- Tell us about yourself:
- Where do you live? Melbourne, Australia
- How long have you lived there? Most of my life, but I lived in Sydney for a few years while I was in the Royal Australian Navy.
- Are you married? Yep!
- Kids? Two girls
- Full time job? Family footwear business. Fourth generation!
- Education? High school/uni dropout.
- Who is your favorite author and book? That’s a tough one – so many authors! I’d have to say Heinlein, and it’s a toss-up between Glory Road, and his Future History series (Methuselah’s Children, Time Enough For Love, etc)
- What is your preferred genre? Sci-fi.
- How did you start this journey to become a writer? I read William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies and George Orwell’s Animal Farm as a kid. Before then, I’d just written down stories because I liked a lot of Enid Blyton stories, but when I read those two books back-to-back, I knew I wanted to write well.
- What have you written so far? Dozens of shorts – not all pubbed. Three Y/A fantasy self pubbed full-length books, one sci-fi full length, and one full length xxx rated book under another name.
- Tell us about your current book. My latest release is Troopers, book One in The Clan Victorious trilogy. It’s a dystopian space opera set circa 6000. The majority of mankind is under martial law, ruled by a superior, genetically enhanced super-race.
- What is the inspiration for your current book? Oh, there’s a lot of R A Heinlein in there, as well as Frank Herbert (Dune etc).
- Who was your favorite character to write and why? The story has two protagonists. One, Red, the girlfriend of the main character, Louis, was a lot of fun to write, because she’s a homicidal rebel. Another is a crusty old armourer called Roberts. She’s a no-nonsense old Scot who doesn’t give a damn about authority.
- Is there anything of you in that character? Oh, yeah. She’s a compulsive smartarse!
- What sets your book apart? I think it’s the fun and the humanity of it all. So many writers seem to take themselves and the worlds they create so seriously. Embracing our flaws, as well as taking risks like being non-PC, is a good thing.
- What’s your favorite part in the book? (read it) That’s not fair! Spoilers. Oh well, here’s a grab from the end of Chapter six. It’s rude, I’ll warn you. It’s set on Boot, the military training planet, and my protag, Louis, is worried about his sister Valentina, who’s training on another planet. He and his telepathically linked match, Red, place a tight beam call to Red’s mother on a space station light years away to ask.
‘Colonel Breathnach,’ Éibhleann answered with a yawn.
Louis flushed, remembering the time difference. ‘Sorry to disturb you, ma’am. I’ll call back later.’
‘Like hell you will, kid. What’s on your mind?
Éibhleann appeared on screen, stark naked.
Louis was now accustomed to nudity, but still felt nervous seeing his lover’s mother sans clobber. On Solar One, the lighter gravity also had the opposite effect on women’s bodies Red had complained about earlier. Like Red, nothing on Éibhleann sagged. She was no longer pregnant, and her figure had returned to its normal hourglass shape, though her breasts were larger and engorged with milk.
She noticed Louis noticing and grinned. ‘I’m too old to be shy, Lou. Ask any woman. We looove low grav!’ She grimaced. ‘Though any sudden moves and I end up squirting myself in the eye.’
‘Mum!’ Red protested, while giving Louis a nudge.
Louis made sure his eyes were focused solely on Éibhleann’s. ‘Sorry, ma’am. I was just wondering if you’d heard from Valentina.’
During the lag, Éibhleann donned a robe, much to his relief. Ignoring his question, she smiled warmly at him,
‘Lou, darling. How’s my girl?’
‘I’m fine, Mum,’ Red replied, peering over his shoulder. Unlike Louis, she was only wearing her smile.
‘Glad to hear it.’ She gave Louis a sideways glance. ‘Just what kind of ruckus are you causing out there on Boot? I hear Mendel’s at his wits’ end, not that he had many to begin with, and that you sent Yayan berserk.’
‘I did, ma’am.’ Louis replied, remembering his bruises. ‘He sure got his licks in. I was in the infirmary for days.’
‘That’s his job. You do know one of his goals is to push you both until you lapse. Command needs some idea of when you’re likely to lose it.’
Louis blinked. ‘I had no idea about that.’ He glanced at Red. Did you?
She shook her head. No.
‘Well,’ Éibhleann continued, ‘Louis, if any driller gets you to go berserk, I hope it’s Yayan. He’s got the best constitution I’ve ever seen. It’s like he has poly bones. When you see him next, tell him I remember our time off Jupiter. He still owes me one from the Ganymede Riots.’
‘Will do, ma’am.’
‘Now, what’s this about Tina?’
‘I was just curious.’
“Don’t worry. She’s still on Medical. Just completed her training. In fact, she’ll be joining you soon, I gather.’
Éibhleann shrugged. ‘Graduated as Medic with Honours. Also showed a lot of promise as a pilot, so they ran her through that class, too. Aced every test. She’s clear to drive everything from shuttles to frigates. Once she passes Boot, she’ll receive her commission.’
Red punched the air. ‘Woot! She’ll be an officer?’
