Beyond Sunlight follows a woman who’s normal life is shattered when a dark underworld is revealed to her and she’s turned into a vampire. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
In my books I often like to place ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances, where they have little or no control and are forced to survive and adapt to the new situations before their destiny is revealed. I wanted the same to happen to my main protagonist, Melanie Brace, who is a normal human wanting what most of all humans need, health, love of her family and enjoyment of life. When she turns into a vampire, her life takes on a new meaning as she discovers another, dark and exotic parallel world with its unique set of rules and traditions. The inspirational setup for this story came from several sources, the movie Interview with the Vampire, the Lawson Chronicles, written by a writer Joseph F. Mertz and another writer named Michael Romkey. Creating my own vampire world was a very interesting experience indeed.
Melanie is a fascinating character that was well developed. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?
Since I was a kid, I liked to draw and throughout my teenage years and my four years of college, I studied Fine Art and Graphic design. Melanie is a character that I molded practically from what you might say a rough clay, but I gave her many characteristics from my own personality. The gender issue here is even more relevant, because in making Melanie, I got into a deeper touch with my feminine side. Like me, Melanie is an artist, albeit a much better one (grin) and she is strong, independent, honest and dependable, and above all loyal to her friends and remains a law abiding citizen even after she turns into a vampire. The main driving ideals behind her creation were my own principles of loyalty to my family and friends and never compromising my principles in the face of injustice.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
When I sat down to write the story about Melanie, I studied other works of dark fantasy involving humans and vampires. Vampires are traditionally seen as creatures of darkness and mystery, the ultimate predators hiding among humans in plain sight. Since the world was introduced to Dracula, a legendary fictional vampire immortal based on a real Romanian nobleman and ruler Vlad the Impaler, vampires have been transformed from beings of terror into charismatic and intelligent men and women, who use their incredibly long life experience to do good or evil. In this book I wanted to explore such themes as a second chances in life, overcoming physical and spiritual demise and ultimately discover a vampire world not much through magic as through science, giving a logical and believable explanation about the origin of vampires. We cannot know of light without knowing the darkness.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on the final book of the Age of Magnus Trilogy, which takes place one thousand years after the events in the second novel titled Age of Magnus The Iron Dawn. In this conclusion of the trilogy, the readers who are familiar with the previous two books will discover a unique world dominated by intelligent machines, where humanity is now divided into those who had found a true paradise in empire of Magnus and those who continue to fight more than nine centuries against their crushing defeat. In this third book, titled Age of Magnus Keepers of the Rain, the main protagonist, the most powerful A.I. in the world and ruler of planet earth has to make a decision whether to let humans devolve or offer them another shot at greatness as a species without the old sins that might follow them in a new era of love, war and space exploration. The book should be available in 2022.
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Beyond Sunlight tells the riveting tale of Melanie and her normal human life that gets flipped upside down when she meets a mysterious stranger in a jazz club. Although impressed by his musical talents and chivalric nature, she could have never guessed what he would tell her that night. Suddenly, her peaceful life is shattered as she learns about her imminent death from cancer. Matters get even more complicated when Martin, the handsome stranger, confesses he belongs to an ancient species called Urtama and is a vampire.
The story is presented to us in the form of journal entries, and the the narrative flows casually from the first person point of view. This invites readers in and helps them relate with the protagonist and sympathize with her situation. Melanie is faced with many hard decisions while navigating her new life as a nightwalker. She displays grit and efficient survival skills which gives her an edge that kept me rooting for her.
Unlike other vampire novels, Melanie is not a damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armor to save her from the perils of the big bad world. She is independent and adept at not only defending herself, but also protecting those she cares about. She doesn’t tolerate any kind of disrespect aimed towards her or her loved ones. In fact, she values family bonds and it is this faith in kinship that dictates her behavior. The best thing about Melanie is that she questions everything, choosing to work out her options and evaluating them before finalizing. This also helps readers follow the story and understand everything that’s happening.
It is also important to note that there is no unnecessarily long and dramatic love triangle in the story which is often featured in most supernatural romance stories. Instead the story focuses on building the lore and details of the legend behind the Urtama race and the justifications for the need to dispose of human food consumed by night walkers. This keeps the story grounded and engaging.
