The Momentum Blog
Posted May 12, 2014 by Momentum
Charles Purcell, author of new military thriller The Spartan, takes time out from his busy schedule to interview himself. Here are the highlights below.
Charles Purcell, thanks for agreeing to talk to us.
No … thank you.
Charles Purcell interviews Charles Purcell – this is like Kramer v Kramer.
I’m Dustin Hoffman, then. You’re Meryl Streep.
Oh … OK. So, The Spartan is your first book, now out as an ebook with Momentum. Please tell us about it.
Allow me to be lazy and quote the précis for you. “Chinese extremists want to destroy America – and now they’ve got the means to do it. When a rogue Chinese general threatens to unleash a biological Armageddon across the U.S., there’s only one man who can stop him: the Spartan. Tier One’s toughest soldier has just seven days to prevent China’s toughest special forces soldiers from detonating their plague canisters across the United States, poisoning millions and sending the world teetering towards war.
“Besides the terrorists, standing in the Spartan’s way is the mafia, the Mexican cartels, the triads, U.S. special forces … and one vengeful U.S. General who never forgot the recruit who refused to salute his superior.”
And when do the bombs go off?
The fourth of July.
Wow. Sounds intense. I take it there’s a lot of action.
There’s gunfights, swordfights, fistfights … oh my.
Finding and neutralising these plague canisters before they go off is the big goal of the Spartan and his colleague Teresa Vasquez, a former Juarez policewoman whose family was murdered by the cartels and now the owner of the world’s first invisibility suit. How dangerous is the threat of biological warfare to the world?
I think the whole world is vulnerable to the threat of a fast-spreading virus like SARS or bird flu or a rogue bit of Cold War biological warfare. Because humans live so close to each other now – and any country is only a plane flight away – the dangers of a lethal virus spreading rapidly among the world’s population is very real and very dangerous.
And another thing: doctors are reporting that antibiotics aren’t working so well any more because we’re overusing them. There’s also the danger of some naturally occurring, antibiotic-resistant superbug coming into being. So such a scenario is not impossible.
Some 20 million people died from Spanish Flu in the early 20th century.
Yes. And they’re thinking of destroying the world’s supplies of smallpox. Imagine if it or something like it comes back to infect a population with no resistance. I think a supervirus or nuclear terrorism are two of the big threats of the 21st century.
You’re scaring me now.
Don’t be scared. Be a Spartan.
Ah yes, the Spartans. Why have your main character inspired by a people who lived 2000 years ago?
Because there is something impressive about those ancient Greek warrior people. There is something pure about a life dedicated solely to being a fighter, a warrior. And don’t forget – they were the ones that helped fend off the Persians at the battle of Thermopylae, giving Greece breathing space to plan their defence. The Spartans were an inspiration people. It’s not implausible that a modern special forces soldier – the best warriors in the world today – might seek inspiration from the best warriors of antiquity.
I think trying to combine ancient values with modern values and modern weaponry and the modern way of life would lead to considerable personal conflict.
That’s the Spartan’s cross to bear. Personally, I like all the comforts of modern civilisation. But I read once that as soon as a hero is comfortable and happy they are no longer a hero.
Heroes are there to suffer for our enjoyment?
Yes. Han Solo ceased being a hero in the first Star Wars movie when he took his reward from saving Princess Leia and took off. It was only when he returned to save Luke against Darth Vader and risked his life that he became a hero again.
A Star Wars reference … nice.
(Adopts Stormtrooper voice) These are not the droids we’re looking for.
Right. Speaking of Star Wars and high tech, just how credible is it to have one of your characters have an invisibility suit?
Well, it might be a bit sci-fictiony, but there is little doubt that various governments and corporations have been trying to invent some kind of invisibility garment. The US Army for one definitely seems interested. Here’s an example of something you might find on the net (http://news.yahoo.com/no-april-fools-real-life-invisibility-suit-created-115921082.html).
If someone did ever perfect this technology, I think it could be very dangerous.
Vasquez uses her suit to fight alongside the Spartan to stop the plague bombs going off. But what if one did fall into the wrong hands?
What indeed? No one would be safe … something I look at in the sequel to The Spartan.
The invisibility suit isn’t the only thing in your book inspired by real life, I take it.
