Hale and well met me hearties!
The Whimsical Herald will cast anchors aweigh to scurry up the New England coast for a much anticipated interview with bestselling author Joseph J. Christiano. Though Spring has arrived we are grateful that the still frigid winds are at our backs, and we are warmed by the thought of having our guest sitting at the Captain’s table, regaling us with his tale of danger and intrigue.
TERROR CAN EXIST IN A VACUUM…SPACE IS A VACUUM
“They did not see the body until they nearly stepped on it. Hansen ignored Kehoe’s gasp and knelt beside the body. It might have been a man once, though Hansen was not convinced of the corpse’s gender. It lay on its back, one arm outstretched toward the ceiling; its other arm was gone below the elbow. Its skin and what little remained of its clothing were the color of coal.”
Joseph J. Christiano takes readers back to the moon with the release of the Author’s Edition of his best-selling novel, MOON DUST.
The luxury starliner Sovereign of the Stars makes an unscheduled and unannounced landing at Armstrong Base, mankind’s first permanent facility on the moon. Armstrong’s commander, Colonel Michael Hansen, boards the vessel and discovers the mummified remains of the passengers and crew. A single comatose survivor is found.
A team from earth arrives to begin an investigation. They are led by Lindsay Dwyer, a bureaucrat who far outranks Hansen, and who becomes the de facto commander of Armstrong. Things begin to go wrong soon after their arrival. Several of Armstrong’s personnel are found dead, their corpses mummified. Hansen orders and evacuation of the facility only to discover the base has been locked down from Earth.
Facing a terror of unknown origin and a mutinous executive officer, Hansen must find a way to keep his people alive long enough for them to discover how to defeat their enemy…an enemy that reduces its victims to moon dust.
1.You’ve written many bestselling novels-do you have a favorite aside from ‘Moon Dust’?
I do but I’ll never tell. I can’t choose among my “children” in public.
2. Between Hansen and Nixon, which character do you relate to the most?
There’s some of me in both. I guess if you made me choose I’d say Nixon. He’s the more put-upon, he has a shorter fuse. He makes very detailed plans that are can’t-miss, and then some unforeseen x-factor steps in and makes a mess of those plans. That happens to me. Often. Also, he’s a little more fun to write as a character.
3.Do you see space travel becoming more routine in the future outside of military applications?
I hope so! But if/when that does happen it’ll be well after my lifetime, unfortunately for me. I’d go up there in a second!
4.What is one of your favorite quotes from any of your books?
Man, that’s tough. Since we’re talking about MOON DUST I guess I should pick one from that novel. There’s a scene at the start of the third act where Nixon goes to retrieve the body of one of his friends. At this point the characters believe they are out of danger. The body isn’t there and he gets very angry, thinking someone beat him to it and did so without treating the body with respect. The scene ends with these two sentences: “It would not occur to him until much later that he had missed something obvious in the security office. By the time he realized his error, he was running for his life.” That line shouldn’t even be in there. It’s the dictionary definition of Authorial Intrusion. But I love it! And my editor must have agreed because that line made the final cut.
5.What kind of research did you do as you were writing ‘Moon Dust’?
Lots of online research. I also had access to an ex-employee of NASA but he asked not to be credited so I can’t say much beyond that. Every source I researched taught me something I never knew. It was very educational, and the environment within the novel is pretty accurate if such a place as Armstrong Base really existed.
6.Which of your books would you most like to see greenlighted for film?
Oh man. Ideally? All of them! I write visually so I don’t think it would take much to turn any of them from a novel to a script. Tell Spielberg to have his people call my people.
7.Who would you cast in the part of Colonel Michael Hansen?
Someone reviewed the novel and mentioned Bruce Willis or Ed Harris. I like both of them but I think Hansen is a bit younger. How about Eric Bana or Cillian Murphy?
8. There is a lot of humor in the interactions between characters in ‘Moon Dust’-is that characteristic of all your writing?
