Monday, May 14, 2012

Trophy by Paul M. Schofield: Interview & Excerpt

Imagine an Earth restored to perfection under the care of ten women Guardians, who answer only to a governing computer. Imagine a peaceful, colonized Solar System. This is what the New Victorian Empire has accomplished in the 475 years of its existence. Now mankind faces extinction because of a genetic mutation caused by the catastrophic collapse of Earth's environment in 2065 A.D., the year the Empire began. The Keyhole anomaly, a wormhole in space, offers a solution; time-travel to transport genetically sound humans from the past.

Renegade nuclear engineer Louis Franelli has developed the technology of that time-travel, which his employer, criminal and rebel Galen Bestmarke, is using to go back to 1975 A.D. to collect hunting trophies and establish a slave-trade through time. The Empire is desperate to recover Franelli and his technology so that they can use it to save mankind. The Planetary Control Corps (PCC) under the direction of the Guardians, Star-Commander Abigail VanDevere, and the dynamic young team of Lieutenant Janet Rogerton and Pilot Kolanna face the daunting task of stopping Bestmarke and capturing Franelli. Can the determined officers of the PCC succeed? Can they do so in time?

Trophy is the first book of the Trophy Saga, a future look at a pivotal time in mankinds history. It tells the story of the continuing struggle to prevent the extinction of the human race.

This book should appeal to mature readers as well as young adults.

Paperback  |  Kindle  |  Goodreads 



“The head-gear needs to be somewhat tight, Lieutenant, so any quick movement of your head will not disturb the interface at your brain-stem.” The Guardian adjusted Rogerton’s head-gear. “Emotions and feelings will become visible, as it were, to both of you. If you panic, you will be completely overwhelmed. We will closely monitor you both. If you start to panic, I will end the link. We know the panther will panic. Total calmness on your part is a must.” She walked back into the control room and sat down at her instruments.
“I understand, Guardian. I will be as soothing and patient as I can,” Rogerton said, trying to convince herself and calm her own anxiety.
“It will be necessary to search his mind and memories, finding areas he will respond to favorably. We do not know how to guide you in this,” Guardian VII said over the intercom. “We have no definite procedure yet – it is still abstract and ill-defined. As you move in certain directions or areas, we will attempt to monitor what part of his brain you are stimulating. We will try to identify where you are and what feelings or memories you are affecting. Perhaps in this way we will be able to offer a measure of guidance.”
“The unknown can be fearful, Guardian. Let's proceed with the hope of finally helping this poor creature, no matter how fear inspiring he may be. We as humans owe him that dignity and respect. Let's get started.”
The Lieutenant sat in the lab research room two meters from the pedestal with the sleeping panther head. She did not directly face the big cat, but looked away to appear less threatening. A holographic jungle environment encircled them making it as life-like to the panther as possible.
“We are awakening the panther, Lieutenant,” she heard in her thoughts. “We will allow him to stabilize his thought processes before we engage the link. We will count it down for you.”
“Thank you, Guardian,” she thought back.
The adrenaline was flowing strongly now as she braced her mind for this totally alien and unknown experience before her. She felt as if she was standing on the edge of an abyss.
“He is awake now. Do your best, Lieutenant. We will be with you constantly.”
The panther stared at the familiar figure that was now closer, but showed no alarm. He had accepted her sitting close to him and no longer viewed her as a threat. A mild level of comfort showed on the monitors in the unseen control room. Guardian VII said: “The link will be established in ten seconds, nine, eight – three, two, one.”
Lieutenant Rogerton felt the dream-like confusion of multiple emotions trying to focus as the interface gently pulled her thoughts and those of the panther into the same flowing stream of consciousness. It felt like a river, frighteningly deep, clear, and vaguely greenish, with currents and eddies along the edges. She felt shapes in the depths that were undefined and formless, but one seemed to be growing, like a hidden storm coming up from unseen depths. It was totally black with glowing suns like burning yellow eyes, and a form like a wide, gaping mouth, blood-red and hideous, constantly changing shape. The river all around was churned into brown mire and black whirlpools as the shape rose ever closer, boiling up the darkened waters into huge and frightening waves. Howling winds groaned and growled with merciless intensity, swirling and screaming in their combined consciousness. The monstrous shape continued to well up from the depths, completely engulfing her, spinning in a vicious frenzy within her mind.
It was all Rogerton could do to remain calm and unmovable, so fearsome was the onslaught of the terrified panther. Never had she felt so small and vulnerable. There was no place to run, no refuge to hide in, or way to conceal herself from the undisciplined rage and terror of her attacker. The depth of her fear was beyond her experience. Only her trained and disciplined mind kept her restrained from total panic. She forced herself to concentrate on her pity for the animal, and why she had wanted to help it in the first place. She mentally shut her eyes and ears to the violent inferno circling around her, and emanated as much love and compassion as she could muster. She began speaking the same words she had repeatedly said to the panther. “I do not want to hurt you – I want to help you.” Over and over again she said these words, and tried to fix scenes in her mind of what they meant in relation to the panther.
After what seemed an eternity, she mentally opened her eyes and ears to discover an eerie quietness and stillness so different from the previous horrendous onslaught. The river was clear and calm in its greenish depths. The shapes she felt in it were formless and vague, the menacing black storm could not be sensed.
She reached out and approached one of the shapes that moved closer and surrounded her. She felt trees and plants, a forest with familiar paths and scents, the memories of the panther’s ancient home, now long forgotten. A wave of sadness swept over her, and only with great difficulty could she force herself to leave.
She reached out and approached another shape that gently enveloped her, drowning her in memories of panther kittens – brothers and sisters tumbling and playing with each other in the cool grass of a hot summer day. One by one they grew older and disappeared, instilling another wave of sadness and loss, a family born to forget, each departing to go his separate way.
A great sense of loss came over her and she cried with despair in her heart, acutely sensing the loneliness of animals as they struggle through their desperate, often singular and tragic lives. Forcing herself again to leave, she cried at the seeming futility and emptiness that continually stalked them all.
Suddenly, she sensed the black shape approaching again, but more cautiously. Slowly approaching, she lovingly touched it and led it to the shapes of hidden memories she had reluctantly left moments before. It, too, responded in sadness as she had done. Radiating love and compassion, she pictured in her mind a panther running and leaping again, free and strong. She continued to repeat this until finally the black shape glowed with a goldenness, making sounds that could only be construed as purring. The Lieutenant cried out in joy! She now had her answer! The great cat would soon be ready to run again!
She felt the dream-like confusion as their joined consciousness gently separated. She and the panther were individuals again. She looked at the panther on the pedestal and smiled, feeling great joy. The panther continued to purr, more content than it had been in a long time.
Guardian VII remotely shut off the pedestal, the panther fell asleep again, and the Lieutenant returned to the control room.
“That was quite an ordeal, Lieutenant. How are you feeling? Your vital signs and brain waves are normal, even somewhat enhanced,” Guardian VII said, scanning her instruments.
“I am very tired, Guardian, but I feel happy and satisfied. It is hard to explain. It was terrifying, to say the least, but we were successful. He wants to run again! He told me so. Did you hear him purring?” Rogerton said. “How long did it all take?”
“You were linked for almost five hours. We were very concerned about you and the panther. But you did admirably! Now we will really be able to help this poor creature and give him back his life.” She stood and gave the Lieutenant a wide grin. “Please go get some rest. We have a surprise tomorrow that we do not want you to miss.”

