Monday, May 28, 2012

Wyatt Davenport: Interview With an Author

If you aren't familiar with Wyatt Davenport, he's the author of the Lunara Series.  Creating a host of interesting characters and a post apocalyptic world, Davenport is a science fiction maestro.  It was time to get to know him a little bit better.

Did you grow up as a science fiction fan?
I've been a sci-fi fan for as long as I can remember. My first memory of sci-fi was a double feature of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. Obviously, I loved it. I also have fond memories of watching Star Trek: The next generation with my dad. Science Fiction has always been a genre of choice for me when it comes to books and movies. I would estimate 95 percent of the books I read are science fiction or fantasy. Nothing else really interests me.

Describe the moment that you just knew you loved this genre.
It was definitely the moment I saw Darth Vader burn a hole into the corvette, pop his head through the hatchway, and everyone in the theatre was cheering. I was only four and at a double feature so everyone had already seen the movie four years earlier. This was my first experience with Darth and he both intimidated and fascinated me. Best bad guy in fiction history.
My love of science fiction was further strengthened by Star Trek. I love The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. I still contend Deep Space Nine is the best of the bunch. What a great story.

These days do you prefer to read it or watch it?
I prefer to read over any other media because I can paint a lot of the details myself. This "ruins" less of the stories. This has influenced my writing style as I'm a minimalist whereby I provide enough details for the reader to draw an outline and I allow them to paint the colors and the fill picture. I believe this is the best way to create a story.
Movies, and I believe it’s a reason why people always say the book is better, has the issue where the pictures and the details are given by the director instead of by the imagination of the reader. Providing your own details gives you the power to make it perfect.

Where did the concept behind the Lunara series come from?
I always wanted to read a "Star Wars in our solar system" concept. Lunara is just that in my estimation, but it has my own twist and sci-fi preferences baked in. I came up with the concept back in 2002. It took my almost three or four years to write the first book. I had plenty to learn about writing and creating a story. I took in ultra-slow because I wanted it to come together correctly. Once I learned the craft well-enough to write more books, I expanded my library to five books.

Many people talk about Martian colonization in the future, so why did you destroy Earth?
Earth's uninhabitable atmosphere was a key to my series. Humanity is dependent on Earth for survival, but I wanted to shift that dependence to Mars. I wanted Mars to be the focal point of everything that happens within the series. If the Earth were active and healthy, it would weigh too heavily on the readers. What is the point of struggling to survive on Mars or colonizing Mars when Earth is viable? You can see it today with our space program. No one wants to explore space because it has no value. It is just a vast wasteland to many. I wanted my series to focus on how humanity would deal with the loss of its mother.

Seth & Chloe are outsiders, but also dating. How does the romantic angle change what you write?
Seth and Chloe needed to be dating because their bond is the key to Seth's obsession with her safety. Like many men, he wants the one he loves to be safe and happy. Ultimately, it leads to issues between them, with the crew, and a driving story line in the first book.

How could you sum up the series for someone who hasn't read it before?
The Lunar series is like Star Wars in our solar system. It follows the crew of the Protector as they fight for their freedom, the freedom of others, and the freedom of their beloved colony Lunara. At a character level, it also deals with the crew, which is made up of people from several different backgrounds, and how each react to the attack. Some are from the attacking colony, while others aren't. Each reacts in their own unique way.

Was the Lunara series always your main idea, or have you had other projects in mind?
Lunara is my ideal series to write because I have so much time and heart invested in it. I believe it is a great sci-fi series because it gives a potential glimpse into what our space program could end up being if humanity were motivated to explore our solar system with more vigor.
I have two other series I would love to write and I have begun researching one of them. I can't give the details but it is another "in our world" sci-fi series. I would also like to write an "out of the galaxy" alien type sci-fi series. Like Star Wars, it would contain many different species. This one isn't a high priority to me, but if I ever get the time, I would do it.

If you could write into any well established sci fi franchise, which one?  What would you do?
Two ideas. I would write in the Star Wars universe definitely. I would want to write some 400 to 1000 years after A New Hope so I could use the rich history of the universe, but not be restricted by the current universe's many tales. I like to have options when I write.
I would also love to write a Predators vs Aliens book. I believe a story set in the future where humans had caught up to the Predators in technology would be a fantastic universe to write in. I have some great ideas on it.

Who are some of your favorite science fiction creators?
I love reading Timothy Zahn's Star Wars books, Michael Crichton, and really any Sci-fi authors. Haven't read a horrible sci-fi adventure book yet.

What's next for you?
I am going to release the 4th and 5th book in the Lunara series this summer, probably August time frame. I'm also 15 chapters into the next Lunara trilogy. I hope to have 8 books by the summer of 2013. I would then move to the next series or even more Lunara books. I've been getting regular readers to my Lunara series so I might be obligated to give them more Lunara series books, which I don't mind.

