I’m on Pinterest!

I decided to open up a Pinterest account to post about my Jak Phoenix novels and about all the stuff I’m into. Look for future postings where I’ll showcase some of my favorite indie authors, among other things.

You’ll find my boards at www.pinterest.com/jakphoenix

Come and follow me. I hope to see you there!

Matt D. Williams
Author of the Jak Phoenix space adventure novels.

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My interview at Herladyshipsquest.com with Tracy Falbe

jak phoenix 1 and jak phoenix 2: the markazian deception paperback booksI was interviewed by fantasy author Tracy Falbe yesterday and we discussed writing, inspiration and my character Jak Phoenix. Here’s a snippet of that interview:

With two novels and a short story to his name (and a few good reviews) Canadian indie author Matt D. Williams reveals what he likes about his low-achiever hero Jak Phoenix and his writing goals.

1. Why space opera? What elements of this genre do you enjoy most as a writer?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been attracted to sprawling space opera-type tales with an inherent lighter tone. There is just something about an action packed pulp story told on a grand scale that gets my heart pumping and my mind racing. The big heroes, the diabolical villains, the explosions, the space pistols – fun stuff.

There are many very talented authors out there who are doing exceptional work with harder technical sci-fi. They would flatten me in a second if I attempted to join that game, but that type of story just doesn’t suit my personality. I set out to make a series of books you could pull out of your back pocket on a rainy Sunday afternoon and be quickly lost in a fun escapist adventure. Like life, the Jak Phoenix series will grow a little darker as it matures, but I will always be sure to remember where this tale came from.

All in all I set out to write a book I would enjoy as a kid, a teen, or an adult. Something a “regular” person could enjoy, even if he or she were oblivious to most science fiction. I wanted to read something that would make me feel the way I felt the first time I saw Luke and Han arguing over a princess while trying to blast their way out of an evil space station…

Head over to Tracy’s website and read the full interview.

I’d like to send a big thanks to Tracy for this opportunity!

Matt D. Williams

Jak Phoenix 2 & The Journey of Life

With the release of my novel, Jak Phoenix 2: The Markazian Deception just around the corner, I found myself doing some reflecting on the events that have passed since I finished the first book. Since you’re reading this, you’ve probably realized I am now going to share them with you.

Life

It took me longer than I’d planned to get this far with Jak Phoenix 2, but I promise you it wasn’t purely to do with laziness. Writing this book was an exercise in determination.

I started writing the sequel in January 2010 and the process was punctuated with an assortment of life-related interruptions. Some bad, some good and some great! I also took a break soon after starting it to write the short story, Jak Phoenix: Paid in Full. (You can download that free at the Sony Reader Store, Kobo, Smashwords and iTunes/iBookstore.)

But, aside from trying to keep up with my hobbies of guitar playing and film-watching, I actually had some important stuff happen.

I married my lovely wife in October of 2010, so needless to say, a large chunk of the year was designated to the planning and stressing over our James Bond themed wedding. Yeah, that’s right. A James Bond themed wedding. She’s that cool.

I also spent most of 2011 doing a full, tear-the-walls-down renovation on our basement. I did this primarily alone, so that was a great way to absorb all of my free time.

Oh yeah, and after working at my full time job, I’m taking night courses. From time to time I try (not that hard) to maintain some sort of social relationships. I know many people are far more busy, but I just wanted to lay out my excuses up front.

In the end, I finally finished it. And it feels good.

About the Book

With Jak Phoenix 2, I had some different goals in mind than on the first novel. I wanted to keep the humor and action at a level as high as the first book, but I wanted to keep the story grounded in a smaller galactic region. In Jak Phoenix 1, they were flying all over the galaxy. I wanted to see how Jak might react with some restrictions on not only his movements, but his actions.

I also made it a goal to ensure the villain was not as clear. In the first novel, the villain was as big as a planet, but this time I wanted to create a story where things weren’t so easily figured out. Fewer villains wearing black hats, as they say. I wanted more twists and turns, and a stronger sense of mystery.

I also wanted to put the characters through more emotionally difficult situations and experiment with creating a rising level of dramatic intrigue. Don’t worry, Jak is still a lazy smart ass, but maybe he is a man who can be beaten … or hurt … or deceived. What happens when his selfishness starts to affect the people around him?

In the end, it’s still a simple pulp space opera story meant to supply you with big spills, thrills and chills, and a heavy helping of humour. But, by the end you’ll see something more sinister might be brewing in the Azore’s Crown galaxy.

