Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/31/14 – 8/28/14
Genres: Science Fiction
I’m delighted to have the author of Twinkle, SJ Parkinson, with us today. Welcome, SJ!
My love of sci fi grew from watching Star Trek at 10:35 on Saturday nights as a kid. Where did your love of sci fi come from?
One of my first memories as a child was watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon on television. I suspect that one event inspired my fascination with of space travel. As a teenager, I had an eight foot book shelf in my room with classic novels. The shelf overflowed with Asimov, Bradbury, Herbert, Clarke, Card, Welles, etc. On weekends, I would scour flea markets for used books. I would come home from school, retreat to my bed, and read a couple of chapters before dinner and typically finish it after eating. The one book that grabbed me, and continues to be my favorite to this day, is Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. It inspired me to join the military, which I did at eighteen.
I tend to read everything from sci fi (one of my favorite books is Rendezvous with Rama) to romantic comedy. What genres do you enjoy reading?
Sci-fi is my favorite genre, but I do enjoy thrillers and non-fiction. I used to read a book a day as a teen, but now that I’m writing I can’t keep up that pace. Most of the books I read now are research for future novels, but I do occasionally read something else that catches my interest. The last three books I read were a biography of Nikola Tesla, a history of the Colditz prisoner of war camp in World War II, and the last book of Asimov’s Foundation series. Historical books inspire me as a writer and generate all sorts of ideas.
Which authors have influenced your writing?
That would be a long list. Apart from the authors I’ve already mentioned Frederick Forsyth, Michael Crichton, Bernard Cornwell, and Tom Clancy all inspired me deeply. Forsyth’s plots are so realistic you can imagine them coming from a newspaper headline. Crichton takes existing science and brings it one step further. Bernard Cornwell sets his fictional books against actual historical events and Clancy’s ability to create tension is unparalleled. I use elements of each in my writing.
Your books are very realistic. Tell us about the research you do.
As a reader myself, there is nothing I hate more that seeing something in a book and knowing it’s false. I once read a story where the hero carried a revolver. Then several pages later he is described as changing magazines. Revolvers don’t have magazines and from that point on I was unable to believe what I read. More glaring errors followed and I stopped reading at that point. Even though I write fiction, I strive to ensure that what I write is accurate so that my readers don’t end up being disappointed.
A portion of one of my earlier novels, The Legionnaire: Origins takes place in Algeria. A good friend of mine is French-Algerian and after reading Origins he asked me when I’d been there. He refused to believe me when I told him I’d never visited Algeria. His response was, “You must have been there. Your description of the Tuareg nomads is perfect.”
Typically, I do at least a week or two of research for a novel before writing a word. Twinkle was so broad in scope that the research for that novel took me three months. At the end of that time, I know the places, settings, and descriptions of the various places intimately and as a result I can write a lot faster. Often the research will give me information to take a character in a completely different direction than what I had initially envisioned.
If you could live in a sci fi world, what would it be like?
I would choose to live in a world halfway between Star Trek and Blade Runner. In Star Trek everything is clean, ordered, and well organized where Blade Runner is industrial, over-crowded, and run down. I’d like to think our future would lie somewhere between those two extremes.
Regardless, as a species we need to start working together more to get there. Five thousand years ago we were warring tribes. Today, the only change is the effectiveness of the weapons. I’m an optimist and have hope for the future, but the multiple ongoing conflicts and clashing ideologies in the world today are not encouraging. Problems don’t come from believing something. They occur when someone tries to force someone else to believe what they do. The human race seems to be adopting an, “I’m right, you’re wrong and nothing you say will change my mind” attitude. If we want to see that ideal future, we need to start talking and understanding each other better. After all, if you don’t respect someone else’s views, why should they respect yours?
I understand you are a gamer. How does that affect your writing?
I come from a technology background. Electronics, radar, and communications in the military, then as an IT manager in later life. I spend most of my day around computers so you’d think I’d get as far away from them as possible when not writing. That’s true to some extent as I love to travel, scuba dive, hike, spend time with friends, and get out into the great outdoors. However, at night, or during dreary days I turn on the computer and boot up a game. It helps my writing as gaming takes my mind off my various projects. It’s a small break that gives me some separation. I no longer focus on plots, characters, settings, pacing or any of the other considerations. When done, I return to my writing refreshed and ready to go on.