Hopefully you enjoyed your insight into author Wyatt Davenport. I'm personally looking forward to his Star Wars book.  At 400 to 1000 years into their future, perhaps it will only be in a galaxy far, far away (and not quite so long ago).  If you'd like to start getting into his Lunara Series, however, take a look here:
The Original Trilogy (the complete collection):
Seth and Chloe:
Gwen and Eamonn:
Parker and the Protector:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Fictional NBA Blog

I'm a science fiction writer, but I'm also a huge basketball fan (not fiction).  For the last two seasons, I have been a New Jersey Nets season ticket owner (also not fiction).  Thing is, as of May 1st, they became the Brooklyn Nets and I still haven't decided if I'm going to follow them.  So I got to thinking about these Nets, and the "cross town" (cross tunnel?) Knicks.  I used to love playing with ESPN's Trade Machine and working out deals that make sense with the cap, and the chemistry of the team.  (Side note: I predicted the Deron Williams trade to the Nets, with actual hard proof of it, which still weirds me out).

Started thinking about the Nets and the Knicks, the playoffs, the needs, what I saw this year... and thinking about Bill Simmons.  You see, the Grantland founder and lead editor is my favorite sports columnist (apologies to Chris Sheridan, a close number two).  Bill considers himself the Maestro of the Trade Machine, and the VP of Common Sense.  It's been quite some time, but I decided to try out a trade that makes sense for both teams - either of which (or possibly neither) that I will be rooting for next year, so I actually want both to succeed.

We need to take some items into consideration:
1. Carmelo Anthony appears to succeed as a focal point, and could use someone to clean up his misses.
2. The Knicks seem to be heading towards a defensive team, but still lack a little.
3. The Nets weren't much of a defensive team, but their offense sputtered.
4. Amar'e Stoudemire (forward 'STAT') has knees so bad, the Knicks couldn't insure his contract.
5. Deron Williams said that he might come back to the Nets, but no guarantees.

So let's deal.  And the deals... will surround the mighty sign and trade.  Keeping in mind that STAT's contract is uninsured (and has much more money, for many more years), that the Nets have no first round draft picks (and Gerald Williams, cost of the first round pick, might opt out and leave), and that the Nets are moving into a brand new building...

Amar'e Stoudemire & 2012 1st round pick to the Nets for
Kris Humphries (s&t), Jerald Green (s&t), Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro

Wait, what?  Seriously?  Yep, seriously.  Let's start with the Nets haul of STAT and a pick.
What the Nets needed was a scoring punch, and what he does is score.  Jordan Williams came on enough at the end of the season to prove that he could play valuable backup minutes at both the 4 and 5, meaning he can spell STAT's knees, and Brook Lopez in general.  Speaking of Brook, with a scoring stud taking focus, it frees him up to play #2 quite keenly.  A true star on the roster is more likely to bring back Gerald Wallace for a strong front line, and potentially provide a back court of Deron Williams and Marshon Brooks (coming off a strong rookie campaign).  The pick will help to add some depth.

This team won't win a championship any time soon, but it will certainly make the playoffs, and possibly win a series thanks to the scoring punch.  It would be better than anything they've had in years, and comes without the drama of Dwight Howard.

The Knicks' side of things is more about chemistry and purpose.  Let's start in the back court.  Jordan Farmar had starting stretches last season, played fairly well this season, and did alright overseas (not great, just alright) playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv.  The man is a competent back up, and willing to play the role.  Barron Davis is not, sadly, trustworthy to sit behind Jeremy Lin if both are healthy for a full season.  Mike Bibby is... so, moving on.  Jerald Green is a spark plug with a strong shooters touch, and a flair for the dramatic.  The Garden loves a sixth man spark, and to have both Green and Novak coming off the bench together would be downright exciting.  There may need to be an additional trade to free up some playing room (Fields perhaps?) but this makes for an exciting change of pace and strong scoring off the bench.

We'll dismiss the draft pick because, honestly, the Knicks are looking for contributors for a ring, and they won't find one at this stage of the draft.  That pick helps to convince the Nets to look the other way on those creaky knees.  Petro, make no mistake, is a foul machine capable of blocking a couple of shots and scoring 8-10 points a game.  He can bang with the Gasols, Garnets, Boshs and Ibakas of the world.  With a contract that isn't so horrendous as it feels when you're counting on him to play major minutes all season (thanks, Nets management),  he's a good enough back up.

The key, of course, is Kris Humphries.  Forget the fact that he hung 29 on Miami, and is capable of scoring 20 plus points a game if he was a focal point.  The fact is that he won't be, but he doesn't need to be for maximum effect.  Kris does two things very well: play defense and rebound.  Melo is a bit off with his shooting touch in the first quarter?  Hump is there to clean up the glass and fire the ball back.  Need someone to bang against LeBron or Blake Griffin without fear?  No problem.  Thunderous statement dunk or key 12 footer for some momentum?  Sure why not.  He's learned a lot, and become stronger through the ill-fated Kardashian ordeal (more on that another day), and truly honed both his head and his game the past two seasons.

So, I'll admit, I'd be alright watching either of these two particular lineups.  Truth is, with the aforementioned creaky knees, the Knicks would be more fun to watch three years from now (and more likely to win), but this keeps both in the playoffs, and possibly lends New York a shot at taking the Atlantic Division crown as the Celtics fade to the pack.

My apologies to those who think that I only care about science fiction.  Of course, this trade is about as likely to happen as anything from my Olympus Union series, so it's fair enough.