I write pretty dark stuff, very gothic. I try to balance that with humor. There’s usually a character with a wiseass attitude running around to make remarks that lighten the mood. A lot of that stuff comes from how I think I’d react to those situations.
9. Which of the trope themes popular in Scifi and Horror do you think is the most played out at this point, vampires, zombies or superheroes?
Lately? Superheroes. That’s something of an irritating admission for me. I grew up reading comic books. I still do. If these superhero movies had come out when I was a kid I would have loved each and every one of them. Now it’s starting to enter the realm of oversaturation. I doubt zombies and vampires will ever be played out. There’s just so much you can do with them.
10.Who are your favorite authors? Who do you read?
How much time do you have? Stephen King, obviously. Dean Koontz. Alan Moore. Neil Gaiman. Richard Matheson. Agatha Christie. So many more.
11. What’s coming up next? Do you have any events, appearances or conferences planned for 2018? What can readers look forward to as far as future releases?
I’m working on two novels at the moment. I hope to have both finished by the end of the year. I don’t want to say much more than that, though.
12. What advice do you have for aspiring authors based on your own experience in publishing?
Get used to the word “no.” You’re going to hear it a lot more than “yes.” But keep trying. It took me almost a year to find a publisher for my first novel. When I did, when that contract arrived, I was walking on air for weeks. The wait and the rejection are worth it when you finally get someone willing to take a chance on you. So, yes, keep trying!
Alas, me hearties, the sun is sinking into the horizon and it is time to wish our guest Author Joseph J. Christiano farewell and Godspeed. The sea certainly seems tame in comparison to the horrors of space travel! We look forward to his next exciting release!
In Your Service As Always,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madness, The Whimsical Herald
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ALL HAND HOY ME HEARTIES!
Aaaaaargggghhhhh! We are weary of grey skies, but with the advent of February we are steering a course for Valentine’s Day and ,beyond that, the Spring Equinox beckons like a Siren.
Walking the gang plank today to board The Whimsical Herald is an author with an imagination as vast as the ocean and a wit to match. We welcome Author Ellen Fritz on board. She comes bearing a pirate’s chest of literary treasure and has invited all of you to share the spoils of her newest release, ’UPRISING:The Second Birth Chronicles’ .
As she takes her seat at the Captain’s table we hoist theJolly Rodger and invite you to listen in on our first author interview with the notable Ellen Fritz! Prepare for chills, mystery, romance and (wait for it, wait for it) . . . ALIENS!
“He shivered. He knew the horrors humans were capable of. Whatmight aliens do?”
"The hairs on the back of Ted’s neck stood straight up as if lightning were about to strike. He blinked his eyes a few times and pinchedhimself. Erik Ander was the first to change, then his wife…finally Collins turned into something tall, thin, with lavender skin and long pastel-colored robes. The one facing the window had eyes of deep, deep blue with spots oflight twinkling in them.”'
Ellen Fritz is a retired teacher and high school counselor. Over the years of teaching reading and English to students in grades seven through twelve before be-coming a counselor, she had the great opportunity to discuss numerous favorite books with students and also took their recom-mendations for her own reading.
She finally found herself with the time to give life to the stories that have always been patiently waiting in her head for an audience. Ellen wrote Mira to appeal to those teen readers that she found so inspiring through her career as an educator.
"I didn’t start writing seriously until I retired and found myself with the time to spend a whole day in front of the computer. The ideas had been in my head for many years, but were undeveloped and unexplored. One day, several months after my teaching/ counseling career ended, I sat down and started.
Q-Ellen there is intrigue and drama, but also a lot of humor in uprising. How did you come up with the character of Detective Ted Peterson with his tongue in cheek sense of humor?
I knew I needed someone who was dedicated to his job, friendly and brave. He had to be willing to face the aliens to save the women who were abducted. It all came from there. Using humor to cover his nervousness and fear also worked to make him seem real.
