I had the honor of interviewing author J.W. McAllister, check out all his books-
Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you and your books
JM: I am a Respiratory Therapist working in Healthcare Accreditation.
I began writing because there were these stories in my head. I got tired of waiting for some one else to tell them, so I wrote them myself.
My first book is THE BEST LAID PLANS, which is the second book in the Starclan Series. The first book is THE TURRET, which is my third book.
My second book is THE PAGE, which I started writing while working on THE BEST LAID PLANS.
THE UNIVERSE, FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME is a collection of 17 short stories I wrote.
RODS is a short novella. I woke up one morning with the opening scene in my head, so I wrote it.
The Starclan series books each deal the lifetime of the chief of an ancient Scottish clan, 1500 years in the future, as he battles evil to save humanity. Something larger and more enduring grows from the lives in each story. I’m currently working on Starclan III.
THE PAGE is set 1500 years in the past, after the death of Artair (King Arthur). It deals with changing politics told through the story of a young knight tracking a dragon to save a fair maiden.
RODS is a tongue in cheek paranormal detective story; think of a cross between Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Ghostbusters, and Men In Black.
I’m also working on another short novella with the characters from RODS.
I grew up watching stories such as The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Forbidden Planet, and Robinson Caruso on Mars. My love for Science Fiction was sparked by E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith’s Lensmen and Skylark series, and deepened by stories from Arthur Clark, Heinlein and Asimov.
I was born in the late 1950s, and watched the space program blossom. I’ve been married 35 years. We have two sons and one grandson.
In the late 1970s I played semi-pro football for the Salt City Aces.
Me: You said your “first book is THE BEST LAID PLANS, which is the second book in the Starclan Series.”, did you write them in a different order than they were published or something?
JM: Yes. Don’t know why, they just came out that way!
Me: Interesting, how did that affect the way they were written?
JM: There were a few ideas popped up during the writing of THE TURRET that I couldn’t use. Other than that, not much-I had the stories well outlined in my head.
Me: I see, so what’s your latest book?, and what has been the response to that?
JM: My most recent release is RODS. The reviews are good, but sales are low. Previous to that, THE TURRET went as high as #3 in SciFi New Releases on Amazon.
Total of all books out since THE BEST LAID PLANS (June 2013; MARSocial Author of the Year runner-up in 2014) is over 10,000.
Me: #3 on Amazon and #2 author of the year are both good, congrats!, what else are your biggest/proudest accomplishments?
JM: 2 great sons, one an accountant and editor for Scout.com, the other a minister.
A long career with several lives saved, hopefully many others helped.
A fantastic wife.
A new grandson (3 months old).
Not much else, really.
Me: Awesome!, so you brought up having a minister son, I usually save this question for the end, but from reading my blog, you can tell I’m a Christian, what are your spiritual views and how do they affect your writing?
JM: I was baptized and confirmed Episcopalian, sang in the choir and served as an alter boy. I joined the United Methodist Church when I married my wife, 35 years ago this month. Yes, I am a Christian. My beliefs add a sense of right and wrong to my stories. That’s the best way to put it I think.
The Starclan Series is all about the battle between good and evil. The stories have a spiritual component, but it’s very subtle; there are individuals of many religions cooperating in the books, from Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist to Iroquois.
THE PAGE is a fictionalized account of Scotland/Ireland in 500AD; many characters are historical (early monks and saints), and a Devine hand certainly is evident in many events depicted in the book.
RODS is a story of angels and demons, as told through the eyes of a NYPD detective.
THE SISYPHUS GENE is a short story in THE UNIVERSE, FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME. It is about a race which keeps trying to get saved; they keep destroying one universe after another in their quest, and can’t understand why God won’t save them.
Me: Awesome!, so alot of books are made into movies, is there any chance of ever seeing any of yours on the screen?
JM: I could see RODS spawning a campy TV show. The Starclan books cram a lifetime into each book. It’s possible, but unlikely at this point-just not enough exposure.
Me: I see, so what can we expect from you in the future?
JM: Well, I have the RODS prequel about half done, Starclan Book II about 1/4 to 1/3 done. I have another idea for a political/medical thriller, then perhaps another book with the characters from THE PAGE.
Unless some other idea pops up! LOL
Me: So RODS: the prequel and Starclan II next year?, and political/medical thriller in 2017?
JM: Sounds about right. The RODS reference is to the prequel it RODS, tentatively titled STAGED FRIGHT.
Me: Awesome!, what can tell us about the actual stories to those 3?
JM: The story of STAGED FRIGHT was eluded to in RODS. NYPD detective John Martin ‘sees’ crimes, after they happen, when he’s at a crime scene. His partners huge, nearly seven feet tall; his little sister is a singing star. His wife is the Medical Examiner. They are investigating a sadistic murder; the victim is cut apart while family members are forced to watch, then the killer leaves a trail of body parts leading the detectives to… well, I don’t want to give too much away!
Starclan III will deal with the lifetime of the granddaughter of the hero of Starclan II. She is special, in that she can see how things in the universe are connected, and manipulate those connections. But she must learn how to control this ability. Meanwhile, the evil presence from the first two Starclan books is determined to stop her. But a third card is on the table; a young man, who’s powers are nearly as complete as our heroine’s, but his intentions are unknown. Add to that two different alien invasions, the rescue and salvation of an alien race, a food crisis, and a civil war, and you’ve just about got it!
The third story is tentatively titled THINKING INSIDE THE BOX. It is set in the near future; a socialist, repressive government monitors everything the citizens do. A burned out respiratory therapist lands a job working for a high school friend; “The Box” is an organ factory. The public believes the organs are ‘test-tube grown’, but the reality is very different. Human embryos are genetically manipulated to be universal donors, and totally without consciousness. Our hero is assigned to an area where workers keep going mad. Soon he hears voices, and discovers that at least one of the subjects is more than conscious-the voices bring a message of peace and love. He helps the ‘subject’ break out of The Box, only to see him die before he can reach his home. But the experience has changed out hero, and the publicity has made him famous. He finds himself in a position to make a real difference in everything, by using his celebrity to run for President. Part of the story is told in the attached short work from THE UNIVERSE, FIVE MINUTES AT A TIME.
Me: We definitely look forward to those!, what else would your fans be interested in knowing?
JM: Gee, I don’t know. All I can think of is what I’m curious about authors I enjoy reading. I think you’ve covered it all pretty well.
Me: Well, which authors do you enjoy?, who are your inspirations?
JM: Most recently, Michael R. Hicks, Brian K. Larson, B.V. Larson(Entirely different, except they both write SciFi. Brian is a friend of mine, but I’ve never met B.V.), Jay Allen, Saxon Andrew, Ryk Brown, Jack Campbell, Valmore Daniels, Ian Douglas, Thomas DePrima, Theresa Snyder, LaRae Parry, and Michael G. Thomas to name a few.
Me: Awesome!, thank you so much for this interview!
JM: My pleasure!