Tell us about your new novel.
It’s the third of your Insurrection books …
Yes, thanks, Chris. Exodus is the third in the now completed A.I. Insurrection trilogy. Its name
denotes the decision by United Earth to move beyond the solar system
and begin populating the stars. United
Earth casts a long shadow of memory across its residents, and those
memories are renewed through every enlightened AI Host who carries
them. This haunts some, encourages fear in others and confirms
devotion in many. United Earth, as an idea, gave life to freedoms
previously unknown to humanity, but when the General’s war
devastated that trust, and an alien bent on destruction came to
annihilate their civilization, the populace began to question their
place in this fallen utopia. Now, six months removed from the most
recent conflict which overwhelmed the people; recognizing they are
not alone in the universe, they seek purpose in their existence more
than ever. The lottery would afford them that, offering hope, one of
the most essential requirements in an individual’s arsenal for
survival. But when that hope turns to dread, what is left to
accomplish but survival?
How did the series start?
A.I. Insurrection began as a supposition,
which became a scene, which then transformed into a short story.
Given a few days to reflect on it and some helpful input from one of
my editors, I felt compelled to build a novel around it. I’m so
very, very glad I did!
What are your A.I. influences?
I’m an artificial intelligence nerd. I
love the concept and the work being done in the field. I also love
the possibilities, both the good and the bad. Not that I want a
event to kill us all or anything, but in fiction, I love where A.I.
can take you. Influences in my trilogy include I Robot, Altered
Carbon, and Neuromancer.
You’ve had a lot of positive
reviews. How do you promote?
My promotion angle is to offer books for
free to my current fan base via eblasts, advertising on Facebook, and
branching out via other avenues like Indies Unlimited and to specific
genre groups on platforms like Goodreads. It can be a bit expensive
in the beginning, but if you want to create some excitement, I’ve
found you need to keep the momentum going for a few months right off
the bat. Indie authors have to make a name, or be ignored.
What’s the best feedback you’ve
As an author receiving feedback from a
reviewer; I’d say it’s when the reader is genuinely shocked at
how much they enjoyed an indie author’s work, their
recommendations, and requests for a second book (which is how The Judas Syndromebecame
You were voted best writer for
2010 in the October issue of View Magazine. How did this come about?
View was holding their annual contest for
multiple categories in the Hamilton and Niagara Falls, Ontario region
and I threw my hat in for my first book: The Judas Syndrome. It is
the first in a trilogy as well. View readers would vote online, and I
got the word out to friends and fans alike asking them to take the
quiz. Free publicity.
So you’ve written a few other
things besides the Insurrection series. Short stories, children’s
stories … Is the writing process different here?
I’m someone who reads multiple genres as
well as writes them. Staying within a certain genre feels a bit
claustrophobic to me. So, I write what I want to read. Often my genre
choice in the moment is inspired by the book(s) I’m reading or a
life experience. I tend to approach all of my books with the
knowledge that after a plot has been conceived, I will write in a
stream of consciousness format. I surrender to the plot and
characters to get me from start to finish, building the story as I
go. The plot may change in subtle ways or in substantial ways, but I
believe it has already been written, and I’m pulling it from the
ether with my creative connection. So, in answer to your question;
there is little I do to approach a genre differently save the basic
structure of a children’s book, short story, Apocalyptic, or
And you also released a picture book in 2016?
An Angry Earth,
yes. My contribution as an environmentalist looking to educate the
youth about the potential effects of climate change on our world and
ourselves. It’s an unapologetic story developed to frighten kids
into action. And hopefully, their parents. It tells the story of a
terrifying end to a world whose overseers abused its resources to
live more comfortably, until the Earth had nothing left to give.
Incidentally, I was approached by a reporter for the Wall Street
Journal about this book recently, and am hoping for some follow up
There’s not much about your
personal life out there. Who are you and what do you do besides
married, have a nine-year-old daughter from my first marriage and
live in beautiful southern Ontario, Canada. In my mid-twenties I
bought an old work van and transformed it into a sleeper van which a
friend and I drove all over North America for months to discover our
world and ourselves. I graduated Interpretive Illustration from
Sheridan College in ’94 (using this education to illustrate An
Angry Earth and West of Noreaso) and continued my creative studies in
graphic and web design at thirty. Today I am employed as a Marketing
Manager using my writing and creative skills to promote my current
employer. Besides writing, painting and illustrating, I love to
mountain bike, kayak, and hike. I love our natural world, and try to
connect with it as often as possible. Travel is also very important
to me and I’ve recently come back from Spain and France. Science
Fiction has always been a go-to genre for me whether through books,
film or television, which is why I had so much fun writing the
Back to writing. What motivates you and when and where do you work?