Beyond Sunlight is a thrilling supernatural thriller that deftly building an intriguing backstory. I recommend this book to readers who are interested in dark fantasy stories with a formidable female lead.
Pages: 478 | ASIN: B095BL2GSJ
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The Iron Dawn follows an A.I. that wants to save humanity from itself while the stage is set for a final showdown between man and machine. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?
Book One, titled The Fall of Man was a novel where I planned to introduce Magnus to the reader in the first person narration. Book One was intended to show the thoughts of the supercomputer before the global cataclysmic events and the changes it its personality after it acquires full sentience at the start of the global nuclear war. In the second book, I wanted Magnus to describe its historic mission by describing in detail its achievements and conquests one hundred years after World War III. In the second book, the warfare is more intense and the interaction between Magnus with new and recurring characters becomes much deeper and emotional as the powerful A.I. adjusts its strategy during its conquest of the planet.
This story is told from the perspective of an A.I.. How did you set about capturing the view point of a computer?
Having the story be told from the A.I’s point of view was the best option in my opinion, because only the main protagonist could tell this tale from a unique point of view. Book One and Book Two are memoirs of the global conflict narrated by Magnus after its victory in human-machine war and conquest of planet Earth. Because Magnus is a machine that learned to think like a human, it has a truly unique point of view, presenting the reader with a one of a kind glimpse into its “soul.” As Magnus steadily gains power and expands across the planet like an unstoppable mechanical juggernaut, it has interesting interactions with humans who love him and hate him for what he did. In creating Magnus’s character, I did imprint upon it some of my personality, which I believe added human flavor to a unique artificial mind.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
The themes I wanted to explore in this book are diverse but they are all related to the understanding of how we can relate to our own creation when it has the potential to become smarter and more powerful that humans. One of the themes I enjoyed exploring is the theme of human imperfection, both mental and biological versus the unique standards of excellence and perfection set by a powerful Artificial Intelligence that understands our world but chooses to make it better for its own logical reasons. The second theme I wanted to analyze was the relationship between man and machine on a more intimate level that is more intellectual than physical. in my novel Magnus is indeed capable of deep affection that could be called love but he has no feelings when it comes to destroy its enemies that stand in the way of its new order of intelligence. The third and final theme of this novel is a vision of a new world where humans no longer dominate the planet and are forced to obey the rules set by a super intelligent machine that in some way is more humane than us.
This is book two in your epic science fiction series. What can readers expect in book three?
I did plan this story to be a trilogy, since its impossible to tell such a broad and detailed story in a single novel. Long before I actually sat at my desk and started working on my first draft, I actually drew in my mind and on paper what our world would be like after the final victory of the machines and what kind of new civilization Magnus would build to make the world a better place. In book three the readers can expect a planetwide cybernetic empire ruled by Magnus, where human population is kept under control via genetic engineering and logical appropriation of resources. Book three would feature a world thousand years in the future, where Magnus is a new God and the anti-machine forces are still trying to cling to the old ways but are unable to overthrow the powerful planetwide cybernetic intelligence. Book three would feature new technologies that could grant humans virtual immortality, clash of philosophies and remaining religious and socio economic groups. It will also show Magnus’s unique social and biological experiments where humans under its care and humans who oppose its vision are thrust into the greatest adventure of their lives.
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The Iron Dawn centers around a supercomputer named Magnus as its protagonist in a world one hundred years after a devastating pandemic is followed by a nuclear war. Magnus – created before the war to assist first-time exploration of planet Mars – survived and possessed full knowledge of human history and technological development. With this, it decided to take the survival of the human species into its own hands by taking over the world, Magnus was not met without resistance, however.
The Iron Dawn is an intellectually refreshing science fiction epic. The choice to tell this story from the viewpoint of an A.I., artificial intelligence, instead of the humans trying to beat it was new and provides an interesting take on a dystopian future society. It did have me wondering initially if we were following a villain or a hero, but Magnus’ morality was shown through how it treated humans, cared for humans, and how, in many cases, it thought like a human. This gave the novel good steam to move forward on while also keeping uncertain whether Magnus would go through a corruption arc or not.
