Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interview with science fiction author James Mascia

Today’s special guest is science fiction novelist James Mascia. He’s chatting with me about The Leviathan Chronicles: The Last Stand at Aeprion.

But that’s not all. During his virtual book for the novel, James will be awarding 5 copies of the ebook in either mobi or epub formats to 5 lucky winners. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.

He fights evil across the known universe and crushes them between his fingers (at least, he does this with his words).

James Mascia is an accomplished writer with a bestselling series, High School Heroes, as well as a bestselling graphic novel, The Poe Murders. He has always been a fan of sci-fi, and is glad to be delving back into the galaxy once again.

James teaches in Maryland, where he also writes. He has a lovely wife and a tiny terror (a two-year-old) driving him mad, but making him laugh.

Welcome, James. Please tell us about your current release.
Still reeling from his wife's murder, Joel tries to escape the alien hunter and fulfill a promise he made to her. Years of searching for the fabled planet, Aeprion, has left the space freighter captain torn between giving up the search or giving himself up to Kraxem, the alien hunter. When Kraxem and his minions attack Joel's ship again, he is forced into the nebula, where he'll have to do repairs. Once their, his thoughts revert back to the final day of Kate's life and the promises that were made. Learning to come to terms with her loss and release the guilt that he feels will be a hard battle to fight, but giving up will prove to be even more difficult and, perhaps, deadly. Steeling his resolve to forge on, Joel vows to find the fabled living planet before guilt devours his soul.

What inspired you to write this book?
I had some old stories stashed away that I wrote when I was back in college. I thought it was time to revisit them. So, starting from the ground up, I took the ideas from these old stories and completely rewrote them.

I wanted to write them as if they were vintage pulp sci-fi stories, like in the old magazines from the 1930s – 50s. I thought this was a cool idea, because I love those old stories and admire them. So, when I decided I was going to rewrite these stories, I decided to give them a classic feel.

It’s been a lot of fun.

Excerpt from The Last Stand at Aeprion:
Joel ran from the cargo bay to make a beeline for the cockpit. “We’ll talk about this later.” Then he addressed the computer. “Wanderer, raise shields and start the engines.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Kate was two steps behind him. “What are you going to do?”

“Clean up your mess, as usual.” He jumped into the pilot’s seat and grabbed the controls. “Hold on!”

Through the viewport, Joel found himself staring down the barrel of a particularly nasty-looking plasma cannon. Behind that cannon stood a group of aliens with yellow, wrinkled skin over a wide-stretched head and bulbous eyes sticking out at each side.

One of these aliens, who appeared to be in command by the way he was barking orders at the others, wore a cape that flapped in the gusts being created by the revving engines. This particular alien glared at him with a piercing stare that seemed to bore into his skull.

“Would that be the other interested party?” He toggled some switches, helping the engines cycle up faster.

“Yeah, that’s him.”

“I think he really wants that rock.”

The ship shuddered again and the viewport filled with a blinding light as the cannon fire struck the shields. Alarms beeped rapidly on the console until Joel slammed his fist down on it.

“I take it back. He wants to kill us, and then he wants the rock.”

“Shields down to 60 percent,” Kate warned.

Another shot hit the shields, setting off another round of blaring alarms.

“35 percent.”

Joel stared at the alien. Having never encountered this particular species before, he wasn’t an expert at reading their facial expressions. But if he had to describe what he was looking at, he would have said it was unchained rage.

“Open the loading ramp and drop that stupid rock out.”

Kate glared at him in disbelief. “What? No!”

Joel spun in his chair to face her. “I’m assuming you’ve already scanned the hieroglyphs on it, right?”

Kate nodded, her bottom lip quivering, knowing what he was about to tell her.

“Then we don’t need it anymore. This guy obviously wants it, and is willing to do anything to get it. And since I don’t want to die today, let’s let him have it.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am finishing up my High School Heroes series—a set of YA books about a group of teenagers who want to be superheroes, but high school keeps getting in the way.

I am working on more stories in The Leviathan Chronicles series.

And finally, I am writing an as yet untitled novel that is a combination spy thriller and sci-fi story set in the 1950s. All I can say about this at this time (since I’m still in the early stages of the novel) is that it will be about both the Communist and U.F.O. scares of the 1950s, and will be weaving in many historical events of the time period.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I want to say always. I’ve been writing since I was a child. I wrote picture books when I was only a couple years old. And I wrote plays and stories when I was in elementary school. I even rewrote Shakespeare plays and shot them as videos for projects in high school. So, I can honestly say there has never been a time, when I wasn’t a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I feel like I write full time. I certainly put in enough time during the week to be considered a full time writing. But, alas, I do have a day job. I am an English teacher in high school.

How do I find the time to write? The honest answer to that is, I don’t know. When I get up in the morning, I write before I leave for work. And then I put in some more writing between my two jobs. And then I do more writing when my son goes to bed. I’d say I write on the weekends, but I usually don’t, as I use that time to either spend with my family, or go to different conventions to sell my work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I hardly do any planning for my writing. I find writing more interesting when I don’t know what’s going to happen. I like to start off with an idea and a basic conflict and then let the characters take over from there and lead me through the story to the end. So, I would say that’s my writing quirk.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be everything. I wanted to be an actor, an artist, a stand-up comedian, a film director, just about everything. It’s funny, because if you look at all of those things, I always knew I wanted to be an entertainer of some kind. I just didn’t realize that writing was what I wanted to do.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Take a look at my books. You won’t be disappointed in them.

Thanks for having me on your site.

Check out some of my other work through these links:

You’re very welcome. Thank you for being here today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Mai T. said...

Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?