GBB: What was the inspiration for you to write this story? What was your motivation to complete it? Were there defining moments that helped you along the way?
Shiloh, as in the Neil Diamond song, came to me when I was young and was seeking an imaginary companion. As an only child, bookish rather than adventurous, I relished fantasizing about Shiloh’s large family gatherings, as well as her escapades across the reaches of time and space. Growing up, I developed a host of episodes for Shiloh and her friend Spud to share with readers, and finally found the time to write them down years later when my children began asking Mom for unique bedtime stories. I developed the arc of the Zygan Emprise, seasoning the exciting action-adventure with a more mature look at philosophical, religious, political, and ethical themes. Shiloh’s world challenges her to live heroically and search for answers about the meaning of our existence.
GBB: Many writers do research or construct outlines before writing a story, take us through the process you used before you started writing
For the Zygan Emprise, the story had fully blossomed in my imagination, so, when I was ready, I put fingers to keyboard and began writing. New elements were added as my characters began to talk to me and guide me along the journey. Research I did as needed along the way.
(For my mystery-thrillers, Dead Air and Devil Wind, co-authored with Deborah Shlian, I did work with Debbie to construct a flexible outline.)
GBB: How did you come up with the title?
The Zygan Federation was Shiloh’s home. I had originally considered the “Zygan Chronicles” but so many books recently are titled “Chronicles”, so I shifted to Emprise. The titles of the first two books in the Zygan Emprise series, Renegade Paladins and Abyssal Redemption, were drawn from the video games my sons played and reflected the rogue spirit and honorable intentions of Shiloh in book 1, and the critical role of redemptive sacrifice for many of the characters in book 2.
GBB: Tell our readers what the setting or backdrop is for your novel.
Shiloh co-stars in the sci-fi TV series, Bulwark, on the Singularity Channel, as does her partner and friend Spud. Shiloh’s world includes the soundstages of Hollywood and the beaches of Malibu, as well as her family’s home in rural Maryland, just outside of DC. But, Shiloh’s hidden life as an agent for the Zygan Federation takes her across the light-years of space to distant galaxies, times, and dimensions, some alien, and some familiar. Shiloh’s adventures include trips to Andromeda, Orion, and Ancient Greece—as well as to the edge of Heaven and Hell.
GBB: Without giving too much away, can you give us some background on the major characters? Do you have a favorite character?
Shiloh, of course, who is bright, dynamic, impetuous, funny, and passionate. But, I also am very fond of Spud, nee William Escott, her British-French friend who is brilliant and dryly serious and resembles a young Sherlock Holmes.
Shiloh is the fourth of nine children, and has no memory of her parents. Raised by her late Grandfather Alexander, she is obsessed with finding her missing beloved older brother John, who disappeared while on assignment for the Zygan Federation. Has he been captured by the terrorist Theodore Benedict and his minions?
GBB: Can you give us a brief summary of your book?
Award winning 'Where Angels Fear to Tread/Renegade Paladins' and its sequel 'Abyssal Redemption' are now available together in one exciting volume! Renegade Paladins begins the story of Shiloh Rush, star of the sci-fi TV series Bulwark, who's leading a double life. Haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her beloved older brother, Shiloh hopes to track him down by following in his footsteps as a secret agent for the Zygan Federation, an intergalactic empire hidden from Earth. During this quest, Shiloh and her British co-star Spud, also a Zygan agent, fly into space--for real--to stop terrorists and invaders who could destroy the Federation and kill millions throughout the universe. Sent back in time to Earth's Ancient Middle East to save the life of a young prophet and prevent Earth's destruction, Shiloh and Spud stumble on a diabolical conspiracy and barely escape with their lives.
Their assignment sabotaged, Shiloh and Spud discover the villains' real mission, face powerful enemy fighters from warrior planets and traitors from their own ranks, and race against time to save Earth. And, in Abyssal Redemption, Shiloh, desperate to save her long-lost brother from the clutches of an intergalactic terrorist and his minions, enlists Spud to travel to a desolate dimension and mount a rescue, using the Golden Fleece she has borrowed from ancient prophet Yeshua Bar Maryam. On the trail, Shiloh and Spud risk their lives in the mysterious nebula, The Plegma, and face menacing demons, vampires, guerrillas, and Valkyries as they storm the gates of Hades. Returning to Earth, they find that their actions have resulted in devastating changes in the path of our history and that the Earth and the people they left behind no longer exist. Will they have to sacrifice their lives to save Earth’s?
GBB: Do you have a favorite part or chapter?
I especially love the interplay between Shiloh and Spud. They are an odd couple, but complement each other in a charming and caring way. My favorite chapter includes Shiloh and Spud’s interplay with a mysterious character named Lester Samuel Moore, who bears a striking resemblance to science fiction author Isaac Asimov—but don’t tell. ;-)
GBB: Are there any anecdotal stories pertaining to writing this story that you would like to share?
I’m grateful to the wonderful friends and editors who have read and provided feedback on The Zygan Emprise so that I can make it an outstanding read. My greatest joy, however, was when my 14 year old son devoured the book, and told me he was eager to keep reading and see what happened next.
GBB: With all the new genres out there today, what categories and sub category would you say your novel falls into?
Science-fiction and fantasy, space opera, action-adventure, thriller, young adults and imaginative adults.
GBB: On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being the most difficult) what is the reading level of your novel?
I’d say a 3-4. The first part, retitled Renegade Paladins, won a 2010 Mensa Sharp Writ Book Award.
GBB: What well known author would you compare your writing style to?
Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Michael Crichton, and Ursula LeGuin.
GBB: Other than your current novel what other books short stories etc. have you written?
With Dr. Deborah Shlian, the award-winning Sammy Greene Thrillers, Dead Air and Devil Wind. I also have a short story in this month’s Kings River Life webzine, and I write frequent essays for the LA Times and the Huffington Post.
GBB: Are you working on any new projects?
Deborah and I are working on our 3rd and 4th Sammy Greene thrillers and we have written a short story with Sammy that we hope to publish as an e-book next month.
GBB: Is there a sequel or a prequel for you're novel somewhere out there in the future?
Book 3 of the Zygan Emprise beckons—I hope to have it completed in 1-2 years. Meanwhile, I may work on a short story for Shiloh and Spud to entertain their fans while they are waiting for the next adventure.
GBB: Do you have any media or book signing appearances coming in the near future?
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