Tuesday, February 28, 2012

False Positives by Kim Aleksander : Interview

Techno-Thriller
In 1972, a gifted student at Berkeley writes the first computer virus. When it’s run on the university mainframe it simply vanishes. Thirty-five years later, a government computer system issues ostensibly baseless assassination orders, and its creator goes in search of the ghost in the machine. What she discovers is a legacy black-ops program from the Vietnam Era that is alive and killing today. As she fights to prevent her brainchild from becoming a weapon for government-sanctioned murder, the protagonist is pitted against adversaries hell-bent on wielding the machine with Machiavellian ruthlessness to achieve their political ambitions. Joined by an eclectic band of characters, she plots to bring down the system before it is used to start a war of biblical proportions, and in doing so, she becomes marked for termination by her own creation.








GIVEAWAY
Enter for a chance to win a PRINT (North America & Great Britian only) or Gifted Kindle copy of False Positives.  Comment on this post and/or Like False Positives on Facebook for bonus entries.  Giveaway closes March 31st 11:59PM Central Time.
 


Also enter the Paperback giveaway on Goodreads for another opportunity to win.

GoodReads paperback giveaway: http://bit.ly/x8ES3d


INTERVIEW

Thanks so very much for being here today and taking time to chat.  False Positives is your debut novel. Tell us a little about it, if you will.

Sure!

False Positives is a techno-thriller set in Washington D.C. with scenes that play out in Saigon during the Vietnam era as well as contemporary Bangkok and Tehran.

It’s based on the idea that the U.S. Government is reliant on technology in the fight against terrorism—maybe a little too reliant. And this can be a real problem when the technology has bugs.

It all starts out in 1972 when a gifted student at Berkeley writes the first computer virus. Thirty-five years later, a government computer system recommends some ostensibly baseless assassination orders, and its creator goes in search of the ghost in the machine. What she discovers is a legacy black-ops program from the Vietnam Era that is alive and killing today.

Marnie, the protagonist, is pitted against adversaries hell-bent on wielding her machine with Machiavellian ruthlessness to achieve their political ambitions. Joined by an eclectic band of characters, she plots to bring down the system before it is used to start a war of biblical proportions, and in doing so, she becomes marked for termination by her own creation.

That’s from the back cover. How’d that sound?


I like it! Sounds exciting!  Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I grew up in California and spent my twenties in Hawaii. At some point, I decided that I needed to find a place as beautiful as Hawaii but as cheap as Mexico. I think I’ve found that in Thailand. Where next? I may have to wait until I decide the location for my next novel. This might be Hawaii. I miss Hawaii.


Hawaii is on my short list of places I’d really like to visit. It’s easy to understand why you would like to return.  Does travel play in the writing of your books?

I think that one of reading’s great treats is the ability to allow you to escape. If a book’s good enough it can transport you to anywhere in the world. It can even do this to other worlds if you’re reading science fiction or fantasy. So yes, travel is important but probably not in the way you’re asking.

For example, I’ve been to most of the places in False Positives. I’ve been to Vietnam, but not during the war. I’ve never been to Iran, and I’ve never been inside the National Counterterrorism Center, either. I guess that having been somewhere may allow one to write with a certain verisimilitude about a location, but I believe that with enough inspiration and talent one can do justice to any locale imagined or not.


How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

No formula. Not yet at least.

I’ve had four real stories bouncing around in my head for over 20 years now. It’s kind of weird because the longer I wait to actually write them down, the more I see others having similar ideas and getting them published or made into film. I think that’s a result of what Jung called the collective unconscious. That’s pretty much where my core ideas come from but then my own experiences and perspectives personalize them. I dream a lot and take notes when I wake up, but things do tend to change as they get written down. Also, time has an affect on things.

Some of my characters are based on people I’ve met or read about while others are pure fabrication. Some share my own viewpoints on things while others have minds of their own. How they develop is interesting. It starts with imagined conversations in my head. This I’m sure is entertaining when people catch me doing it, but eventually, their dialogue shapes the relationships of the characters with each other and within the story.


I will draw upon archetypes sometimes as a base, but often I find the characters tend to form themselves. Once I get to know them, I understand what drives them and how they must change as the story progresses.


What book(s) are you reading now?

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I’ve been a long time fan of spy and espionage thrillers and John Le CarrĂ© has yet to disappoint. I’m actually re-reading this after many years, and it’s better the second time around.


Who are some other contemporary authors that you enjoy reading?

Wow, this might be a long list. Let me think… way back.

I think it all started for me when a friend of mine handed me Vixen 03 by Clive Cussler. That pretty much hooked me on action and adventure. I read all of Robert Ludlum’s Bourne books way before they were made into movies. The books had Carlos, not sure why the movies didn’t.

Then came Tom Clancy, I think someone invented the word techno-thriller to describe his work. Then there was Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, Michael Crichton… God, there’s too many.

I also really enjoy historical fiction. I loved Gary Jenning’s Aztec and The Journeyer. And then—wow—The Eight by Katherine Neville, that might be one of my favorite books ever. I worked through all of the James Clavell books while I was living Japan—Epic. Stephen King, Wilbur Smith… sorry, I’ll never finish this and I’ve barely started.

Next question?


That was a great start!  I know exactly what you mean.  I always HATE to get asked my favorite author.  My favorite is often the one whose story I’m currently reading! Lol Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

It’s hard to really say, as I’ve felt like a beginner all my life. I mean it took me until I was forty to actually think I was good enough to produce anything respectable.

The well-worn chant that everyone will repeat is to write! That and read a lot. It’s either that or kill all adverbs, but for me—and I believe Ray Bradbury said this many moons ago—a very important thing that I’ve learned is that what you don’t write possibly more important than what you do. Don’t become to attached to what you’ve written, and don’t be afraid to cull it. No matter how good you think something you’ve written is, chances are it can be better. So be sure to edit, slash, burn, and re-write as much as possible, and THEN be sure to hire a copy-editor before you try and publish. And THEN get a proofreader. Some argue otherwise, but I think writers are just too close to their work to be able to properly edit their own work. 

I think you nailed it!  Thank you so much for this opportunity to find out more about you and your novel.  I wish you every success!!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Aleksander has worked with computer technology for over twenty-five years and holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems Management from the University of Liverpool. He was raised in California, spent his twenties in Hawaii, and moved to Asia in 1999. Presently, he lives in a jungle in Thailand with his wife, two sons, a Jack Russell terrier, and a few ducks.

False Positives is his first novel.

Amazon  |  Goodreads  | Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter





Thanks for Looking!

6 comments:

intensev5 said...

Thanks for the chance to win.

Barb K. said...

Great book. Know this one will be a great read.

Anonymous said...

It looks like a very interesting book ron Marsh

sparklejewelsp59@yahoo.com said...

love 2 win this so i can read it great give away

Patsy said...

I'd love to read this book. Thank you for the chance to win it

Patricia said...

This book sounds absolutely THRILLING. I'd love to read it!