Please join me today for an interview of Stephen R. Wilson, author of The Gifted: Book 1: In the Beginning.
Who do you think would like your book? (Or alternately: Please tell prospective readers why they’d like your book.)
People who enjoy general science-fiction, and especially superhero stories, will be interested in The Gifted. The series is probably geared mostly toward young adults as the heroes in the story are teenagers for the bulk of the story, but I’ve had middle-aged folk and even seniors who have told me how much they liked it. I will say that it’s not really a children’s story as there are some pretty mature things happening in the book that probably aren’t appropriate for most kids. I address everything from a Christian perspective, but even with that, there are just some things in there that kids don’t need to be reading about yet.
What is your favorite thing about your story?
Haha. I like a lot of things about it. I guess I’m biased that way. But I think my favorite aspect of the story is how it all comes together in the end. Each chapter focuses on one character or one family group and tells their part of the story. At first, the reader isn’t really sure where it’s all going or what these different characters have to do with one another. But as the story goes on, the characters begin making connections with one another, little by little, until, in the final chapter, everything merges together, setting the scene for the rest of the series.
Do you remember how long it took you to write? How about to edit and find a publisher?
Hmm. I’ve had a lot of the key ideas floating around in my head and in my notebooks for fifteen years or more. I’d say once I finally sat down to write it, it probably took me about two years, just working on it here and there. It took a couple of months to edit it and get it to its final form, but then I decided not to seek a publisher for it. I wanted to experiment with self-publishing.
What is your favorite type of book to read? Do you have any favorite books or authors?
I love reading sci-fi and fantasy stories, especially Christian work in those genres. My favorite book of all time, though, is probably The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I really enjoy John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. Of course I have to say C.S. Lewis for his Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth saga. On the secular fantasy side, I was really impressed with Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series.
Anything interesting in your past you’d care to share? Like have you ever worked as a rodeo clown, for instance? :)
Well, I do have a lot of interesting stories and I’ve actually put most of them in The Gifted: In the Beginning and subsequent books in one form or another. One of the most fun parts of writing the book was adapting stories from my own childhood and adolescence and finding ways to use them in the book. I tell the real stories behind the stories in the book as a feature on my website for anyone who’s interested.
What’s your favorite movie or TV show?
My favorite TV show right now is Fringe. Going back a couple of years, I was really enjoying Heroes and The Sarah Conner Chronicles before they were taken off the air.
Can readers contact you?
Yeah, definitely. My website has my contact info and is a great place for people to start. http://TheGiftedBookSeries.webs.com
If you were alive in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, etc., did you have any hairstyles that now make you cringe?
I had long hair, down to my shoulders, when I was in high school and college.
Please share a synopsis or blurb, and a brief excerpt from your book.
Back cover blurb -
Aliens. Vigilante Ninjas. Mad scientists. Hard-nosed detectives. Super-heroes. God.
An alien ship has crash-landed on Earth, setting off a new wave of drug addiction and world war in its wake, while the sole survivor of the wreckage vows revenge against the god-like authorities of his home planet. At the same time, the new president of the GenRes Company is obsessed with living up to his father’s medical success and has just discovered how to transform normal children into Genetically Altered super-humans. Who will control these children? The scientist, the alien, and a couple of ambitious criminals are all eager to keep them for their own use. But Someone else has entirely different plans for them. Follow as each development merges together and a new breed of adolescent superheroes rises to the forefront in The Gifted: In the Beginning.
The Planet Anduris.
47th day of the month of Holine
in the Anduran year 4572.
Magus was running for his life down the crowded market street of Hos-H’iyra. His long black hair was matted to his head with sweat and everyone was hurrying to get as far out of his way as possible. They knew what was coming next.
Suddenly, one of Zeus-31’s lightning bolts slashed down and charred the ground behind Magus. The ground buckled under the impact and Magus cursed in frustration and fear, fighting to keep his balance. Keep running, he told himself. Just keep running. You can do this.
The current Lighting-Wielder – Adelphos Palamara was his name, Zeus just his Ayviline title – was still far enough behind to throw off his accuracy a bit, but that wouldn’t last long. In flight, the Zeuses were almost as fast as the Hermes. Fortunately, the Swift-Foot was no longer a threat. Magus’ partner had killed the most recent Hermes only an hour before and the Ayvil had not yet chosen a replacement.
About thirty yards in front of him, Magus saw a Geyr ship with steam billowing out from beneath it, signaling that it was about to take off. The rear cargo door was just beginning its automatic descent. If he kept running, Magus might be able to slide in before the door lowered completely. Like all Andurians, he hated the idea of space travel, but this was his only chance of escape and he was determined to take it.
He ran, dove, and rolled into the ship just in time to hear the door’s pneumatic lock hiss into place. A moment later and he felt the ship’s thrusters rumbling beneath him as the whole craft shot vertically into the sky. Even if Zeus had seen him run in here, he was too late to stop it now.
Terrified and unable to move from the upward force, Magus lay on the floor, struggling to take a breath. The ship soon leveled off somewhere above Anduris’ atmosphere and Magus exhaled in relief. He was still catching his breath when, a moment later, he was suddenly flung backward into the door. The Geyrs in the cockpit had obviously changed which thrusters they were firing and were now steering the ship forward.
His face and body stuck against the door, Magus fought to turn his head back toward the front of the ship. Large metallic refrigeration units covered most of the floor. Thankfully, they were strapped down. Otherwise, Magus would have been crushed by them if they had slid backward against the door like he had.
