1. So, what’s your book all about?
Pretty much like any other book, it’s about a man and a woman and another woman. Except the man is really an alien hybrid, and that presents some challenges for the woman and the other woman, particularly when it comes to holding your breath or cleaning up after sex. Technically he is five years old, due to some science stuff that I won’t bore you with, but physically he’s definitely an adult male.
I’m not sure how the law would see it, but I doubt anyone’s going to jail for statutory. I’m actually surprised no one has called me out on it yet. Of course I haven’t seen anyone calling out another author for pairing a hundred year old vampire with a seventeen year old girl. now there’s a serious pedophile for you. Is she even of age by the time they have sex? Have you seen the movie version? Best lesbian scene ever!
Anyway, there’s the relationship between the man/alien and the woman and the other woman, and some guys that keep popping up to boss them around, and the full on aliens that want them all dead. Throw in a pair of private detectives, that are a gay couple, and ex-Army and there you go.
I tried not to take myself too seriously. There is a bit of the outlandish in this book, places where I’m hoping the reader will cry out loud, “Oh no,” or “Oh yes,” or “Oh my God, really!” I wasn’t aiming for Pride and Prejudice, just something fun that you could finish on a long flight, or a day at the beach.
There are also some shout outs in Fifty One. The Men in Black characters are over-the-top characterizations of my perception of Barry Eisler’s and Joe Konrath’s public personas. Not that I’ve met either of them, but I’m a fan of both. I probably never would have had the idea that I could write something and put it out there had it not been for them yelling from the mountain top. Eisler fans will recognize a couple of the names mentioned in there, and I’ve easter egg’d a couple of other science fiction references.
2. What inspired you to write this tale?
My wife. She reads a lot of romance novels. Until recently I was an over the road truck driver. Last Valentine’s Day my truck broke down in Denver, CO. I’d been working on another story, but sitting there in the Peterbilt driver’s lounge waiting for my truck to be fixed, I decided to try my hand at an erotic/romantic short and email it to my wife for Valentine’s. When I did, she responded with, “where did you steal this from?” and “can you expand it?”
That was my first indication that I might be able to write something other people might want to read. I think that origin had a weird effect on what I finally ended up with. The first half of the book is based heavily on what I wrote for my wife. The second half is more in line with something I would want to read, like John Ringo, or Don Winslow. Not that I’m comparing myself to them.
I foresee there being less erotica in future books from the Fifty One series. Not completely gone, but toned down quite a bit. Isn’t that the way with all new relationships though? Hot and heavy for the first part then it tapers off as time goes on.
3. Do you have a favorite quote about creativity/inspiration etc…? What is it?
4. What things do you keep in your “writing space”? Do they inspire you? Confound you? Hold wires in place?
I’m sure they would if I had a writing space. I need to get one of those. Might help with my production. Fifty One was primarily written from the sleeper cab of a long-nose Peterbilt. You can see it on PaxRolfe.com with me standing on the hood. The confounding thing about that space was that the power outlets kept blowing out. Peterbilts may look cool, but their wiring leaves a lot to be desired.
5. What is your perfect “writing space”?
A sound proof room with a solid deadbolt on the door. Something sparse, Asian themed, modular. I need to be able to move around, sit, stand, lay down, do a cartwheel.
6. If your car horn could play any song, which would it be? Can’t say Dixie.
“Low Rider” by War. My current auto is a 1997 Lincoln Town Car because I inherited it and it’s paid for, and surprisingly versatile and not too bad on gas if you keep your foot out of it. Three weeks ago one of the air bags in the rear suspension let go, so now I’m driving around in ass-drop mode until I get it fixed. As a middle aged white guy who typically wears collared button down shirts and slacks, I get some interesting looks from other drivers. I’m just waiting to see the look on the officer’s face when I get pulled over, “Uh…carry on sir, my mistake.”
I’m still waiting for Ford to gift me an SVT Raptor truck, since I gave it such a prominent status in the book. When they finally pull their heads out and get one to me, the horn will play “Hillbilly Deluxe” by Brooks and Dunn.
7. What would you name the first permanent settlement on mars?
That’s an easy one, I’d name it Heinlein. Valentine Michael Smith from Stranger in a Strange Land was from Mars, and is a heavy influence on my Adam character. Although Michael was a pacifist and Adam is decidedly not, they both have that naiveté of human interaction. I don’t think science fiction writers get enough credit for the things they dream up that eventually become reality.
