Today I'd like to welcome David Sakmyster, author of “Final Solstice” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
David Sakmyster is the award-winning author of over two dozen short stories and two novels, including THE PHAROS OBJECTIVE, book one in a series about remote-viewers and psychic archaeologists searching for a fabled treasure hidden below the ruins of the great Pharos Lighthouse. Crossroad Press just released the horror thriller, CRESCENT LAKE (epub only). In 2009 Dragon Moon Press published his epic historical fiction tale, SILVER AND GOLD (currently a finalist in ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year Award for Historical Fiction).
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
Of course. And honestly, I’d probably break the law even to save a complete stranger if it seemed the right thing to do. I’m a little crazy that way, but it seems that might be one time I’d happily accept the consequences to myself if it means an innocent person or (many people) could be free and safe by whatever I needed to do to protect them.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
For the ‘living’ aspect, it goes much deeper. You can be alive and never leave your house or your bed for that matter. Living involves risk, courage and curiosity.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
It’s sure not money or fame, although those would be nice by-products if they ever showed up. What motivates me really is just an unquenchable need to tell stories through this deliberate form of creativity. I have ideas, plots and characters that I feel have lives of their own and need to escape the confines of my own private mind, and expose themselves to the world. The more people reading my stories, the happier I am. If I could give away all these books I would, but then I’d be too hungry to write anything new, including the sequels to some where I can just sense the characters fuming at me for my procrastination.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
A couple reasons come to mind: a) the immortality aspect of having little you’s grow up and continue your work/live in your house/carry on your name and values (if possible, although they’re individuals and all of that may be unlikely, yet still we might hope), b) so we can behave like children again ourselves and do all the fun stuff with them that they love (and we secretly never wanted to give up in the first place)
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book "Final Solstice" ?
Final Solstice involves two things I knew a little about, but not enough – Druids and Climate Change. The first challenge for me was bringing the former into the present, modernizing them into a complex and dark class of people to be reckoned with; the second was tackling the near-baffling science of environmental change. Regardless of your take on the current debate, the science is challenging to say the least, especially when you throw in long epochs of Earth’s own primal and little-understood forces, clashing with Solar weather and atmospheric aspects on top of all that. So I had to find something that could be plausibly manipulated and would hold true with modern theories on past climate-change extinction events—and it had to be something that could be done quickly (as in any thriller, we don’t have that ‘ticking clock’ if we’re talking about gradual changes over thousands or millions of years). After consulting numerous texts and corresponding with a professor of geology, I believe I arrived at a set of plausible conditions that could still work in service of a thrilling story.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
That I haven’t learned enough.
No.7 How did you come up with the title "Final Solstice" ?
This book was actually finished without a title, and only after I read through it again did I come up with the idea, reading a line the villain speaks during a fateful ceremony… It seemed to fit, and that was that.
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Mostly I just ignore it. I look at the big picture. For example, I had a previous book that I enjoyed writing and I got it published, a little concerned that it wasn’t as ‘literary’ or powerfully written as many of my others, being more of a popcorn-movie kind of thing. There were a couple negative reviews, but these were widely drowned out by an avalanche of positive ones where people raved about how much they enjoyed it. There will always be people that don’t like something, that’s just life—and honestly it’s what makes life interesting, so I guess you can say I like criticism (I just may not read or listen to it).
No.9 Why should people read your book?
Final Solstice is honestly quite timely now—the world is acting up. Climate is kicking our collective butts, and I know I for one have felt more than helpless on many occasions, and incredibly grateful on others—grateful that I live where I live and for the most part I don’t have to deal with hurricanes and tornado's and deadly heat waves or floods and volcanoes. We get our share of brutally cold winters and summers that rarely bother to show up, but again, we’re not buried under tsunamis or having to dig out from flattened farm houses. The weather is one thing we’re all of us helpless against—it’s sudden, it’s brutal and uncaring, and we’ve all been there—cursing the weather forecasts that missed that violent storm. If you’ve felt the same, well this book will give you something to relate to, to imagine there is some way control the uncontrollable—that’s what this book is primarily about. And yes, there’s controversy and some exploration of the politics of it all, but of course I turn those things on their heads and present a much more drastic (and fun) cause and effect. It’s got magic, mystery and mayhem, and it’s got redemption, love and ultimately it’s a story of a family discovering the truth about themselves—and their essential place in the world.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
I’m not sure there isn’t nothing, and that we’re not all some empty, fitful dream of a slumbering deity. Although that would just replace our ‘nothing’ with ‘something’ else entirely, so I guess it all depends. According to quantum theory, there can be an infinite number of universes. So maybe in other ones, there’s nothing. In this one, we got something. A lot of something.
Thank you David :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out "Final Solstice" on
Climate change is man-made,
but caused by just a powerful few known as Druids.
When successful meteorologist Mason Griers is recruited to consult for a mysterious environmental firm, it’s the perfect chance to put his lifetime obsession with violent weather to practical use. Solstice Inc. promises a new technology that can accurately predict, and possibly control, catastrophic weather events around the world. Too late however, Mason learns that Solstice is made up of high ranking and powerful Druids, and he's become an unwitting tool in the firm's dark plot that could remake the world on a scale not seen since the last great extinction.