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Author Interview ~ Dan Melson

Dan Melson is Joining us today as I strive to explore 30 Authors in 30 Days! Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer in his day job, Dan Melson lives in Southern California with The World’s Only Perfect Woman, two daughters in training to take over the world, and two dachshunds. We are discussing The Man From Empire (Rediscovery book 1 of 4)The Man From Empire Life in the Empire has finally settled down. The last of the ston rebels have taken amnesty, and re-joined civilization - or have they? A massive terrorist attack kills millions and the trail leads the investigator straight to a remote world with no known Imperial contact - a world known to its inhabitants as Earth You can follow Melson on Facebook I've been given an excerpt to share! Let's take a look inside the book: No matter what the song says, it does rain in southern California. All the damn time in March of El Nino years. The most recent storm had finished blowing through earlier that evening. I didn’t like working after dark, but the compliance reports just couldn’t wait any longer. My boss, “Call me George” Martinez, had informed me that the EPA was crawling all over him and that if the hazardous usage and disposal reports weren’t completed by the time he got to work in the morning, I would be joining the ranks of the unemployed. In blue state basket case California, in the middle of the worst economy of the last eighty years. Jerk. Overall, Riverside’s not a bad town. I’ve got a small apartment not too far from the UC campus. The complex is full of students with a smattering of old fogeys too poor and too stubborn to leave, and working class stiffs, not to mention hybrids like me. The ones I’ve talked to were alright. But this wasn’t there. The warehouse sits in a commercial district near where the 91 dies and turns into the 215 at the 60 merge. There are some rough people nearby, in the old twenties and thirties housing they threw up back before tract housing. Tiny lots, old decaying houses, ancient plumbing and wiring, never updated. Paint cracked, chipped, and peeling. Calling them Craftsmen would be implying a level of charm that simply didn’t exist. Streets jammed with old junker cars. Chain link fences, neglected lawns, junk left wherever someone dropped it because it was too much effort to clean up. An occasional abuela put in a few flowers that just made the rest of the neighborhood look even more pitiful. Rough people, mostly poor hispanics with the occasional white trash or black, human refuse that just didn’t have what it took to get ahead in the world as it had become. Some were disabled, most simply never applied themselves much. Get a second or third generation in there, and you got some real gangbanging. Easy path to see, damned near impossible to make it work into a real life worth living. Enough to make me appreciate my parents, who escaped that world and made sure I knew enough not to fall back. The gangs had been cooped up inside most of the previous ten days. El Nino storms came through one after another. Maybe they wouldn’t drown or freeze you, but they were cold, wet, and miserable – at least by the standards of California weather. Nobody came out when it was raining without a good reason why they had to be out there and then, but once it stopped a light jacket would keep you warm, and the hoodies would be out looking to burn off some energy. It’s not like they had anything better to do. And here I was, a 28 year old woman leaving the building all by myself in the dark just after eight-thirty with no one around. Just bad luck the four guys in jackets walking up the other side of the street at the exact wrong time. No key to get back in – damn “Call me George” to hell. I picked up my pace. If I could get to my car – beater that it is – and lock the doors there was a chance I’d be able to drive away. Mistake. The hoodies started to run. Now there was some effort in it for them, things were looking worse for me. Cell phone, you say? I could grab the phone and push the number to dial 911, but it wouldn’t do me a bit of good. Typical response time was thirty minutes. By the time the cops showed up, it would be long over. I was about to do it anyway when it happened. I swear on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that this happened. He looked like an Angel of the Lord, minus the wings. Hanging up there in the air. Well, not hanging – he was falling, though not like he was getting pulled – more like he was riding an escalator that wasn’t there. At least six five, thin as a rail, with a softly glowing sword of all the improbable things. Wearing what looked like some kind of uniform, dark with lighter trim, cut like nothing I’d ever seen. I don’t know what he did to call attention to himself, but all of a sudden the ‘bangers noticed him. Not just the ‘bangers, but everything’s attention was wrenched towards him as if someone grabbed our heads, sunk hooks into our eyeballs and made us look. Right down to the rats in the dumpsters. That was enough for the ‘bangers. They hauled out their guns and started banging away. The visitor looked puzzled for an instant, then the sword vanished, and I saw a flash from him. Something in his hand – didn’t did get a good look at what it was. The gang members fell over so fast it was over before I could twitch. Damn! The guy was fast. I’d never seen anything like that even in the movies. One look showed four lifeless bodies with blood starting to pool. The visitor lit with catlike grace, apparently as unconcerned as if nothing had just happened. I had a decision to make, and I did. I jumped in my car and got the hell out of Dodge. I didn’t want to be anywhere in the neighborhood when the cops finally got there. I didn’t stop to say thanks, I definitely didn’t talk to him, I just jumped in and went. I didn’t slow down until I was home. I might have run a red light or two; I really couldn’t tell you with any certainty. Phew! That was a little more than a sneak peek! That brings us to the fun stuff - the Q & A. I've been told my questions are a hard to answer. They didn't seem to phase this author though: Question: Who is your favourite character in your book and why? Answer: My favorite character in the book is Graciela Juarez, a Hispanic woman living in Riverside California. Grace isn’t