The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World Interview Series:
Post-apocalyptic author and California man of mystery: David P. Forsyth
It’s my pleasure to introduce David P. Forsyth, author of RETRIBUTION, the first novel length story in The Perseid Collapse Series Kindle World. David brings a unique nautical based writing expertise to the table, having written two previous series based on the high seas. His Sovereign Spirit series and Sedulity books put readers in the relative comfort of luxury cruise liners. I use the world “relative,” because neither story gives the reader much time to relax. Sort of an occupational hazard when you’re a post-apocalyptic writer. I’ll let David describe these series later.
When we spoke about writing in the Perseid Collapse World, I had a general idea in mind that complemented both David’s maritime storytelling strength and some of the research he had just conducted for a separate novella. I think it was love at first sight. Between the idea and David. He took this vague suggestion and turned it into a quick-paced, intelligent technothriller exploring a topic I had more or less left open in my final novel. In Dispatches (the 4th and final book), readers witness the end result of America’s revenge against the aggressors responsible for The Perseid Collapse. In RETRIBUTION, readers follow the crew of the USS FLORIDA, as they deliver that revenge. You don’t want to miss this one.
Can you tell readers a little more about your “love at first sight” experience?
After reading and loving the first three books of the Perseid Collapse series, I wondered what impact the “event” would have out on the West Coast, and more importantly what happened to the rest of the world. In particular, I wondered how the USA would respond towards China if/when their role in the “event” came to light. You were kind enough to share an advance scene from book four, “Dispatches,” and that was all I needed for “Retribution” to take shape in short order. My novel follows the captain and crew of the nuclear submarine, USS Florida, from the time of the “event” through the end the year, culminating in an epic clash with China that ties into a few scenes near the beginning of “Dispatches.” My characters don’t have direct contact with yours, except for a satellite call by a Marine Captain to Lt. Col. Grady in search of news about his family who lived along the coast of Maine. There are also references to places and events mentioned in the Perseid Collapse books; enough that perceptive readers will have “ah-ha” moments. Nevertheless, “Retribution” is written as a stand-alone book that can be enjoyed independently, as well as being a companion to your books.
That’s one of the many outstanding features of your story. You don’t have to dig through 1,500 pages of the original series to thoroughly enjoy David’s book. It’s based far enough away from majority of the action in my series, yet it’s connected enough on a big-picture level to give readers a good taste of what they can expect in the original series. And at 200 pages, you’ll feel like you’ve read a prequel to the action.
I hinted that this is a technothriller, but it’s far more than that.
RETRIBUTION is clearly a technothriller along the lines of Hunt for Red October. It would also be at home in the military and war category. However, I listed post-apocalyptic science fiction as the primary genre. I feel that any story set after the end of the world as we know it belongs in the PA category.
And you bring your own strong post-apocalyptic/dystopian element to the story, when the crew visits their homeport, and has to deal with some very personal issues in a vastly changed landscape. Those scenes provide a stark and eerie vision of the lawlessness and chaos that has spread across the United States, even reaching an area not directly impacted by the “event.”
What major theme comes across the clearest in your story? I teed this up for you on purpose.
The title speaks volumes, but my underlying theme is more about justice than vengeance. The USA was sucker punched in Perseid Collapse. The “event” crippled the nation and caused America to withdraw from the role of global policeman in order to lick our own wounds. It was only a matter of time before others would see a chance to fill the power vacuum. China was poised to exploit the situation with political, military and economic moves, backed by detailed disinformation campaigns, aimed at replacing the USA as the global superpower. The US Navy has recalled almost all of its forces from across the Pacific, except for a few submarines. Will that be enough to exact justice and retribution?
We’ll have to let readers decide, but I’ll go on record saying that they will be very satisfied. The U.S. is far from out of the fight.
Tell us a little about the skipper of the USS FLORIDA. Why do you think readers will like him?
Captain Sean McMillan is Commanding Officer of the USS Florida, an Ohio class SSGN cruise missile submarine. He’s a patriot and good leader with a head for tactics, as well as compassion for his crew. Readers will also get a good look at his role as a husband and father of two teens. It is clear that family is Sean’s top priority. Nevertheless, his responsibilities as a naval officer trump personal concerns, taking him into harm’s way and even putting the fate of his home and loved ones in jeopardy to complete a mission that could change or even end the world as we know it.
Captain McMillan is in a unique situation onboard the submarine, with a vast responsibility to the United States and to his crew. It’s overwhelming at times, and you paint a realistic picture of the conflicts and tensions that would arise given their situation. Being “trapped” on a submarine is unlike any other military duty. This is an inside joke, but with China in the crosshairs, do Panda bears make an appearance in your story?
No panda bears appear in this book, but there is a singular reference to one in the epilogue.