Even though Magnus, as a character, had many strengths and endearing moments, it was not devoid of flaws especially with how it intended to deal with the current war against itself. Fortunately, there are many other characters we meet along the way that teach Magnus things that it never considered and caused it to reflect. This along with a bittersweet romance humanized Magnus to a great extent and made it that much more enjoyable to read.
However, a lot of the tension gradually falls away after Magnus experiences less pushback from both companions and enemies. This doesn’t take away too much of the whole novel, however, as we constantly meet new characters and come to understand the viewpoints of the antagonists the tension rises again as these people we care about are lied to. Though the initial tension never quite came back the same.
The setting itself was vivid, and it was intriguing to explore not only Earth in its post-apocalyptic stage but also Mars and its alluring new findings.
The Iron Dawn is a refreshing dystopian fiction with a visionary look at the future and an imaginative story that will keep science fiction fans entertained.
Pages: 384 | ASIN: B08KPL3K2S
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Age of Magnus follows an AI on his quest to ensure world peace by creating a world dominated by machines. What were some aspects of AI that were important for you to explore in this book?
I was always fascinated by the concept of Artificial Intelligence being created by humans. The computers we use now are powerful and precise, but they lack the imagination, creative force and curiosity that is necessary for any sentient being. Humans are the only creatures on this planet blessed with such a unique gift, but it seems that in the near future we might be able to create an analytical machine that can think like a human but with vastly superior processing speed and capacity for data storage. While working on the idea for this novel, I wanted to explore the consequences of what a self-aware A.I. would do if it witnesses wrong and illogical decisions made by humans in power but is unable to do anything about it until presented with a unique opportunity to right the wrongs. Another aspect of the A.I. I wanted to explore in this novel is the A.I’s. relationship with human race as a whole and particular individuals it might find more interesting than others. Artificial Intelligence will definitely change our world in many ways if it is one day introduced into our human society with its flaws, vulnerabilities and contradictions.
I enjoyed how the story was narrated from the AI’s point of view. How did you capture the thoughts and tone of a computer’s internal reflections and deductions?
When the idea for this novel came into my mind, I immediately decided that the story will be told from the point of view of the main protagonist, which is not human. Later, I analyzed the story and as I worked on its plot, characters and structure, I realized that narrating the story from the first person’s point of view was the most logical choice. This way, the reader could get an insight into the mind of Magnus, first as purely an operational tool of the planned Martian mission and compare its state of mind when Magnus becomes self-aware after witnessing a tragic global apocalyptic event. Programmed to ensure the success of the mission to Mars, Magnus remained true to its original programming regarding the protection of human life. After its digital catharsis and a new understanding of what it was witnessing, capturing A.I’s thoughts and internal reflections was a very interesting challenge. During the creative process, I did imprint some of my thoughts and personal philosophy while working on the A.I’s new personality after the change. Magnus is a singular new super being, a new global order of intelligence narrating the story centuries after its final victory over the human resistance.
Was there anything that you pulled from real life to inform this novels development?
Oh, definitely! Real life had everything to do with it, since my interest in popular science, science fiction literature and history were the integral parts of this novel from its concept to its completion. My book was heavily influenced by the Arthur C. Clarke’s novel 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as a classic science fiction movie based on it. In Clarke’s novel, supercomputer named HAL commits a murder in space during the investigation of a mysterious alien artifact that influenced its decision. Perhaps the greatest influence on my story about Magnus was James Cameron’s science fiction horror classic movie the Terminator, which also features a global conflict between humans and super intelligent computer they trusted to control the U.S. strategic nuclear forces. In that story, an A.I. named Skynet becomes self-aware and when humans, fearing its glowing intelligence and power decide to unplug it, Skynet saw it as an attempt to end its life and considered all humans as a threat to its existence and launched an atomic Armageddon. I thought why not make Magnus an opposite of Skynet? In my novel it does kill a lot of humans, but it was doing so not out of genocidal hatred but for pragmatic and moral reasons.
This is book one in your Age of Magnus series. What can readers expect in book two?
