Welcome to the eighty-third edition of 10 Questions With. . .
This week we are joined by
***There is a giveaway with this interview. Richard Fox is giving five people the chance to win an ebook copy of Ember War. There will be more information at the end of the interview.***
Richard Fox is the winner of the 2017 Dragon Award for Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy novel, author of The Ember War Saga, a military science fiction and space opera series, and other novels in the military history, thriller and space opera genres.
He lives in fabulous Las Vegas with his incredible wife and two boys, amazing children bent on anarchy.
He graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) much to his surprise and spent ten years on active duty in the United States Army. He deployed on two combat tours to Iraq and received the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star and Presidential Unit Citation.
1.) What is something that many people might not know about you?
I finished high school in Japan. My mother was in the Air Force and we were stationed in Okinawa for two years and change before I went to college. The Department of Defense school was like most any other in the US (we even had two football teams that I wasn’t on), but I learned to drive on the left hand side of the road and got to see a lot of Asia.
2.) What book or book series had a major impact on your life? Why did it have such an impact on you?
The Eisenhorn trilogy by Dan Abnett. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a better character arc over the course of a series. Reading that taught me that the subtext of what happens in a story can have a real impact on the reader without being overt.
I look back at those books and think ‘Now that was some writing’ and know I better keep practicing if I ever want to write something that good.
3.) If you could co-author a novel with any author, who would you want to co-write with and why?
Frank Herbert of Dune fame. I would keep my damn mouth shut and sponge off his world building process then use everything I learned for my solo work.
4.) Which one of your characters do you identify with the most?
I’d go with Marc Ibarra from the Ember War books. He spends all his time behind the scenes, pulling strings. As a writer, I’m behind the page pulling the characters’ strings. Most of the time, anyway. One will get away from me every so often.
5.) Which one of your characters do you wish you were more like?
Elias the armor soldier. He’s a pure, simple character. He knows right from wrong and doesn’t waver. He has his hand firm on the rod of iron leading to a just life. Lucky guy. And he’s in a giant mech suit to deal with problems, which is nice.
6.) Can you tell us the title of your latest release and what it is about?
On November 28th TERRA NOVA hits the digital shelves. It’s a story hinted at in the Ember War Saga and follows one of the main characters, Ken Hale, to a near (relatively) dwarf galaxy where he leads a colony mission. This series is much more about the exploration and first contact aspects of science fiction, and less the military focus from my other books.
I wrote this with Josh Hayes, and we’re collaborating on many more books in the same series for 2018.
7.) Where did your idea for this story/series come from?
The Ember War sprang from an article about why we haven’t picked up any sign of intelligent life from the galaxy. One of the options was that a highly advanced race would show up and snuff out any planet that broadcasted that there was intelligent life on it. I started brainstorming how humanity could survive that sort of threat if they had some lead time, and the Ember War Saga was born.
Other ideas just sort of float through the ether and boop me on the nose. Those get written down for future use.
8). Can you tell us something about the story/series that people might not know?
Part of why I did Terra Nova was because Mass Effect Andromeda was such a disappointment. The creators had a whole new galaxy to work with and they delivered a pale imitation of what was in the previous Mass Effect games.
So, for Terra Nova we’ve got a new galaxy (sort of) and the onion of what’s there will get peeled back with every new book.
9.) What was your biggest challenge writing this book/series?
Writing every book is like pulling a marlin into the boat. There’s constant doubt along the way as to the story, characters, everything. Getting the words out is a struggle for the first 30k or so, then everything will click and things start flowing. I accept that that’s my writing process and thus far I’ve delivered stories that my readers really enjoy. I’ll keep on writing, though I doubt things will ever get easier.
10.) Can you share with us a few paragraphs from the book (no major spoilers please)?
Warrant Officer Katherine Carson held a yellow and black handle attached to the side of the Mule’s open cargo bay as the ship banked to one side. Her mag-locked boots kept her secured to the deck, but she almost lost her grip during the maneuver. It had been a long time since she’d been in the void, and it would take some time for her sea legs to come back. Below, distant Earth came into view, the planet’s blue oceans, white clouds, and green land brilliant and clear.
Goodbyes don’t get much better than this, Carson told herself. She smiled and squeezed her other hand into a fist. After years of waiting for a chance to escape her cubicle in the Camelback Mountain military headquarters, today had been her day. A colony mission, and not just any colony: the last ticket to Terra Nova.
An alert chimed and a communications request came through on her helmet’s heads-up display: the Mule pilot.
“Carson, go,” she said.
“Chief, our flightpath is still green, but we are down to the wire here,” the pilot said.
Carson leaned out of the opening and looked to the right. The Ajax, a massive foundry ship, came into view.
“What wire? We’re almost there.” Carson sucked air through her teeth. The mission clock on her HUD was ticking down, and the Mule hadn’t even begun its breaking maneuver yet…
“I’ve got five minutes to land, disembark you and your gear, then launch and get clear before the wormhole forms,” the pilot said. “I know you’re excited about this Terra whatever place, but I am getting short and I want to live on a colony I’ve actually visited before. And liked. Same with my crew. We are cutting it too close. I’m scrubbing this mission.”
“No! Wait, wait…” Carson pulled telemetry data from the Mule and put it up on her HUD. “I don’t care about my gear. You don’t…” She did some quick calculations in her head. “Heck, you don’t even have to land. Can you do a slingshot?”
“You’re insane,” the pilot said.
“If you were a mediocre pilot, I’d be suicidal,” Carson said. “But since you’ve been in for so long, I bet you can do the maneuver. Easy. Yes?”
11.) Why did you pick those paragraphs to share with us?
It’s early in the story so there’s not much to spoil. It introduces Carson, the main character and just how motivated she is to get to Terra Nova. The doorway to the planet opens every few decades, but Carson is motivated to get away from Earth for many reasons that the reader will learn.
12.) What is the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for one of your books?
Shaped charges to defeat armor. There’s a lot of physics behind how those weapons function.
13.) Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few readers will find?
I litter my stories with Sabaton references. Sabaton is a Swedish military history metal band (yes, really) and I listen to them while I write. I’ve had a few people write and ask about that and will send them a tank, that’s another Sabaton-ism.
14.) What would your autobiography be called and why would you call it that?
Once you get to know him. My background suggests a taciturn, humorless person, but I’m more Jeff Goldbloom in my mannerisms and am a font of snark when the situation warrants.
15.) A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
“I was promised tacos! I don’t care what day of the week it is!”
Where can people go if they want to learn more about you and the books you have written?
***GIVEAWAY: Richard Fox would like to give five people the chance to win an ebook copy of Ember War. In order to get registered, tell me, in the comment section, who is your go to band and why?
For an extra entry, follow Richard on Facebook. Then let me know in the comment section which social media platformed you follow him on.
The giveaway will run until Wednesday, December 6, 2017. Good luck!***
This week’s interview is sponsored by:
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Alex Verin is the son of an Earth Independence Party representative and doesn’t want to follow his father’s path of political manipulation and corruption.
Rica Miller is the adopted daughter of an engineer and nurse who later discovers she’s not human but Hannarian.
Alex must decide between his family loyalties and saving the life of an alien he’s been taught to fear and hate while Rica searches for the truth of what happened to her birth parents.