No. Another theme is the potential clash between a rising China and a retreating America. The rise of every great power – France, Great Britain, Germany – has always been accompanied by conflict and war. Everyone’s hoping that China’s rise will be peaceful. No one wants to see the US and China duke it out.
However, you can’t deny that there are frictions already with China’s growth, particular with its neighbours such as Japan and Vietnam as China flexes its muscles in the South China Sea.
America’s choice, now that it is “pivoting” back to the Asian region after a decade of focusing on the Middle East, is how it will react to China’s rise. Will it seek to accommodate and work with it? Or will there be conflict on some level?
Hopefully China’s rise will be peaceful. But writing about peaceful events doesn’t make for a very exciting military thriller.
So … describe your writing process.
The first thing I do is get up in the morning and look out the window to see if the Apocalypse has arrived. If it has, I retreat back under the covers. If it hasn’t, I get up, have a coffee and some cereal, then read some Sartre and Camus and look for loopholes in their work.
After a while, I turn on the computer and, while it’s booting up, stick my head out of the window and yell, “This is Sparta!”
I think you’ve done that joke before.
And I may do it again. What are you, some kind of joke Nazi? Do you think you’re Steve Martin or something?
Then say it – say you’re not Steve Martin.
“I am not Steve Martin.”
Good. Now we can continue.
Sadly, I think that’s about all we have time for. Any last messages for the reader?
I hope you enjoy reading The Spartan as much as I did writing it.
Charles Purcell, thank you.
An exciting new thriller in the tradition of Chris Allen and David Rollins – preorder The Spartan here.Charles Purcell, Interview, The Spartan
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Posted November 5, 2013 by Nathan M Farrugia
Describe yourself in one word.
Short… or single… Single and short – can I have two words?
Why did you join the United Regiment?
For the uniform. Definitely. Actually it wasn’t that at all. There’s a long and complicated story behind it, but I’ll try to boil it down as much as possible. At the time I was working five different jobs, each one more terribly paid and ridiculously awful than the next – honestly. One of them was physically crawling into sewerage pipes to dislodge clogs of all kinds of horridiousness. Another was at the zoo squeezing infected pustules sprouting on the testicles of a gigantic Bakslam, which is an extremely irritable type of desert gorilla. Another was working as a test subject for all kinds of experiments – including one where I had to sniff from jars of collected flatus – and…you get the picture.
As well as that I was living – well actually squatting – in a condemned building in Moris-Isles where a porno holo-film company, specialising in gargantuan-breeds, was filming pretty much constantly, so it was a strange day if some enormous naked guy didn’t accidently smash through my wall mid-action…or a gigantic cockroach didn’t try to wrestle me for my dinner… And all this was an entire lifetime away from what I really wanted to do – which was invent and design.
Prior to that I had been selling my designs to both the military and the gangs basically all my life, or at least since I was eight or nine year-cycles old, after I met Copernicus. It was completely illegal, but he’d set everything up so it worked and we were covered, but after the whole gangland incident between Copernicus and Christy Shawe, I lost all sources of income, plus my best friend within the matter of a day. After he informed on the Galleys, Copernicus was taken into custody and was disallowed all outside contact… I didn’t even know if he was still alive…
So things weren’t brilliant to say the least. And because I was a crossbreed no one legitimate would hire me or even give me an interview – even though I was quite rehabilitated at that stage. As soon as anyone saw Glee/Greer written on the application form, it was an immediate door slam – and, for the same reason, getting any type of tech funding was also impossible. Then finally they released Copernicus and it turned out that he’d actually been recruited into the Regiment and he encouraged me to apply for a military technology scholarship. If I was accepted in, it meant I’d get an apartment at Regiment Headquarters, my own laboratory and military funding to live the dream – and even so I was reluctant – I didn’t think I could handle the violence of it – but in the end I applied because it meant I would get to see my best friend again – so essentially I joined because of friendship – and found out year-cycles after that they’d only accepted my application because Copernicus allegedly dangled the assessor out of a window and threatened to drop him… but that’s another story.
So Copernicus is a good friend of yours. How did you meet?
