In your own words, describe your book….
The Fifth Column is a book about a group of families that are thrust into the middle of a war. It explores their feelings about it, how they cope with it, and it presents moral dilemmas for them. The protagonists are members of these families; a group of teenage friends and a down-on-his-luck army veteran. The antagonist is a bit more esoteric. Is it the artificial intelligence? The government? War and violence in a more general sense? Socialism versus Capitalism? These questions are put to the reader and the reader can decide for themselves.
What is the genre?
The Fifth Column is a dystopian science fiction novel for adults.
What inspired you to write The Fifth Column?
At first I was trying to think of a film that I could produce on a shoestring budget. I had envisioned using my own suburb as the setting, with only a few characters, and a robot that we could either build using practical means or CG. The longer I outlined a screenplay for this story the more I realized that there was really enough meat there to novelize the concept. The politics of our day is the main inspiration behind the project though. There is so much fear and misinformation about what our government does or has done that I thought the concepts in my book would resonate very well with readers.
Will this book be a standalone or part of the series?
Right now I have no concrete plans to return to this setting, but you never know. I have juggled with the idea of putting out a prequel to the book that would show readers some of the events that occurred which led to the America we see in The Fifth Column.
What message would you like to convey with The Fifth Column?
There are so many but a primary goal for me when I wrote it is that the book is thought-provoking. Where would I, the reader, stand in this conflict? Would I make the same decisions as the protagonists? How do I feel about things like the economic structure of our country? How do I feel about freedom versus safety? Free-will versus determinism? The rapid advances in technology at the expense of humanity? There are so many questions the novel poses and critical thinking is so important for us as a culture right now. I tried to be fair to different political ideologies and not bang on any one drum. I think its alright if a book forces you to question some of your own beliefs even if by the end it ends up reinforcing them. Ultimately I hope the reader gains enjoyment from the experience.
What books are similar to this one?
Among the dystopian genre 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Jennifer Government immediately come to mind. Stand by Me and Ender’s Game also have some parallels because of the heroics we see by the teenage protagonists.
Where can readers find your book?
The book will be available for sale starting 11/12/13 through Amazon (both paperback and Kindle direct), Createspace.com, Barnes and Noble’s website, The Apple Book Store, Smashwords, Kobo, Diesel, Sony Reader Store, Aldiko, and Stanza. I’m also working with LightningSource on further distribution following the 11/12 launch.
Can you tell us some about the writer behind the book?
I am eccentric and I grew up eccentric. I was very fortunate to have parents that completely accepted this and really allowed it to flourish. I wrote short stories all throughout my childhood and directed countless home movies on my neighbor’s vhs camcorder. More recently, I wrote, starred-in, directed, and produced an amateur action film in 2009 called Violent John which really spurred me to write novels. Films have limitations; budget, physics, actors, you name it. With novels you are directing a film using the greatest camera, the best actors, and the most powerful special effects… all brought to you by the human imagination of your reader. I love all things geek. I am a huge Star Wars nerd going way way back, and my wife and I try to talk as much as possible only through the use of movie quotations. This makes arguments even more fun!
Tell us one thing about you we wouldn’t know?
I’m a phenomenal dancer. Hip-hop, disco, anything with a good beat. My wife and I go dancing all the time. I’ve got all sorts of moves.
How can readers connect with you?
I’m currently working on a dark fantasy trilogy of novels. I’m also the head fiction writer for a new table-top war game setting called Aggressor which you can keep an eye on at www.aggressorgame.com
Do you have any other books released? What is your next release?
The Fifth Column is my first and only release right now. I expect the first fantasy novel to come out some time in 2014 and the war game probably 2015.