Monday 23 June 2014

Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway - Fires of Man by Dan Levinson

Fires of Man
by Dan Levinson
Date Published: June 17, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction

Book Summary:
In a world where a gifted few can manipulate reality with their minds, two great nations—Calchis and Orion—employ these psionic powers in a covert war for global superiority.

In the heart of Calchis, a powerful young psion named Aaron Waverly is kidnapped, and forcibly conscripted. To the north, in the capital, a plan is hatched to decimate Orion, to be carried out by the ruthless operative known only as “Agent.”

In Orion, fresh recruit Stockton Finn comes to terms with his incredible new powers, and learns firsthand how dangerous they can be. Meanwhile, officers Nyne Allen and Kay Barrett navigate the aftermath of their shattered love affair, oblivious to the fact that Calchis draws ever closer to destroying the tenuous peace.

Finally, in the arctic land of Zenith, Calchan archaeologist Faith Santia unearths a millennia-old ruin. This lost temple might just hold the hidden history of psionic powers, as well as hints of a deeper mystery . . . that could shake the foundations of all mankind.

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Author Interview

1. Tell a little about yourself. What you do when you’re not writing? What are your aspirations for the future?

I read quite a bit. My taste runs the gamut from fantasy and science fiction, to mysteries, thrillers, horror, and, more recently, literary fiction. I'm a bit of a TV junkie. My favorite shows at the moment are Game of Thrones and Hannibal (that finale!). I'm also an avid gamer, though I don't play as much as I once did. I have an affinity for RPGs, but I love to play anything with a good story.

As for my aspirations, I'm an eclectic writer, and I'd like to publish a full range of different types of fiction. Aside from the remaining four books of the Psionic Earth series (of which Fires of Man is #1), I have a six or seven book dark fantasy series planned, a literary paranormal mystery novel, a serial killer thriller, to say nothing of a number of short stories. I'd also very much like to executive produce a television series someday, as well as write scripts for film.

2. When and why did you start writing?

I started writing when I was quite young, perhaps seven or eight years old. This hearkens back to the beginning of my gaming days, when I first got my hands on Final Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo. Upon finishing the game, I couldn't help but think there was so much more story left to tell; the characters and world were so rich that I couldn't bear to let it end where it did. Thus I began what was both my first piece of writing, and my first piece of fan fiction: the Final Fantasy II Chronicles! The pages have since been lost to time, but thinking of it provides a warm sense of nostalgia.

3. Have any particular novels or writers influenced your writing?

Writers such as Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, and David Eddings inspired in me a love of fantasy with epic scope, with rich mythologies and mysteries, and extraordinary powers. I'm also very much inspired by Stephen King, and his ability to craft such multifaceted, deeply human characters, who, warts and all, we learn to love (or hate). 

4. Give us some backstory behind Fires of Man. Where and when did you write it?

I wrote much of Fires of Man in the latter half of 2011, and the first half of 2012, at the Paragraph writers' workspace in New York City. 

The concept and some of the characters I actually came up with nearly 15 years ago, and it's been through various iterations since then. While the themes and trajectory of the story are different, some things are actually quite similar to the original version!

5. What was your favourite part of writing Fires of Man?

I just felt such a sense of reward in finally seeing this story come out the way I'd intended it. Feeling as if, at last, I'd managed to capture the scope of the story and the depth of the characters that I'd always known, on some level, existed. To feel that I'd grown enough as a writer to achieve that.

6. What does your writing schedule look like?

I tend to write in the afternoons, spending my mornings on exercise and answering emails. Rather than writing for a prescribed amount of time, I aim, instead, for a certain volume: about 1,000 words a day. Once I hit that, I'm free to take a break for the rest of the day. Which is not to say I always do that; sometimes I continue writing long into the evening. I think the most I've produced in a single day is somewhere in the range of 3,500-4,000 words, but that was an isolated occurrence.

7. Which fictional character would you like to take to dinner and why?

An excellent question, and a tough one to answer. But I rather think I'd like to take Albus Dumbledore out to dinner, if only to hear his wise words, and the stories of his many experiences.