Realizing a new storyline is all the
motivation I need to stop what I’m doing and begin writing. It can
be a sentence, a paragraph, or simply a statement, but I need to
write it down. Anywhere. Anytime. Some of these become short stories.
Some become novels. Others become what makes up my slush pile of
possibilities, but the motivation to write down a new thought is
paramount. Beyond the initial need to write, an idea meant to become
something more percolates, and again motivation enters; urging me to
complete what was begun.
Q. And what’s next for you?
Surprisingly, I’m over 15,000 words into
a fourth book for the A.I. series. Though the trilogy has an ending
I’m very happy with, the characters continue to talk to me. New
ones as well. Begging me to take them further. Beyond that, I’m
considering another anthology of short stories, as I have several I’m
rereading and editing for that possibility. Regardless, I am a writer
who needs to write; I find it purposeful, and have built a fanbase
around each of the genres I’ve written for. So, it’s safe to say,
writing is what’s next for me.
Okay, thanks for the interview.
You can find out more through Michael’s facebook page here.
The much anticipated follow up to Marcum's Valkyrie novel. Out now on kindle, coming soon in paperback.
The United Earth Alliance prepares to push forward in the last campaign of the war against the Elai, but their enemy has other plans. As new threats loom, the seeds of rebellion sprout bitter fruit on Mars, and Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Suarez, the Valkyrie, finds herself fighting for her life.
The follow up to Lucas Marcum's best selling debut novel, Valkyrie.
The gas plume flares
for the fourth time when I finally manage to reach the holding area.
As always the police are there to meet me. "Good morning,
Captain Kloss." The Sergeant smiles and tries to make small talk
but I wave him off.
Kloss now, Sergeant. Is he secure?" I ask him.
fortress, sir. Sleeping like it never happened." says the
"How much this
time?" I ask, running the tokens in my pocket through my
"Just 50k for
the droid, sir. I thought he was better now, someone said he'd been
to The Clinic?" the Sergeant is generous, no booking fee, no
bail and most important of all - no bribe to grease the wheels of
justice into faster action.
I pass him the 50k
token and he smiles. "As always, good to see you, Captain."
Dmitri now, Sergeant. The war ended ten years ago." I say to
I got him this job,
my write-up helped to get him the extra stripe. He feels like he owes
me something which is probably why the bail-outs are always so cheap
on his watch. I hear the boots of the other police officer
approaching, matched by the familiar staccato footsteps as he
stumbles along beside him.
old friend!" I say, knowing he won't reply. I manage to get him
into the cab which is waiting outside for us, the driver already
knows where to take us. We are that well known.
it is good to see you again, sir. I'm sorry about the Lieutenant,
sir. I hope The Clinic will do a better job this time." The
driver is yet another face from my past. As usual we pay no fare when
we get out at The Clinic, we've done this trip many times before,
still he refuses to take my tokens.
The Porter on the
front door snaps to attention and salutes me out of habit, I have to
restrain myself from throwing one back at him. "Captain! We
weren't told to expect you, sir!" he says.
I indicate towards
Jason. "Another episode, sadly. We'll try the treatment again.
Perhaps with greater success this time."
He helps us inside,
bringing out a wheelchair.
Jason can walk. His
legs work fine. It's
just the link between them and his mind that aren't functioning right
old comrade is working at the booking desk, he hastens our admission
for old times sake, one of the many favours which are owed to me that
can never be repaid. We're directed to an elevator. I know what to
expect next. When the door finally opens several floors later, he's
already waiting for us in the corridor.
Doc, sorry to be back again so soon." I say to him, slightly
red-faced at being back in The Clinic yet again.
okay, Captain, the Lieutenant can't help himself. Who did he shoot?"
the Doctor asks me.
travels real fast here, especially bad news or idle gossip.
a mech Doc, don't ask me where he got a gun or how he found the money
to buy one. Veterans Admin say he barely gets enough to feed himself
most days." I explain, or try to.
push Jason into the examination room and stand ready. The Doc locks
the door and activates the audio tape. Outside the room it's mostly
silent, just the ambient hum of normal hospital life going on in the
distance. In here is the sound of distant gunfire, explosions, men
screaming for help, the engines of war. The
days of our previous lives.
take cover. We've got incoming!" It's Jason, back with us again.
Doc stops the tape and Jason slowly releases his vice-like grip on my
wrist. "Where am I, Captain?" Jason asks me, unsure of his
just Dmitri now, Jason. The war is over. We're home now." I say.
we really back, sir?" Jason asks, with a glimmer of hope in his
my friend. It's all long over now. You're back from the war." I
turn and look across the cityscape framed by the window and say to
myself, "We're all back. Mostly."
information, check out this blog’s interview with Ray Daley here.