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15 Nov 2012

Indie author interview
Edward McKeown

This post is apart of a book tour for Was Once a Hero by Edward McKeown. Check out the rest of the tour here.

Title: Was Once A Hero
Author: Edward McKeown
Published: Hellfire Publishing – January 2012
Word Count: 78,000
Genre: Sci-Fi

Reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday searches the stars for his lost love, Lisa, a naval intelligence officer whose ship disappeared near the end of the Conchirri War . He’s joined by the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell, whose cold perfection masks her dark past. Both are blackmailed by government spymaster, Mandela, into a suicidal mission to the doomed planet Enshar. Leading a team of scientists and soldiers, they must unravel the mystery of that planet’s death before an ancient force reaches out to claim their lives.

"What’s our status on ground troops?" he asked, adjusting his breather and zipping his leather jacket. It was bitterly cold in the ship’s shadow.
"Pickings have been better than I expected," she said, putting Johan out of her mind. "With the war over, the economy lousy, there are lots of hard cases available: LURPS, Commandos, and Air Space Assault Team troops. Mars seems full of people with little concern for life and hungry for money." Shasti knew the type too well, having been raised from childhood as an assassin in the Denshi Order on Olympia. She’d developed an eye for the good, for the ones putting up a front and for the plain crazy. She made her picks, hoping she read people—standard humans as she thought of them—correctly.
Fenaday grimaced, "Great. Well, the contractors showed up an hour ago and began the most extensive maintenance Sidhe’s ever received. I’m glad Mandela’s footing the bill for it. We’ll have shipwrights around the clock. I’m having them pay particular attention our shuttles and fighters."
Something tickled Shasti’s senses and she turned away from him. In the distance, just coming around a machine shed, a group of people came into view.
Fenaday stepped forward to stand next to her, eyes narrowed.  "What’s that?"
"Must be Mandela’s contingent.  About fifty of them," Shasti said.
"I wish I knew how you do that," Fenaday muttered.
"Just rely on it that I can," she replied.
The group passed the gate to Sidhe’s launch pad, led by another forgettable individual.

About the Author:
I've enjoyed a life-long love affair with science fiction. I write believable people in extraordinary situations, balancing romance, humor, adventure and reasonable extrapolations of science in stories that I believe people will want to return to. Whether it's in the short stories of my "Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess series" or in the Fenaday and Rainhell novels, classic "Planet" tales of a crews of unlikely companions facing unknown dangers, my intent is to give the reader the sort of page turning, involving adventure that Andre Norton wrote and leaven it with the emotional complexity and ambiguity that CJ Cherryh brings to the field.

While the experiences of the SF Universe are out of reach of those unable to pay for a rocket ride, I use my own background to try for an underlying verity in my characters. I’ve parachuted, flown in gliders, hang gliders and strapped to the floor of military helicopters. I’ve been rated as an expert shot and carry a black belt in the martial arts. I’ve been paralyzed by fear, exhilarated by love and walked into fights, both literal and metaphorical, that I knew I could not win. I have the good fortune to be married to the talented artist Schelly Keefer.

Giveaway detials:
There is a tour wide giveaway for anyone who would like to include it in their tour posts. Prizes include ten (10) eBook copies of Was Once A Hero by Edward McKeown. Giveaway is International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1) Why did you move out of New York City? I only ask this because I want so badly to go there, after it has been glamorized on TV.
It’s a fun town if you have money in your pocket, but it can be a tough place on the working class. The company I was with moved out and I had just met a girl from a town of 100. I actually took the place out of triple digits when I married her. So we were looking for something greener and easier than NYC, a place where 50,000 dollars would buy more than a rat hole with extra rats. Charlotte is a great town, kinda playing dress up as a city.

2) You talk about weirdness in Charlotte, North Carolina. Can you elaborate on that a little and where does one find it?
Now that would be telling... ;-) Charlotte has its tough side of town on the NW side, its funky area which we call NoDa for North Davidson, where the bohemian and arty set hang out. We have Central Ave for our alternative culture which can be like having a few blocks of Austin or the East Village of NYC imported. We have everything other larger cities have from gangs to plays and concerts. We have local spooks, the Wumpus who keeps chewing on cars late at night in the woods...

