13 Apr 2018

Author Interview / Joshua Banker


Career grifter and perennial loser Cal Reeger is a dead man. He owes a lot of money to crimelord Jaefor, and the only thing he owns are his pair of revolvers. Not even the jacket on his back belongs to him. To repay this debt, he must infiltrate the Archaeology Guild's site at Natx Hollow.

As Cal schemes to steal the find of a lifetime from the aeons-old site, the ruin's true nature is revealed. Within a cryogenic coffin belowground sleeps Centurion Prae Ganvelt, a member of the first civilization, the original race of humans who flourished millions of years ago.

Still looking for a way out of his debt and with a mercenary hot on his tail, Cal joins the awakened warrior Prae and archaeologist Peter Mathester to investigate the fate of Prae's kind. Within the mysterious, ancient compound of Ala’ydin, they learn that progenitor scientist, Erudatta, altered the cycle of dormancy for Prae's people. What they still must discover are his reasons for doing so.

The Fifth Era of Man examines the dangers of unearned achievements and the desperation that drives those who are prey to their own bad decisions.

Amazon Kindle - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B6TFX6Z/
Print - https://www.amazon.com/dp/1983515027/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38923457-the-fifth-era-of-man

 
Excerpt:

“On the prowl tonight?” Prae offered a barbed inquiry without even looking at Cal.

He made a clicking noise with his tongue as he fashioned a gun from one hand and pointed it playfully at Prae. Without saying anything else, he slipped away and back into the crowd; his attention was drawn by a brunette on the other side of the room that appeared to be a few too many drinks along.

“Prowl?” Oebe inquired as she looked back and forth between Prae and Peter.

“Uh, he’s looking—”

“Sorry, I wasn’t certain if such terminology was reintroduced.” In the poor light, it was hard to tell if Prae was blushing. “It means… to look for a dance partner,” Prae offered, hoping to end the subject.

“Yeah, dance. The one with no pants,” Peter commented under his breath. He scratched at his scalp as he looked from Oebe’s inquisitive gaze.

“I don’t understand.”

Before Peter could fashion a response, Prae held out a hand, asking him to hold off. “I say let Reeger explain this to her. It’s his fault we’re in this situation.”

 
Author Interview:

1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

Neil Gaiman, because I love the aesthetic of his writing. From his days on Sandman all the way up to Anansi Boys, there's a distinct flavor to his prose that just clicks for me. It's both creative and grounded as he delves into an array of mythologies. Gaiman is the kind of author whose brain I just want to pick, purely as a learning experience. 

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

My day job is as graphic designer in a corporate setting, so I'm up early every day with a pot of coffee and a computer. Because I write whenever the inspiration strikes, I tend to leave a document open just so that I can scribble down small chunks as they come to me. I've been known to have something come to mind while I'm doing the most mundane of things - taking a shower, going for a walk, or even just listening to music.

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

Finding the balance--making sure that I describe the scenes as I see them in my head without overwriting. I never want to bog the reader down with needlessly-dense narrative for the sake of painting a word-picture. I've regularly written out hundreds, if not thousands, of words to frame a single moment. Only when I take a step back can I see the need to trim things down for the sake of narrative flow.

4.  When and why did you first start writing?

I was always creative; as a teenager, I painted, I drew, and I wrote. When I was younger, I didn't quite have the tools to create a compelling story that was ready to share. After some time lived and experience gained, I started producing works with the complexity and depth I needed in order to put my work out for a wider audience. It wasn't until later in life that I felt I had the proper understanding of how to tell a story.

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

They say inspiration comes in many forms. For The Fifth Era of Man, I had two distinct concepts that I wanted to explore: How would a person who lived for millions of years deal with the world as it changed without them? What kind of impact does long-term and short-term memory have on emotional growth and expression? The exploration of both these themes allowed me to lay down groundwork for a what ultimately became a by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure story.

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

Harry Potter. I was in my mid-20s to 30s when they came out, so I'd never read the Harry Potter books before. I'm currently binging the entire series and am now on Order of the Phoenix. It's interesting for me to see how the books were trimmed and reformed for the sake of making viable screenplays, including how characters were changed to make them more palatable. When not visiting the Wizarding World, I like classic sci-fi, especially the work of Philip K. Dick.

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

Get into the habit of doing something every day. Even if you only put a couple of hundred words down--that you may rewrite or discard at a later date--the daily activity does wonders. I've known a number of people who just couldn't find the impetus, but if you're already in the habit, it becomes easier to move through your stories. For me, it created a voracious appetite to create, even if the the current work won't see the light of day anytime soon. There are passages  I've written that I might not explore for years to come.

Genre: Science-fiction, cyberpunk, noir
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