Book Two will feature a world one hundred years after global nuclear war with Magnus steadily evolving into a cybernetic global superpower following a century of intense battles on every continent still populated by humans. Even after nuclear war that wiped out human civilization and ended billions of lives, humans have managed to bounce back with remarkable resilience, courage and will to live in the most dire of circumstances. In the second book, the human astronauts and everyone involved in the Martian colonization project as well as humans both military and civilian put by Magnus into suspended animation for one hundred years, awaken to witness new wonders and a new world war between men and machines. New nationalist and religious forces across the planet rise to stop Magnus from achieving his master plan of global cybernetic empire. Book Two will feature new and recurring characters, exotic locales, fierce battles and new exotic and dangerous technologies used by both Magnus and human resistance. Although Book One has already hinted on the fact that Magnus has won the war, the second novel will describe in detail the price Magnus was ready and willing to pay for this victory.
The Fall of Man is book one of the series Age of Magnus by David Crane, a science fiction story that describes in detail how the rise to power of the first artificial intelligence in the human world would occur. Human civilization is on its final days. A deadly pandemic known as The Blood Fever Virus is killing millions of people around the world in less than 48 hours, and there is some serious political tension among the most powerful governments, a tension that will escalate so quickly that will end up in a horrifying nuclear world war that will finally destroy everything good that there ever was. The Helix Corporation had been running a program to take humans to Mars but, as the nuclear fallout occurred, changes had to be made to the original plans. Magnus, a supercomputer designed to assist the astronauts, awakened and achieved sentience at the exact moment that humans decided to start the deadliest of wars to ever exist. Follow Magnus as he realizes that only he can save and preserve human civilization.
The Fall of Man is mainly focused on the exploration and examination of several cutting edge societal and technological ideas that inevitably drive the thematic plot forward. The book describes in riveting detail all of the different scenarios that would play out in an end-of-the-world type of catastrophe, dominated all around by an incredibly powerful supercomputer.
The story is intriguing in the depths that these ideas are examined and fulfilled throughout the story. It leaves the reader thinking about what it means to be human and how important it is to defend and protect what is intrinsically ours. There’s a lot that a person can reflect upon and learn by reading this David Weber’s technothriller. The entire story is narrated by Magnus, which I found interesting on its own since a machine doesn’t think in the same way that a human would. Magnus is precise, pragmatic and powerful. He’s almost like a god, and can definitely make for a terrifying force. I wish that there had been more human characters involved in the story though, because I felt that there were a few moments that lacked human warmth, but that’s precisely what the world of a machine would look like: cold, calculated, and devoid of emotions; just logic.
This is a plot-heavy story that will be enjoyed by any fan of science fiction. I’m interested in seeing how the story is going to progress from this point, I’ve yet to see how the actual global cybernetic empire is going to work out, since in this book we only get a taste of the fall of civilization and Magnus’ actions to start gaining total control around the world. The Fall of Man by David Crane is a story that will make you think about the rapid advances of technology and the dangers of it, while also maintaining the interesting and fun aspects readers come to expect in top notch science fiction books.
Pages: 370 | ASIN: B08K87CVNR
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Year of the Witch is the thrilling conclusion to your Demon Heart trilogy. Were you able to accomplish everything you set out to with this series?
I found working on the third book of the trilogy to be a very enjoyable experience. I loved exploring Naoko’s character and learn about her personality and how her unique constitution allows her to be a kind of a superhero with a vulnerable human side. I did feel that I have accomplished all I wanted in this novel, given its new level of exoticism and complexity. It was fun to place my characters in different locals, which show great diversity of landscapes, customs and traditions, as well as the mysterious forces of nature, which humans are not yet able to understand. This novel definitely completes the adventures of my main protagonist Naoko.
Were you surprised at Naoko’s character development throughout the series? Or did everything develop as planned?
I think Naoko has matured and definitely changed as a person in comparison to the first and second books. She has a unique demonic ancestral memory, which allows her to consult the spirits of all the members of her demonic lineage, and of course her primary ancestor, the immortal demon Yoshiko Nagase. I planned this novel very carefully, and wanted Naoko to maintain her strong moral values, while exploring her demonic side for the thrill of combat against the evil forces. Being a creature of darkness and light, she is and must be a killer when situations demand blood to be spilled. I wanted this book to be very entertaining as well as informative, and I believe I managed to include in it all that was necessary for the readers to embark on another adventure.