‘Straight to draftsman. You know how it goes. She’s as keen and stubborn as her brother. Took every elective she was allowed.’ She held her finger and thumb close together. ‘She’s this far from becoming a stalker herself. Lucky for her, she’s not a jacker.’ She eyed Louis. ‘Command knows you’ve been into Boot’s systems.’
‘It’s not like they put a lot of effort into their security,’ he replied, his tone defensive. ‘Even a child could jack in. You said Tina’s coming here?’
‘Ship sails tomorrow your time. The other three are still studying. Alicia’s got your knack for genetics, so she’s based on Medical now. Teresa and Gabriela are studying advanced horticulture on Bio, but I doubt they’ll stay on as farmers. They’ve both got bees in their bonnets about endangered plant life. Once they graduate, they’ll probably wind up on Jungle.’
Red leapt back from the console and jumped about the suite in a happydance. She grabbed Louis’ helmet, two sizes too big for her, and continued to boogie.
Louis was struggling to concentrate. Stop it!
‘Ma’am, is she… Is Tina okay?’
‘She’s fine. She seems quite attached to Lieutenant Commander Catrina Taylor, who led the raid.’
‘Wait?’ Red said, ‘Taylor got promoted?’
Éibhleann nodded. ‘Long overdue, if you ask me.’ She made a face. ‘What we need is a good war. Clean out all the useless brass, and let those with talent move up.’
Louis was surprised to hear such a cold attitude from Éibhleann, but his worry for Tina made that fade in an instant. Everything he feared seemed to boil up in him. Had his sister been so damaged by her experiences that she latched onto her saviour? It was not uncommon.
‘Get over yourself, Lou,’ Éibhleann chided. ‘What do you expect? Lucky for her, Taylor is in a contract marriage with another husband and wife. Nowadays, contracts always have adoption and saviour-bond inclusion clauses. Good thing, too. Imani and I had to catch Father the hard way.’
Red stopped dancing and approached the monitor, raising the visor. She still looked comical in the buff with the big helmet sliding to one side.
‘She joining Taylor’s platoon?’
‘Not yet. Taylor’s been assigned the helm of CeeVee Destroyer Meercat, under Captain Candace Sim. Gunner Lieutenant Angie Crow has Taylor’s old platoon, but it’s still based on The Meercat,’ she replied with nonchalant tilt of her head. ‘If she wants to join it, she has to go through Boot, same as everyone else.’
‘But—’ he protested. Even Basic had been tough so far.
‘Never fear. Taylor will keep in touch with her. She knows what to do.’
‘He’s scared she won’t survive Boot,’ Red told her mother, tossing a teasing look at her match. She head-butted him with his own helmet.
Louis made a grab for it, but she danced out of reach.
Éibhleann sighed again, giving Louis another look. ‘You know Boot’s customised to the individual, don’t you?’
Louis sank back in the seat. ‘Yeah, I might have heard something about that,’ he mumbled.
In fact, one of the mantras the Boot drillers repeated endlessly was “Boot suits the recruit! If you die, it’s your fault.”
‘That’s my boy,’ Éibhleann replied, her blue eyes sparkling. ‘Now go chase my daughter around your pod for a while.’
The connection shut off.
Louis stood up and grinned at Red. C’mere, scamp! And gimme that helmet.
Red danced out of his grasp and poked her tongue out cheekily. Nup! This helmet stays on. Serves you right for perving at my mother!
But I can’t kiss you.
You can, just not my mouth!
Hooting, she bounced back to the pod.
19. What was the most difficult part to write? Some of the more intimate sex scenes.
20. What was your favorite book to write? I always love my current WIP, but I think so far, Troopers is my favourite. It’s aimed at a wider, older audience, so I didn’t have to censor myself so much.
21. How do you write? Do you have a set time or place? How many hours a day? I’m bi-polar. When I’m down, I don’t write much. I might do a bit of editing, or scribble a note here or there. When I’m up, the words flow, and I can hammer away for days at a time.
I’m medicated, which is a bit of a bitch when it come to the up swings, because I’m less productive than I could be, but on the flipside, the lows aren’t so awful.
22. Why did you want to be a writer? I think I’ve always done it. It might be better to say I’ve never NOT wanted to be a writer. If I don’t get the words out, I’ll end up in a rubber room.
23. How do you get your ideas? I tend to talk to myself in the car when the music’s playing. I imagine scenes and dialogue. It tends to make me look even more stupid and distracted than my natural state of complete obtuseness.
24. What do you have planned next? The sequel, which is well underway, and the grand finale, which I’m plotting. I’ve also got a spin-off going, with a bunch of shorts attached, only they’re less sci-fi, and more swashbuckling Conan The Barbarian – type stuff.
25. What advice would you give new writers? Write. Don’t force it. If the words aren’t flowing, edit. Also, READ YOUR WORK OUT ALOUD. It baffles me sometimes. My eldest daughter is 12, and she still insists I read to her. I’m amazed at how often I’m trying to read out what the author has written, but the words come out like something Dr Seuss would have written on while acid.
26. How can readers get in touch with you? Twitter: https://twitter.com/sjbgilmour