Monday, May 19, 2014
Interview and Giveaway with Luke Ahearn
Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.
I was born and raised in New Orleans and moved to Monterey, CA about twelve years ago. I always wanted to be a writer and spent the last thirty years avoiding that by developing computer games.
I write in several genres but my two favorites are post-apocalyptic and sword and sorcery. Writing each genre is deeply satisfying to me as a writer. As odd as as it may sound the post-apocalyptic setting is peaceful for me to write in. In that genre I like to explore human nature and relationships. The characters may be in peril and unhappy, but I’m safe.
I love working with the language of the sword and sorcery genre, the rich and otherworldly settings, and the bizarre characters.
Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.
Euphoria-Z is a zombie apocalypse novel. I wanted to write a zombie story that retained the traditional zombie experience but introduced some new elements like the onset of the apocalypse, the types of characters that would play the main roles, and as a result a different story experience as a variety of individuals try and survive and cope with the state of the world. And hopefully I wrote a story that is more enjoyable than the linear storyline focused down to one character’s experience. While there is one main character the reader gets into the heads of many other characters that play important roles, and many that don’t.
Are you a parent?
Yes, I am a dad of two children but both of them are in college. I am able to focus on my fiction writing with them away from the house.
If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?
My kids are grown, but when they were home it was very hard to juggle even though my wife was doing most of the work. The kids were always the priority and I loved being there for them, but it is also nice to focus on my fiction.
Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?
Yes. I based the main character on my son but until I get to see him in a real zombie apocalypse I will never know how accurately I portrayed him. I also set the novel in the place I live and places I am familiar with so I could write about those places more effectively. I liked to visit the locations to experience them and even map the story and apply a timeline to keep events straight.
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?
I don’t consciously attempt to send a message, I just want to entertain people. I want to give people an experience, a vacation, an escape. But I’m sure my attitudes and opinions bleed into the story so I would say there are messages coming through. One belief I have that is represented in this book is that people often rush to judgment as to whether something is good or bad. I also believe that there are a few people in the world that are very malicious but have a severe impact on our society because the majority of people who are good are too nice to deal with them effectively. We need to be less offended by the slight of a word or name and look at the tolerance we have for gangs, criminals, and the run of the mill assholes that are just abusing our system and not contributing to it.
In the area of messages in fiction, a huge pet peeve of mine is when I am immersed in a book and suddenly I am reading a two page rant which is clearly the author’s opinion. My opinions my come through in the fiction, but I attempt to be true to the characters and loyal to the reader. I don’t care if I agree with the author one-hundred percent I will toss the book aside if I find myself reading a rant on any topic. I want to be entertained, not lectured to.
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
A lot of things.
When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?
I record several shows and binge watch them. I love skipping commercials and not having to wait a week or more for the next installment. I feel guilty spending the better part of a day watching TV once in a while, but I also feel that I am taking less time out of my life to watch this way. I feel guilty because TV is mostly a distraction. It is hardly an inspiration but I think I need the time to kind of shut off my brain and watch the screen.
Which book or series do you wish you had written?
You mean by another author? I remember reading Jurassic Park and wishing I had written it. I still wish I could write a series of stories that take place on the Las Cinco Muertes island chain.
Is there a genre(s) that you’d like to write that you haven’t tackled yet?
No, not a primary genre but there are subgenres I don’t think I could tackle. Some story ideas I have would involve a level of research and learning I am not able to commit to now. Even if I had unlimited resources I think I would rather be writing, doing a moderate amount of research, than not writing so I can spend months learning about a specific topic. For example, I think I could interview people and read up enough to have a doctor as a character in a book that may even use his medical knowledge to some degree, but I couldn’t write a medical thriller and wouldn’t want to spend the time to learn all the medicine I would need to do so. In Euphoria-Z there are many things I talked to people about, even interviewing professionals, to portray them accurately. How long does it take to come down from heroine? What’s cold turkey like? And how would an abused woman behave in a given situation? How much weight can an electric winch lift? I could probably come up with a list of a hundred questions easily that I stopped writing to find an answer to.
Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?
The lead character in my sword and sorcery series Dark Deeds and Black Magics. Xanthus is a city dwelling scoundrel in his late teens that can go anywhere in society, but fits in nowhere. His family is wealthy so he is not trusted or even liked by the poor and working class. But his family is nouveau riche so he is not accepted by the old money either. He is left alone in a large city to babysit his wealthy father’s home and is incredibly bored so he dabbles in thievery, debauchery, and rarely a bit of responsibility. He met a few other oddballs and they generally participate in shenanigans that are sometimes orchestrated by the gods. I love writing him because I love the setting of Kingspoint, the massive maze-streeted city with its magics and dangers. The prequel to the series is available now and contains a sample of the actual series.
If this book is part of a series…what is the next book? Any details you can share?
I have the next book roughed out.
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
I have the next book in the Euphoria-Z series roughed out and I have the first novel in a sword and sorcery series, Dark Deeds and Black Magics, almost ready for editing.
What book are you reading now?
Trace Evidence, Hunt for the I-5 Killer.
What is in your to read pile?
I don’t have a to read pile L
Genre: Thriller/Zombie Apocalypse
Publisher: Luke Ahearn
Date of Publication: May 19, 2014
Number of pages: 409
Word Count: 118,099
Cover Artist: Steven J Catizone
Civilization shuts down as throngs of speechless hedonists fill the streets in deadly revelry. They feel only pleasure and never pain, even as they are injured, maimed, and mutilated. Few people remain in the world unaffected, left to witness the madness unaware that things are about to get unbelievably worse.
