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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading debut author's novels or those author's who have not had many reviews thus providing them much needed encouragement 
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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Interview with David E Stevens, Author of Resurrect (Fuzed Trilogy, Book 1) and Giveaway

I bought Impact (previously published as Resurrect) in 2013 when it was first published. I had not had the chance to read it until Amazon announced recently, it had been updated to a faster moving, updated Second Edition with additional scenes, in preparation for taking the Fuzed Trilogy to the movies. This was enough for me to start reading it now and realised interviewing this author would be one very interesting read and improve my enjoyment and understanding of this apocalyptic techno-thriller. 

To help promote this new edition, I approached David about having a giveaway as well. To win one of 5 copies of the kindle edition of this updated edition (only published in the kindle format), go to the end of this interview and follow the instructions by Rafflecopter. I can guarantee that this is worth entering as this novel is one thrill of a ride, and one very memorable read. 

Now, please read on and enjoy this interview with debut author, David E Stevens.  

Author Name: David E Stevens

Author Bio: Commander Dave Stevens was a nuclear weapons qualified Navy fighter pilot. He served as the Strike Operations Officer for the Persian Gulf during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. With a Top Secret clearance, he led classified defense programs, test-piloted new F-18 fighters and earned an aviation patent. He’s been to 33 countries, 10 miles above the earth and 600 feet below the Atlantic. He also survived hundreds of his own carrier landings. Dave holds engineering degrees from Cornell and the University of Michigan with graduate work in astrophysics. An international speaker and award-winning author, he uses an extensive network of subject matter experts – from astronauts and astrophysicists to intelligence operatives – to entertain and educate.



Current Book Title: Impact (Fuzed Trilogy Book 1)

Tell us a little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

As a young lieutenant, I lost a close friend in a jet crash. I learned that 60% of all tactical jet fatalities were pilot’s overwhelmed by mission tasks and flying into the ground. So, I designed an altitude warning system that used peripheral vision cues to create a falling sensation and literally scare the pilot into reacting. It worked. We received a government patent and it was ranked #1 for DARPA funding. Unfortunately, because I was just a pilot and didn’t have a large government lab backing me, the project was never funded. I learned that a good idea isn’t sufficient.

After I retired from the Navy at the 20-year point, I realized that pilots weren’t the only ones who needed to be scared into action. I used Probabilistic Risk Analysis to rank the greatest threats to the human race. Very few people want to listen to a lecture but everyone likes a good story. So, knowing that a good idea isn’t enough to get exposure, I decided stories as a medium to get the word out.

Each of the top threats became the nemesis in the three stories of the trilogy. With many experiences from my career (along with those of my friends in special ops and the intelligence community), it was easy to write an action adventure. I always enjoyed “wordsmithing” but had never done fiction. I quickly discovered I loved it.

How do you come up with the character names in your books?

All my character names are from real people, although I often mix and match first and last names – not to mention personalities – to allow them “plausible deniability.” You always have to be careful if you’re around me … because you may end up in a story. I always give my people the option to opt out before publishing.

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books?

In addition to the above, I used much of my background as a fighter pilot along with the work I did on classified programs. The same applies to many of my key characters, but they’re almost always an amalgamation of people I know. However, there are some characters that play themselves, such as astronaut, Dr. Ed Lu and astronomer, Dr. Carolyn Shoemaker. In the second book, I’ve been working with Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel. He also gave me permission to use him as himself in one of the supporting roles. Hopefully, they can play themselves in the movie.

When did you decide to make a career of writing?

I really was thinking of stories primarily as a way to get an important warning out, and to reach people who think like I used to think.

After my Literary Agent read Resurrect, he immediately sent me to work with an editor, who asked me if I had ever paid attention in English class. After basic writing boot camp, my agent sent out Resurrect and the first publisher that read the manuscript offered us a contract. At that point, I thought this might be a great second career.

Do you outline before you sit down to write (Plotter style), or do you sit down at the computer each day, waiting to be surprised, writing your book literally by the seat of your pants (Pantser style)? Or are you a combination of the two?

Good question. I do both. I usually know where I want to end and have a good idea of the basic path to that destination, but as I write, many of my characters take on a life of their own and change the direction. I also get great ideas from my readers, reviewers, friends and family. I really thrive on that type of feedback.

