Curling Up By The Fire is thrilled to welcome Mike Saxton, author of 7 Scorpions: Rebellion. He is here to discuss his latest project, the 7 Scorpions Trilogy, his inspiration for the project, and reveal any future projects to which his fans can look forward. I had the pleasure of reviewing 7 Scorpions: Rebellion and if you are interested, you can read my review here.
1) To start off, can you tell me a little bit about yourself? How did you become interested in writing science-fiction novels?
I’m a 34 years young kid. My day job is as an Assistant Dean of Student Life. Don’t be fooled by the title, I like to be in a relaxed work environment and I think it’s important to laugh on the job and in your personal life. I’m currently working on a PhD in Organizational Management. I ask myself every day why I decided to do that. I have been a fan of science fiction since I was 3 and I saw “Empire Strikes Back” in the theater. I finally decided to follow my dream and begin writing. Since I can’t draw or play any type of musical instrument, this is the only form of artistic expression available to me. I am married and I have a wonderful 6 ½ year old son named Christopher who is the light of my life.
2) Can you tell us a little about your novel, 7 Scorpions: Rebellion?
The first of a trilogy, 7 Scorpions: Rebellion introduces a world torn apart by a dictator who describes himself as “hatred incarnate”. 5 months after the Flash Storm wipes out all of the major cities and decimates the armies, plunging the world into chaos, a loan figure returns from exile to fight back against Zodiac’s Grand Army. He teams up with a group of unlikely allies, survivors with hearts of steel. The second book, which is currently being edited to prepare it for release is 7 Scorpions: Revolution. I am in the process of writing the final book of the trilogy, 7 Scorpions: Retribution.
3) What inspired you to write Rebellion? How much research was involved in the writing?
My inspiration came from an unlikely source: lucid dreams. I had a four year period of them pretty much nonstop which began the summer after my Sophomore year of High School and ended the summer after my Sophomore year of college. For the first two years, I didn’t tell anyone about them. I was actually scared out of my mind that they were future predictions. I no longer think that but I do believe they were to serve as a warning. When I finally did tell people about them, they suggested that I put them in novel format. For the 11 years following the end of the dreams, I organized them, filled in holes (as there are many with dreams, they get kind of vague), and outlined the 7 Scorpions trilogy.
I actually did quite a bit of research for this series. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, so some of the I.T. related concepts are actually reflective of real life (Josh has a habit of forgetting a semicolon when he programs in C, which is actually a problem I had and it really annoyed me so I added it). I have a side interest in quantum physics. In my dreams, the Seekers were lobotomized soldiers that radiated a fear aura. With what I learned about physics and nano technology, I didn’t think it was too farfetched to create the “spider chips” that control them. Other things, such as the plasma beam power plant is an actual experiment that really is going on in Florida. When it comes to traveling distances, I used satellite images through Google Earth and Google maps to track distances and possible obstacles.
4) What was your greatest challenge while writing this novel?
That would definitely have to be filling in the gaps that were left from my dreams. Even stupid little things. For instance, the character Chris Talbot only had a last name in my dreams. Vincent’s past is extremely colorful and I had to separate his time as a cancer infected vigilante from the current time period of a post apocalyptic world where he is a super soldier. Lexi’s fearlessness needed an explanation. I had actually read years ago about someone who had brain damage to the amygdala and couldn’t feel fear so I borrowed that concept and included it as part of her back story. Though that affect is extremely rare, it has actually happened. Eve’s birthing complications virtually mirror the ones that my wife had when Chris was born. I wanted to make the lives of the characters as realistic as possible.
5) In this novel, we are introduced to some very interesting and intriguing characters. Who was the most fun to write about? Which character presented the biggest challenge? I was rather intrigued by Lexi, Vincent, and Josh, as well as Jade.
For me, all the characters really came to life and developed personalities that almost made them seem real. Vincent, with his strange and unique past was probably the most fun. Lexi is a spitfire, having no powers but also no fear, she was enjoyable to write. Jade’s development was also fun. I wanted her to seem like she was just another psycho villain at the beginning then reveal more about her. She has even more development in book 2. When it comes to Josh, well, who wouldn’t like writing about a computer nerd?
6) What are 3 things that are 'must haves' when you write? Do you have any writing rituals?
I am usually good with noise and a little boy running around screaming when I’m doing just about anything except when it comes to writing. For me, the scenes come to life in my head and my biggest challenge is moving my fingers fast enough to get it all out. For that, I need concentration. Music helps, typically relaxing meditative music, although sometimes I play rock or metal when it is time for a fight scene because it helps me get pumped up. Finally, it helps if I have something with caffeine in it. I write better when I’m wired.
7) Can you share with us any projects that you are currently working on or plans for the future? What can fans expect next from you?
7 Scorpions: Revolution is being edited and I hope to have it released soon. I am currently writing the last of the series, 7 Scorpions: Retribution. After that, I have some outlines for some short stories as well as a couple of novels. I haven’t decided which I will pursue first yet since I’m focused on getting 7 Scorpions finished.
8) Favourite authors?
I have read 40 of the Star Wars novels (I even named my cats Padme and Obi-Wan) so my faves are mainly Star Wars authors. Drew Karpyshyn and Timothy Zahn are my favorites there. I also like R.A. Salvatore’s writing quite a bit, especially his descriptive fight scenes. My favorite novel of all time though is “Eyes of the Dragon” by Stephen King as it was the first “adult” novel I ever picked to read for a book report and I finished it in 2 days. Kurt Vonnegut is another great one and I especially liked “Slaughterhouse V”.
9) What do you like to do when you are not writing? What is your ultimate luxury?
Spending time with my son is the best. I like to go to the movies, especially these new comic book movies (most of them have been good over the past couple of years). Going to the gym is a bit of a pain, but I like how I feel afterword (other than the sweat). Swimming is also great. I’ve been swimming since I was two. My ultimate luxury is to sit on the patio with my netbook and write or converse with a slightly overcast sky and a cool breeze.
10) Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?
I’m pretty much a fun loving guy. I like to laugh and I use humor to lighten moods, including my own. I’ve recently joined forces with a group of other authors with a great sense of humor and we call ourselves the Writers of Mass Distraction. We’ve started a website and blog here: http://writersofmassdistraction.com/
Mike Saxton grew up in Vernon, CT. After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science, he went on to earn a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Management. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Organization and Management.
Mike found his inspiration in his current novels through his lucid dreams. His first novel, 7 Scorpions: Rebellion is the first in a trilogy, to be followed by Revolution, then Retribution. He is hoping to one day be able to write full-time. He lives with his wife Amy, his son Christopher, and two cats, Padme and Obi-Wan.
Mike Saxton's Home Page