It was in the gangland over twenty year-cycles ago when we were both kids and he was running with Christy Shawe and the Galleys. I’d just finished designing and constructing my first remote-controlled miniature transflyer and I was completely caught up in the moment of its test-flight. Somehow I managed to cross several suburbs without realising and accidently entered into Greenway – and had the extreme misfortune of bumping, literally, into Christy Shawe. And you don’t enter gang territory – and you definitely don’t cross paths with the boss’s son unless you have a death wish – so I’d pretty much just written Shawe an invitation to pulverise my face. And that’s exactly what would have happened if Copernicus hadn’t stepped in for me and stopped him – and physically shoved him away. He was the only one at that stage, and all the way through, that wasn’t afraid to stand up to Shawe. Christy took it very poorly, and stomped my transflyer to pieces, but at least it wasn’t me! And that moment is still really clear in my mind, even though it was a long time ago, because it shocked me – you know – up until that point I’d never had someone stand up for me before – I had friends – but imp-breed friendship is a very different concept from the human-breed idea of it, so I’d never experienced someone putting themselves on the line for me – and I would never have expected a kid like him – older, popular and tough – to do that for a kid like me – at the time I was struggling so much with my condition I could barely put two intelligible words together, but he saw through that – he always has – and he gave me the chance I desperately needed.
This is a tough one. Not so long ago I would have probably said a strawberry ice-cream milkshake with ketchup, but since all the food shortages because of the war, anything that isn’t tinned, mouldy, rotting or blood-spattered seems like party food. Nothing induces appreciation like going without. But generally if it’s food, it tastes better with ketchup or sauce… that’s my life motto…
Your otter, Nelly’s, favorite snack?
Frizzy Fins Fish Bits – Frizzy Fins is a brand here – she’ll also have a bite of whatever I’m having at the time… Yes, I’m one of those people.
Number one thing on your bucket list!
Fall in love and get married…. Hopefully… one day. How about you? Is there a potential Mrs Farrugia currently in your sights?
Oh, um, I hadn’t thought – what sort of breeds do you know? I mean, ahem, so what do you like to read?
Everything. Absolutely everything. While I was still at school I got a job working for a friend of my grandparents, stacking shelves in his antique bookstore, and he fired me after two days because all I did was stand around and read – I couldn’t help it – I was completely fascinated with all the old manuscripts. Currently I have a collection of rare written word, but mainly I do my reading via holo-screen, and I have literally millions of books.
Something my gran’pa taught me was to read outside my interest zone. He’d take me to the Feld, the big main library here which, I think in your language would be like a virtual space – or something like that – where the books were still on display but only in holo-form. It was set up so that the experience of ‘going somewhere’ to hire or buy books still existed for those people, mainly of the older generations, who were attached to the ritual of it. So we’d go there and he’d tell me to choose five books that interested me and then five books that seemed the least interesting and to get all ten and read them – and it really gave me a wide appreciation of all kinds of writing and subjects that I may not have formed on my own – he was a smart man. I miss him.
How was your upbringing different to your fellow team members?
Well for starters I think I was the only one of us that wasn’t subjected to some kind of abuse or neglect… I know I complain a lot about my childhood, but even though my parents didn’t want me, my grandparents did and my life was paradise compared to what happened to the others. Copernicus’ childhood was a nightmare beyond words; Diega’s sister was murdered and afterwards her parents pretty much abandoned her; Jude, as you know, grew up in the palace but then his uncle tried to have him killed when he was thirteen and Silho was out in the desert with a drug-addled ex-soldier, hunted constantly by violent scullion tribes and desert mutants… So all in all we’re a bit of a messed up bunch, but in truth, this job does attract a certain type of person and more importantly, can only be done by a certain type of person – and that’s someone who isn’t a stranger to horrible things, a person who is a survivor and, to a certain extent, fearless – obviously that doesn’t describe me but, up until recently, I was the least hands-on team member when it came to the actual crime scenes…
What do you think of the mysterious Ev’r? Do you think she can be trusted?
Most would say no, but after everything we went through together, I would definitely say yes – I’d trust her with my life…
How about the team’s newest member, Silho? Has she proven herself and do you think she’s a good fit for the Trackers?
I’d have to give a definite and resounding yes there – Silho is just… amazing… singular… none of us would be alive if it wasn’t for her, but as far as her fitting into the Trackers – well – to be honest the landscape of the team is changing. I can’t say too much at this stage, with everything still being classified, but yes…. In some ways it’s been a very difficult time.
