The Antaran Legacy begins with a starship crash into a city on the planet of Antares. The setting is most certainly science fiction, and I believe this genre can be universally appealing. When boiled down to the bones, my stories are about the characters. The heroine’s actions are as universally sweeping as they are personally defining. The decisions that change us are usually rooted in tradition and culture – those are fun stories to dissect.
The novel examines the underlying traditions that bond a person, and the sometimes tragic decisions that must be made. Can love conquer all? What if love wasn’t meant to conquer? What if love could be contained? What sort of effort would that require?
This work of fiction is deeply tied with my own life story. To conquer cancer, I had to partition myself. A portion of my heart needed to be placed in isolation while the warrior inside of me did what had to be done for survival. This story is very much an integral part of what I’ve experienced. In my struggle, as in Helena’s, our hearts were the first casualty. That’s not something which can mend overnight.
Tell us something about yourself.
Well, let’s see. I’m a native New Englander and I’ve been writing since I could lift a pencil. Professionally, I’ve only been writing for a few years. My first Novel (Eden) is a top 10,000 Kindle book, however!
My life certainly didn’t pan out the way I had expected. I fought for my life and nearly died from cancer at the age of 23. From that point forward, everything changed. However, change is like a glacier and it moves at its own plodding pace. My experience with cancer taught me a valuable lesson – don’t allow life to just “happen” around you. Make changes, take risks and be true to your own heart.
After 11 years, I’m finally acting upon those lessons learned. I left a comfy career in my hometown to travel the world as an enterprise consultant. My wife and I lived in Vietnam for a month while we adopted our son. And I’m now listening to that ever-present voice telling me I’m an artist. Words and stories are my craft, and I hope you find some joy and surprises in my fiction.
What inspired you to write this book?
The latest one? It actually started from a spontaneous story I told my wife one night. A song on the radio sealed the deal and the Antaran Legacy was born!
How did you choose the title?
With my first book, Eden, the title was a trivial affair. I knew exactly what I wanted. With The Antaran Legacy, I was torn. Originally it was called “For Duty,” but I later changed it to convey more of a science fiction flair. The name comes from the main character’s background – she is from a planet in the Antares system.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
It’s tough out there for new writers. As bookstores close and the market shifts towards eBooks, the publishing industry is full of uncertainties. At first, the form rejection letters discouraged me, but I found strength in fellow self-publishers. Their success moved me into action. I think my path to publication was always meant to go through my own blistered hands. I have complete control over my entire process and I’m happy so many people have enjoyed my fiction.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
As I mentioned earlier, this is a passion of mine that I’m now able to pursue. However, I’ve always enjoyed fiction, and my mind has an unhealthy amount of wanderlust. I’ve always been drawn to stories of adventure, love and conflict, so I just decided to write what I love.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Actually – I don’t. Working a full-time job that requires travel and being home 100% on the weekends for my family takes almost all my time. These days, writing just slides into any unoccupied space I can fit it. When I was working on Eden I would wake every morning at like 5am to write. That was the closest I came to “ritual” and even that was sporadic at best.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Google. For Eden, I wanted the names to be as accurate as possible – with a fictional flair of course. When I read the Bible, I realize all the names were changed. Do you really think white guys named “Matthew” and “Luke” were running around the Middle Eastern desert two thousand years ago? No, all of that was changed from the original Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew and other languages. I dug around to find some of these original names.
For The Antaran Legacy I utilized Google again for Greek / Roman names. Since the society from where our heroine hails follows those classical civilizations in form and function, I thought it fitting.
Names for ancillary characters typically stem from someone in my life or a random look to the stars for guidance.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
When publishing my first book Eden, I basically had to learn everything about self publishing on my own. While there’s some great material out there and plenty of ‘help’ books,I found the best experience was on-the-job training.
Services like Amazon’s Createspace and Lulu are still relatively new. They have their own kinks and quirks, and each system has different rules for publishing through them. At first, it can seem daunting. There’s a ton to learn, and writing more than likely isn’t your full-time job. Therefore, you must somehow make the time to maneuver through all the dangerous curves to put a finished product on the shelf. And chances are, you’ll have nobody to help you.
you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Most certainly! My next book is the follow-up to Eden. This one is called Babylon and it picks up right where Eden left off. Again, I put the reader alongside our main character as she struggles with her decision at the end of Eden and continuing her journey in our shattered world. My hope is to release Babylon, and the graphic novel version of Eden later this year. I’m also writing the script for the graphic novel. Busy, busy!
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Get an editor. Get an artist. If you pay for nothing else, these two things are of paramount importance. Once those details are settled, just get out there and publish already!
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My blog is the best place to keep up to date on everything I’m working on (or that I have released): http://matthewcplourde.wordpress.com/