What do you do when you are not writing? I have a small real estate business and an e-commerce business.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Actually, most of it is based on real events that happened to me or friends. Of course, I take liberties with the events and sometimes combine them. In the Navy, there is a running joke. “What’s the difference between a Fairy Tale and a Sea Story? One begins with, ‘Once upon a time…’ and the other starts with, ‘Hey, this is no s….’” And, of course, many say that’s the only difference.

The overall apocalyptic plots are reality that we hope never happens. Unfortunately, they are inevitable unless we do something, which is the purpose of the series. I really don’t believe that we will be wiped out by an asteroid or comet tomorrow, but there is a very real chance a major city could be obliterated or coastal cities inundated from a 100-foot-tall tsunamis created by an ocean impact. That would be truly a tragedy if we have the ability to prevent it. The same applies to the threats in books two and three.

A reviewer on Amazon, who knows you, mentioned that you would have been an astronaut but a freak accident prevented you from continuing in this pursuit. Is part of Andy/Josh's character and plot concerning him based on this part of your life?

In part. I was chasing the astronaut program and had a water skiing accident that busted a disc in my neck. It wasn’t a serious injury but enough to take me out of the running. However, there is absolutely no guarantee that I would have made it even if I hadn’t had the accident. I was in the running but hadn’t been selected.

Elizabeth states that she knows who Josh is and who sent him. Josh is dumbfounded, but does not question her about how she knew this. Why did you develop this part of the plot like this? I found it incomplete and an important part of the plot left undone and rather annoying.

Sorry. It is annoying but this is the first of a trilogy. I wanted to leave the identity of Jesse undefined at this point and up to the reader to decide. And it’s poor form to solve that mystery in book one of a trilogy.

Josh’s understanding of who Jesse is gradually morphs as he gets more information but he’s still unsure as the first story wraps up. Elizabeth, on the other hand, believes she knows who or what he (Jesse) is. It’s a classic clash between “I only believe what I can see, feel and hear,” versus woman’s intuition and faith. We will continue the discovery process as the story unfolds.

I really tried to make each story standalone with a real conclusion while remaining connected. I hate stories that leave you hanging until the next episode. Interestingly, the publisher made me take the last chapter of Resurrect and put it as the first chapter of book 2. I got around that to some extent by including much of that first Chapter as a “preview” of book two, at the end of book one.

The genre that best describes the Fuzed Trilogy is apocalyptic techno-thriller, and this trilogy is the first for me to read in this genre. Do you feel that this predominately attracts male readers or do you think that there would be some female readers that would be fans of this genre? Did you have a particular gender in mind when you wrote this Trilogy?

It’s interesting that you ask that. I wrote this predominantly with male readers in mind. It wasn’t just a demographic choice, as a new author, it’s easier to write from a male perspective and for a male audience.

However, I was very surprised and a little horrified when my publisher released it early to a large number of Christian reviewers that were predominantly women. Understandably, many of them expressed frustration in their reviews, stating that they would have never read it if they had known it was a techno thriller or science fiction. Despite that, they gave me some outstanding reviews and are responsible for much of the 4.7 of 5 stars.

There is a somewhat tragic love triangle and a strong romantic story that runs through the book. The few negative reviews we received were understandably due to my mild use of bad words and sexual innuendos. I thought long and hard about that, but I worked with fighter pilots, SEALS, etc., and I couldn’t bring myself to have some of my characters say “darn” or not notice the body of a beautiful woman. That would have been unbelievable and as you’ll see below, it would impact my mission to reach a specific target audience.

What message do you want to convey to your readers in Impact?

There are two messages. The first is in the “Author’s Note” at the end of the book. As mentioned, it warns of very real threats that could kills tens of millions with little or no warning. I highlight them only because we now have the technology to prevent them.

The second message is much more subtle. I was raised with no exposure to organized religion and believed that a Supreme Being wasn’t required to explain the universe. Loving physics and astrophysics, and watching its incredible journey, I realized its tenets are now far stranger than any religion.

From the time of Newton to the 1950s, it was easy to claim that science simply and intuitively explained everything significant that happened in the world, and there was no need for any supernatural or spiritual component.

That’s no longer true. Physics isn’t simple or intuitive anymore. It requires multiple dimensions. Quantum mechanics says objects can be in two places at the same time, and pop in and out of existence. The universe, including space and time itself, popped into existence and, therefore, required something to initiate it … that exists outside of space and time. The physics constants that define our universe are so perfectly fine-tuned to support life, it’s statistically impossible by chance.

