The following is an interview with author Andrew Weston regarding the recent release of his latest novel, Genesis. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Weston about the creative process of bringing this prequel story to life, how the story fits into The IX book series, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of Genesis! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and how does it fit into the larger IX book series?
Andrew Weston: The premise of Genesis centers on the maxim that no matter how advanced a space-faring empire might be, or how mighty their armada, the galaxy is a vast and dangerous place. The unexpected can – and often does – jump out to bite you where it hurts. Our protagonists – the Ardenese – belong to a civilization that has grown to encompass an entire quadrant of the galaxy. Altruistic and wise, they are masters of all they survey, wielding cutting-edge technology that stretches the bounds of science. Until the fateful day their thirst for knowledge leads them to push too far. They inadvertently open a door into place where the very nature of existence is an anathema to life; the antiverse, home to an ancient evil driven by an irresistible proclivity to feed and multiply. And multiply it does.
Facing overwhelming onslaught, the Ardenese have little choice. They must fight or face extinction.
This blends perfectly with the premise of greater series, which was built around the tenet: Fight or Die!
And it is the fall of Arden and its people in Genesis that leads directly to those events portrayed in The IX, Exordium of Tears, and Prelude to Sorrow.
See how that is highlighted from the outset by the back cover blurb to The IX itself:
Roman legionaries, far from home, lost in the mists of Caledonia.
A US cavalry company, engaged on a special mission, vital to the peace treaty proposed by Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln.
A twenty-first century Special Forces unit, desperate to prevent a nuclear catastrophe.
From vastly different backgrounds, these soldiers are united when they are snatched away from Earth at the moment of their passing. Thinking they may have been granted a reprieve, imagine their horror when they discover they have been transported to a failing planet on the far side of the galaxy, where they are given a simple ultimatum:
Fight or Die!
Against all odds, this group of misfits manages to turn the tide against a relentless foe, only to discover the true cost of victory might exact a price they are unwilling to pay.
Basically, Genesis, and indeed, the entire IX Series, delves into the spirit of human nature, and explores how far people are willing to go – what they’ll endure or what boundaries they’ll establish/break, etc, – when their survival is at stake.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in returning to this world, and what have been some of your creative influences?
AW: Well, I am a massive world builder. I spend months before putting pen to paper / fingers to keyboard, constructing the framework of when and where and how my story is going to take place and evolve.
I grew up with my head buried in books by J. R. R. Tolkien, (including the Silmarillion, which I love), Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert A, Heinlein. As I got older, I progressed onto the likes of Stephen R. Donaldson and Raymond E. Feist. As you can imagine, their creativity – and the work that went into the universes they conceived – influenced me a great deal. So much so, that I have always been a firm believer in one essential truth: If you’re going to build something, especially within the realms of science fiction or fantasy, make elements of it wholly believable. Construct your universe in such a way that the reader can grasp the possibility of certain aspect actually happening. Establish a common ground. You can’t do that if you haven’t put the effort in early and given your prospective world a solid foundation. A place in which to exist. A time. Flora and fauna. Natural cycles. A native population. Their history and development, etc.
Having done this prior to writing the original opening novel, The IX, I found I had plenty of material to dip into to continue the series to its conclusion without having to worry about where I got my inspiration from. And of course, when the prospect of writing a prequel became a reality, I was able to delve into the history I had already devised for my source material.
BD: Do you feel that Genesis would be a solid jumping-on point for new readers, as well as those returning to The IX series?
AW: In my opinion, Genesis is much more suitable for those who are returning to the series. The reason for that is simple. While the circumstances portrayed in Genesis naturally predate The IX, Exordium of Tears, and Prelude to Sorrow, the prequel was written with my existing fans in mind. (In fact, it was inspired by repeated requests from followers around the globe who wanted to find out more about the Horde, about their emergence and how they were able to overthrow a society thousands of years in the making). As such, Genesis refers to familiar favorites who they will already know and love, it expands on characters and events they only ever got to hear about in passing during the original adventure, and – in line with their wishes – it truly allows them to develop a deeper understanding of what makes the Horde tick.
Don’t get me wrong: Genesis is a complete story in itself and is perfectly capable of standing on its own. But new readers won’t appreciate the subtle nuances threaded throughout the dialogue that those already familiar with Arden and its people will appreciate.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that this story will connect with and impact readers?
AW: I’m hoping Genesis will continue to make a positive impact across the board. As well it should. I emphasized from the outset that the entire series has always been about exploring the essentials of human nature when the chips are down.
In the initial series, our protagonists come from vastly different backgrounds and eras. They’re fighting for what they believe in. Giving their all, right up until the moment of their collective deaths, whereupon they’re reprieved and snatched away from Earth as a group – friends and foes alike – and dumped into a horrific conflict not of their own making on the far side of the galaxy.
It quickly becomes apparent that they have to put their differences aside – which are petty in comparison – and concentrate on the much bigger picture: adapting to their new environment, staying alive, and saving an entire civilization from annihilation.
With Genesis it’s slightly different, as we look in on the catalyst that set everything in motion. The Ardenese – who up until now, have been so secure in their invulnerability and their ascendancy above other races – suddenly find themselves fighting a losing battle, and facing the very real prospect of extinction.
It’s within this arena of turmoil and conflict that the reader is able to explore what it’s like to be human, and consider: How would I react under adversity? Why is it that even the worst of us can become heroes if we’re motivated by nobler ideals? What is it about the concept of true friendship that enables it to emerge in the unlikeliest of places? Why does doing the right thing inspire us to action, even if doing so costs you your life?
I don’t know about you, but it reminds me of a duty we have as authors to pour our hearts and souls into our projects in such a way that the characters and situations we’ve created come alive. The more we inject real feelings, awareness and emotion into our stories, the more they’ll resonate in the hearts and minds of our readers. And we’ll have them hooked, and coming back for more as time goes by.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
AW: At this moment in time, I’m about a third of the way through the final manuscript of a new trilogy, comprised of Nemesis, Revenant and Adversary. The project will be known collectively as The Ascension Trials, and I will be submitting the series to prospective agents/publishers in the very near future. (So, please, fingers crossed for me.)
I was inspired to write this adventure because of the increasing concerns expressed by fellow scientists regarding the hazards we face, traveling as we do, at thousands of miles per hour on a hunk of rock through space. Most people haven’t the faintest clue of the dangers lurking all about us in the cosmos.
For example, there are over a million asteroids in our own Solar System, many of them capable of ending life as we know it if they ever impacted the Earth. We’ve logged well over three thousand comets too. But for all our scientific acumen, we haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s waiting for us, out in the deeper reaches of space. Magnetars; roving black holes; rogue planets, etc. I’ve never been able to resist delving into “what if” scenarios, and found that doing so on this occasion led to a darn good premise involving a post-apocalyptic world of the far future, where our home – and humanity itself – has been forced to evolve along unexpected paths in order to survive a calamity that took place millennia in Earth’s past.
It’s been great fun, and I look forward to sharing more about that project in the future.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Genesis and your other work?
AW: I’m always open and happy to interact with others.
Readers can find me at:
My Blog (which contains a host of active links to other project-related pages and work) : https://andrewpweston.blogspot.com/