Hello! This is the first in an ongoing series of author interviews (primarily with indie writers. You're the guys who need the most help! (BTW, if you feel you've been microaggressed by my use of the word "guys," you already know you shouldn't contact me.)
If you're an author who's already been reviewed on the site, or one who's submitted a book to me for review, you're eligible for an interview. Please contact me about the process and procedure.
Like many other reviewers, I've fallen a bit behind in my review writing, but rest assured I'm still accepting (and reading) books. Next week I'll be posting up five new reviews (Thanksgiving is a good time to catch up with this sort of thing.) I'm also going to be opening up a "Quick Review" section for books that I decide I'm not going to subject to one my full length reviews but is nonetheless deserving of your attention.
Esquelle and the Tesla Protocol Book Blurb:
"Since knowledge is but sorrow's spy, it is not safe to know." -- Sir William Davenant, English poet and playwright (1606-1668)
Meet French technologist Esquelle. Terrorists are watching her. NSA agents are monitoring her every move. And no less than five national intelligence services are about to disrupt her quiet life.
Esquelle and her brother Bernard, a reclusive genius, have just been deemed a threat to the global economic and political order. Their enemies will stop at nothing to prevent Bernard from developing his world-changing breakthrough. Swept up in a storm of intrigue and violence, Esquelle must elude a shadowy group of government actors equipped with all the advances in information technology, global communications, medicine, surveillance and military hardware that this future world can provide.
Fortunately, Esquelle has a few tricks of her own. But it will take more than her data-mining skills to defeat the Pandora Working Group and its Tesla Protocol. It will take determination, passion and a little help from Chaos Theory.
The first in a series, this book is a high-octane, hard-science thriller set in a near-future world where knowledge embraces both power and peril. I reviewed this book on the site and enjoyed it's blend of hard science and a sexy French spy with advanced savate skills.
About the book
What is the plot of Eqsuelle and the Tesla Protocol
The novel describes a time about 25 years in the future wherein the technological advances on the drawing boards in our present have been realized in the areas of communications, nanotechnology, space-based weapons and quantum computing. In addition, it extends and strengthens the economic and intelligence service trends we are experiencing now: terrorism, economic protectionism, pervasive surveillance and clandestine operations.
Against that backdrop, we enter an international shadow-war between the United States and France, arising out of the stunning breakthroughs fostered by a talented French family under the protection of that country's DGSE, but contested by the rogue director of the NSA.
When did you start writing the book?
The original work was begun in 2006 and completed in early 2014.
How long did it take you to write it?
Taking the first six chapters (Part 1) from 2006, I began the current version in January of 2014 and completed the manuscript in June of that year. So, five months. It's 578 pages on Kindle.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
Now THAT is an interesting tale! In the spring of 2006, I was a software instructor for a Canadian-based, Business Intelligence company called Cognos. Their annual meeting was held at a Dallas hotel in April, drawing in employees from all over the world, including a contingent from Paris, France.
One afternoon, I was out on the patio listening to them speak French. I did not understand a single word of their technical discussion, except one: SQL. To my ear, their very-lyrical accents turned the expression into a name: Esquelle. She was born as an idea for a graphic on a PowerPoint slide to explain the role of SQL in the BI field to non-technical business analysts.
My Google ("French woman") search for the graphic revealed this drawing – a pretty, gothic woman with long black hair wearing a choker. I added the red earrings (WHERE and SELECT) and turned "SQL" into "a real person" in my classes. That's why the "hero" country of my international novel is France. Esquelle and the Tesla Protocol, and in fact the entire trilogy, was created from that single picture!
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
The science was the most daunting part of the work. That's because I insisted that EVERY piece of advanced technology have its roots in today's tech. Bright Lance, the nanoglass monitors and medical nanobots, Esquelle's brain implant, Bernard's quantum encryption system, and his quantum communications device – all have precursors that actually exist now.