Jak Phoenix 2: The Markazian Deception - Space Adventure eBook

New Interview with Author Robert Capko!

robert capkoIt is my pleasure to speak today with independent author Robert Capko. I’ve communicated with Robert quite a bit over the last year or so but this is the first time I decided to put him on the spot for an interview. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it…

MW: Your military experience obviously adds a lot of realism to your writing. Tell us a bit about your background in the military.

RC: Thank you for asking, Matt.  I served in the Air Force in the time period leading up to Desert Storm.   It was then that I first learned of the Air Force Pararescue Jumpers (PJs) and their mission to rescue downed pilots behind enemy lines.  I was fascinated by their ability to both fight and save lives.  I knew immediately that I wanted to write novels about them.  From there I spent a tremendous amount of time learning as much as I could about PJs and what they do.  I have been privileged to meet many of them and to tour their training  facilities.  They are truly unsung heroes

What aspects of that career stuck with you?

I met a lot of really wonderful people and many of them remain great friends to this day.  I am proud of serving my country and through my writing I want to honor others who are serving or have served, and are keeping us safe and free.

Were there any specific experiences in the military that found their way into your book, Say Goodbye?
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I draw mostly upon my experience of the way members of the military interact with one another and the atmosphere in which they operate.  Keeping in mind I write fiction, not training manuals, I strive to capture the essence of military life.

I wanted my writing to contrast with other action/adventure novels wherein everything worked flawlessly and the mission and leadership are perfectly logical.  I strive for a more accurate portrayal of life in the military.  Our troops face challenges daily, and, unfortunately, many of those challenges come from places other than just the enemy.  I bring that frame of reference to Say Goodbye.

Why did you decide to take the leap and write a novel?

I’m not sure I would describe it as a leap.  It was never a question of should I or shouldn’t I write.  I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was in middle school.  I started writing several novels and dreamed about writing many more.   Say Goodbye just happens to be the first one that made it onto the bookstore shelves.  I wish it had been a leap, but it was more like a multi-year ultra-marathon.

How are you friends and colleagues from the military responding to your work?

They love it and they are pushing me to write more.  Many of them are invaluable resources and keep me on track and true to the spirit.

Who else do you think your book would appeal to?

Say Goodbye has garnered a surprising number of female fans for what, at first glance, might appear to be purely a “guy book.”  I have received emails and positive reviews from men and women, some who are veterans, or spouses of veterans, and some who have never had any contact with military life.

Anyone who enjoys a good story about people who are devoted to each other and the challenges they face and how they must sometimes make impossible choices will enjoy Say Goodbye.  My goal was to get your heart racing as you turn the pages.  Send me a message and let me know if I have succeed.  I would love to hear from you.

Are there any of your own personal traits in your main character, John Paxton?

Of course there are! 🙂 But I think there is a little John Paxton in all of us.

When is the sequel to Say Goodbye due?

The Long Road Home will be out soon.  I’m putting the final touches on the manuscript, then I have to send it off to the Beta readers and then off to editing.  I can’t wait because I am very excited about it.

Can you give us a secret plot point from the second John Paxton book?

In The Long Road Home, Pararescueman John Paxton goes back to face an enemy that seeks him with a deadly vengeance.  What he discovers is an enemy more ruthless and clever than he has ever faced before.

What challenges have you come across in your writing journey?

Finding the time to write without interruption was always a challenge.     I spent a lot of time in the middle of the night at the computer writing,  knowing that I would have to be at work early in the morning.  It is also a particularly lonely process.  You write and write and wonder if anyone will like what you have written.  A writer must press on even though they crave feedback.  Believing in yourself is key.

Where can people find you online?

Like my Facebook Fan Page at:  http://www.facebook.com/robertjcapkofanpage
I was even excited to learn that “John Paxton” has found his way into the Urban Dictionary.
Say Goodbye is available in paperback and the eBook format of your choice.

An Interview with Author Mark Chisnell (2011)

In 2011 I had the opportunity to speak with professional racing sailor and author, Mark Chisnell. He has written some well respected works and to say he is interesting is an understatement. Here’s a bit of that interview…

You can read the full interview at http://jakphoenix.com/2011/02/26/an-interview-with-author-mark-chisnell/

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MW: Hi Mark. Can you tell us about yourself?

MC: I was brought up on the east coast of England, close to both the sea and an inland network of lakes called the Norfolk Broads, so boats were everywhere. I started racing sailing dinghies, got a degree in physics and philosophy and then worked in a factory for a summer to buy a ticket to Australia, with a vague plan to see some stuff and write a book.