Copernicus seems to have a soft spot for Silho. What’s going on between them?
🙂 Good question – I’m actually not sure how much I’m allowed to say about their personal lives, but something is definitely happening… I should probably leave it at that… let’s just say I’ve learnt to knock before barging into any closed rooms. I’ve discovered I have a particularly unfortunate knack for intruding into people’s private moments.
You’re a very observant fellow. Tell me your favourite thing about each member of the Trackers.
Another tough one. There’s so much good about each of them… but if I had to pick one thing each – for Copernicus it would be his strength of mind and determination – if I ever need advice he’s the first one I always go to. For Diega, it’s her sense of humour – she doesn’t let me get too serious about myself or anything else – she keeps me laughing. For Jude – his heart – his compassion, and Silho – she’s the least likely to judge anyone – I always feel like I can be completely myself around her… Do you know what I mean?
It’s great when you can truly be yourself around someone. Now, I read about the adventure you had last year with the demon invasion and the rival gangs. Was there a point during this ordeal where you thought you weren’t going to make it? And what got you through?
Yes pretty much every step of the way I was thinking we weren’t going to make it – but I guess what really got me through was the thought that the others were depending on me and also that Ev’r needed me, and having her beside me kept me strong. I don’t think I would have survived without her.
I look forward to reading about your new adventure with the Commander and his team. Without giving anything away, how did this compare to the previous adventure? Did you have to do anything really scary this time?
Scary is one way to describe it – terrifying and horrifying probably work as well… It’s been – yes… it’s been a year-cycle that I won’t ever forget – even with therapy – and it’s definitely not over…
You can catch up with Eli Anklebiter’s latest adventures in The Forgotten City: The Demon War Chronicles 2 and The Last City: The Demon War Chronicles 1
Tagged: fantasy, Interview, Nathan M Farrugia, Nina D'Aleo, paranormal, Sci-Fi, science fiction, the demon war chronicles, The Forgotten City, The Last City
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Posted June 24, 2013 by Anne
Evelyn Thomas’s plans for celebrating her twenty-first birthday in Vegas were big. Huge. But she sure as hell never meant to wake up on the bathroom floor with a hang-over to rival the black plague, a very attractive half-naked tattooed man beside her, and a diamond on her finger large enough to scare King Kong. Now if she could just remember how it all happened.
I felt all lit up inside. Like a potent mix of hormones was racing through me at light speed. His other hand curled around the back of my neck, bringing my mouth to his. Kissing David threw kerosene on the mix within me. He slid his tongue into my mouth to stroke against my own, before teasing over my teeth and lips. I’d never felt anything so fine. Fingers caressed my breast, doing wonderful things and making me gasp. God, the heat of his bare skin. I shuffled forward, seeking more, needing it. His hand left my breast to splay across my back, pressing me against him. He was hard. I could feel him through both layers of denim. The pressure that provided between my legs was heavenly. Amazing.
“That’s it,” he murmured as I rocked against him, seeking more.
The Up All Night book blog has an excellent interview with Kylie up today, as well as a review (and some visual inspiration that is very much appreciated, above). Here’s an excerpt from the interview;
Up All Night: We loved David and Evelyn’s story! Can you share any details on what’s next for the Stage Dive band? And whose story are you most excited to tell?
Kylie: Everyone loves Mal! The reaction to him has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s brilliant to see. You know, I had plans to do Jimmy next because he really needs a good smack upside the head from love. But people are so into Mal. I haven’t decided yet.
Up All Night: Well, we vote for Mal!
So, you have several others books in publication. Can you tell us a bit about them? How are they different or similar to Lick?
Kylie: The Flesh series, Flesh and Skin, is an erotic romance set Post-Zombie Apocalypse. Flesh is a bit darker than Lick. It’s been described as The Walking Dead with much more sexy times and romance. I really wanted to do a book about survivors. And after the downfall of society, all bets are off. The setting lends itself to some extreme situations which makes for a hell of a lot of fun. Colonist’s Wife is another erotic romance. This one is a novella size sci-fi tale of a mail order bride sent to a gritty mining colony on one of the moons orbiting Jupiter.Interview, new adult, review, series, sneak peek, stage dive
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Posted December 5, 2012 by Mark
Ben Pobjie was interviewed on the ABC Adelaide Drive show about his new book, The Book of Bloke. Click below to hear the full interview, it’s ten minuted of Ben Pobjie gold as he discusses bogans, snags, tunesters, and chats to some Adelaide citizens about their takes on what it means to be a bloke in 2012.
