Friday, November 9, 2012

Was Once A Hero by Edward McKeown: Interview: Juniper Grove Tour Stop


Title: Was Once A Hero

Author: Edward McKeown

Published: Hellfire Publishing – January 2012

Word Count: 78,000

Genre: Sci-Fi



Reluctant privateer Robert Fenaday searches the stars for his lost love, Lisa, a naval intelligence officer whose ship disappeared near the end of the Conchirri War . He’s joined by the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell, whose cold perfection masks her dark past. Both are blackmailed by government spymaster, Mandela, into a suicidal mission to the doomed planet Enshar. Leading a team of scientists and soldiers, they must unravel the mystery of that planet’s death before an ancient force reaches out to claim their lives.


“What’s our status on ground troops?” he asked, adjusting his breather and zipping his leather jacket.  It was bitterly cold in the ship’s shadow.

“Pickings have been better than I expected,” she said, putting Johan out of her mind.  “With the war over, the economy lousy, there are lots of hard cases available: LURPS, Commandos, and Air Space Assault Team troops.  Mars seems full of people with little concern for life and hungry for money.” Shasti knew the type too well, having been raised from childhood as an assassin in the Denshi Order on Olympia.  She’d developed an eye for the good, for the ones putting up a front and for the plain crazy.  She made her picks, hoping she read people—standard humans as she thought of them—correctly.

Fenaday grimaced, “Great.  Well, the contractors showed up an hour ago and began the most extensive maintenance Sidhe’s ever received.  I’m glad Mandela’s footing the bill for it.  We’ll have shipwrights around the clock.  I’m having them pay particular attention our shuttles and fighters.”

Something tickled Shasti’s senses and she turned away from him.  In the distance, just coming around a machine shed, a group of people came into view.

Fenaday stepped forward to stand next to her, eyes narrowed.  “What’s that?”

“Must be Mandela’s contingent.  About fifty of them,” Shasti said.

“I wish I knew how you do that,” Fenaday muttered.

“Just rely on it that I can,” she replied.

The group passed the gate to Sidhe’s launch pad, led by another forgettable individual.


Tell us about your current release.

Was Once a Hero is a “Planet” story.  We voyage in a starship with a crew of very varied characters and go to an alien word for an adventure. The planet Enshar turns out to be something of a haunted house.  The characters have very differing motivations for this journey, from greed and desperation to love and despair.  The overall emotional arc of this story is in Robert Fenaday’s search for his lost wife and Shasti Rainhell’s search for her humanity. 


Fearful Symmetry Having survived the nightmare world of Enshar, Robert Fenaday abandons privateering and his quest for his lost wife to begin life anew with the genetically engineered assassin, Shasti Rainhell. But spymaster Mandela has other plans for the pair, intrigue and murder on Shasti’s home planet of Olympia. Fenaday must fight his way to Shasti, facing her deadly creator and an alien mystery that could destroy the Confederacy.

Does your significant other read your stuff?


Yes, my wife Schelly Keefer is not only a fan (thank God) but she is my “wise- reader” catching my continuity and character errors and questioning what is going on.  My best days are when she gets so into the piece that she forgets to look for mistakes.

How do you describe your writing style?

I think organic is the best way.  I have a relationship with my characters in that I feel that I gaze into their world and hear from them directly.  They tell me the story.  I am not one of those writers whose characters are my puppets existing to perform my plot and my dialogue.  Rather it is the other way around they give me the plot and they tell me their relations.


With one of my most recent characters, Maauro a 50,000 year old android, she decided that she was interested in exploring emotionality and relationships.  I really did not want to do that type of Pinnochio story, she decided otherwise.  Not surprisingly she was correct and it is some of my best and most compelling writing. 

While I spend a great deal of time thinking about the story and seeing it in a visual way, I do not do plotting or work in a formal or linear fashion.  I write that part of the story that excites me and then move on to the next part that I am interested in.  That may mean that there are open spaces between but just as with a puzzle I know that there are parts for those open spaces and I am confident that the parts will be found.

What sports do you play?


I am a black belt in the li kai and Lai Tung Pai styes and a practioner in Tai Chi.  So I have a lot of fun jumping around and playing with sword and spears.  I also study ballroom dancing and am partial to waltz and foxtrot.  Oddly enough I dance a pretty good hustle though I never really danced it when it and I were both out in the 80s.


Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?


That is a good question.  Names are very important to me. Once a characters name comes to me it never really changes.  After all no one renames you or your friends.  The name has to sound right to me.  For example Shasti Rainhell, there is a deadly silibancy to her first name and a defiance and danger to her last name.  Maauro the android in my latest work almost named herself after a mournful sound of wind over a cliff top.


Even with the book titles I spend hours thinking about them.  Those I have changed as a better title occurred to me usually something out of poetry or classic literature.  It has to be evocative as in “My Outcast State” which is the title of the first Maauro book.  I sometimes change the spelling of a name to make it look more futuristic, like Wrik instead of Rick.  Andre Norton used to do this and it was very effective. 

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.


Heaven and Hell 


Do you have a Website or Blog?


What are your hero and heroine of the story like?


Robert Fenaday is as much of an everyman as he can be and be plausible doing the things that he does.  He has to be wealthy in order to buy a ship and search the stars for his wife.  He has to be physically strong and capable (but not in a James Bond way this is not a guy who does everything perfectly or can beat up all enemies) to survive.  He is a man motivated not by greed or adventure but by love, a love of his lost wife.  Shasti Rainhell the genetically engineered superwoman sees in this search something that she has been denied in her cruel existence and it begins to unlock her soul.  Shasti begins to search for her humanity and in the process she and Robert are driven across walls they ‘d placed in their hearts. 


I've enjoyed a life-long love affair with science fiction. I write believable people in extraordinary situations, balancing romance, humor, adventure and reasonable extrapolations of science in stories that I believe people will want to return to. Whether it's in the short stories of my "Lair of the Lesbian Love Goddess series" or in the Fenaday and Rainhell novels, classic "Planet" tales of a crews of unlikely companions facing unknown dangers, my intent is to give the reader the sort of page turning, involving adventure that Andre Norton wrote and leaven it with the emotional complexity and ambiguity that CJ Cherryh brings to the field.

While the experiences of the SF Universe are out of reach of those unable to pay for a rocket ride, I use my own background to try for an underlying verity in my characters. I’ve parachuted, flown in gliders, hang gliders and strapped to the floor of military helicopters. I’ve been rated as an expert shot and carry a black belt in the martial arts. I’ve been paralyzed by fear, exhilarated by love and walked into fights, both literal and metaphorical, that I knew I could not win. I have the good fortune to be married to the talented artist Schelly Keefer.

 Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Website

Tour Page and Full Schedule

Next Few Stops


There is a tour wide giveaway.
Prizes include ten (10) eBook copies of
Was Once A Hero by Edward McKeown.
Giveaway is International. 

1 comment:

Keira Kroft said...

Your website is awesome! Well done. Thank you so much for having Edward. I most enjoyed the questions you asked.

Have an awesome weekend!
Dawn Binkley