Q: What is Arion?
A: Arion is a planet in another arm of our galaxy, and the site of mankind’s first interstellar colony. The name comes from an ancient Greek legend about a poet who was saved from pirates by dolphins and carried to safety.

Q: How is the planet Arion different from other worlds?
A: I used to be a technical writer, so I’m a bit of a nut for realism. I also wanted something that people haven’t seen before. The planet Uranus was one of my inspirations; the planet is tilted sideways because of some long-ago asteroid collision. I used that idea to create Arion. Its north pole always faces the sun, so it’s mostly desert and always daytime. The southern hemisphere is completely frozen and dark. There is only a small livable area above the equator, which is where people live.

Q: What inspired you to write The Narrow Path to War?
A: I’d had the idea floating around in my head for years. What finally got me to sit down and finish it was a challenge from my boss to fulfill a dream. With two kids grown, and the third in high school, it seemed like the right time to finally become an author.

Q: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A: I got a homework assignment in middle school, sixth grade maybe. We were given an assignment to write a short poem. My poem came in with 53 lines. It actually got mentioned in the town newspaper.

Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
A: Like I said, I was a tech writer once, so I try to be as exact as possible. Stories are about people, though, who are very chaotic by nature. I try to empathize with my characters. When I write a paragraph about one character or another, I don’t just speak as they would; I try to infuse their attitudes into the narration as well.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
A: Choosing color palettes for the cover art. No, seriously, every part had a different kind of challenge. The hardest part for me was building a reality no one had attempted before. I wanted a completely original work, and labored for months to get the foundation ready before I ever wrote beyond the basic outline. The research part, even though it was tedious at times, was very rewarding for me personally.

Q: How do the characters deal with the harsh realities you created for them?
A: The book takes place in a Renaissance period on Arion. When the first colonists landed 500 years earlier, they lost their technology because of the extreme magnetism in the planet’s core. The characters in the book don’t necessarily feel like they have ‘to deal’ with anything. For them, it’s the only world they’ve ever known. The real hardship is between them and their enemies.

Q: Is there a message in the novel that you want readers to grasp?
A: A good story will have a theme that many messages can be gleaned from. I’d like to let the readers find the message that suits them best. As long as my readers get something from the book, I’ll be happy.

Q: What books have most influenced your writing?
A: Strangely, some of the most influential books in my life have been non-fiction:

    1. Baa Baa Black Sheep – This is the first autobiography I ever read. I got excited about flying when I saw Black Sheep Squadron on TV, and my folks got me the book as a gift. I was ten or eleven at the time. It was a huge book, but I ate it up. Pappy Boyington was one of my first heroes, even though he often said, “show me a hero and I’ll prove he’s a bum”. It gave me the notion that regular, troubled folks could still do heroic stuff, and that amazed me.
    2. The Right Stuff – Chuck Yeager is another childhood hero of mine. The book is more of a biography of the U.S. space program, but Mr. Yeager stands out to me as the original space cowboy. He was the first person to break the sound barrier, and did it with broken ribs no less. I saw how science can create new technology, but mankind can’t use it unless someone is tough enough to put their life on the line to prove it works.
    3. The Time Machine – It’s impossible to create visionary characters without having vision yourself. H.G. Wells not only instilled his own vision into his characters, but imagined the new technologies they would create. He pioneered new ground in science fiction, and I make it my goal to do the same.

Comments are closed