I knew I could rely on David to slip a Panda reference into the story. That alone is well worth the reader’s money. 😉
RETRIBUTION is nearly as long as your previous novels, and you wrote it in less than a month? I think you kept your vast sea of fans waiting nearly 9 months for your second Sedulity book. Now that I’ve dimed you out, would you care to explain yourself? 😉
I wrote “Retribution” in record time. I started page one on January 7th and clicked “publish” on February 2nd. I attribute this to several factors. First, I had already completed my preliminary research on the submarine and begun writing a story that will also feature the Florida in a cameo appearance for a prequel to Hugh Howey’s Kindle World of the Silo Saga. You gave me a seemingly impossible deadline to write “Retribution,” but I quickly realized that I had the whole story ready to pour out of my fingers. All I needed to do was set my other project on the back burner and dive into this one headfirst. The second, and most critical, enabling factor was knowing the outline (and even many details) of the world in which “Retribution” takes place. I knew the general conditions and I had a clear idea of where the story was going (to converge with the scene from “Dispatches” that you shared with me). It may seem like an oxymoron, but I found it liberating to write within the confines of your world. So much easier than dreaming up another world of my own. It saved days, probably weeks, of note-taking and second-guessing. All I had to do was paint a picture inside the lines – just like kindergarten.
You make it sound so easy. Trust me, David’s story is ANYTHING but a Paint by Numbers enterprise. Discipline, skill and a dedication to the craft played a part, no matter what David tells you. Only a handful of authors could have pulled this off, and I’m not one of them.
Tell us about your other books, and don’t be the normally shy David P. Forsyth. 😉
All of my books to date have involved characters aboard ships at sea during EOTWAWKI scenarios. I self-published my first three novels in 2012. Voyage of the Dead (which is free on Kindle), Flotilla of the Dead, and Deluge of the Dead comprise the 300,000 word Sovereign Spirit Saga: Volume 1. They revolve around survivors aboard a mega-yacht sailing through a world overrun by the zombie apocalypse. The characters could easily sail off to a deserted island, but choose instead to rescue and assist other survivors along the coast of California.
My most recent (and popular) books in the Sedulity Saga focus on the passengers and crew of a cruise ship sailing to Australia when a mile-wide asteroid strikes the Pacific Ocean. The focus is on the threat posed by a natural disaster. As you know, that threat extends far beyond the lives of those aboard the ship.
You have to read David’s Sedulity series to get an idea of the scope of that threat. It’s vast, and quite realistically paints an end of the world as we know it (EOTWAWKI) scenario. I’ve done similar research on asteroids for my novels, but David took it several steps further. What he describes in nothing short of a cataclysm for mankind.
Would you share some of your story about becoming a writer? You’re not one to mince words about your journey as an Indie writer.
I’ve always wanted to write fiction. My mother was a published author of YA fiction and my father was editor and publisher of a magazine, so writing might be in my blood. However, watching the disappointment my mother went through with rejection letters, and the angst of disagreements with her agent, publisher, and editors, sort of soured me to the process. I wrote parts of three novels during high school and college, but never completed one. Other things always got in the way. Then, in mid-2011, I downloaded the Kindle Reading App to my laptop. I only had to read a few 99 cent titles to realize that the rules had changed and a revolution in writing was underway, one that bypassed the gatekeepers who had turned me off to writing in the past. I realized that I could write something, release it online, and let the readers decide if it was worth buying. Three and a half years and half a dozen novel length books later, I’m a full-time indie author.
It’s a great feeling. I share your enthusiasm, having left a lucrative day job a few years ago. Do you have a background related to your writing? You’re a pretty intriguing fellow, far more interesting than yours truly.
You’re an interesting guy too, Steve. With your background as an officer in the US Navy and Annapolis grad (majoring in literature no less!), I would have expected you to be the one writing adventures set on the high seas (maybe we’ll do one together someday). Me? I have a BA and MA in international relations with an emphasis in strategic studies. I spent years studying history, politics, military strategies, diplomacy and foreign affairs. Sadly, I never found any want ads for ambassador or National Security Advisor. Instead I went through several career phases ranging from international development and business, to travel marketing and air charter broker. After several business ventures failed to take off, I spent five years as a construction superintendent on multi-million dollar commercial and public works projects – which is what I was doing while I wrote my first novel. I’ve been a licensed pilot since I was eighteen and am also a certified scuba diver. I’m a Jack of all trades, but master of none. Sort of like a Renaissance man or Heinlein’s “Every Man” concept. That is probably a good background for a writer. Contrary to popular assumption, I was not in the Navy, nor have I worked on a ship, but I love to fish, sail, and cruise. I reside at the heart of the Left Coast in Malibu, California, where my world view is marginalized by my far more “interesting” and influential neighbors.