3) Tell me a little about your first book Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess. You say everyone’s favorite transgender informant Freddie Bouvier gets the best lines. What are some of the lines that he had?
The Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess was my first pro credit in the anthology Lowport and I will allow Freddie to speak for himself in his/her character bio. The wild title comes from a porno movie that my police officers chase a bad guy through, got your attention though...
Freddie in "Mars needs Men" as they try to find the Martian Governor’s errant daughter:
I gestured at a neon sign that blared, The Pink Pussycat. "What about there?"
Freddie rolled his eyes. "Do I tell you how to blackjack a suspect? Please. Our nympho is straight, young and trendy. She wouldn’t be there."
"Yeah," Reg said. "Everybody knows that. Let an expert work, willya?"

Character Bio: Freddie Bouvier A/K/A Franklin Bouvier AKA Fredericka Bouvier
Age 22
Height 5' 9"
Weight 145
Sex "A little bit of everything, Honey"
Born: New Orleans, Louisiana
Hair Black (tormented not teased)
Eyes "Smoky Green"
Measurements: 39 (yeah, they’re fake but ain’t they something!)-28-33
Occupation: formerly the "Hospitality" Industry (I’m very democratic I like everyone) presently employed as an assistant at the McManus Detective Agency, much to McManus’ surprise.
Hobbies: "You can’t handle the truth!" Anyway the ones he’ll admit to are singing and shoes.
Personal Notes: Freddie is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Freddie is transgender as opposed to being a transvestite. He came from a conservative Southern family and an overly strict childhood. He ran away from home at age fourteen and became involved in drugs and prostitution early. McManus doesn’t understand him but saving Freddie became something of an obsession with him
There are ten Lair stories being issued by Hellfire in mini-collections eventually we plan a book with some new material. I do think about a novel length treatment of these characters.

4) You say your new book, Once a Hero, is a classic planet adventure. What do you mean by that?
By that I mean it is a classic type of story of a voyage in a starship to an unknown and in this case, haunted world. The emphasis is on how the diverse crew of people meet the challenges that they face and how it effects their relationships. In this more complicated and updated version of such a tale, the crew has brought their own conflicts and agendas with them and are as often at hazard with each other as with any unknown that is stalking them.

5) You talk about space wars in your book. The planet however, seems to be very similar to what we have today: corporations, "normal" married life, etc. Has the world changed at all in your book? If so, how?
The more things change the more they remain the same in some respects. While technology has changed vastly, we are still the Human Mark One. We look for love, we usually find it in a pair bond, whether that paid bond is with the same or opposite gender, or with an alien, or artificial form of life. There will be the occasional group marriages and I did explore a species in the Fenaday/Shasti trilogy, the Denlenn, who have three genders and a more complicated home life. I also posited consortship which would be a rather like an open marriage or legal alliance between species. Star Trek not withstanding you are not going to have human-alien children save by the most unusual of technological interventions any more than you have tiger and zebra mixed breeds now. However I would say David Brin plowed that ground first.
In many ways the future will be like the present in the ways we organize ourselves and pursue our lives. The methods and means will chance, we will integrate more with technology and sometimes even fuse with it, as in the cyborg. However I have always believed that the gap between life and unlife is greater than most SF writes acknowledge. No matter how well a robot simulates life, it is not self-aware and I believe that chasm will remain long unbridged so my robots remain just that in the Hero series.
Now in the later Maauro series… but that’s a tale for another day....

6) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would have found the things that I love: martial arts, ballroom dancing, writing, and most importantly my wife, sooner, so I can have more time with all of them.

7) Do you take any inspiration for your characters from your wife?
I have told her and it is true that there is a little bit of her in many of my female characters usually in there more endearing or intriguing characteristics. However she is not in there in whole (which is good as like Shakespeare’s woman mine are often up to their neck in trouble) but the one who most closely resembles her is Lisa Fenaday.

8) I see you are well versed in martial arts. Does that come through in your writing? Are there epic battle scenes, worthy of Japanese martial artists and bad English dubbing?
Ki-yahhhhh. I hope so. One particularly large fight in Was Once a Hero was marked out by members of my martial arts school. Many of the techniques used by the characters particularly Robert and Shasti are based on the Li Kai or Lai Tung Pai systems. Robert uses more of the Chinese soft styles to frustrate the powerful Shasti Rainhell who would make short work of him, if he took her head on. In fact my writing group and publisher did get me to tone this down pointing out I was not writing a treatise on hand to hand combat in low gravity Martian environments.
I try for an underlying verity in what I do, linking personal experiences of parachuting, rappelling, martial arts with my characters actions. I find the 'over-heated and over stated action of much of today’s fiction very unrealistic. It HURTS when you get kicked, it takes days to recover from severe blows even if you can function meanwhile. I want my characters to seem real, for their pain to have effect.

9) Evolution or creation?
If you look at my family tree you would have to hope for evolution because creation would just mean that God had a drinking problem.
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