Neutral Space is set in the year 3006 in a galaxy where intergalactic races have intermingled with humans. How did you set about creating the world in this novel?
I love Star Wars and Star Trek. I grew up watching them. As I got older other sci-fi films like Total Recall (the original) and The Fifth Element became personal favorites. When I started writing Neutral Space I envisioned pieces of these different worlds from sci-fi flicks. I wanted something that felt familiar and inviting but still plausible in 3006.
Alliances are broken which causes a war between Kelsairans and humans. I felt the Kelsairans were well developed and thought out. What was your inspiration for this race and how did it change while writing?
The Kelsairan society is based on the Spartans. While they don’t have a whole population of slaves supporting their militaristic lifestyle they are forced to send one child to serve the army. Originally, I intended the Kelsairans to be much more hostile and harder to understand, something closer to true Spartans or even Klingons. As the story evolved and Kheda’s character took shape she had too many human characteristics to do so. She couldn’t veer so far from her people. Her love for a human wouldn’t have been convincing. Government lies of horrible heartless aliens was a more plausible reason for human’s to hate them than for Kelsairans to actually be so horrible.
I felt that there were parallels to today’s society regarding war and political agendas. Were there any events that influenced you while writing?
This story wasn’t meant to be an action adventure, or a military book. It was intended to be a modern Romeo & Juliet. A futuristic war between two alien races seemed like a great way to update it. Somehow during the writing process it took on a life of its own and morphed into the book it is today. When I decided I wanted them to have a happy ending Jackson and Kheda needed a way to end the war that was manageable for two soldiers. Solving a government conspiracy seemed like the only plausible answer at the time. I don’t know if I was influenced by actual events or a general mistrust of large government. What I can say is this story was actually written in 2006-2007 and later revised and edited for publishing. At the time we were in the middle of the Iraq war, Afghanistan War, and it had been five years since September 11. There was a lot going on in the world and it probably influenced the original choice to create a war between two races to begin with.
Will this be the first book in a series? If so, where do you see the story going in the next book?
This was not the first book in a series. I doubt I will ever write another sci-fi novel again. I honestly feel like a fraud. I love watching the genre and even reading some of the less technical novels, more along the line of space operas. When it comes to writing it though, I don’t feel like I do the genre justice. It’s why I hesitated publishing Neutral Space in the first place. For the most part I think I got lucky with Neutral Space. I tried something new and it worked. I won’t tempt fate again.
Lieutenant Jackson Peterson thought he knew who the enemy was. A bitter war with the Kelsairans made it abundantly clear. When Jackson saves a Kelsairan woman from a wrecked ship, the line is suddenly blurred. The enemy isn’t what the government said they were and he can no longer blindly follow orders. A shocking discovery leads Jackson down a sinister path of intrigue that could change the fate of two races. But, both the Kelsairan and the Human governments will kill him to keep their secrets. Jackson will risk everything to stop them. Will it be enough? Or will he die in the process?