Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Interview with sci-fi novelist J. Lesley Graham

Sci-fi writer J. Lesley Graham joins me today to talk about his new novel, Star Warrior.

Welcome, J. Lesley. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Ursula, my wife, and I live in Wichita Falls, Texas. I retired after serving 20 years, 6 months, and 9 days in the United States Air Force. I enlisted a week after graduating from high school and became a commissioned office ten years later. I have also been a college professor, and a software engineer. I hold a BS in mathematics, a Master of Divinity degree, and an MS in software design and development (with honors). That’s pretty good for someone who didn’t learn to read until the middle of the fourth grade and who has flunked every spelling test he ever took.

Please tell us about your current release.
Star Warrior is my third book to be released. (Saga of the Green Nails and Beth Curtis: Conqueror of Darkness). It is being released with a fourth book (Beginnings Again). Being realistic is a major part of my writing. I want the readers to be able to put themselves in the situations of human drama in action. Like all of my books, it is also about the fight between good and evil.

What inspired you to write this book?
I consider all of my books to be divinely inspired. The idea for a book just pops into my mind, off time when I’m between being awake and asleep. I have the book outlined in my mind a few days later. Let’s take Star Warrior as an example. It started with me mentally humming the theme song of a TV show of the 1960s or 1970s. I think it was called 26 Men, and was about Arizona Rangers of the old west. I simply translated the concept to the far future.

Excerpt from Star Warrior:
The Sunday Vortex Cannon destroyed the Rank Stranger.
The next hit drove Jeff face-first into his weapon’s panel. That propelled him backward, to end up, unconscious, flat on his back with his face covered with blood.
The same explosion had also driven Brenda face-first into her countermeasure’s panel. She saw stars and tasted blood as she fell to her knees. The breath had been knocked from her by a lever being driven into her chest and another one into her stomach. That had felt as if afirecracker had exploded in the pit of her stomach. She hadn’t passed
out, but soon wished she had from the pain she was suffering.
The last thing Jack remembered was a horrific explosion on his left. That had been followed by an abrupt loss of air pressure and things ripping into numerous spots along his left side. He never heard the screams of those around him because he had already passed out from the pain. Fortunately for him and the other survivors, the hull resealed itself almost immediately and the pressure returned to normal.
The Sunday Vortex Cannon destroyed the Prancing Pony.
Engine Controller Wobbly was crying hysterically as he pushed the inner system’s throttle to the max, twisted it to the right, and pulled it up.
The star trader responded by accelerating to 10 Gs as it snapped up and to the right. That gave its crew another few precious seconds. Unfortunately, that abrupt movement snapped the already shredded left-side straps of Jack’s safety harness and ejected his unconscious body from his command chair. He landed facedown on the deck. Blood started pooling under his body. He didn’t move. The only good thing about his situation was he hadn’t felt the impact.
The Rock of Snooker and the Ring of Fire blew apart almost simultaneously from the same vortex beam, yet the few surviving star destroyers in the battle crescent formed up and pressed their attack.
Explosions shook Engine Controller Wobbly so hard; he saw stars from his head slamming against the inside of his helmet. He was petrified to the point he was struggling not to pass out as he doggedly flew the Magic Carpet out system with star destroyers dogging its trail, trying to destroy it. He never felt the shrapnel removing his spacesuit’s helmet, and his head within it. The headless corpse fell forward onto the Hyper throttle, pushing it to the max.
The Magic Carpet Star Trader abruptly disappeared from the Splendor Star System by transitioning back into Hyper.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am in the midst of editing six books, which had started out as four books, based upon the opening of the Sixth Seal of Revelation 6:12-17

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When Saga of the Green Nails was published.

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?
Being retired for the third time, I am a full-time writer. I also read a lot (I have two six-foot-tall bookcases full of books waiting to be read.) I also enjoy life with my wife of over 50 Years.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My style is to write for my readers. That is something all writers should do. For example, if you’re writing about fighting heart disease, your book would be a lot more technical and use bigger words for doctors than it would for patients. I also like to insert humor and unexpected twists in my stories.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to join the Air Force, which I did upon graduating from high school. I spent half of my career as an enlisted airman and half as a commissioned officer. I retired after 20 years, 6 months, and 9 days.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Most people have a story in them that needs to be written. Write. Also realize that writing is a creative process from beginning until your work is published. I use The Life Cycle of Computer Systems Development as a template. That sounds far out, but both use the same creative process. You start with a fussy concept and end up with a finished product.
For example, develop an automated Fire Department dispatching system led to a computer system that found the correct address lf the incident, dispatched the available nearest fire units, tracked the process, and recorded all of the information. That was developed for the city of Fort Worth Texas.
Now let’s consider a pill being developed that would do away with all sickness. There was only one side effect. The person’s fingernails and toenails would turn a bright green. The world would learn that all Green Nails would die and their bodies would melt into a gelatinous blob on the fifth anniversary of them taking the pill. That is the idea behind Saga of the Green Nails.

Thanks for joining me today, J. Lesley!

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