteran, addicted to morphine encounters an angel who needs his help to save humanity. Of course, she’s not really an angel. I figured it was time for a Vietnam vet to be a hero.
What do you like most about writing science fiction?
The sky’s the limit … actually there are no limits. It’s a genre that is quick to absorb all others. It serves as a creative platform, offering up make believe worlds, people and civilizations.
—a perfect backdrop for highlighting character arcs, and zooming though the most wondrous plot arcs.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
Gratuitous sex and violence. We get enough of that on the nightly news.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead characters?
Although Angela is capable of looking like anything he/she wishes to model, in the story, this alien creature takes on the form of a 20-something beautiful brunette. So, I checked out a few listings of up and coming actresses in that age range and five names percolated up: Victoria Justice, Cara Develingne, Elizabeth Olsen, Mia Wasikowska, and Emily Ratajkowski. They all have the strong facial features I envisioned for Angela. My top choice would be Elizabeth Olsen because she pulled off dynamic and strong roles in recent SFF films. For Apple, I’d pick an actor who has had some experience playing offbeat roles. Perhaps someone like Robert Adamson, Robbie Amell, Brenton Thwaites, or Miles Teller. I’d prefer a rugged face and physique …maybe Robbie or Miles. (Fabulous choices!)
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part in writing is the research. It’s probably why folks are always telling you to write about what you know. In the case of As Wings Unfurl, I needed to do quite a bit of exploring. What were the trains/subways available to/from NJ and NY in 1979? What’s the most likely look for Big Foot or a Yeti? What was the most common version of a leg prosthetic? What does the inside of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral look like? Some of these bits came from first-hand experience, most others are references (thank God for Google).
Can you give us a brief excerpt from As Wings Unfurl?
Jason, a private eye, faces off with a mysterious woman visitor in his office —
A sharp pain stabbed at his right hand. He jerked it up, leaving a trail of bright-red oval droplets along the doorjamb. His eyes widened. The tip of his right forefinger was gone. Squealing half in anger and half in terror, he pinched the bloody stub with his other hand. “Bitch! What the hell?”
His eyes darted to his desk. The Smith and Wesson might as well have been a thousand miles away. He didn’t see a knife. His knees began shaking.
“Jason, calm down. Tell me where the negatives are, and this unpleasantness will end.” She held up his fingertip, wiggled it at him, and tossed it into her mouth.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am currently putting the finishing touches on my latest project, Henry The Last. An early version of the manuscript has been rated 5-stars by Readers Favorite and is a Finalist in the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Award competition held annually in Orlando, FL. Henry is a Lakota Sioux native American. He is also an android entirely made of metal, plastic, tubes and wires, except for one little thing, his human brain. An asteroid strike and a viral outbreak that followed left few humans alive — those that were lucky to have their brains encased in impervious titanium skulls. At least that’s what the news said. Henry will discover the truth, but in no easy way. He, his ghost of a wife, a robot aide and an unusual visitor will take a roller-coaster ride through a post-apocalyptic world where nothing is as it seems
How can we contact you or find out more about your books?
Applegate Bogdanski returns from Vietnam with a missing leg, a Purple Heart, and an addiction to morphine. He stumbles through each day, looking forward to nothing and hoping it will arrive soon. When he attempts to thwart a crime, he is knocked unconscious and wakes up to discover that people are once again calling him a hero, though he feels undeserving of the praise.
Apple returns to work and meets Angela, a mysterious woman who claims to be his guardian. Immediately, he feels a connection to her, which morphs into an attraction. But he soon discovers that Angela is much more than she seems.
Apple and Angela are swept up in a conspiracy that stretches through time and space. Together, they must fight to save everything they hold dear from an alien race bent on destroying humanity.
After retiring in 2009, Arthur M. Doweyko took up writing fiction. His novel Algorithm garnered a 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award. He has also published a number of short stories, many of which have been selected as Finalists in the Royal Palm Literary Award contest, and two Honorable Mentions in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest.
Arthur was awarded the 2008 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award for his contribution to the discovery of Sprycel, a novel anti-cancer drug successfully brought to the marketplace in 2009. He has authored over one hundred publications (papers, abstracts, patents, book chapters) and has been an invited lecturer in a number of drug-discovery and computational venues.
Arthur lives in Florida with the love of his life, Lidia. When he’s not writing, he’s happily wandering the beaches.
With the weekend approaching it’s the perfect time to seek out new books to read, so I’ve created a Friday Book Share game to help search for that ideal read.
Anyone can have a go – all you need to do is answer the following questions based on a book you are currently reading/finished reading this week and use the hashtag #FridayBookShare
First line of the book.
Recruit fans by adding the book blurb.
Introduce the main character using only three words.
Delightful design (add the cover image of the book).
Audience appeal (who would enjoy reading this book?)
Your favourite line/scene.
I’m 40% through The Dead Lands by Dylan J.Morgan
First line – With a steady hand he picked up a thin tube and attached it to the needle embedded into the woman’s smooth, pale skin.
Recruit fans by adding the book blurb –
Lane is a bounty hunter for Erebus’ corrupt government, his life a constant battle against past demons. Framed for murder, Lane is offered one option to avoid the death penalty: rejoin the army and partake in a covert operation to the apocalyptic world of Hemera, Erebus’ sister planet.
A century after the nuclear conflict that ended mankind’s third age, Hemera has now sent a distress signal to its sister: the president has awoken, and he’s calling for aid. Early intelligence reports indicate the mission will be straightforward, that Hemera is a vacant shell with all forms of life and hostility extinguished.
They are wrong.
Bandits control the dead lands, but there are things much worse waiting for Lane and his squadron once they enter the city walls. Having lived with the nightmares of his shattered past, Lane must now face the mutated horrors of mankind’s future in the toughest battle of his life.
Introduce the main character – Lane is tough, wary and quietly caring
Audience appeal – Perfect for fans of sci-fi and dystopian
Your favourite line/scene –
He strained his neck and looked to the heavens, the sky a glorious deep blue.
Sadness and intense fear coursed through his body, his nerve-endings tingling with dread. It couldn’t be a more glorious day on which to die.
The rules are laid out at the end of this post if you fancy having a go.
Here is my contribution for this week:
Over the past week, my neighbourhood has sounded like a war zone. Not because I live in a dodgy part of town, but more likely down to the 2 for 1 offer on Fireworks. I’ve jumped off the sofa and thrown myself under the kitchen table more times than I care to remember, so I thought I’d use the experience for my Friday Five Challenge and typed ‘Explosion’ into the Amazon search bar. Nothing jumped out at me (no pun intended!) until I got about four pages in and then I found this:
Oxygen (A Science Fiction Suspense Novel) By John Olson and Randy Ingermanson