perfect, or close to it. She has a flawed past, and she’s made some mistakes. She’s not the sort to seek out the Hero’s Path – but when it is thrust upon her, she chooses to follow it, despite everything it does to disrupt her Plan. Question: Please describe him/her/they a) physically b) their personality Answer: When we meet her, Grace is 28 years old. She is five foot four, roughly 145 pounds, with medium brown skin, brown eyes and dark brown, almost black shoulder length hair. She’s on the chubby side, not fit. She calls herself a couch potato, from studying for her biochemistry degree and working full time. She is youngest of five children, four girls and one boy. She is a bit of an introvert, but driven by the realization she’s wasted several years of her life and wants to focus on finishing college and starting her career. She’s trying to prove to herself she’s grown up now, by the standards of her Mexican family’s upbringing. She’s above average smart but no genius and she knows it. Sometimes she gets by in her studies by sheer dogged determination. Right now, she has very little social life, mostly visits with family, most importantly her parents and her oldest sister. She is specifically NOT a fan of science fiction. Question: Could I have a couple of quotes from your book of dialogue that shows that personality? Answer: Quote 1) If you know Mexican families, there really isn’t any response to the husband and children thing unless you’ve got the ring and at least a child on the way. That didn’t keep me from trying, “Mama, you’ve got fifteen grandchildren already. Peter is almost my age and sure looks serious about that new girlfriend of his.” Peter had finished his MBA the previous summer and Mama couldn’t be more proud. He wasn’t making much yet, but he did have a good job putting his degree to work. She crowed over him for a couple minutes, and let me get off the phone. Quote 2) As he had responded to my last, I realized I had made a real mistake that caused him to drastically lower his opinion of me. And I was more certain all the time that I wanted his good opinion. “I’m sorry. Yes, I think we do, but evidently I’m not one of them.” I saw his point perfectly, intellectually. It’s just that it’s damned hard to imagine someone who’d jump into a hole like that, with risk like that on a moment’s notice, simply because it was necessary or expected under the circumstances. It would be necessary to change some of my most basic thinking. “Yet,” I added, chastened. Question: What genre would you say the book falls into? Answer: Space Opera Question: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content readers should know about? Answer: Two non-sexual adult situations, one with nudity involved. Question: Do you have any upcoming events? Answer: Unfortunately, not at this time Question: What is next for you? Do you have anything in the works? Answer: My primary work in progress is another book about Grace, roughly 25 years later. The working title is The Invention of Motherhood, and it is more the beginning of a new series than the continuation of Rediscovery. She and her husband are starting their family, and she’s decided that unlike everyone else in the Empire, she wants to carry the first one naturally. I’m also working on a fantasy called The Gates to Faerie. I’d say it would be a mixture of urban fantasy and swords and sorcery, depending upon what side of the Gates you’re on at the moment. The final thing I’m making significant progress on is a fantasy/science fiction crossover, riffing on Michael Moorcock and Roger Zelazny. The hook is that it begins at the moment a metaphorical Pinocchio is promoted to Real Boy. Question: Do you have any special mentions? (Editor, cover art etc...) Answer: The editor-in-chief is my wife, The World’s Only Perfect Woman. Between us, we get a lot of compliments on the job we do. I’ve been doing my own cover art, but I’d like to be able to afford to pay a real artist. Question: If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Please describe the place rather than just a name. The weather, the time of day, the ground, the surroundings, foliage, etc... Answer: I want to go back to the Scottish Highlands in the summer. Everything is green, there are purple thistles all over the place, and the hills and valleys are just generally gorgeous. Nowhere I’ve been is even close. Most specifically, I want to visit the Isle of Skye, one of the Inner Hebrides. There are generally clouds, but in summer rain generally doesn’t last too long. The coastline is spectacular, rocky and rugged and with all kinds of interesting features like The Old Man of Skorr. Only had about four hours last time, and I didn’t get halfway to Dunvegan Castle, the only fortress in Europe that has never been taken by an enemy, and where the Faerie Flag is kept. I want to poke around the harbor on a summer morning, when it’s cool but sunny. I’d also like to visit Edinburgh again, show my wife Edinburgh Castle and the chapel of St. Margaret and the statue of Greyfriars’ Bobby, the Stone of Scone, and many other things. Edinburgh is enjoyably walkable, and the people are friendly. My favorite phrase from the last visit was, “Pardon me for being an ignorant American tourist, but how do I…?” If the character from above were in that place what would they be doing? Answer: It depends upon when in her story arc. When we meet her in The Man From Empire, she’d be quietly looking at all the touristy things, keeping to herself – but she’d never spend the money at that point. In later stories it would change with her situation – her character evolves over time, and in every story the answer would be different. Question: If your character was allowed one chance to say anything to your readers, what would he/she say? Answer: Once again, it would depend upon when in her story arc. In The Man From Empire, she’d probably say something like, “This is the only life you get. It’s not a dress rehearsal” Question: If your character could donate to any charity, which one would he/she choose? Answer: Coming from a traditional Mexican family, she’s a good Catholic. She tithes to the church. If she had extra beyond that, probably an animal rescue or zoo. . Thank you for your time, you can find more about The Man From Empire by following the listed links. Happy Reading!

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