Today, physics not only “allows” for the existence of a Supreme Being, but may actually “require” it. I hope to reach those, like I was, and, at least open their minds to the possibility that cutting edge physics is beginning to intersect with and support the potential existence of a Supreme Being. This is sometimes referred to as “sower” fiction.

What this means is that this series is NOT written for Christians. I love it when Christians read and enjoy it, but it was written specifically to reach non-Christians. With that in mind, I would ask those Christians who read it to keep in mind the purpose, and if you share it with your agnostic and atheist friends, DO NOT say it is a spiritual or Christian book. That defeats the purpose. I can tell you from past experience, when I was an atheist, I would have rather had root canal than read anything spiritual. Likewise, I would request that Christian reviewers NOT highlight the spiritual side of the story, again, to prevent our target audience from being scared away. You are now part of a covert operation.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

Show don’t tell!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write! Peter, as you know, we all have friends who are going to write that great novel … but never get around to it. The holidays are a great time to start. That’s when I started.

For those who have written, grab a guide to literary agents and start sending out queries. Although self-publishing is rapidly becoming the norm, getting your work in the hands of others, can dramatically improve the quality, as my editors helped me. And, at least for now, literary agents are still the gate keepers to the major publishers.

Who are you reading right now?

Some of my favourite authors were the late Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov and C.S. Lewis. Right now, I’m reading mostly non-fiction to stay abreast of the latest science and technology, which is important when you’re writing techno-thrillers.

What’s next after the Fuzed Trilogy, do you have a new project in the works?

I’m working on a concept for the fourth book of the trilogy. lol

When will the next installment of the Trilogy be released?

Book two is finished and just has to complete the final proofing process. It’s also awaiting the movie development go ahead to determine when to release it. Book three is still in process.

Any progress you can tell us about Impact becoming closer to being made into a movie? Congratulations on this being optioned by the way! That must be a writer's biggest reward, especially with this happening to your first novel!

Thank you Peter. Yes, it’s very exciting. The development process has just begun. They’re still raising development funds but they have enough that they’ve started working on the initial video game concept. We’re also in the process of looking for a renowned screenplay writer. Movie development is a multi-year process and, of course, there are no guarantees, but our two producers, Rick Eldridge (The Ultimate Gift) and Fred Miller (Angels Sing) are extremely talented and have been nominated for Academy Awards. I have the greatest confidence in them.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Oddly, I haven’t really experienced that. If I slow down or get tired, I just move on to something else.

What tools have you found most successful in advertising/marketing yourself and your book?

Well, I’ve found a lot of things that don’t work and spent money on things that I shouldn’t have, as most authors do. Steve Harrison’s group has been helpful, although their programs are primarily geared to non-fiction authors, some of it applies to any writing. You need to be very careful in how you invest your money in marketing. That’s one of the reasons it’s helpful to have a literary agent. They can at least steer you to or away from programs that aren’t cost effective.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

Arthur C. Clark (2001) was not only a brilliantly creative writer, he was also an astrophysicist and was the first person to come up with the idea of an artificial satellite back around WWII.

Where can readers find you?

We’re revamping our book site as we transition to movie development, but http://www.Fuzed.org is now our primary site for the trilogy. People can reach me directly through the contact form on the site, or via Resurrect at Comcast dot net. I love getting emails with feedback and critique that allows me to improve the story. Many authors say that but I really mean and use it. I’d prefer the feedback as an email rather than in a review if possible. I always give readers credit in the acknowledgments of the next book if I incorporate their ideas.

Website: http://www.Fuzed.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ResurrectTrilogy

which will soon be converting to https://www.facebook.com/FuzedTrilogy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidestevens1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15059010-resurrect


Amazon: 
http://www.amazon.com/Resurrect-Fuzed-Trilogy-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00Q1BGS8K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418751724&sr=1-1&keywords=Resurrect

David, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you. You have given myself and readers of this interview insight into yourself and this enthralling and captivating novel that you have so masterfully constructed.

I am sure that readers are eager to either read Resurrect or are eagerly awaiting the release of iMagine, Book 2. Concerning the latter, I am with much anticipation!! 

Now, I encourage all visitors to enter the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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