If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
I had to think about this question for quite some time. My initial response was Stephen Anderson, my main character from The Legionnaire series. However, I realized we’re so similar we’d probably just annoy each other. Being a shallow male, I then thought of spending a day with one of my attractive heroines, but my wife would disapprove. Then I remembered Oscar Blake. In Twinkle, he is a US Park Ranger and trail guide. Spending a day with him exploring the Olympic National Park in Washington State would be a good day. Having a local guide means you’ll see the best views and scenes.
Can you tell us what projects you are working on now?
My sixth novel is a return to the mystery-adventure genre. It’s the story of a thief in modern day New York City who is set-up for a murder he was not responsible for. The story revolves around him finding the real killer before the police arrest him. I’m also developing book four in The Legionnaire series and another pair of science fiction novels. Beyond the writing, I’m looking into getting my novels translated into other languages and working on screenplays to get them turned into movies.
Thanks for this opportunity to speak to your readers. Have a great week.
The richest man in the world wants to celebrate the July 4th holiday as never before. In a bid to get into the record books, a global fireworks show is staged from orbit. Satellites drop pyrotechnics into the atmosphere, thrilling everyone from the Arctic to the Antarctic with their rich colors and massive explosions in every time zone.
The next day, people around the globe begin to lose their sight. Governments crumble, society degenerates, and infrastructure falls into chaos. Humanity finds itself stumbling in the dark and losing all hope.
A few fortunate individuals retain their vision. Attempting to deal with the growing despair around them, they come together to discover the true purpose and origin of the affliction. They race to find a cure before the world is subjugated under an invading power.
Keith Hurst’s secure telephone rang, waking him from a sound sleep. He opened his eyes and looked at the LED clock on his nightstand. It said 3:12. As national security advisor to the president of the United States, middle-of-the-night calls were common. His staff did their best to filter out the less important matters until his morning brief, but there were times when an emergency forced sleep into second place.
Hurst grabbed the handset by the second ring. He had to wait for the encryption to handshake before he could say, “Hurst.”
“Good morning, sir. This is the night watch officer. We have several NSA intercepts from the following countries: India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia all placing their militaries on high alert. We’ve had sporadic reports of multiple air, car, and rail accidents, resulting in thousands of deaths. Many radio and television stations have gone off the air in those countries.”
Hurst snapped on his bedside light and sat up. “Accidents? Do we know the cause?”
“No, sir. The strange thing is, NSA claims many of the foreign military units that were signaled never acknowledged the alert. There also appears to be a major communication disruption with U.S. CENTCOM units in Afghanistan and our embassies in the aforementioned countries.”
“Are the comms being hacked, or is there some sort of natural phenomenon like sunspot interference?” Concerned about the call, Hurst looked at the empty space beside him. His wife had left him several years before, directly because of the election campaign and the late-night calls.
“No, sir. Not that we can see. The circuits are up, and the phones are ringing, but no one is answering.”
Hurst swung his legs out of bed. Has someone come up with a way to simultaneously disrupt communications with American bases, embassies, and headquarters, or is this some sort of terrorist attack? “Does NRO have anything on overhead imagery?”
“No, sir. No major troop movements in the CENTCOM area. In fact, NRO reports minimal movement overall.”
“I’ll be in the office in thirty-five minutes. I’ll want everyone in for an early brief for the president. Get the joint chiefs and SECDEF up to speed. Warn the Secret Service that we may be moving POTUS with short notice. If this is an attack, I want to stay ahead of it. See if we can get drone surveillance of any U.S. bases in Afghanistan ASAP. We need answers.”
Hurst hung up and hit the bedside crash button to summon his protection detail. This was no time for subtlety. He needed to be in the White House as soon as humanly possible.
About The Author:
Mr. Parkinson was an Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. His novels have been praised for their realism and have sold in fourteen countries, winning multiple international awards.
“I don’t incorporate overt sex, profanity, or extreme violence in any of my writing. I prefer the story to be the main focus and want my novels to be accessible by all.” -SJ Parkinson
One Lucky Winner Will Win All 3 Books in The Legionnaire Series and Another Lucky Winner Will Win Two Science Fiction Books – Twinkle and Predation – By SJ Parkinson.
The giveaway will run the length of the tour. Open internationally. Enter through Rafflecopter.