8. Besides your lead, do you have a favourite character in the story?

The way I've written the story, there are several leads. And depending on my mood, and where I am in my writing, any one ofthem might be my favorite on that particular day. They all have their merits and flaws. I would say overall I'm most partial to Nyne, the altruistic hero, filled with longing for something greater; Kay, the damaged, yet courageous and unflinching heroine; Faith, the brilliant, driven archaeologist; and Agent, the ruthless assassin.

9. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?

The better writer one becomes, the harder one has to work. The toil grows as we seek to elevate our writing to the greater and greater heights we are capable of reaching.

10. Any advice for aspiring authors?

A first draft is like a marathon. When you're running a marathon, you don't stop, back up, say, "I didn't run that portion very well, let me run it again." No, you keep moving forward. I've found it's very important to keep moving forward in that initial draft, pushing yourself toward the end of the story. Editing comes later. If you're struck by a change you need to make, mark it, and return to it later, when it's time for the second draft, the third, and so on. This allows you to continue putting words on the page, without judgment. Don't wait for inspiration; as any artist can tell you, the Muses aren't at our beck and call; they sing to us whenever they feel so inclined. So keep forging onward, even when inspiration is not forthcoming, and before long you'll find yourself with a finished book, and still plenty of time to edit and hope the Muses pay a visit.

Excerpt from Fires of Man


He ran toward the edge of the cliff.
The sun beat down upon him as his limbs pumped. Earth crunched beneath his feet, and a breeze blew across his black-stubbled scalp. His breathing was calm, meticulously measured.
When the ground slipped away, he felt only anticipation.
Plummeting, the man inhaled. Power flooded into him, thrilling, delicious. He reached out with that power, warping reality with an energy born from the depths of his being. Suddenly . . .
He winked out of existence . . .
And then reappeared at the base of the cliff.
Ahead lay a farmstead, awash in noontime light. Past its assorted buildings—barns and silos, stables and chicken coops—a field of wheat swayed like the hair of some sleeping giant.
It would burn soon.
Through his years of service, he’d been called many things: “raven;” “hellhound;” “black-hearted bastard.” There was but only one epithet that mattered—the one he’d earned with blood and devotion.
He was “Agent.”
A man with no name. A man who owed his nation everything.
Just then, he spotted his quarry—a teenage farmhand named Aaron Waverly. The boy had power—strong power, according to the readings.
Agent dashed toward the farm; dry winds kicked dirt and debris over his steel-toed boots. The expanse of greenery blurred past. He moved swift as a shooting star, his power saturating him with speed and strength.
When Waverly turned and saw, it was too late.
Agent teleported behind Waverly, and struck once, at the base of the farmhand’s skull. The young man collapsed, and Agent caught him, slung him over his shoulder.
A frown split the crags of Agent’s face.
Before him stood a girl, no more than sixteen, a pitchfork clutched in her fingers. She was a pretty thing, her blonde tresses tied back in a ponytail, her face darkened by hours in the field. She was an innocent. Agent did not relish the thought of ending her.
“Run,” he said.
“I’ll scream,” she said, her eyes flitting to the silenced pistol at his side. She hesitated.
He laid a hand on the gun. “Run,” he repeated.
She ran.
He drew his weapon and shot her in the back of the head.
She pitched forward, hit the ground, dead. Blood spread in a widening pool around her. Waverly groaned, eyelids flickering. Agent holstered the gun and looked at the girl. Killing civilians was distasteful, but she had seen him. He’d had no choice.
Now, time to go.
Agent stepped toward the nearby barn, and pressed his palm against the red-painted planks. He sent his power into it, and a ripple spread through the wood, like a pebble striking the surface of a pond. Furrows of heat fanned out from his fingertips, crackling furiously.
He turned away and teleported to safety.
Back atop the cliff, he paused to watch his handiwork.
The barn exploded. Eruptive force flattened surrounding buildings and rocked the landscape. Screams broke out below, the sound carried on the wind. Again, Waverly stirred on Agent’s shoulder.
Agent smiled, and was gone.

About the Author
Born and raised on Long Island, NY, Dan grew up immersing himself in fantastical worlds. While other kids dreamed of being astronauts and cowboys, all he ever wanted was to be a novelist. Now, he’s living his dream.

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3 Signed Fires of Man ARCs up for grabs.

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