Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Author Interview: James K. Decker

Please give a big-warm welcome to James K. Decker, this is his first visit to Short & Sweet Reviews blog! James is the author of THE BURN ZONE, the first book in a brand-new series. The Burn Zone releases everywhere today, so make sure you go out and grab yourself a copy! 

 Hi James! Thanks for being here today, can you give us the elevator pitch for The Burn Zone?

A race of aliens called the haan crash land in a future, alternate reality China, destroying a large section of the city of Hangfei in the process.  Their arrival comes at a time when the planet has been pushed far past the point of sustainability, and in exchange for their lives the alien race trades technology which allows their host country to thrive while others collapse around them.  Sam Shao’s father Dragan, an ex-pat from the Pan-Slav Emirates, learns of a secret collaboration between their government and the haan while deployed at the border, but  before he can act on what he knows he is taken by soldiers, and it is up to Sam to get him back.  With the help of her friend Vamp, and a helpful haan named Nix, she sets off to track down her father and in the process learns that the truth about the strange alien race goes far deeper than she or anyone else ever suspected.

I saw on your website that you published a series, The Revivors trilogy (State of Decay, The Silent Army, and Element Zero) under James Knapp. Why did you decide to write your debut novel under a different pen name? Wouldn’t it have been better to write under James Knapp, since you already had a reader/fan following?

The decision was actually a business one – the name change was basically to get out from under some not-so-great sales numbers for the original series (which booksellers look carefully at).  By being rebranded with a different name, it helps to ensure a strong launch for the new series. 
What was your writing routine while writing ‘The Burn Zone’? Are you a plotter or panster? 

I’m more of a plotter, generally speaking.  I plotted my first series very meticulously, but I have to admit that the outlines of books in this new series have been looser.  The main character Sam Shao is herself a pantser, so I’m finding she sometimes steers the story onto a course I didn’t originally plan.  There have been times when it made sense for her to make a rash or impulsive decision, or to have to act with little time to think, so it felt more ‘right’ to have her do something other than what I’d originally sketched out.

The Revivors Trilogy and The Burn Zone are both Science Fiction, do you see yourself writing in a different genre? 

Not in the short term.  Some of my stories lean toward horror, so I could see trying that someday.  I could also see maybe writing a straight thriller of some sort.  My father says I’m a mystery writer at heart.
Picture via Author's website

Many adult fiction authors are branching out into the Young-Adult Market; do you see yourself writing YA in the near future? 

I’ve actually written a YA novel which is in the hands of my agent.  The market may be a bit saturated at the moment for the type of story it is (it would most likely get classified as a dystopia) but it may still see print one day.  I hope that it does because I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  I like the characters and the world it takes place in very much.

Can you tell us 3 interesting facts about yourself that not many people know, or aren’t found on your biography page? 

I have anosmia (I’m missing a sense of smell), I’ve written a non-fiction technical book aside from my fiction (under the name James Knapp), and I like vegemite.

What other projects can we look forward to reading from you in the future?

I have a prequel novella to THE BURN ZONE out now called EMBER, which is available in e-format only.  I have a short story in an upcoming anthology from Fortress Publishing (due out end of May, I believe) which centers around Gods/Mythical creatures mashed up with old 80’s TV shows.  My entry is called HARIONAGO AND MCCORMICK.  Beyond that, the sequel to THE BURN ZONE has been submitted, and while I wait for edits to come back I’m working on the start of a new series.

Lighting Questions

Pepsi, Coke or Dr. Pepper?
            I don’t drink soda of any kind.

All time favorite SF movie?
            It’s hard to pick just one, but I’ll go with 12 Monkeys.

Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?
            Fly, definitely.

Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?
            Harry Potter, but to be fair I’m not much of a Fantasy guy.

Facebook or Twitter?
            Facebook for putting me back in touch with old friends, but I’m not very good at either.

Would you rather be able to see one year into the future or change any one decision from your past?

            My past brought me here so I’d keep it, even the parts that make me cringe.  I’d rather see the future.

E-reader or physical book?
            I use my e-reader when travelling, but tend to read physical books at home.

Thanks James for taking time out of your schedule to answer my questions! 

 It was my pleasure, thanks for having me.

To learn more about James and The Burn Zone check out the following links!

Buy the Book

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