I also struggled to keep their descriptions from interfering with the action. I didn't quite succeed in that effort! The attendant scientific theories and historical events are real. Also, all of the locations in the book are real. I even used Google Street View to help develop the action scenes. The book includes a large number of supporting graphics. All that took a huge amount of time.
What was the easiest part to write? And why?
The actions sequences were the easiest to write, mostly because they were so much fun. The part I'm most proud of is the intricate and detailed sequence where Bright Lance homes in on Esquelle and Jacques in British Columbia. The math alone took hours to perfect. It took up eight full MS Word pages, but spans only 63 seconds!
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
The characters are entirely fictional and bear no resemblance to any current or historical figures. (Well, one possible exception: Jennifer Lawrence really could play Esquelle in the movie!)
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write?
I am influenced by the masters of science-fiction I grew up with, especially Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Brunner, etc. I also owe a nod to Tom Clancy and Lee Child.
Do you have a target reader?
The book is for any SciFi devotee who likes hard science and high-octane action.
Do you have a writing process? If so, can you please describe it?
My writing process actually embodies Chaos Theory. I have a rough idea of where I want the story to go and then I set my imagination free and write.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I never do a complete outline. For me, that interferes with the creative process. I go with just chapter titles and descriptions, and a few sentences to remind what I want to accomplish.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I edit minimally as I re-read what I've just written. Then, I do a series of full edits when I'm done. That's the hardest part for me.
Did you hire a professional editor? Copyeditor? Do you solicit feedback on your book while you’re writing it?
Lately, I've taken to contracting professional help, but for this book I relied on a few of by trusted author friends to reign me in and uncover the errors MS Word can't catch. The published work is actually its fifth revision.
Do you listen to music while you write? Some writers find access to the Internet distracting while they write and even resort to software products that block access to the web for X period of time to ensure you keep your nose to the grindstone. Do you have this problem?
I require complete silence and isolation to write. I turn off everything that could disturb me.
Did you submit your work to agents?
I've done that in the past, but I've decided the bar is too high for the effort to be effective.
What made you decide to self-publish?
See comment above! Independent authorship allows me to get my work out there. Without it – and even considering the tens of thousands of competing books – it's the only way to go.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
That was one of my first mistakes. I tried to do the cover myself. Simply put, it wasn't good enough. I found a professional who keeps my covers exciting and consistent.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book? Do you care to share what you’ve learned about marketing as an Indie?
Social media is where I've decided to put my marketing dollars. I haven't found a magic formula or anything, but I've been successful to a certain extent. I also listen to my author friends. Twitter is my dominant avenue.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Be ready to take the long view and don't give up! Be willing to spend some money to acquire components you need (like covers), but don't have the expertise to pull off. Edit, edit, edit. Get your friends to give you an honest appraisal of your work before you publish. Then, revise and edit some more. Keep the price of your book low.
What do you think about Amazon?
I'm very grateful they've provided a platform I can use. I do wish they were more help on the marketing side, and I'm not sure their Kindle Unlimited idea is doing me any good. For me, however, they're the only game in town. Readers should love it: no more spending large numbers of dollars at the stores.
Where did you grow up?
I've lived in Texas all of my life; I was born in Austin.
Where do you live now?
I live in Waxahachie, Texas, in a sub-suburban home on a full acre south of the Dallas.
What would you like readers to know about you?
I have a really broad base of experience that helps inform my writing. My 18-year run as a corporate software instructor was my fourth career. I also spent seven years as a working journalist at the Abilene Reporter-News, eight years selling real estate there, and six years in Texas law enforcement. Happily, after about 40 years in the rat race, I retired. That's why Esquelle got finished the first place! I get to be a full-time author, reader and reviewer. I now have nine full-length novels on Amazon. Four were written over the past two years.
What are you working on now?
Now THAT is a DGSE state secret! But… My tenth novel is an apocalyptic tour-de-force grounded in the hardest of hard science!
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For more about Joe Dacy, visit his website at http://www.dacy.com, follow him on Twitter (@joedacyii), like his Facebook Page ( http://www.facebook.com/joedacyii ) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .