Fly: Hello, Joe.
Joe: Hello, Fly. Great to be here.
Fly: Now that you are done with the Esquelle trilogy and are focuzed mainly on marketing it, how do you feel?
Joe: Well, Fly, it's great to be finished. I think the marketing effort has a better chance of succeeding now that the set is complete. The first three days of the campaign put the ranking for Esquelle and the Tesla Protocol, Book I, at an at-time best -- 104 in the hard science-fiction category. By the way, there IS a fourth book, a companion novel focusing on the life of one character. It's called Zelle Gide: Lessons for a Spy.
Fly: Aah, I zee. But do tell uz a bit about the zeriez, for our readerz to get a better underztanding.
Joe: The first novel focuses on Esquelle Données, a beautiful French information technologist leading a quiet life as a data-modeler and data-minor about 25 years from "now." Her older brother, Bernard, is a reclusive genius, whose inventions have been deemed a threat to the national security of the United States. As the story unfolds, the pair draw the attention of the NSA, which tries to suppress those technologies. Book I, Esquelle and the Tesla Protocol, is all about how future surveillance/police state tools could be used to further that goal.
The second book, Esquelle and the Primary Key, supplements the original themes, adding the concepts of a virtual nation, quantum computing and artificial intelligence. And third book, Esquelle and the Lost Enclave, takes all of those ideas and interjects "real" time travel into the mix. All in all, readers now have 1,607 pages of high-octane action, underpinned by a myriad of scientific concepts and a huge number of cool graphics.
Fly: You have uz excited already! What really inzpired you to pen thiz ztory?
Joe: I started Book I in 2006 when I was a corporate software instructor in the Business Intelligence field. "Esquelle" (Es-Que-EL) began as a humorous slide I used in my classes to describe the purpose of Structured Query Language (SQL). The trilogy grew from that small seed.
Fly: I wonder what your ztudentz would zay about that! What’z next on your writing planz?
Joe: Fly, I'm going to take a break for a while. I've written and published four full-length novels in the last 21 months. When I return to writing, I intend to focus on some older novels that can be updated. The goal is to provide my readers with a large, diverse body of SF work to choose from.
Fly: Your very own ecozyztem then. The highlight of Book III iz your approach to time travel. How did you come by the conceptz you have dealt with therein?
Joe: I have to tell you, entering the world of time travel for Book III was a risk. In the first two novels, Esquelle dealt with technologies that readers were, for the most part, familiar with. There was a time-travel component, but for information sent into the past, not people.
Book III extends all of the underlying concepts into the far future. What I retained, however, was my goal of supporting the science with credible theories based on extensive quantum research. In tandem with that idea, I made sure of that all of the history and scene locations are real. (For instance, folks might be surprised to know that the Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 in Book I is a real law that is still in effect today.) Realism is my watchword.
Fly: It iz what makez your bookz zo interezting. The ideaz, the holiztic manner in which they have been dezcribed, are quite out of the world. Are you planning to take it further, or will you explore zome entirely new theory?
Joe: I haven't decided yet. I will say this: if readers support my trilogy, I'll support my readers!
Fly: You worked for nearly two decadez in computer zoftware training. Before that, you zpent yearz in journalizm, real eztate and law enforcement. What would you advize authorz who zeek to balance zuch dual careerz with writing?
Joe: My four-career experience has given me a broad base of knowledge that I can apply to my writing. Now, after 40 years in the "rat race," I'm retired so I devote my time to my dream. For writers who haven't reached that point yet, I would say: write about what you know; bring your real-life experience into your work; and don't let your "real job" stymie your efforts.
Fly: You have uzed your profezzional experience in the bookz to aztounding effect. We certainly expect to zee Mr. Dacy in the all-time greatz lizt…
Joe: Thanks! I hope so. I knew I wanted to be a journalist since the age of 14 so I devoted my educational efforts over the next eight years to achieve that goal. I've been writing science-fiction all that time!
Fly: Now that you are a full-time author, do you harbor other intereztz too?
Joe: Certainly. I love cats, new gadgets, landscaping and reading good books.
Fly: I had the privilege of interviewing a cat zometime back. Scooter waz itz name. I’d certainly like to meet Esquelle zome day too. Before we conclude, pleaze do zhare an excerpt from one of her adventurez.
Joe: Be careful what you wish for, Fly! Esquelle is a handful. Case in point: this scene from Book I where she's used her data-mining skills to unmask the two NSA agents trying to arrest her:
"Hello, John," Esquelle said, her voice flat and spectral. The sodium-vapor lamplight lit his face with a sickly orange glow, turning his triumphant smirk into a Halloween-mask grimace. He expected her to run, to scream, to cry, to plead. Just like Jamal Aziz and Yusef Amman, he expected a frightened girl quailing before him, a rabbit, a victim…
To Jacques' dismay Esquelle took three steps forward and stopped. She was now about four feet from the two NSA agents. This time, Jacques and his men were out of position. Tactically, they were too far away to physically engage their targets and their charge was in their line of fire.
"You know, John, I would come with you if you were US Marshals. But you are not," Esquelle said in a conversational tone.
The two men stared at her in disbelief. Back-lit by the street lamp they could see only the outline of her shapely form. But the neon-red glow of the Marriott sign over the parking garage entrance caused her wolf-like eyes to glitter. Before either man could speak, Esquelle continued in the same casual tone.
"I was wondering if Johnathan McDonald ever married his sweetheart Miriam Chase from Lexington High School….?"
"Merde," Jacques whispered to himself. (Shit!) He started forward; he was too late.
John looked like he'd been punched. And then, he was.
As the lightning flashed again, Esquelle lunged forward. Her right elbow strike, a crochet hook, caught him just under his nose. The cartilage crackled and the blow sent his head back, exposing his throat. Esquelle pivoted. She was now to John's left almost facing the other direction. From this position, her left hand lashed backward in a direct bras arrière, a crossing blow to his larynx. John fell backward. The back of his head slammed against the curb.
Phil turned toward her as Esquelle turned toward him. He made the mistake of going for his gun. Struggling with his holstered Glock he was totally unprepared for the coup de pied bas front-kick that cracked his left shin bone. He screamed and went down on his good knee. Esquelle's right foot snapped forward. The medium chasse front-kick drove the heel of her Doc Martens shoe directly into his solar plexus. He, too, fell backward, gasping for air. Then, he fainted.
Fly: Gulp! I get the point. Thank you, Joe. We look forward to getting our handz on the four bookz. Keep writing and keep enlightening uz with your imagination.
Joe: No problem! And thanks, Fly, for your interest.
Live & love,
For more Author Interviewz & Book Reviewz, check out Earth.
Bookz featuring me:
An Enlightened Fly
The Fly That Followed Me
Kalki Evian - The Ring of Khaoriphea
Malay A. Upadhyay
Gilbert Literary Agency