|Author Edward McKeown|
Reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday searches the stars for his lost love, Lisa, a naval intelligence officer whose ship disappeared near the end of the Conchirri War. He’s joined by the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell, whose cold perfection masks her dark past.
Both are blackmailed by government spymaster, Mandela, into a suicidal mission to the doomed planet Enshar. Leading a team of scientists and soldiers, they must unravel the mystery of that planet’s death before an ancient force reaches out to claim their lives.
Edward has enjoyed a life-long love affair with science fiction. He writes believable people in extraordinary situations, balancing romance, humor, adventure and reasonable extrapolations of science.
Mason - Why write this book?
Edward - I felt an absence of the sort of tale that I used to love, the sort of star-spanning adventure that: Andre Norton, Jamie Schmidt, Jack Sutton and so many others wrote. I wanted characters that I felt like traveling with in these adventures. Yet I also wanted to update this type of tale to a less black and white age, where the good guys were less pure and the bad guys had rational reasons for what they were doing.
Mason - What made this story so compelling to you that you had to tell it?
Edward - My characters compelled me. Not only did they want to tell me about this adventure, but they wanted me to know of their lives before they started: who they were, what their hopes and dreams were, why they acted the way they did. In short they wanted what most of us want, to be understood and recognized.
Robert Fenaday wanted me to know of his love for his lost wife and what he would endure to find her. Shasti Rainhell, who was the first character where I really explored a female point-of-view wanted to me to know of her pains, her longing and her fury. Others came forward with their own tales, Telisan, the steadfast honest friend who would bear a lie for honor’s sake. Duna, the genial uncle of an alien who would ruthlessly use anyone he had to in order to save his kind. So I sat in a room surrounded by them and wrote down their story.
Mason - How did you go about doing research for this book?
Edward - Hee-hee. I’m a black belt and teach in a variety of Kung Fu styles. For some of the fight scenes I used my class and my training. “Hey try to brain me with this staff.” Or “You five guys rush me at once….” I wanted less “baloney heroics” so I tried wherever possible to ration my character’s abilities to something I could do at the same age as the character.
I wanted a more real person, a more recognizable man. James Bond and Captain Kirk are interesting characters but you likely don’t feel you could be them. My male pov character, Robert Fenaday is a more realistic portrayal of a man forced into an adventure, not the usual square-jawed professional hero types.
As I kept the “exceptions” to current physics to a minimum, largely just the accepted ones of FTL and some mental powers, a great deal of research was not required.
Mason - Of all the authors (past and present) you enjoy reading, has any one (or more) influenced your writing in anyway?
Edward - Andre Norton and CJ Cherryh. With Norton I loved her characters and the sense of wonder that she generated about her vast future galaxy, the Zacathans, the Space Patrol, and the Forerunners. I wanted to explore that universe in the company of Murdoc Jern and Eet and other’s of her Everyman characters. To me the modern version of that style belongs to CJ Cherryh who does similar wide-ranging writing but with a darker and more complicated sensibility.
Mason - Have you always wanted to write or did something happen to put you on this path?
Edward - I was an avid reader since childhood and loved SF & F from the beginning, The Beyond by Sutton, Star gate by Norton, A Pride of Monsters, the Witches of Karres, the Last Planet and so many others. So you could say I was steeped in the traditions. I wrote a little when I was in high school and college, some fan fiction and the occasional short but it wasn’t until a high school friend of mine made it with his novel Heart of the Old Country (Tim McLoughlin) that I thought maybe I could do it. Then I got into a writing group and started to learn the trade. Foolishly I thought I could write at the beginning of this journey, in some respects I feel like I have only really learned in the last few years.
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Edward - The entire Robert Fenaday/ Shasti Rainhell trilogy series: Was Once a Hero, Fearful Symmetry and Points of Departure will be out in the next year or so. Fearful Symmetry is in the can and being formatted as we speak and I am just waiting for a release date from Dawn. Other works are coming. Dawn and I are working on the various comic/noir stories of the Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess series set in the 24th century spaceport of NY.
We also have the short story prequel: Regrets and Requiems, in which we learn the early history of Robert & Shasti. I have been the editor of the Sha’Daa series and the third of those is coming out Halloween 2103 and we then start work on the Fourth. All four anthologies are going to be issued/reissued through Janet Morris’ Perseid Publishing. I have solo effort coming up the Jeremy Leclerc Knight Templar Urban Fantasy series later this year.
Edward, thanks so much for joining us today. Your extensive background in science fiction does show in your work. It also seems you’re keeping quite busy with future installments.
Whether it's in the short stories of Edward’s "Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess series" or in the Fenaday and Rainhell novels, classic "Planet" tales of a crews of unlikely companions facing unknown dangers, it is his intent to give the reader the sort of page turning, involving adventure that Andre Norton wrote and leaven it with the emotional complexity and ambiguity that CJ Cherryh brings to the field.
Edward says that while the experiences of the SF Universe are out of reach of those unable to pay for a rocket ride, he uses his own background to try for an underlying verity in his characters. He has parachuted, flown in gliders, hang gliders and been strapped to the floor of military helicopters. He has also been rated as an expert shot and carries a black belt in the martial arts. He’s been paralyzed by fear, exhilarated by love and walked into fights, both literal and metaphorical, that he knew he could not win. In addition, Edward says he has the good fortune to be married to the talented artist Schelly Keefer.
For more on Edward and his writing, visit his website, find him on Facebook and Twitter, visit his Amazon author’s page and find him at Goodreads.
There is a tour wide giveaway included in Edward’s blog tour. Prizes include 10 eBook copies of WAS ONCE A HERO and the giveaway is open internationally. Just check out the Rafflecopter widget below or if the widget isn’t working, visit the Rafflecopter widget link here to sign up.
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Thanks so much for stopping by today. Is the sci-fi genre one of your favorite genres to read or do you enjoy mixing it with other reads?