8. How tall is the perfect sidekick? Please explain why it even matters.
The perfect sidekick is three apples high…no wait, that’s a Smurf. Does it matter? I’m new at this so there are still things I have to learn.
9. If you were to mess with the time stream, what would you change? Let’s assume a hundred other people already took care of Hitler so you don’t have to say, “Kill Hitler.”
Haven’t you learned anything from Doctor Who? You can’t mess with the time stream. Things go really bad and it puts really hot girls in danger. And without Hitler we wouldn’t have the Autobahn, or VW’s or guided missiles, or the atomic bomb…okay, I guess they can kill Hitler, and someone get Stalin while they’re at it.
For my part, I’ll go stuff some Florida ballot boxes back in year 2000. I don’t necessarily think the world would be a better place if Al Gore would have won, but I know we would have sacrificed a lot less American soldiers in the name of Halliburton.
10. Let’s say your character has a pet brown bear. What’s the bear’s name?
Puffy, no wait, Bear Diddy, ummm Claude Bawls.
11. If you had to give an antagonist an annoying trait, what would it be?
Chronic masturbation, he’d always be red in the face and out of breath. My hero wouldn’t even want to fight him knowing that he’d probably been flogging the dolphin not minutes before.
12. What kind of car would your ultimate protagonist drive?
A hopped up mini-van. High horsepower, all wheel drive, with a handling package. Kind of a more space efficient version of the A-Team van. My ultimate protagonist doesn’t care about image. He or she needs utility, space for gear, and a certain amount of stealth. He or she can appreciate a Ferrari or Lotus, and may occasionally borrow one or take a test drive, but ultimately cars are just tools used to get the job done.
13. You’ve got a year to travel anywhere. Where?
Would have to be Europe, there’s just so much to see there. I would probably finish up in someplace like Bali though.
14. You just bought a boat with your book fortune. What are you going to call it?
The Wet Spot.
15. What kind of music, if any, gets you typing the fastest?
AC/DC “Shoot to Thrill” is my go to song for getting pumped up to write, but I don’t work well with distractions in my environment. Maybe I should try it again though, I was usually listening to music in the truck while imagining scenes for the book.
I guess I use music to provoke an emotional response in myself, but once I have that I don’t really need the music to sustain it.
16. What’s the punch line to your favorite joke?
Tickle your ass with a feather? Fu*k look at the clouds.
17. What lyric do you sing poorly, yet loudly?
“Just you and I defying gravity, with you and I defying gravity” from Wicked. I know I’m going to lose macho points, and risk my man card for this one, but Menzel and Chenoweth singing that song. It cuts straight to my soul. Really, I just know I should have been gay, but I’m really into women and not into men. Can’t help how I was born I guess.
18. You find a portal to another world in your sink’s drain. What is this other world called? And what is the best way to clean the portal so it doesn’t smell like old food?
The name of the other world would of course be unpronounceable. So I’d refer to it as World Pax just hoping that no one there caught on to my arrogance. As for the smell, I’d just have to put up with it, and take a shower when I got to the other side. My fear would be that by cleaning the portal, I might somehow disable it. I wouldn’t want to kill the magic bacteria or disrupt the ionic structure that allows it to exist.
19. Where can people learn more about you, your work or any pets you have?
PaxRolfe.com is a work in progress, but I hope to do more with it soon. I should probably start a blog, but fortunately I’m not working under the assumption that everyone was born interesting. Twitter or Facebook are probably the best places to see what I’m like. Interacting with other authors and readers has been the most enjoyable part of this strange venture.
20. What’s next?
Currently I’m working on the sequel to Fifty One: Provenance, and a non-science fiction spin-off with the gay private eye Simon and Donovan characters. The two books aren’t coming together as quickly as I’d hoped. Probably due to my lack of an adequate “writing space”, but mainly due to a recent job change. When I was a truck driver, I had lots of time while droning across Nebraska on I-80, or I-10 across Texas, to imagine things and work the story out. Then all I had to do was write it all down when the truck was parked. Now I’m back in a corporate environment and I’m missing that daydreaming time but I’m sure I’ll adapt.