Monday, January 24, 2011

Interview with sci fi author, Chris Burton



Today, my guest is sci fi author, Chris Burton who is talking about his book, Alpha One.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
 Alpha One The Jump Pilot is the first in a series of seven books (two trilogies and a final one off book) which depict the lives of Jake Carter and Jonathan Hoskins two hundred years from now. In the first book, Jake Carter’s fledgling career has yet to start, as we see him progress through his final year of Alpha Academy and Jonathan Hoskins is now a mid ranking battle cruiser commander
 The Sentinels are very sensitive about a region of space, light years from their territorial boundaries. They are guided by the Betanica Sect, who seek to protect the galaxy and in particular the Tri Star Region from invasion by the Kryl. The Kryl are the devil incarnate…
 Jake is a final year Alpha Academy student and he has chosen Jump Ship Command to launch his career. He and Steve are two of the brightest academy pilots. They are also vying for the affection of the same girl, Carla Stevenson. Carla is looking for her sister, who left home 6 years before to join the Collective, led by the sinister and mysterious Professor Winterburn. Winterburn casts a spell over everyone he meets.

 
The Sentinels and the Betanica Sect lock horns with Alpha in a battle to assume control of the Tri Star System. Alpha's aim is to open the Blue Worm hole; a gateway to another galaxy. The gathering masses are joined by Jonathan Hoskins, Winterburn and his flock and Jake and Steve whose sole intention is to rescue Carla Stevenson from Winterburn’s clutches.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
The concept of a young hero graduating through space academy and going  on to pilot small ships and ultimately starships is not a new one and this is my take on this. The evolving backdrop to each storyline for each book in the series will see Jake Carter and the more senior Jonathan Hoskins develop their careers and relationships in Earths future, where space travel will of course become the norm.
 The origins of the Kryl stem from too much time watching Star Trek and Star Wars and pretty much every other Space Opera offering over the last twenty years; tinged with Vampires and their like; a more contemporary and sinister race, for which I wanted the characteristics of the Kryl to loosely pay homage; but allow them to maintain their individual characteristics. 
The storyline for this book is quite complex. I had in mind that an all consuming powerful force would gain access to our galaxy  via a wormhole and that Alpha would first struggle, but would ultimately succeed in removing the threat, but this needed to be tinged with intrigue and a few surprises.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I write Part-Time. I am a Business Financial Consultant by day and I work for myself which has both its advantages and disadvantages. I am a night owl and this is when I do most of my writing; but it is not unusual for me to jump into writing mode at any time during the day, if an event inspires or circumstances prevail.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
This story and many others have been with me since I was a child. Putting pen to paper was just a question of when; but it was always something which I aspired to do, rather than it being next on my list. The trigger point for me was a change of employ, which allowed me to reflect on what I had achieved and where I wanted to go overall.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Well I hope they enjoy it, as much as I enjoyed writing it and that they will be keen to read the next one.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
Science Fiction and specifically Space Opera for now as I have so much still that I need to get down on paper. I have considered diversifying to one day writing a political thriller. The basic concept for this is in place and I may well take a break from Alpha One at some stage in the future to achieve this. Fundamentally, my favorite genre as a reader is Science fiction and therefore as I write, this is my preference too.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
Most definitely seeking publication and it follows that when you actually find a publisher willing to publish your book that feeling makes all the suffering of rejections from other publishers and agents suddenly fade away. If you are happy that you are presenting your manuscript in its best light and you believe in it; you have to believe that your persistence will pay off. 

8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Certainly some of the peripheral characters are loosely based on real people and some of the more political aspects of the storyline are akin to modern day business and commercial politics. However, the beauty of setting your story two hundred years in the future means you don’t have to draw too much on modern day events.

9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
We (Jake Carter and I) are both determined and will follow something through come what may; but I would shy away from any suggestion of my all action hero status. I am more of a desk man!

10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
Research was mostly web based, reaffirming my knowledge of the cosmos; but also some research on climate change and in particular what impact it may have on our planet 200 years from now.

11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Violence is ok if it is appropriate to the storyline and there are several sections of the book where this is the case. I tend to pass over sexual scenes. Although there is a love interest, the relevance to the story is the interrelation between Jake, Steve and Carla and between Jonathan Hoskins, his mistress and his wife. What they do between the sheets does not add to this or the story, so I have preferred to leave it to the imagination!

12) What about your book makes it special?
Projecting two hundred years into the future  allows for some creative thinking , but I have tried to steer clear of too many impossibilities; believing that progress will take us to many of the things which we seek. A credible and believable background allows me to be creative with the storyline and hopefully I have achieved just that. I have tried to create a page turner, with hooks raised at the end of each chapter and with a few surprises along the way. It should have something for everyone, Love, War and Politics. A recent review of my book suggested “this is more of a space symphony than a space opera”.

13) What is your marketing plan?
There is a joint marketing initiative between Eternal Press (my publisher) and me.  From my perspective, I am in the process of setting up more interviews, guest blogs, review seeking and signings and I am very active on Twitter (chrisburton99) and other social networking pages.
 As my second book is now finished, pending my final edit, before submitting to publishers, I shall be using the launch of this book as a springboard to promote the second book. Watch this space!

14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
My website: http://www.chrisburton2212.weebly.com provides an overview of The Jump Pilot and the world of Alpha One, plus there are links to my publisher’s website: http://www.eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615722426
 The book is available on Amazon and other leading on-line and in store book retailers in both e-book and printed format

15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Be creative, but believable… if not then write fantasy. Science Fiction suggests at least the possibility that we will achieve certain things in the years to come. As long as the world that you create is credible, it is the story itself that will make your book what it is.




 SYNOPSIS

Jake is a trainee Jump Pilot and war is rife in the galaxy...

The Sentinels are very sensitive about a region of space, light years from their territorial boundaries. They are guided by the Betanica Sect, who seek to protect the galaxy and in particular the Tri Star Region from invasion by the Kryl. The Kryl are the devil incarnate…

Jake is a final year Alpha Academy student and he has chosen Jump Ship Command to launch his career. He and Steve are two of the brightest academy pilots. They are also vying for the affection of the same girl. Carla is looking for her sister, who left home 6 years before to join the Collective, led by the sinister and mysterious Professor Winterburn. Winterburn casts a spell over everyone he meets.

The Sentinels and the Betanica Sect lock horns with Alpha in a battle to assume control of the Tri Star System. Alpha's aim is to open the Blue Worm hole; a gateway to another galaxy. The gathering masses are joined by Winterburn and his flock and by Jake and Steve whose sole intention is to rescue Carla Stevenson from Winterburn’s clutches.

EXCERPT:

The Halo 7’s engines could no longer sustain their current status and she was dragged forward. Hoskins ordered full reverse thrust, but the ship’s engines were powerless to prevent the relentless slide towards the hole. The Halo 7, together with hundreds of smaller vessels, was quickly absorbed into the vortex and then, just as suddenly, she was gone.

Cameron stood in disbelief. He witnessed the sheer magnificence, the creation of an immensely powerful vortex: a mystery of space which man helped to create, but for which they had little understanding. Then, before his eyes, hundreds of space craft were consumed into its belly, including the Halo 7 and the AUSWAS ship. He had no idea where they went, if they survived, or whether this were a gateway to a distant galaxy. All he knew was that his task was done: he had opened the two wormholes to create something bigger in size and stature.

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