The Book of Bloke is available for a limited time at the special price of $2.99. Click here to purchase
Tagged: ben pobjie, book of bloke, Interview
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Posted August 2, 2012 by Nina D'Aleo
It’s now my turn to interview my fellow Momentum writer, Nathan M Farrugia.
Hello Nathan! Your debut novel The Chimera Vector has seen phenomenal success, topping the charts and gaining an army of fans. How do you feel after ten drafts and years of work to see this??
Wait, I did what?
It’s taken a while for things to sink in and for me to actually say, ‘Hey, I done wrote a published book.’ There’s a brief moment where you pat yourself on the back and stare blankly at all those years writing—and learning—along the way. And then you remember to keep writing and worry about the charts and cocaine later.
What is your favourite part of The Chimera Vector – and why?
The ending. I can’t say too much without turning this into a plot spoiler, but I can say that I wrote three different endings and the third one gave me an author-boner.
I’d also like to see a Jay mix-tape of all the inappropriate things he says throughout the book. He is my spirit animal.
Have you always wanted to be a writer or is it something that you were inspired to do along the way?
I always was writing, just because. I think everyone who is driven to a particular thing, whether they’re a painter or a long distance runner, will always be painting or running from a young age. It’s just in their makeup. Not the cosmetic kind, I save that for special occasions.
I was a bit all over the place, to be honest. When I was young, I wanted to draw comic books, then I wanted to make video games. After that, I wanted to make movies. Somewhere along the line I realised I wouldn’t have $10-40 million to do that, and that’s the fantastic thing about being a writer. You can create worlds without needing an army of monkeys or humans or a lottery win. All you need is a pen or keyboard, your imagination and bacon.
Movies take years to make, especially with all the time spent on script acquisition, financial backing and the various other hoops in pre-production. Whereas an author can have an idea, write a book and have it digitally published inside of six months. Like a boss.
You are currently writing book 2, The Seraphim Sequence. How is it going? Are you feeling more pressure following the success of The Chimera Vector? Are you feeling more pressure following this question?
I wrote the plot in Scrivener a while ago and it’s been itching to get written ever since. I finally started last month and I’m halfway through. The pressure was on when I started, but now I’m in the groove. Which is also the only groove I’ll ever know. Unless you count poorly executed karaoke.
I’m currently writing the bit where Jay rides a trail bike through a shopping mall and shoots down a helicopter. Because why not?
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
This is a tricky one. Everyone says write what you enjoy writing, which is sound advice. But what’s fun to write and what’s fun to read can sometimes be two very different things.
I’ve found that it’s better to write what is fun, exciting or interesting to imagine, to experience and to read. This may not be as fun to write as your other less demanding chapters. You might prefer to write something easier—read boring. The “amazing” chapter you want to write, however, could be challenging and headache-inducing. It might slap you around a bit. But that’s OK because you’re into that sort of thing. Stick with it and once you’re finished, you have something people—including yourself—will love to read.
The Chimera Vector has an array of international settings – what is your favourite place in the world and why?
I actually have two favourite places, and they’re pretty much opposites.
Sagada, Philippines. What it lacks in crystal blue waters of the surrounding islands, it makes up for in tranquillity. Nestled deep in the mountains, Sagada has breathtaking views and crisp mountain air. It also has coffee and food that puts Melbourne to shame. I could easily spend a year there, convince myself I’m actually living in Skyrim, and disconnect from everything to write. But I need my Twitterz fix, so no.
The other place would be the abandoned subway tunnels in New York. Exploring these illegal environs, you’re pretty much walking the pulsing arteries of Manhattan. And when the tunnels run deeper and it’s just you and your torch, it doesn’t take much imagination to think you’ve just survived a zombie apocalypse.
You’re a man who is known to eat foods others might not – what is the worst food you’ve eaten?
