Jun 5, 2014

Footprints Interview

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
When I was in the second grade, I wrote a short story that was published in the school newsletter. I went to a small catholic school that had grades one through eight all in one building, so I thought it was a pretty big accomplishment. Then in my sophomore year of high school, I wrote feedback for an editorial column in our local newspaper and I thought I might have a knack for putting words on the page. Later on in life, I wrote four or five technical articles that were published in engineering magazines. The company I worked for, hired an editor to review all of the articles that were submitted for publication. According to the world, engineers can't string two words together so the editor was hired to make the required grammatical changes. One day I was talking with the editor and he told me that he never really had to make any changes to the articles that I submitted. After hearing this, I thought about writing a work of technical fiction but never pursued it seriously. Then one day I was talking with my wife about the idea and she encouraged me to do it. Once I started the process of writing my first book, I asked myself why I had waited so long to give it a try.

Is being an Author all you dreamed of, or did it just happen? The best and worst thing about it?
I am an engineer by education, so I cannot say that being an author was all I ever dreamed of.  Writing fiction is something I like to do on weekend mornings to exercise my imagination. One thing you have to know about me is that I really love a good story. With movies for example. I would much rather watch a movie that has an excellent storyline where I lose myself in the events, as compared to a movie that has almost no storyline and relies on computer graphics, explosions and ridiculous destruction as its hook. When I wrote “Footprints”, I tried to create a storyline where the reader would feel pain in his chest when something bad happened and got teary-eyed when something good happened.

What was the very first thing you ever wrote?
“Footprints” is the first book I have written.

What made you create (your book)?  How did it come to you?
I guess the original idea of the storyline (a canine that lives forever) came to me because I love my dog so much. My dog Daisy is a wonderful dog and I can’t imagine what will happen when she isn’t there to greet me at the door when I get home from work or sleep next to me on the couch. So I created a world where the technology was available to make a dog that would never die and would never get old. But of course, something happens to jeopardize this idea in the story and that’s where the twists and turns in the storyline get going. The rest of the book has a technical, sci-fi feel to it that uses either technical topics I run into on a daily basis or things that I am interested in, except they have been twisted a bit to be a little more futuristic.

Who is your literary hero?
I don’t know if I can identify one specific hero. I don’t think my personality works that way. But I have found that I really like a lot of Stephen King’s work. I am a big fan of the movie “Stand by Me” which I find to be an incredible story, which was based on the Stephen King book called "The Body". I also really liked reading “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving, which I thought was another great story.

How much of your characters are based on your traits or someone you know personally?
Scott Hrdinsky is kind of a combination of people. I guess his major personality traits come from heroic people, like the guys that ran across Normandy Beach in 1944 or climbed on top of a Saturn V rocket to get to the moon. The character named Uncle Joe was loosely based on one of my uncles. The scene where Uncle Joe teaches Scott how to smoke a cigar was something that really happened. Just don’t tell my mom.

Describe your main character in six words.
Honorable, Level-headed, Genuine, Loving, Upstanding, Heroic

Describe the world you’ve created in six words.
Society as a whole would be - Over Regulated, Misinformed, Effeminate
Scott and Uncle Joe’s world would be – Old School, Warm Hearted, Moral

What scene was your favorite to write?
Without giving away too much, I really enjoyed writing the scene where Neba is captured by the Barghest. Explaining the action, the equipment and the technology was all very exciting.

What scene was the hardest for you to write?
The scene where Uncle Joe walks through the holographic-camouflage was difficult for me to write. I wanted to make sure I explained exactly what I saw in my mind’s eye and describe it in a way that was accurate and interesting to read.

What are you working on now?
I am writing another book that is more of a twist and turn thriller without so much of the technical sci-fi. I hope to have it ready by the end of the year.

Goals? Accomplishments? Improvements?
Interesting Person I Have Met - I met Captain James Lovell (Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13) at his restaurant in Lake Forest, Illinois. After a business dinner, some of my co-workers and I were able to talk with him for ten to fifteen minutes about his days at NASA. I was honored to be able to shake his hand.
Interesting Places I Have Been - I have traveled to Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Japan on business. But the most interesting place I have traveled to was to an electric power plant inside the Arctic Circle. The plant used a crane to carry tree bark from a lumber mill to the power plant's steam boiler. The crane was not working properly, so I had to work with them to fix the problem. It took me about sixteen hours of flying and driving to get to the small town where the plant was located. It had one blinking yellow stop light, a KFC and a hotel (that had been built onto the side of someone's house). Even though I went there in June, the high temperature was in the 40s and it snowed overnight.
Most Harrowing Moment - I worked in a chemical plant, as an instrument technician, right after I graduated from college. One day I was asked to test a transducer that was located on the top of a separation tower in the ethylene plant. The tower was over 250 feet tall and was the tallest structure in the county. To get to the top, I rode in the basket of a crane. When I reached the platform that was on the top of the tower, I had to climb out of the crane basket and onto the platform. I was of course wearing a safety harness when I did this, but climbing from the basket to the platform was terrifying.
Prized Possessions - God has blessed me with a great life and numerous belongings. I have a guitar pic that Gene Simmons (bass player in the band Kiss) threw into the crowd during a concert. Actually my wife was the one that was able to get the pic. She was standing close to the stage taking pictures of Gene and he tossed the pic at her. Other fans standing nearby saw Gene toss the pic and a melee ensued. My wife as able to wrestle through the fracas after getting kicked in the nose, grab the pic and stick it into her pocket. She presented me with the pic after the concert. (What a wonderful wife.)

Are there any authors or books you recommend?
I like pretty much any story that falls into the category of sci-fi or that has some type of governmental conspiracy/mystery. Again, it has to have a good storyline. I recently read World War Z which I liked. Plus I always seem to have a Batman or Green Lantern comic in hand or on my screen.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy a lot of things. I go to the gym three times a week. I fish as much as I can during the summer. I go to the range and shoot targets every couple of months. I also have a 1970 Chevrolet El Camino that I like to wrench on every now and then.

Purchase Link - hard copy

Purchase Link - kindle

Book Description
Scott Hrdinsky and his Uncle Joe live on a quiet farm in rural America in the not too distant future. When Scott was eight years old, he received a unique dog named Dozer as a gift from a family friend. When Dozer, a cross breed of an android and a cybernetic organism, fails to wake up one morning, Scott and Uncle Joe embark on a secret mission to save him. Scott and Uncle Joe end up in a tactical, science fiction adventure as they confront Commander Manson Kurse, the supreme leader of the Lancaster Science and Research Facility. Throughout the mission, Scott’s eyes are opened to the covert activities and governmental conspiracies that are hidden in plain sight all around him. Mentored by Uncle Joe, Scott learns to cope with the circumstances in his life and comes to the realization of what is really most important. “Footprints” is a story that twists you around and around and deposits you in the most unexpected place.