Q-Do you take a break between novels or have several projects going at once?
I can’t take a break between novels because my mind doesn’t stop working on new ideas. I had a new novel started while editing Uprising and was finishing another series. It would be easier to do one at a time, but I’d have to stop thinking of new things and that would be boring.
Q-Who inspired you to complete your first novel? Who continues to inspire your fresh ideas for characters and plotlines?
I’m a retired high school English teacher and my inspiration to start writing at all came from students. But inspiration comes from everywhere. Often, the storyline seems to just pop into my head and it’s later that I realize where it came from. I’ve known a lot of people through the years and my inspiration for characters is usually a mix of many different people.
Q-Ted’s first alien kiss was a doozy. How did you approach writing that scene?
I knew I wanted it to be a doozy, so I thought long and hard. Ted and Sindri both needed to be wowed, so I wanted her to be in her Miran form. That would wow Ted, but how would it impress Sindri? Her story of no human ever knowing what she truly was after being on earth for thousands of years, became my answer. The fact that he knew and she could be herself touched her deeply.
Q-If you had to come up with a few dating rules for humans dating aliens what would they be?
I think they’re the same rules for any relationship. Stay honest. Stay open. Remember you don’t have to rush the relationship.
Q-You seem to have a lot of knowledge about police procedures, detectives and crime scenes. What is your background and how did it figure in with your portrayal of certain scenes and characters in ‘UPRISING’?
I have absolutely no background in police work except that many of my previous students are now police officers, detectives, and state patrol officers. I think my knowledge comes from all the detective shows I’ve watched on TV. See, you really can learn from TV. Thank you, Law and Order.
Q-A certain ‘genetic eye opener’ in ‘UPRISING’ provided a unique plot twist. Did you plan that or did it happen spontaneously during your writing?
I planned that. There had to be some reason Ted could sense the other race of aliens, the Dabih. I realized then that it also gave Sindri a reason to doubt him, which added an interesting twist.
Q-Was the world building and stage setting detail of the opposing alien cultures, the Mirans and the Dabih featured in your novel a challenge to flesh out?
It wasn’t much of a challenge. Sometimes, thankfully, one idea leads to another. I established the Miran settlement in the first book, and wanted the Dabih world to be completely different. Putting them underwater while the Mirans are in the mountains helped. I went back and forth a few times, and changed some things, but it was actually easier than I anticipated. There’s also much more about the Dabih in the next book. Watch for it!
Q-Who have your mentors been on your journey to becoming a notable YA author?
I have always been a voracious reader which is one of the reasons I became an English teacher. I’ve read literary classics, science fiction, fantasy, romances, mysteries, great literature and trash. So my mentors are all those other authors that I’ve so thoroughly enjoyed. My advice? If you want to be a writer, be a reader first.
Q-Who was your favorite character in ‘UPRISING’?
Answer: Without a doubt, Ted. I enjoyed every part of making him who he is – the good guy that everyone likes and appreciates as a friend. The guy who was born to be a cop because he genuinely wants to help people that need help. Who wouldn’t like Ted?
Q-What future projects do you have in the wings for your readers to look forward to?
The third book of the Second Birth Chronicles, which is ready for editing and all the other stuff the publisher needs to do. I also have a book with Tell-Tale Publishing that is about Bigfoot. No more hints now, but it is due to be out by May. There are two more that are partly written, but the dystopia is what is rolling around in my head and begging to be finished.
Detective Ted Peterson’s investigation of a suspicious death case leads him to suspect Lexi Collins and her boyfriend Adam. What he discovers is that they’re extraterrestrials. Now he's without backup and caught up in the conflict between two alien races secretly inhabiting the earth. One race, the Dabih, is abducting women and running experiments. The other, the Mira, seem friendly toward humans – especially their attractive leader Sindri - but can Ted trust aliens to help him find the Dabih and rescue the kidnapped women before it’s too late?
Also by Ellen Fritz
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)