Cooper is among the few survivors of a conspiracy to depopulate the world. One week ago, college was his biggest concern. Now he is on a dangerous journey to find his sister as an ever-present threat of nightmarish proportions engulfs the world, throwing him in the path of some of the most malicious people that ever walked the earth.
The present, Monterey, California
“Fuck!” The wiry, gray-haired old man felt his eyes go wide with surprise, but he quickly got his shit together. Jasper scowled; now he was very pissed off. He might stoop and shuffle when he walked, but he didn’t take any shit.
Some big fat bastard was bear-hugging him from behind. He could see white mountains of wet flab before his eyes, and he smelled vomit. He felt a massive wet belly and man tits pressing against his back. Large folds of cold wet flesh engulfed him, and he shuddered at the sensation.
He hated hugs, especially from men, and hugs from big fat sweaty bastards were absolutely unacceptable. He carried his best spiked hammer, an old-school Craftsman from back in the day, before the gooks were making them. He was just itching to use it. The fat bastard was yelling something in his ear.
“I love you! I love you, man!”
“Ahhh, geez!” Jasper twisted out of the flabby cocoon and took a few steps back. What he saw disgusted him. It was a giant fat kid, a head taller than himself, who looked like a giant baby, all hairless and soft. The kid was smiling like an idiot, and that made Jasper even more pissed off. Food smeared the kid’s face and ran down his chins in greasy streams between his man tits and over his belly. All Jasper could think was that all that shit was all over his back. Now he would have to burn his shirt and take a long, hot shower.
The kid wore nothing but baggy white underwear soaked in sweat. Jasper shuddered at the clammy coldness on his back. His flannel shirt clung to him and felt like a cold, wet bathing suit.
“I love you, man!” The big fat kid smiled as he came at him for another hug.
“Ahhhh! Fuck you!” Despite his advanced age, Jasper moved with an efficiency and force that spoke of his many years as a carpenter. He brought the spiked hammer down on the kid’s skull, and it collapsed inward with little resistance. He liked the sensation of cracking a head but hated wasting the time to do it.
The kid dropped to the concrete like a wet sack. He was still smiling, which made cracking his skull less enjoyable. Jasper wished he could bash every asshole around with his trusty hammer. He looked around to make sure another shithead wasn’t looking for a hug.
A woman came at him, hooting so loud he could hear it over the crowd, waving her tits at him. He took her out too, with an easy smack between the eyes. He had enough of this shit. He cracked a few more skulls for fun, but he got bored. It was always the same: an easy tap to the skull and the moron dropped, still smiling.
The streets were crammed with people, and they were all acting crazy. Jasper just wanted to get home. It seemed everyone was congregating downtown, streaming in from the surrounding neighborhoods. People were walking in large groups, arm in arm, naked and clothed, dancing, running, and hugging. It all made Jasper sick, just god-awful sick.
He tried to go all the way downtown and almost got caught up in the crowd. People were pushing and jamming each other into doors until they cracked open. He heard the crash of large plate-glass windows, but no one reacted. In fact, he saw people just getting pushed through the windows in a wave. He could tell that people were getting seriously injured and killed, and he just wanted to get the hell out of there.
He left at the right time. The press of the massive crowd smashed and suffocated, ground and trampled, and killed many—and the party continued to grow. No one screamed in panic or pain. No one yelled for help or dialed 911. And no one stopped to offer assistance, an apology, or true human interaction of any kind. Everyone was bent on doing exactly what they wanted to do, and what anyone else wanted didn’t matter to them in the slightest.
In any place where people gathered for a good time, the crowds were thick. The mall was packed, but the hospital was empty. The wharf was so full that hundreds fell into the icy waters of the bay. The office parks and businesses were dark and silent. Some groups formed parties on random streets for one reason or another.
A large majority of the city was empty, devoid of people. Most left their homes and walked away, leaving doors unlocked and often wide open. They would join a group and wander away.
There were still a few souls hiding indoors who were anything but euphoric. They watched with fear and horror the goings-on outside their windows. Jasper had been one of these, but he needed his goddamned pills and had to drive through all this crazy shit to get them. Of course, when he got to the damn pharmacy it was closed. He had tried to call ahead, but no one answered the phone. He was pissed. He wanted nothing to do with this crazy shit. He didn’t want to see any of it and certainly didn’t want to walk through it. He saw quite a few people doing things he had only seen in his buddies’ dirty magazines. But there was one thing every single person was doing: smiling like a retard with a lollipop—every single one.
At first, he thought all the outlandish behavior was confined to idiots, kids, and queers. It had to be some new drug to get them this nuts, he thought. But too many people were acting bonkers, too many people who just didn’t fit the behavior.
He walked as quickly as he was able away from the crowd and back to his car. He’d seen some shit in his day, but in the last few the world had descended into pandemonium. There were reports that almost everyone around the world was walking away from their jobs, no matter how critical. Everything was grinding to a halt. Transportation, communication—private or military, trivial or critical—everything was just going belly up. Jasper had known this day was coming ever since the blacks were allowed to vote.
And the crooks in Washington didn’t know anything. They said it was an unknown virus and creatively named it Euphoria-Z. Z because they didn’t know what it was, only what it did. And their advice? Stay indoors and away from crowds, bunch of geniuses.
Jasper had never expected he would need to kill people, not since the war, but in the last few days he had been forced to. The streets were crazy, and he wouldn’t even be outside if he hadn’t needed his pills. He felt as if he were the only sane person for miles. He looked at his feet and wondered, only briefly, if something were wrong with him? No, couldn’t be, he thought. None of this was right. The world had gone crazy.
About the Author:
Luke Ahearn has over 20 years of professional game development experience and has authored numerous nonfiction books on the topic. He ran his own computer game company for ten years and currently owns MasterWerxStudios, an animatronic prop shop in Monterey, CA.
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