Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Interview with Daniel Gibbs, author of Fight the Good Fight, Book I of Echoes of the Past

Today on the Speculative Fiction Showcase, Daniel Gibbs, author of Fight the Good Fight, Book I of the Echoes of the Past trilogy, has kindly agreed to answer our interview questions!

From the book, having seen the design of the space vessel itself, you have clearly taken great care researching the background and creating a realistic environment. Can you tell us more about that?
First and foremost, I’m a nerd. That’s important because us nerds tend to poke holes in things that don’t make plausible sense. I’ll be the first to admit that some of the technology in Echoes of the Past is what some would refer to as “handwave”, especially things like an inertial dampener. But most of the weaponry, ship design, and tactics are rooted in what I see as real-world applications of evolving technology. I’ve read a lot of papers on what combat in space might look like; my ship designs and the technology of the universe evolved out of that research.

The book has a dedication to your father, who was in the US navy, and mentions that you yourself mention have many years of experience with the military. How important was this experience to writing the book?
Let me first say that I have worked with the military as a civilian – primarily the US Navy. (The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree!) That work has really defined my purpose in life; as I mentioned, I’m a nerd and I primarily design and build computer systems. Seeing those things come to life and hopefully help out in some small way, well it’s a great feeling.
My father served for thirty years in the Navy. He joined six weeks before the end of WWII, and served in that war, Korea, and Vietnam. Then he got out, went to work as a civilian contractor in ship repair, and did that for another thirty-four years. A number of years ago, my mother had a stroke. My dad and I spent many weeks in the hospital with her, and he told me stories from his time in the Navy to pass the time. A lot of those stories, shades of them anyways, have found a home in my writing. They’re just fun little vignettes of military life.

David Cohen, the hero of Fight the Good Fight, experiences an internal conflict between his role as a starship commander and his wish to become a rabbi. This makes him at once an interesting and more complex character than some shoot-em-up heroes. Why did you choose to portray him like that?
I was aiming for a more complex series of characters. I’ve worked with a lot of men and women that have seen combat; I’ve been in theatre where that combat occurred and worked side by side with folks that had to go out every day with the possibility that they wouldn’t come back. The typical shoot-em-up hero characters if you will, never seem to have to deal with the toll that combat takes on the soul. It’s not plausible, at least to me, to have a character that kills dozens of people and feels nothing about it, ever. I wanted to portray a group of people that had to deal with that toll, and throughout the book, David has to face the results of his actions.

Does Daniel Cohen have echoes of other biblical heroes like the Maccabees and King David?
You know, that’s a great question. I never really thought of that as I was writing him, but yes, he does have some of that panache.

How important is the religious aspect of the book?
One of the things I wanted to show in my novel was the various religions of Humanity actually getting along with each other. In the main characters you will find Christians, Jews (both Orthodox and less than Orthodox), Muslims, and atheists. Its been my experience in life that great uncertainty (thinking back to 9/11 especially) causes people to return to their faith. I would think that in a war that’s lasted nearly thirty years and is in effect, a galactic war for survival, that people would cling strongly to their faiths as well and I portray that in my series. 

The trailer is awesome – short, very professional and to the point. It makes clear the central conflict within the hero as well as the battle outside. Tell us a bit about the making of the trailer…
First off, thank you! I’m a very visual person, and discovered this idea of book trailers. So I decided to make one. I had a couple of friends of mine create some 3D rendered art (the Lion of Judah and the Rabin, specifically), and another friend who is a composer and general jack of all things artistic, put the trailer together. I love how it came out!

Who are the enemies here – The League of Sol? Do they have a supernatural aspect?
The League of Sol is the enemy; but they have no supernatural aspects. They’re simply a totalitarian, communist regime that won world war three. They’ve imposed their way of thinking on Earth and most of the planets in Earth’s local region of space that they control. I don’t envision them being paper thin bad guys however. I will over the course of my trilogy and some novellas I have planned, explore the League and why they are the way that they are.

Were you in any way influenced by some of the great Jewish superhero characters such as Captain America and Magneto (more of an antihero!)
I can’t say that I was! I created the basic idea, and the basic characters behind Echoes of the Past more than 20 years ago. I hadn’t even heard of Captain America back then! Its only been recently that I felt my skills as a writer had progressed to the point I could actually write the story and do it the justice I felt it deserved.

The second book is clearly in preparation. Are you a fast writer? What is your writing routine?
Well, it took about a year to write the first novel this last time I picked it up. I had tried several times to write it, and wasn’t happy with the results. But this time I was. I would say that my routine is to define a set amount of words I want to get written in a given time period, and then hold myself accountable. I’m hard at work on the second novel in the series, and I’m about 40,000 words into my first draft. I anticipate it ending up around 100,000 words, maybe a touch more. Then the editing process can begin! I’m hoping to have it ready for release by the end of the summer.

Are there any writers of SF and military SF who you enjoy? (Past or present)
Many! My favourites include David Weber (I love the Safehold series), Taylor Anderson (Destroyermen), as well as Vaughn Heppner, Joshua Dalzelle and Glynn Stewart. My idea of a vacation is to get 20-25 books, go to a quiet place with no cell service, and read non-stop.

What about the current crop of Marvel superhero films, the new Star Wars trilogy and other films set in space in a more realistic style?
I loved Star Wars: Rogue One; and I loved Enders Game. (Both the books and the movie). I’ve enjoyed the Marvel movies I’ve seen, but I have to admit I’m quite behind on watching all of them. There’s never enough time! For realistic Sci-Fi, I find The Expanse to really hit the nail on the head. Outstanding work by everyone involved with it – from the novels, to the series.

What are your plans for future stories and series?
My first goal is to complete the initial trilogy for Echoes of the Past that I’ve plotted out so far; beginning with Fight the Good Fight, which just released on May 10th, So Fight I, the second novel, and ‘I Have Fought a Good Fight’, the third. After that, I’ve got several ideas for short story and novella volumes, and stand-alone novels set in the universe. When it comes to Echoes of the Past, I have almost unlimited creative energy.


About Daniel Gibbs:

Daniel Gibbs is the creator of the Echoes of the Past universe. An idea that was born nearly twenty years ago, has finally come alive. A former computer engineer, Daniel loves all forms of science-fiction. His first novel was recently released to Amazon, and he is hard at work on the next two novels in the beginning EOTP trilogy. With mountains of ideas and notes for additional novels, Daniel will be busy for years to come bringing his universe to life! 

With many years of experience supporting the military as an IT engineer, Daniel hopes to bring an authentic lens to military science fiction, especially around the tribulations and trials of those who serve.

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