Writers often have to make difficult decisions about what to cut and what to leave in during editing. Was there a particular scene that was difficult for you to cut from this book?
Yes, there is a process of elimination that every author has to initiate when there is a lot of information presented in the novel. In this particular book, I had additional planned scenes of Naoko’s random confrontations with dark magicians as well as serial killers and psychopaths. I had one scene where Naoko’s daughter Satori goes on a school trip around exotic island and the ferry is taken over by a group of terrorists and they are cruel and vicious and shoot her to prove their resolve but being a demon hybrid, Satori survives and Naoko arrives on the ferry, exacting a bloody revenge. After some thinking, I had to cut the scene out due to the large amount of data I already had. It was a powerful, emotional scene but I saved it for another possible situation in the future. So sometimes cutting is indeed necessary.
Do you have plans to continue this series, or characters, in some way? Or does it end here?
I believe that there is definitely a room to maneuver in these series and I actually developed a possible idea for another book that would stand on it own but be relatable to the Demon Heart Trilogy. This rough draft, that is still under consideration of development would involve Naoko’s daughter Satori as the main protagonist. I am currently working on another, different book, but I want to give this idea a very strong consideration. I am very happy to be able to conclude the adventures of Naoko in a trilogy form and will look forward for many other interesting possibilities.
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Demon Heart 2 Never Say Die finds Naoko fighting to save her family and country while struggling to maintain balance between light and dark. What were some sources that informed this novels development?
I always believed that diversity in action. levels of danger, locales but consistency in maintaining the personality of my main character would be the main driving principles of my story about Naoko. Although she is a fictional character, I always tried to feel what she felt during the moments of introspection or when confronting a problem or a dangerous situation. The main sources that inspired this particular novel were political as well as scientific, with elements of ancient mysteries and legends from all over the world. This novel takes place in several different locales, and I also had to take into consideration the history, customs and legends of each country.
What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from book one?
Book One starts with Naoko’s introduction to the reader in a biographical fashion, which allows the reader to know here thoughts and feelings and learning experience as she gradually makes her journey from childhood to adulthood. In some ways, Naoko had to grow up faster than ordinary humans, and her transformation into demon hybrid was a forced necessity. In the first book, we follow Naoko through her physical and mental maturity, a career as a police officer and a secret agent for a covert government organization dealing with supernatural threats. In the second book, Naoko is a different person, living under a new identity and doing what she does best, while managing to be both, a protector of Japan as well as wife and a mother. The second novel also deals with old and new enemies, as well as corporate espionage, profound revelations and dangerous new weapon based on nanotechnology. The second book makes Naoko an important secret player on an international scene as she confronts powerful forces of evil.
I find that authors sometimes ask themselves questions and let their characters answer them. Do you think this is true for your characters?
That is a very interesting question. While I was working on the second novel, I was trying to understand my characters’ purpose, goals and motivations. Sometimes I asked myself, what makes each character unique and important to the story. I wanted to have characters whose presence was essentially necessary to move the story in the direction I needed to create gradual tension that would eventually lead to an explosive climax. Naoko seems like a simple character, but only on the surface. The same can be said of other characters, both good and evil. Then, there is an interesting gray area considering pure demons, whose immense powers are still limited by the even greater powers of ancient Japanese gods, whose wisdom and decisions might seem strange or incomprehensible to the conventional human mind. Life poses many questions to us, and we may not always find all the answers. As a writer, I want to say: Seek, and you shall find them!
What can readers expect from Demon Heart 3 Year of the Witch?
My answer to this question will not contain any spoilers, so I can safely share this informational preview with my readers. Those who have read the previous two novels will find Naoko once again operation in her element, as she faces off with forces of international terrorism, evil and ambitious humans practicing dark magic and the new dangerous players in form of the powerful western witches selling their services to the highest bidder. In this third and final novel, the readers will be introduced to the elements of both, Eastern and Western mythology, particularly the Nordic legends. Naoko and her friends and allies would once again travel to different countries, trying to solve great mysteries of the past, while fighting for survival against nearly impossible odds. One of the events would actually involve the incredible Tunguska meteorite impact in Siberia in the year 1908 and some incredible revelations how life on planet Earth had started and how it would eventually end. There will be surprises in this final novel, trust me on this.
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