One of these days I’ll write a story based on a warship. I have more than enough material, and a Facebook page of connections to fill in the gaps. You win the interesting contest by the way. That’s two Kindle Worlds authors with pilot’s licenses (one is a commercial pilot), time to step up my game.
I know you love the classic post-apocalyptic novel, Lucifer’s Hammer, but I gather there is more to your love of PA fiction than one book.
I was ten years old when I read “Star Man’s Son” by Andre Norton. That was my first PA book and I was hooked for life. Earth Abides, Alas Babylon, I am Legend, Lucifer’s Hammer, Trinity’s Child, Failsafe, The Stand and hundreds of other books and movies fueled my passion for the genre. Fictional worst-case-scenarios also provided me with valuable perspectives on international relations and human nature in general. So, yeah, PA is my favorite genre. And even though you didn’t ask, my advice to those who want to write is to read, and read, and read, until you feel the urge to write. Then write something you would want to read. Kindle Worlds offers a great venue for new writers to get their feet wet too, so I hope that many of your fans will consider writing their own contribution to the Perseid Collapse. Thanks for inviting me to be part of the vanguard.
While asteroid strikes make for fascinating PA fiction, I’m going to guess that you see something different as a more likely threat to life as we know it.
Virus, plague, pandemic. Take your pick. A deadly contagious disease of some sort tops the list of logical culprits, especially with unrestricted global air travel (see my novella “Lukan” for a glimpse at how that sort of apocalypse might be unleashed). And it doesn’t take a 90% kill ratio to create a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Even a 10% event could cripple our infrastructure and make everyone wish they were preppers. The least likely of the popular PA scenarios is “zombies” (even though I write ZA books too). Asteroids are also statistically unlikely in our lifetime, but pose a real and ever-present danger. One thing I find disturbing, however, is the almost total disappearance of worry over nuclear apocalypse since the end of the Cold War. Recent events prove that the USA and Russia are not exactly best friends, and we both have nuclear weapons ready to fire at each other. China has greatly expanded their nuclear missile and submarine force – most of their nukes are pointed towards the USA or our allies. Other actors (North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, etc…) are building their own nuclear weapons. The levels of predictability and stability are far lower now than during the Cold War. The truth is that mutual assured destruction (MAD) was a logical and relatively stable strategy. Nuclear war was “unthinkable” when there were tens of thousands of nuclear weapons poised to strike at a moment’s notice. The problem with continual nuclear arms reductions is that at some point nuclear war will become “thinkable” (i.e. winnable or survivable), at least in the eyes of whoever pushes the button. Sweet dreams!
You’re the second author to bring this up as the most frighteningly likely scenario, and I couldn’t agree more. We’ve gone nearly 70 years with nuclear weapons, and outside of their use to end the war in the Pacific, we’ve somehow managed to refrain from using them again. With unstable, regional players on the market (or in possession) of nuclear weapons, the venerable concept of Mutually Assured Destruction might not apply. Especially when one of those players has no physical state or country to wager.
What, you’re not done with Kindle Worlds? Sedulity fans are going to be upset. Especially now that they know how fast you can write.
I’m back to writing “Submerged” for Hugh Howey’s @KindleWorlds “Silo Saga.” The USS Florida will make another appearance in this prequel to Hugh’s world. It should also be a fast project, since I was a few chapters into it before you lured me away to write “Retribution.” And thanks for doing that, Steve. I totally enjoyed writing it. I’m thinking that after making a couple cameos in Kindle Worlds set in the future, the Florida may return to fight the current War on Terror in one or more techno-thrillers of my own making. I’m afraid I have too many of my own projects on-deck to expand “Retribution” much further. That’s why I wanted to make it a self-contained book. I think my contribution to your world is complete and I am proud to have been invited to contribute to it.
I understand that Kindle Worlds was envisioned as a Fan-Fic outlet for Amazon, and I’m sure that it performs that task well, but I also see it as a chance for authors to cross-promote and expand their audience. I’m happy to see that fans of my other books are already thanking me for introducing them to your Perseid Collapse series. I’m hopeful that your fans will want to read some of my other books too. Perhaps fans of Hugh Howey will be lured into reading all of our books! Bwaa-Ha-Ha!
My other works in progress include “Sedulity 3: Consequence” and another installment in the Sovereign Spirit Saga (as well as a secret project that only panda bears are privy to at this point). Readers can find and follow (like) my author page to keep track of my progress @ http://www.amazon.com/David-Forsyth/e/B006PLOMMK/ or follow me on Twitter @davidpforsyth or even email firstname.lastname@example.org Did I mention how egotistical I am?
Egotistical? Nah. You’re an Indie author. Cross promotion and marketing is the name of the game, especially when you have fantastic books to share.
Thank you David! Don’t forget to check out his other work. Zombies and high seas cataclysms. What’s not to like about that?