Aicha Zoubair

Jessica Bell

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Author Interview – David VanDyke

Do you intend to make writing a career? Oh heck yeah. It’s freedom, baby. I have more options than some people, because I am retired from the military and have a pension already that will put the food on the table. That will eventually give me the liberty to do it full time, once the last kid is out of college and we have sold our house to free ourselves of ties to one place.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? I’d say the ability to just get it on paper. I hear of people who take years to write a book. Not me. I feel antsy and behind if I’m not doing a thousand or two words a day, which translates into 3-5 books a year depending on length. I’d say I also am a pretty good copy editor, both of my own work and others. In fact I freelance as a copy editor, and I’ll also give writing feedback if the client wants it.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Nope. I can always write something. Sometimes I can’t seem to make progress on a particular piece, so I rotate through my projects and see what I can add to any of them. once I have done all I can for a day I usually take a hot bath, read a book, watch a movie – and often I’ll get a second wind and go back to my computer to write or tweak something.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? Here’s a nice tense scene between one of my main characters, a kick-ass female Marine, and a wounded male comrade that she has been fending off romantically throughout the book. The Eden Plague she refers to is a virus that heals instead of harms, but also enhances the conscience.

The next morning Master Sergeant Jill Repeth stopped in to visit a brother in arms. It’s the least I can do, for someone who almost gave his all.

Gunnery Sergeant Gunderson lay in his hospital bed, a nutrient drip in his arm, holding a year-old news magazine up in the air where he could read it. When he saw her standing there he shifted, tried to sit up.

“Stay there, Swede. I know you have a lot of healing to do yet.”

He looked down self-consciously at the blanket draped over a stiff cage that covered his mangled lower half. “Yeah. Ain’t much down there but they say I’ll have it all back eventually.” He forced a wan smile.

“Not many men have come back from the brink like that.”

“I don’t quit.” He licked his lips. “I hear you were the one who found me.”

“Almost too late.”

“But at least you looked. Thanks, Top.”

She shrugged. “I’d do it for any of my people.”

“Am I your people?” He put his head back, closed his eyes. “Just one big happy freakin’ family.” What slight enthusiasm he had displayed drained away.

Jill stared at him for along time, puzzled. “I’d never have figured you for this attitude, though. I’m sorry I didn’t find you earlier, but no one could have saved your piece parts. Anyway, in a few months you’ll be fine, good as new.”

“You’re a bitch,” Swede said without heat.

Nonplussed, Jill crossed her arms. “So they say. What’s up your ass?”

“They’ve got this new nano stuff. They wanted volunteers. I had a chance to be a cybercommando but now I’ve got this damned Eden Plague.”

“You’d be a dead volunteer if you hadn’t.”

“I know that. Doesn’t make it better. Now I’m just going to be a good little boy. That’s how you like ‘em, right?” Bitter.

Jill shrugged again, ignoring the jab, the slam on her fiancé Rick. “What’s done is done. Snap out of it, Marine. Besides, you can always try to make the switch, but think of what you’re giving up.”

“What? Make what switch?”

“I’m sure they could suppress the Eden Plague with enough antivirals to let the nanos take hold and cure you of it. You’d heal and get all that strength and speed but you wouldn’t be immortal any more.”

“Screw immortality. It’s overrated.”

“You’d give up a thousand years of life to be strong and fast?”

“And be free of this guilt. Die young, stay pretty.”

“I’d say live long, stay pretty. And the guilt will fade as your psychology adjusts. It’s just your overactive conscience waking up.”

“Okay, how about ‘It’s better to burn out than fade away’.”

“That’s a crock. But if you’re so hot for it, roll the dice, big man. It might kill you, but whatever.” Her tone dripped with sarcasm, fed up.

“Why do you have such contempt for me?”

She kicked his bed, rattling it. “Because even though you have your outstanding features, you’re still the stereotype for all the swinging dicks that I’ve ever known, beginning with my creepy stepbrother. Got to be a stud, super-macho. And you see me, you want me. If you can’t have me, you want me all the more. If you still can’t have me, you crave enough power or glory or money or status to prove how wrong I was to reject you.”

Gunderson’s mouth worked, as if chewing, then he turned his head away. Jill watched him in silence for a time. Finally he spoke. “You know what? I don’t have any counterargument to that, and I hate it.”

“Hate admitting the truth?”

“Exactly.”

“Welcome to Edenhood. But you know what that means?”

“What?”

“That deep down you actually are a good guy. It’s not the Eden Plague that makes you better. It’s your own conscience. The Plague just short-circuits most of those lies you tell yourself. Makes you face the truth you already know. Takes off the filters.”

“That sucks. I think I’d rather have my filters.”

“Takes a real man to be really honest. Only children can’t face reality. Only adolescent boys try to screw every woman they meet.”

“Who died and made you my shrink?” he spat.

Jill shrugged. “You can send me away any time.”

He stared at her for a long while. “You Edens aren’t anything like I thought.”

“Us Edens. And yes, you’re right about that. We aren’t.” She turned and left him there with nothing to do but think.

I’m not sure what he needs but he’s not mine anyway. I can only do so much for people. After that, they have to do for themselves.

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Genre – SciFi /Adventure

Rating – PG13

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