Interview with John Lawrence:
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Was Once a Hero was born one day when the image of an aerodynamic and ominous red
starship sliding over the surface of a world I knew was dead, came to my mind. I started wondering about that world and why it died. Then I began to wonder about who was on that ship and why they would risk a voyage to such a place. I decided while they had to be the sort of people who would logically, out of duty or avarice, go to such a place, eventually I settled on a mix of government people and privateers to cover both motivations. I did not want to have a crew of stalwarts under a Captain Adams, Kirk, or Picard but rather a diverse crew bringing with them the seeds of their own divisions beyond any dangers that they would find.
What genre does your book fall under?
That is a tougher question then it looks. Was Once a Hero is a science fiction story and the focus is on the action and the adventure, but there is a strong romance element in it as well as a
story of personal growth, destruction and redemption. Again I did not want to do the “heroic crew of the USS Whatever.” My main character is a formerly wealthy rich man, who has descended to the life of a privateer for no other reason than to find his wife, a lost naval officer. His journey is complicated by his involvement with his bella donna sans merci Shasti Rainhell, a genetically engineered assassin and refugee from her homeworld of Olympia.
In Fearful Symmetry, I added the elements of a political thriller to the mix and yet feel I never lost touch with the burgeoning love story that was nurtured in Hero, for all the bullets and beams flying around it.
The trilogy will complete in 2013 with Points of Departure, the last book, written and under contract but more about that later.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
For Was Once A Hero: A rag-tag crw of spacefarers battle each other and an ancient enemy on a murdered world.
For Fearful Symmetry: Fenaday and the deadly Shasti Rainhell have only one chance to stop the rise of a new master race.
Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
I a published through Hellfire publishing http://www.hellfirepublishing.com/hero.html. I am currently looking for an agent though
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
All my life. :-) I average about a year a novel and have eight written with four under contract. Hero took longer because it was the first the others came quicker
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Let me answer that one by way of saying who my inspirations are. My biggest is Andre Norton
followed closely by CJ Cherryh. I am a fan of Mike Resnick and Catherine Asaro's work as well as Larry Niven and some less well known authors: Brian Aldiss, Morgan Llewellyn, Jeff Sutton and Ken Bulmer. I am a huge anime fan and a lot of my SF is inspired by that source.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
In a way it was a desire to read more of the sort of star-spanning planetary adventure that always enjoyed but which are not as common these days. Plus I read a bad book by a good author and thought, “Hey I can do better than that.” Remember the perils of hubris; it was WAY harder than I thought it would be.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I think the fact that there is a anime influence in my visual writing style, beyond that I feel it is the emphasis on the emotional existences of these characters, they are as real as I can reveal them to be, notice that I did not say make them. My characters make themselves.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Another toughie, while I only described Robert Fenaday as brown-haired and strongly
built and about thirty I did not imagine his face in great detail. My cover artist Michael Church, when he came up with the series of covers you see here, choose a face that I immediately said, “That’s it!” I realized that to some degree his image reminded me of Nathan Fillion. But more the Nathan of Firefly then the more amiable and roguish Castle.
Shasti Rainhell, well how many beautiful 6’ 9” athletic actresses do you know with
green eye,s long black hair and a slightly ivory complexion? Send me an email ;-)
Author Edward McKeown is a writer and editor