Ha. I’m glad to be known for this, not really. The worst I’ve eaten was balut. Balut is a fertilised duck embryo that is boiled in its shell. You eat it like a hard boiled egg. With plenty of salt because crazy. I ate one during my stay on Boracay Island in the Philippines. If you’re feeling brave, you can see the Wikipedia entry here.
To give your fans a bit more Nathan insight – What is your most embarrassing moment to date?
My Twitter feed is basically a long list of embarrassments, but if I had to pick one:
A few years ago I burst into my housemate’s bedroom while he was working at his computer. Having just emerged from the shower, I was just wearing my underwear. I leapt onto his bed and gave my best Wolverine impersonation, complete with crazy Wolverine hair, facial hair and angry teeth. Then I demanded he tell me who I was. At this point I realised he was in the middle of a webcam conference call with multiple work colleagues and the camera was pointed in my direction.
And now for the most annoying interview question ever (sorry had to do it) – Describe yourself in three words…
Ron Swanson bacon.
Nathan M. Farrugia is the bestselling author of The Chimera Vector.
Tagged: Interview, Nathan M Farrugia, Nina D'Aleo, The Chimera Vector, The Last City, writing
Posted July 31, 2012 by Nathan M Farrugia
Hi Nina. I’m Nathan, I live next to you on Momentum’s author page. So … do you come here often?
Hello neighbour! It’s my first time here and the view is awesome!
I’m reading this very addictive book called The Last City by Nina D’Aleo, perhaps you’ve heard of it?
🙂 (transferring funds now…)
One thing I always love to know about authors is why they write. I mean, other than for the generous amount of gold bars writers receive as payment, with which we use to build our beach houses. And utilise as improvised weapons for the forthcoming zombie apocalypse. Human extinction aside, why do you write?
Yes I’ve always been interested in how writers answer this question too…
For me – I write because I absolutely love it – just can’t stop!
Are there writers, musicians, directors etc who inspire you?
So so many that thinking about narrowing them down gives me an instant and simultaneous asthma attack and nose bleed…
The world inside The Last City is rich and disarmingly vivid. Give us mere mortals one gem of advice on authentic world-building.
Many thanks for your kind words. It’s incredibly humbling…
Probably my best advice is to refer to the best advice of others – I’d definitely recommend having a look at Patricia C. Wrede’s Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions (http://www.sfwa.org/tag/patricia-c-wrede/).
Your characters have a wide array of brilliant abilities and distinct skills. From Jude’s super strong cybernetic limbs to Copernicus’s mind reading, or Silho’s precognitive talent and Ev’r Keet’s mysterious abilities. If you could have one ability from The Last City, what would you choose?
Oooo… hard question…man I don’t know… It’s a question that’s started many arguments amongst my family (that’s how cool we are). I think if I could only have one from the book, then maybe I’d choose the simpler, but super cool ability to fly.
WE WANT MOAR ADVICE. I noticed while stalking your bio that you have a degree in psychology. Give us one hot tip on how to bring a character’s personality to life.
Something that has helped me while creating characters was to do an in-depth character profile for each character. Sometimes I imagine sitting across a desk from them and asking them the questions… I guess every writer has their own processes, some more crazy than others!
Why Momentum? What is it about this digital imprint that appeals to you? Aside from the gin / Star Trek infused tweets and the close proximity to Korean karaoke
I was extremely fortunate to have my book picked up by Momentum (through my wonderful agent) and am so excited to be one of their writers. I love the idea of digital publishing and all its creative possibilities.
Show us a picture of your secret bat-cave / writer’s lair.
I could show you a real picture, but then I’d have to cry from embarrassment because it’s so messy.
Also, I think I speak for everyone when I say I would like to see a photo of your two cats, Mr Foofy and Gypsy.
What are you working on next? Is it the next book in The Last City series or is this top secret information guarded closely by Mr Foofy? I have the security clearance, Mr Foofy, I swear. Please … no, I was just … argh!
MR FOOFY ASSAULT MODE.
I’ve got a few stories in the mix – definitely the next book in The Last City series and several other ideas – that’s all Mr Foofy will allow me to say at this stage 🙂
Nathan M. Farrugia is the bestselling author of The Chimera Vector.Tagged: Interview, The Chimera Vector, The Last City, writing