By the time I got home I’d published some travel stories in the New Zealand Herald and the South China Morning Post, and I’d broken into the professional sailing circuit via the British America’s Cup team that was racing in Australia at the time. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between those two things – writing and pro sailboat racing – ever since.

Give us a rundown on your book, The Defector.

The Defector began as an idea from my philosophy classes – the Prisoner’s Dilemma is a Games Theory concept that was dreamed up by the RAND corporation, the people who brought us the MAD theory (Mutually Assured Destruction) during the Cold War. I wanted to make it more personal than that, and had in mind a game played for life and death stakes, involving a love triangle. The basic idea immediately makes it a genre book, a thriller, and I went for a classic chase story. The psychotic drug smuggler, Janac forces the hero, Martin Cormac to make a succession of escalating, nightmare choices in his struggle to get free.

It took me about three years to get from the idea to a story with characters and a plot, and to get a first draft down on paper. It took another four years to rewrite it and find a publisher. Random House brought it out (called The Delivery) in 1996 in the UK. Then it was republished as The Defector by Harper Collins in New Zealand and Australia – I was living down there for a while for a sailing competition…

Read the full article with info about the sequel to The Defector over at JakPhoenix.com

An Interview with Independent Author W. A. Patterson

future useless scifi sci-fi ebook coverIn early 2011 my new “Checking in with Other Authors” series was going well so I sat down for another one with independent author W. A. Patterson who wrote a book called Future Useless. Enjoy a taste of that interview below…

The full article can be found at http://jakphoenix.com/2011/01/27/an-interview-with-author-w-a-patterson/

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Since the first two interviews I posted on the site were well received, I’ve decided to continue and speak with some other great independent authors. W. A. Patterson recently sent me his novel, Future Useless, and it caught my eye, so I asked him a few questions about it. Here’s what he had to say:

MW: Tell us about your novel, Future Useless.

WAP: Future Useless is the story of Carl Gussman-  hospital Janitor from the 20th century- stranded in the 30th century and beyond. He’s an “artifact,” and phobic about the nanotechnology needed for an everyday life in the future. He lacks the education, money, family and friends needed to survive on his own in the future.  In effect he is useless in the future.

Instead of accepting this and moving to a colony where religious beliefs make it easier to live a simple life, Carl spends years working to make the universe work for him.

Carl eventually disappears, but after a century, Lissa- the historian that revived him – gets access to his secret journals and starts to find out more about man she thought she knew, and discovers some scary things about him.

Once she’s finished, Lissa fights between feeling pushed to find Carl, and her fear of just what he’s been out doing in the universe for over a century.

Tell us a bit about your main character, Carl.

Carl Gussman is mostly my father and a bit of a few other older men I know who grew up in the 30’s and 40’s. They represent and part and mind-set of the American identity that has been lost in the last few decades.  Carl is a man that grew up in a world where a man had no limits, except those he set for himself.  These men (and women, of course) never ran into a problem they would not overcome because they were raised to expect problems to be overcome and not road blocks to all progress.  Carl mirrors this and is kind of the savant of his generation. He’s got this lifetime of experience and the patience and duplicity to use it as he sees fit…

Read the full interview at JakPhoenix.com

An Interview with Author Brian S. Pratt

In January of 2011, I had the honor of speaking with independent author Brian S. Pratt, who was kind enough to answer a few questions. We spoke about his stories, his success and publishing in general. For those of you who don’t know him, he is probably the most successful independent author ever, with thousands upon thousands of books sold without the help of a major publisher. If you’re an author or a fantasy reader, enjoy the interview below!

The full interview can be found at http://jakphoenix.com/2011/01/22/an-interview-with-brian-s-pratt/

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MW: Tell us a little bit about yourself:

BSP: I’m just a regular guy whose imagination tends to run amuck now and again. I am a veteran (Air Force), drove taxi, managed a Pizza Hut and even taught teens to drive for a couple years. Nothing in my history would indicate here’s a guy who is going to write a bunch of books. Of course, anyone who knew me from when I was 12 until now would know that a book is never far from my hand. I read all the time, less so now that I’m writing.  I live in the country and prefer peace and quiet.

Could you give us a quick overview of the Morcyth Saga?

It’s seven books long, never been edited, written in the present tense, and has sold well over 50,000 copies. A rather unbelievable achievement given that I hadn’t a clue what I was doing when I started. Had I known then what I know now, I never would have written it in present tense. Some people just can’t get over that.

The Morcyth Saga is about a teen who is into role playing and likes to read fantasy novels. He goes for a job, ends up in another world where magic works, and then discovers that his experiences from role playing and reading are going to come in rather handy. The way I figured it…

Read the full interview at Jakphoenix.com

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