- Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Drew Avera; I am an active duty US Navy veteran and self-published author. I grew up in Mississippi before joining the navy. I’ve been active duty for thirteen years and I now live in Virginia with my wife and two daughters.
- For how long have you been writing and why did you start?
I have been writing for one year, it’s been a crazy year though. I always had the desire, but not the drive. On my 30th birthday I decided that I would make my desires happen and I began the journey that finally led me to write Dead Planet.
- Tell us a bit about your novel Exodus, first book in the Dead Planet series
It is a science fiction novel, but it’s more than that. The themes of my book begin with the seed of a corporate government ruling the world that now exists on Mars. I explore ultimately where that corruption will take humanity, and what it would take to stop it, if it can even be stopped. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do see where things will go if we let things get out of control.
- What can you tell us about the Dead Planet series? How many parts will there be? Do you have a series bible, detailed outlines, pre-planned plot arcs, etc…?
I plan on a trilogy for the series that follows the main character, Serus Blackwell. He is a policeman who works for the Agency. They are essentially political assassins who do the dirty work for the Syndicate (the global corporate government). I also have two prequel novellas that will be part of the series, one will take place thirty years before Exodus and the other will take place when humanity first colonizes Mars and we have the first policeman.
- What was the inspiration for the Dead Planet series?
To be honest, I started a fantasy novel that was going nowhere. I heard about NaNoWriMo and decided to take a crack at it, but I had to start from scratch in order to qualify. I quickly came up with the idea and plotted it out so I had a basic outline to follow. Then on November 1st I began the first chapter. I wrote the entire 50,280 word first draft in 20 days on my iPhone.
- Exodus is science fiction. World building is crucial for the genre. So how did you approach the world building for the Dead Planet series?
I wasn’t really world building in the sense that a fantasy author would. I essentially came up with a plausible way to allow a future generation of humanity to inhabit Mars and ran with it. The biggest step was answering the question, “How do you build an atmosphere to sustain life?” I answered the question with… (I guess you’re gonna have to read the book, lol)
- So what’s your favourite work of science fiction?
I’m all over the place, but I love dystopian stuff like the Hunger Games, Wool, and other stuff like that.
- Dystopian fiction is currently very popular to the point that it has taken over the science fiction genre and – in some fields such as YA – has become a synonym for science fiction. Do you have any ideas or theories why this might be so?
Of course, I believe it has to do with the fact that people like the glimmer of hope despite all odds. Fiction has grown beyond the comfort of what we know and now we write about what it will be like when everything falls apart. I love it.
- Have you ever been traditionally published or did you ever pursue traditional publishing? And if so, what were your experiences?
I received 17 rejection letters from science fiction magazines worldwide when I tried to publish some short stories. Instead of becoming depressed about it, I decided to self-publish. So far sales are low, but the reviews I’ve had are all good. I’d rather have it available to people to read than have it on an editor’s desk as a paperweight never to see the light of day.
- You joined the US Navy right after high school. Have your experiences in the military influenced your writing?
It has, probably mostly through life experiences and growing up.
- You grew up in Mississippi, the same US state where I spent a very important year of my own childhood. Does your home region influence your writing in any way?
Where I’m from there is a big emphasise on fighting for freedom. The Civil War was a terrible part of American history where one side felt that the government had grown corrupt and the other side felt that the southern states had destroyed the Union through secession. [Editorial note: Of course, the question of slavery played a big role as well] There is a lot of southern pride where I’m from, and that is hard to shake. I imagine most people would stand up against corruption if they had no choice. That trait is something that you’re kind born into where I’m from. Hence my book Dead Planet is about fighting corruption.
- Who is your favourite superhero?
Batman, hands down.
- Is there anything else you want to tell our readers?
I hope you will check out my book. There are themes of family, betrayal, corrupt government, personal growth, etc. The whole story was written to keep you enthralled. You will love some characters and hate others.
Thanks for answering my questions, Drew. It was a pleasure to have you.