In today's guest author interview we welcome Brian Burt, author of 'Aquarius Rising: In the Tears of God', find out what he has to say below:
Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Brian Burt. For my day job, I'm a software engineer who recently joined the ranks of information security. (Depending on who you ask, we InfoSec folks are either the Jedi knights of IT or the Sith lords.) I've written short speculative fiction for years, with more than 20 publications in various magazines, e-zines, and anthologies. My short story, "The Last Indian War," won the L. Ron Hubbard Gold Award (grand prize) in the Writers of the Future contest a while back and was anthologized in "Writers of the Future Volume VIII." To my own shock and elation, I have a wonderful wife and three boys (two teens... ouch... and one 7-year-old who still doesn't think I'm a complete idiot) who tolerate my weird imaginings.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always loved reading and have read voraciously since I was a kid. I especially enjoyed speculative fiction: SF, fantasy, and horror. I was on an extended IS consulting gig overseas in Dublin, Ireland, for about 18 months when I finally decided to surrender to my secret desire to write stories of my own. Ireland was a wonderful place: beautiful scenery, rich history, an aura of mystery and magic. I guess it inspired me. Unfortunately, it couldn’t make me good: that first short story was fairly awful. But I kept trying, and I did get better, I swear!
What is the last book you have read?
Most recently, I finished the non-fiction book “Eaarth,” by Bill McKibben. It explores the new reality of a planet already significantly altered by the effects of climate change, and how we can take pragmatic steps as a society to “degrade gracefully” as the impacts intensify. It was sobering, and a bit depressing, but a useful wake-up call. Fiction-wise, the most recent books I’ve read were “Hunters of Dune” and “Sandworms of Dune,” because I always wanted to find out how Frank Herbert’s classic series wrapped up in the end.
Where is your happy place?
My home office, where I spend hours in front of this laptop, struggling to create new worlds! But if we’re speaking of that special imaginary place: for me, it would be somewhere deep in a forest, with green growing things all around me, a cool canopy of leaves providing shade, and birds and animals supplying the music.
If you could work with any author, who would it be and why?
Wow - that’s a brutal question, because there are so many great authors whose works have inspired and amazed me. If I have to pick one, I’d say Stephen King. I think he would teach me a lot about the craft of writing, the work ethic of getting words down even when it’s painful, and the art of creating fully fleshed, believable characters that make the reader care about their fates. King’s characters usually strike me as familiar - people I recognize from my own life - and they’re so compelling that I believe the unbelievable supernatural circumstances in which they’re immersed. That’s a remarkable feat for any writer!
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I think it’s supremely satisfying to play God in the writer’s limited context: to mold a fictional world, populate it with characters, and decide what happens to them. (Although sometimes the characters defy me and strike out on their own.) The ultimate reward is having a reader say “wow, that story was cool,” or “I couldn’t get it out of my head.” That, when it happens, is the ultimate buzz!
And the most challenging?
Pushing through writer’s block at the end of a long, long stint at the day job, when the brain has turned to mush, after the kids have needed help with homework or household chores have consumed most of the evening, and you just want to collapse into unconsciousness. Balancing writing time with family time and “paycheck-earning” time is a complex calculus I’ve never completely mastered.
What are you working on at the moment?
Well, my first novel, “Aquarius Rising: In the Tears of God,” was just released from Double Dragon Publishing. This was intended to be Book 1 of a trilogy, so I’m hard at work on Book 2: “Blood Tide.” Book 3, “The Price of Eden,” is just a loose collection of mental notes, but that will come next. These novels are set on a future Earth ravaged by global warming, and by an attempt to reverse it that went terribly wrong. Human-dolphin hybrids called Aquarians have created underwater reef communities among the drowned human cities along the coasts, and other hybrid humanoids have staked their claim to ecological niches at the boundaries of a hostile, inhospitable planet. The tension and conflict between these subspecies and their “parent” human race drives much of the action.
Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
“Aquarius Rising: In the Tears of God” is just out from Double Dragon ( http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.php?ISBN=1-77115-090-4 ). It’s available from major eBook retailers like Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Sony, as well as in paperback format through Lulu.com. Those who are interested can also freely sample some of my previously published short fiction at http://www.briantburt.com or can learn more on my Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/BrianBurtAuthor ) or Goodreads ( http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2918170.Brian_Burt ) author pages. Visitors are always welcome!
Aquarius Rising: In The Tears of God is available from Amazon