Now that he had a moment to think, he wondered what he had gotten himself into. We’re going to the Geyr homeworld. There aren’t any Andurians on the Geyr homeworld. I’ll be noticed and caught immediately.
Magus tried to think, to plan his next move, but the cargo hold became cooler and cooler. Soon the coldness of the metal door on his back became unbearable. He didn’t know what was happening, didn’t know that space was so devoid of heat. How can the Geyrs stand this?
The Planet Earth.
25th day of the month of May
in the terrestrial year 2063.
Magus woke up slowly. Every part of his body was stiff, his mind sluggish. How long had he slept – no, not slept – been frozen? There was no way for him to tell. But at least it was warmer now and he was alive. Had they reached the Geyr homeworld? What would he do when they started unloading the ship? They would surely find him. And then what? Take him back to Anduris and hand him over to Athena-13 for sentencing? He wouldn’t go back. He’d fight the Geyrs here, if he had to, no matter how many there were. He’d rather die than be imprisoned for the rest of his life.
Suddenly the ship plummeted, descending, and Magus braced himself against the door. Then it hovered. Magus cautiously pushed off the door, stretched, working each joint in turn, and lumbered forward. He was wobbly, but what could he do? Any moment, the Geyrs were going to land the ship and open the back hatch and find him, so it was now or never.
But they didn’t land. Instead, the ship jumped back up and Magus had to catch himself on one of the refrigeration units. Already, the cold of space was spreading again. If he froze again, he would die. He knew it. He had to do something now.
He reached into his robe, pulled a jagged knife from his belt and, pulling himself along from cargo strap to cargo strap, finally made it to the cockpit door and opened it.
The Geyrs spun around in their chairs, shocked to see him. They were ‘greenies’, young ones, but recognition had crossed their skinny faces. They knew who he was.
The first Geyr was dead before the other two could even stand.
Soon, the bodies of the three greenies lay crumpled at Magus’ feet, their wounds trickling blood as their long, oval, empty, black eyes stared up at him out of their bulbous heads. Ugly suckers! Magus thought, panting. At least they were easy to kill.
The other two Geyrs had tried to fight back, but everyone knew that Geyrs weren’t much for violence, especially not the young ones. It was only when a Geyr’s skin began to fade from the bright green into the light gray of adulthood that they gained any strength at all and that still was not enough to contend against a full-grown Andurian.
Sweating under his dirty robe, Magus walked over and stared down at the alien control panel. He had no idea what all the levers and meters and touchpads in front of him were for. He plopped down into one of the seats, the one with the most buttons in front of it, and stared some more.
After a second, he jumped back up, walked over to one of the round windows and peered out. All he could see was the black of space. He knew that they had been close to the surface a few moments ago, had felt the disc-shaped ship shoot back up and then suddenly level off again. He didn’t think it was moving now, though. Where am I? he thought in frustration.
He went back to the controls, willing for some sort of inspiration to leap up out of them. C’mon! Think! he urged himself. You’ve come this far! You’ve gotta be able to do this!
He even glanced down at the dead body of the alien closest to him, hoping to gain some clue from him, but it was useless. He turned back to the control panel and cursed again. Nothing was labeled. There were no instruction charts hanging on the wall. He was a scientist, but not a Geyr pilot. He had never even been inside one of these things before.
How long? he thought. How long is this ship just gonna float up here? Until the power runs out? Until the fuel runs out? I’ll starve or die of thirst first. Or the Geyrs’ll send another ship looking for this one.
“I can’t stay here!” he roared and slammed his fist down on the panel. He regretted it immediately. He looked around, warily waiting for something to change. What did I just hit?
Thankfully, nothing happened and he began to relax again. He sucked in a deep breath, forced himself to sit down calmly in the chair, and blew out again. Okay. I have no idea what does what, but I can’t just sit here. So let’s experiment a little, shall we? Gingerly, he stretched his hand toward a lever, gripped it, his sweaty, clammy hand closing on the cold metal, and inched it back closer to himself.
Twenty minutes later, after a few more brave ‘experiments’, the space-craft came down. Fast. It hurtled silently through the atmosphere and plunged swiftly through the cozy, warm dark of night, toward Earth’s surface below.
Inside the ship, the man who was ‘flying’ it, frantically pushed buttons and pulled and pushed levers. I can’t stop it! he thought. I can’t stop it! And then, throwing up his hands, he burst into laughter – nervous, giving up, come-what-may laughter – and leaned forward in his chair to meet the land below.
The people of the Chinese countryside could see the smoke from the crash for miles around and Chinese Coalition Air Defense teams were sent out from bases in both Ining and Urumchi cities. But before anyone arrived, a lone survivor crawled out of a side hatch and limped away into the night.
Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’
2063. May 25th.
As the Geyr ship crashed in China, Lucy Davis, lying in the plain white bed at Mercy First Hospital in Base City, screamed in pain as she gave birth to her first child, a daughter. The three ‘greenies’ had stayed just long enough to make sure that Lucy’s baby, soon to be named Gretchen, would be born safely before they took off again. The others of their race would have been very glad to hear their good report.
Thank you for your time, and best of luck with your book! :)
The Gifted: Book 1: In the Beginning is available in e-book and paperback formats from http://TheGiftedBookSeries.webs.com, Amazon.com, and other online booksellers.