 Hello, welcome!  I am so happy you had a little time to stop by today so we have the opportunity to find out a little bit about you.  First, tell us about a favorite character from a book.

That would be Panther, the great black cat, half animal and half android. Without giving away too much, he begins as one of the antagonist's living trophies and is rescued by our young heroine, Lieutenant Janet Rogerton. My excerpt depicts the scene where Rogerton attempts to mind-link with Panther. He goes on to grow into a powerful and dynamic character, helping to save the day and provide some entertaining and funny moments.

Who is your favorite author?

This is a tough one... there are so many. There are two that I love to read and have had the most influence on my writing: J.R.R. Tolkien for his incredible story telling. His descriptions of a whole new world; the characters and creatures, the incredible landscapes, all paint vivid images in your mind. You know what he describes is real. The other is Jane Austen. Again, incredible story telling, but with some of the best character development to be found. Her incredible use of the English language is like listening to fine music.

What is your favorite meal?

Cornish pasties with brown gravy. These small meat pies were a staple of the coal and copper miners years ago. Potatoes, ground beef, onions in a pie crust shell and baked in the oven. Serve hot with brown gravy, your favorite vegetable, and raspberry tort for desert. Doesn't get any better. Mmmm

What group did you hang out with in high school?

It was the group that now would be called the “nerd” group. I took honors classes in math, science, English, and music. We studied hard, stayed out of trouble, but it was everything but boring. Great memories of a lot of fun and camaraderie... and a great education.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like to walk in the woods by my home with our cats. I love to study nature: watch the birds and other critters around our home, and spend time under the stars with my telescope checking out everything in the majestic heavens. I enjoy reading and watching some TV including the various versions of Star Trek and Babylon V. I'm a music lover, too, and enjoy playing my classical guitar.

What makes you happy?

Spending time with my wife and grown children, traveling and exploring new areas and things. Working hard on whatever I love to do, whether it is music, working around the house, but especially on my writing. Doing the absolute best I can brings the most happiness.

Who should play you in a film?

First you would have to invent a time-machine. Then you would take the venerable actor Robert Redford and make him a young man again. That's not too much to ask for, is it?

Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you?  If so, what is it?

Yes. It was given to me by an older man that I really look up to. I have found it to be valuable especially in the times we live in today with economic uncertainty and the general unraveling of the norms of society we grew up with. Here it is: “Always do the kind thing.”

That sounds like superb advice to me!  Thank you so much for sharing these past few minutes with us.  It's been fun and enlightening.  I wish you every success!

In the words of Lord Byron, "If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad." So, I write action packed, future-fiction that's fun and refreshing to read.

I grew up under the starry skies of Montana's wide open spaces and ever changing vistas. Born with a vivid imagination, I was influenced by the natural world surrounding me, the old-time Western movies that I watched as a kid, space exploration and the science fiction books authored by the masters of the genre that I read as a teenager, the Star Trek TV shows that I have watched all my life, and the action and excitement of the Star Wars movies. Now that I've raised my family, a son and a daughter, I have time to express my imaginings by writing future-fiction that is fun and refreshing to read. I live in the mountains of western North Carolina with my wife Ellen, where I contemplate the night skies with my telescope and my next story with the help of my rescued cats (aka writing buddies).

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