Monday, January 27, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: SciFi Author Drew Avera

Drew Avera, Author
Author Drew Avera writes science fiction stories to ask readers to ponder “What if?”  He has published a variety of short stories and novels, most recently THE POLICEMAN which is a prequel to the first DEAD PLANET book and MR GRIMM, his first in a collaborative series called “The Twin Cities Series," an urban fantasy series being released in serial novellas.  He cites his “fixation on stories about hope, either the presence or absence of it” – as an inspiration for his work.

In addition to writing, Avera is a 14-year active duty US Navy veteran who plays the guitar. Married with two daughters, he has not decided between dogs and cats and has some of each—and a hedgehog as well.

Q: What led you to write dystopian science fiction in REICH and DEAD PLANET BOOK 1 EXODUS? Do you read science fiction? Do you have a favorite author in the genre?  Have you considered writing in a different genre? 

Drew Avera: I grew up reading comic books and I was naturally drawn to science fiction because of it. The dystopian angle comes from my fixation on stories about hope, either the presence or absence of it. I am currently working on an urban fantasy series and a thriller novel.

Q: How do you create credibility for a story set in the future or in a make-believe world?

Drew Avera: I think there is a level of “buy in” for a reader who knows that it is fiction. I just try to be consistent in the story so readers can suspend disbelief long enough to finish it. 

Q: Is the concept of “heroes and villains” relevant to your stories? What makes a good villain? Do you need a villain to have a hero?

Drew Avera: That’s another comic book inspiration. REICH is a world without heroes, so I think the villain can be essential to the story. A good villain has to think that they are doing the right thing, no matter how horrible it is.

Q:  How do you engage readers to care about your characters?  Are they based on real people?

Drew Avera: I try to put characters in situations that I think readers can relate to, be it fear or suspense. I want readers to ask themselves how they would react and put themselves into the characters head.

Q:  Do your characters lead you to write about them? Or do you keep them in their place by sticking to an outline?

Drew Avera: I outlined one novel. The rest of my writing has been off the cuff, so I let characters lead me where they want to go. Sometimes it’s into a corner, but most of the time it works out really well.

Q: Reviewers of REICH call it “thought provoking” “enjoyable”, “gripping.” Do you write to educate, entertain, and/or deliver a message?

Drew Avera: I write something to make you think, “What if”. I want you to come away with something, even if you hate the main character. I think an emotional response to a story is a story well told.

Q:  How do you make your story “gripping?” What do you do to build suspense?

Drew Avera: I write in beats, so if there is nothing going on in the story then I create suspense in any way that I can plausibly get away with. Most of the time it is an action scene, but it can also be anxiety from the main character. I try to remove as much fluff as possible so that each chapter ends with a small cliffhanger.

Q: One of your reviewers talks about your use of multiple points-of-view in REICH.  Can you explain why you told your story in this manner?  

Drew Avera: REICH started as a short story. Chapter 1 was called 158AH and some friends said they wanted more. The problem was that it was written in first person and at the end that character was no longer alive (spoiler alert). The only way that I could move forward was with a different point of view. I kept that going until I worked my way out of scene and carried on with the rest of the story. I don’t recommend trying to retrofit a short story into a novella in that way. Some people liked it, but some people have been quite critical of it.

Q:  What’s next?

Drew Avera: A lot!  I am working on a series called “The Twin Cities Series” which is an urban fantasy series that will be released in serial novellas. There are about four authors working on this series with me, so there will be a lot of stories to go around. I also have an urban fantasy novel called “For Thee Darkness Weeps” which is in edits and will be released sometime in the spring.  I just released a short story called THE POLICEMAN which is a prequel to the first Dead Planet book, 

Q:  Tell us about Drew Avera. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  Favorite super-hero? Favorite movie and/or TV show in 2013?  Dogs or cats?

Drew Avera: I was born and raised in Mississippi until I was seventeen. That was when I joined the Navy. I have been serving on active duty for almost fourteen years now. I’m married with two daughters and we live in Virginia. We have a dog and two cats as well as a hedgehog.  My favorite superhero is Batman. My favorite TV show depends on the day. I love Big Bang Theory, Arrow, Breaking Bad and many others. I also play guitar.

About Drew Avera

Drew Avera is an active duty navy veteran and self-published author. He lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

About REICH (SciFi Novella)

In the 158 years after Hitler’s death (AH158), Germany has become the utopian state that he had originally envisioned. The Aryan Dynasty has conquered the free world at the cost of billions of lives. Hitler has become the patriarch of a new religious fervor, one that even he did not see coming. The wastelands that surround Germany are the only threat awaiting the German citizens. That is at least what everyone is taught. This is a story of how misplaced power can lead to tyranny, but it could be Germany that falls victim to a new Reich.

For twenty five hundred years the civilization on Mars has been ruled by the Syndicate, an organization run by the top one percent. Every need and desire of the average citizen has been fed by the machine in return for a lifetime of obedience. What happens when the profit margins fall and the people become a burden to the pockets of the Syndicate? What happens when their plans to exile their citizens to a certain death is revealed? This is the story of a man named Serus Blackwell who has a job to do. Serus is a policeman who works for the Agency, but it isn’t what you think. Can he protect his sister, Kara, before the Agency kills her, or will the programming he received from the Agency override his emotions and condemn Kara to the same fate as the rest of the planet?

About THE TWIN CITIES series

The Twin Cities Series is a collaborative set of novellas written by a number of different authors including Drew Avera, Simone Beaudelaire, J.B. Cameron, Thomas R. Manning, & Theresa Snyder.

The people of Minnesota believe the twin cities to be Minneapolis and St. Paul, but what they don't realize is the name actually refers to a parallel dimension known as The Realms, where creatures of myth roam freely.

Humans stand only a dimensional barrier away from the most terrifying and horrible monsters imaginable, but there are select few who answer the cries for help, who guard the world of mankind and keep it safe from harm.

The Realms can be a place of great danger, as well as great beauty, where love and loss can be sudden and significant, but make no this world, humanity is just another word for powerless.

An Urban Fantasy novella with a noir feel MR GRIMM

Alexander Grimm has been sentenced to a life of servitude. His services are rendered to a man who calls himself The Raven, but he is more than a man. He is a vampire. Grimm has done The Raven's bidding for twenty years with the life of his daughter, Angelica, hanging in the balance. Someone in The Raven's Court has approached the man known in The Realms as "Mr. Grimm" with a choice: Continue killing for fear of losing his daughter, or give his life to ensure that The Raven can never hold her life in his hands again. Which will he choose?

This is the first installment of The Twin Cities Series. Take a journey into the world known as The Realms, where the paranormal is more common than you think. Vampires rule more than just the night; they can rule your life.

This series will premier stories written by the following authors: Drew Avera, Simone Beaudelaire, Thomas Manning, and Theresa Snyder.

Author and Purchase Links

Amazon (all books)
Author Blog

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