I have three great interviews for you all today as part of the book club bash, so it’s going to be a long one. Enjoy! If you like what they have to say, check out their books! 🙂 The first interview is by Anderson O’Donnel, author of Kingdom:
1) What is your latest project and why is it a must-read?
My latest project is a novel called KINGDOM, a biopunk thriller that explores the possibility that there is a gene for the human soul—a gene that cannot be reproduced by genetic engineering. And it’s a must-read because KINGDOM marries gritty, biopunk action with some very cool and provocative “big” questions.
2) What was the inspiration behind it?
While my writing style grew out of my love for several genre masters—William Gibson, Jack O’Connell, Stephen King, to name a few—the ideas at the heart of KINGDOM come from some classic philosophical/literary texts. In particular, William James, St. Thomas Aquinas, the Book of Exodus, and T.S. Elliot had a fueled a lot of the concepts I try to explore throughout the novel. And, like so many other tales considering the worth of the modern world, I was heavily influenced by Hamlet.
3) What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in getting your book released?
Making sure every aspect of the book meet the highest of professional standards. If the indie revolution is going to be a success, authors who self-publish have to present work that, if possible, is even more polished than the stuff on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles. So making sure that every aspect of the book—from the editing to the cover art to the blurbs—was done perfectly…that was a challenge.
4) Do you write with music or do you prefer silence? If with music, what do you usually play?
I always write to music. Since I write in the early AM, its usually punk, at least to get me going—Pistols, Ramones, Clash, Rancid, Social Distortion, etc. Then maybe a little trance-y electronic stuff if I get into a grove…I also find that Kasabian’s stuff seems to capture the dystopian mood I’m usually chasing.
5) Name one book you wish you had written.
6) Pen/Paper or Computer?
Computer. Not even a question
7) What are you reading/listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to this great Replacements bootleg from a 1989 show where they opened for Tom Petty. It’s a great gig and captures what the mats were all about. As for books, I just read “Our Band Could Be Your Life,” which chronicles the American indie music underground in the 1980s. It’s an inspiring read, especially for those of us struggling to find creative success on our own terms.
8) Ebook or Print?
Print. My Kindle is quite useful, and is great for discovering new authors. But, nothing can beat holding the book in your hand. There is a certain romance to print for which I’m happy to pay a premium.
9) What is one thing you wish you’d known before publishing?
Just how much time and energy it takes to properly promote your work without an agent or publisher.
10) Name one fictional character you wish was real.
Roland the Gunslinger from the Dark Tower novels.
In a secret laboratory hidden under the desert, a covert bioengineering project–codename “Exodus”–has discovered the gene responsible for the human soul.
Somewhere in the neon sprawl outside the nation’s collapsing economic core, a group of renegade monks are on the verge of uncovering a secret that has eluded mankind for centuries.
In a glittering tower high above the urban decay, an ascendant U.S. Senator is found dead–an apparent, yet inexplicable, suicide.
And in the streets below, a young man races through an ultra modern metropolis on the verge of a violent revolution….closing in on the terrible truth behind Exodus–and one man’s dark vision for the future of mankind.
Welcome to Tiber City.
The Reviews are in!
Kingdom is a thrill-a-minute, bio-punk myth that manages to wrestle with the most pressing issues of the new millennium. O’Donnell has crafted a kickass novel of tomorrow night, when the big party gets raided by the monsters we’ve been building for the last half-century. ~ Jack O’Connell, author of Box Nine & The Resurrectionist
A taut, brilliantly conceived thriller with impeccable pacing bursting with ideas…For fans of noir-laden science fiction in the vein of Philip K. Dick that is in equal measures suspenseful, gripping, darkly funny and philosophically challenging. (starred review) ~ -Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Anderson O’Donnell presents a biopunk, dystopian noir-esque thriller in his debut novel, KINGDOM. Anderson lives in Connecticut with his wife and 2 sons. Kingdom is the first part of the Tiber City Trilogy. Look for part two, Exile,in the summer of 2013.
Two helicopters—gleaming beasts of steel and metal and war—carried four eight-man teams from the arcology into the border slums, blasting low across the desert toward the festering sprawl on the horizon. There were lights in the southwestern sky, strange swirling colors and shooting stars that maybe weren’t stars. Hard men in black Kevlar sat on the edge of the helicopters, staring straight ahead, focused on the digital read-out glowing green in the corner of their goggles, their boots dangling loose over the sand and dying brush and hard red rock, lights from inside the copters reflecting off automatic weapons into the darkness.
A drone strike had been discussed but dismissed—Morrison demanded this mission be conducted with a personal touch. And so the men strapped high-carbon steel bayonets to their automatic rifles and waited as satellites transmitted detailed schematics of the target: an abandoned mission on the edge of the desert, several miles past an old train yard. And although the satellite photos showed no surface activity, there were tunnels that twisted under the mission, and it was in these tunnels that Morrison’s men would find the enemy.
When the copters set down outside the mission it became clear that the information received from the satellite was inaccurate; many of the access points and entryways had vanished—if they had even existed. Instead, there was a single, arching entranceway, 10 or 12 feet high, carved out of the stone and governed by a heavy wooden door divided into halves. The bad intel set off some bad vibes, and Morrison’s men went in hot, ramming down the door to the mission, the lights from their rifle scopes crisscrossing as they cut through the darkened building, moving in teams of two down into the tunnels, night vision on, safeties off. There was no sign of life, just claustrophobia and boots scraping over crumbling stone and the frescos carved into the walls: Crudely etched images of dead men resurrected and archangels with burning swords watched the mercenaries pass through the pitch black tunnels.
At the end of the tunnels there was a heavy metal door, locked and reinforced from the inside, but three thunderous booms from a twelve-gauge loaded with M-1030 breaching rounds shattered the bolt mechanism. Masks on someone roared as the door popped open and one of the mercenaries heaved a flash-bang grenade through the breach. There was a violent, split-second burst of light followed by a high-pitched ringing and then the door was gone, knocked aside as Morrison’s men stormed into the camp.
It only took a few seconds for the mercenaries to realize the camp was empty—bayonets jammed into the mounds of blankets piled on top of cots spilled cheap yellow stuffing.
It would take the men another 10 minutes to realize that the paint on the symbol—an asterisk in a circle drawn across the ceiling—was still wet.