Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Author Interview #158 – Eden Plague (Sci Fi Thriller) by David VanDyke

The Eden Plague: Book 1 (Plague Wars)Our interview today is with David VanDyke, author of the well-received Eden Plague (Sci Fi thriller, 4.5 stars, 19 reviews) and its sequels, Demon Plagues, Reaper Plague and Orion Plague. Before we get to the interview, a brief description of the series: Daniel Markis, a broken veteran combat medic, crosses paths with The Company, a clandestine organization that tries to recruit him to work with a new fast-healing effect. The deal goes sideways and soon he is on the run, seeking answers, protecting stolen secrets, and looking for a way to rescue the woman he loves. The first book ends with the release of the information, which then transforms the world. The sequels follow Markis and other characters forward into a future of plagues, nuclear war and alien intervention, culminating in the discovery of extraterrestrial meddling in Earth’s past, present and future.
The hot-selling Plague Wars series, consisting of Eden Plague, Demon Plagues, Reaper PlagueandOrion Plague, will entertain you with action, wit, romance and a detailed special-operations narrative bounded by the brotherhood – and sisterhood – of arms. Science fiction, action-adventure, and military readers will enjoy this thrilling and upbeat ride as it rockets toward a world transformed by the Eden Plague.

David VanDyke gives you characters you can believe in, exciting action overlapping moral dilemmas, and believable plot twists most readers don’t see coming in his popular Plague Wars series. Drawing rave reviews for its immersiveness and entertainment, and described as “Action Jackson – cover to cover,” Eden Plague and its sequels, Demon Plagues, Reaper PlagueandOrion Plague, are available in e-book format through Amazon and other major retailers, and coming soon to CreateSpace print-on-demand.

1. When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?
Shockingly for some, I started less than a year ago – writing fiction, that is. I’ve been a technical writer for almost thirty years, so I always felt I had the tools to write good fiction. I’d been feeling less and less interested in the corporate workaday world I was in since my retirement from the military in 2007, and was casting about for something worthwhile to do. I’d always toyed with the idea of writing, and when I saw a couple of childhood friends, Brian (BV) Larson and Vaughn Heppner making a living at it in the new Wild West of ebooks, I was inspired to give it a shot – and once I started, I was hooked.

2. What inspired you to write The Eden Plague?
Frankly it was all a bit hazy at the start. I began with an exercise where I just imagined what would happen if a guy something like me came home and found armed intruders in his house. After about twenty recastings and false starts I had half a plot and some pretty good characters, backed up by a lot of knowledge from my time in the military, and it all went from there.

3. What’s your book about?
At its heart it is about a disease – the Eden Plague – that could do away with the medical concerns of the human race by bringing their bodies into a state of near perfection, conferring health and immortality. At the start it’s a Maguffin – an excuse for an action plot – but eventually it grows into something that all the characters struggle with and resolve in different ways, because there are side effects and tradeoffs that those who contract the disease have to live with. It’s this human interaction that really gives the series its heart, despite being clothed in action-thriller guise.
4. Tell us a little about your main character.
Daniel Markis is a PTSD-ridden and physically broken combat medic, a man who spent his whole adult life saving lives as an Air Force Pararescueman, or “PJ.” He’s poured his whole soul into the motto “That Others May Live,” and saved many lives – but now he’s been discarded and prohibited from practicing his craft until he’s cleared by his psychiatrist, who thinks he’s a danger to himself and others. He struggles with alcoholism and gets by on illegal painkillers and stimulants while biding his time in a dead-end job.
But he quickly leaves that behind when a bizarre recruiting offer goes awry and he soon finds himself on the run and infected with the Eden Plague. The healing disease transforms his life, but he’s hunted by shadowy operatives and has to figure out what to do – get away and hide, fight back and expose the conspiracy, rescue the mysterious woman who gave him the cure?
I’ll also note that starting with the second book, another character, US Marine Jill Repeth, really starts to take over as my protagonist, and Daniel Markis and others fade into the background a bit. Jill is a warrior, tough and strong enough but still a woman with a heart, and she captured my imagination and seized control of my writing in a powerful way.
5. What do you enjoy the most about writing?
I think it’s creating scenes and dialogue. I tend to write as if I’m watching the whole thing in my head, and continuity can be something I struggle with – but I love to write scenes and dialogue. I love drama in many forms – the suspense and interplay of wills and ideas – and putting those things down on paper makes me feel like I can bring those scenes to life on the readers heads so that they see what I see, and they are moved as I am moved. I’m a sucker for well-crafted emotion, so I try to replicate that in my books. Though my characters are often military, they aren’t a bunch of drones – they think, they choose, they act like real people in extremis.
6. What was the hardest part about writing your book?
I’d say wrapping it up, which frankly I didn’t do. The characters and the plotline take on life and what can I do but write it and keep on writing it? Once I was most of the way through the first book I knew where I wanted to go in the whole series and that drove me to continue writing. So in Eden PlagueI did end it at a natural stopping point but frankly I could have written and written and written about what happened to the characters, soap-opera style. I had to more or less force myself to put them aside and move forward into the world in which I wanted to be, the transformed and post-apocalyptic world of a decade or more hence.
7. Where do you get the inspiration to write?
I have ideas bubbling through my head all the time – in the car, on walks, lying awake at night – I never seem to run out of ideas. I start daydreaming and a scene bursts into my imagination and I construct a whole conversation in my mind. The trick is to get some of it down on paper fast. I’ve taken to carrying a pocket recorder to speak into so I don’t forget things. I desperately wish I could go back to my teens and start writing then for there’s no way I will ever get all my ideas on paper, unless we come up with an immortality virus for real. I’d like that.
8. Who is your favorite author and why?
Roger Zelazny is undoubtedly my all-time favorite. His ability to evoke whole worlds with just a few words demonstrates a kind of Zen mastery where more is less. Sometimes I imitate his spare style, though I don’t think I’ll ever match him.
9. What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your ultimate luxury?
Undoubtedly traveling, seeing new things. I went a lot of places, good and bad, in the military. There is so much on just this one planet that we have that I have never seen and never will, but I hope to experience some of it. The luxury part of it would be working as a writer while having the freedom, the time and money, to travel – not in decadence; my wife and I are happy with the ordinary middle-class comforts of a decent breakfast and a hot shower. One simple dream we have is to walk across Ireland, stopping at inns along the way.
10. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
The fifth book, tentatively titled Comes The Destroyer (I know, no “Plague” in the title) will probably cap off the first series, though I am not certain. It’s only in outline form now, and I hope to publish it before summer 2013. There will be more action on and off Earth, and the true unification of the world in the face of the ever-increasing alien threat. I have a surprising number of female readers for this genre and all of them seem to like the stories and my strong, gender-balanced cast of characters.
I’m actually working on a novella right now that I hope will be included with authors Brian (BV) Larson and Vaughn Heppner in an anthology of military sci-fi. This piece will be set about a hundred years in the future, still using many of the same characters (because the Eden Plague confers longevity) as EarthFleet sends a task force in their first counterattack on an enemy star system. I’m calling it First Conquest, and it will be both a nice tie-in to the earlier series and may launch a new series of more straightforward mil-sci-fi space opera books, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.
Also I always love to hear from readers, so feel free to check in with me via any of my social media links or send me an e-mail.
Thank you, Anthony, for hosting my interview on Digital Book Today. I really appreciated this opportunity to spend some time with your readers.
Connect with David Vandyke: Blog / Facebook / Twitter /
All books are available through the author’s website or get Eden Plague on Amazon.

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