Forbidden the Stars: Interview with Sci-Fi Author Valmore Daniels

In true nomadic spirit, Valmore Daniels has lived on the coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, and dozens of points in between.

An insatiable thirst for new experiences has led him to work in several fields, including legal research, elderly care, oil & gas administration, web design, government service, human resources, and retail business management.

His enthusiasm for travel is only surpassed by his passion for telling tall tales.

Valmore’s latest book is Forbidden the Stars, a sci-fi novel set at the end of the 21st century.

Visit his website at www.ValmoreDaniels.com

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Valmore. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing professionally and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Forbidden The Stars?

I’ve been writing stories since I learned to hold a pencil. I can remember watching cartoons as a child, and writing my own adventures for those characters. Little did I know I was writing fan fiction before I was aware there was such a thing. Soon I began to create my own characters and worlds. Over the years, I had a few short stories published in local magazines and newsletters, and I began writing fantasy and science fiction novels in between classes in university. My first efforts were not quite ready for prime time, but once I became involved in a writer’s group and received real-time feedback, my writing improved by leaps and bounds until I, and my group, felt I was read for publication.


I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

Until humankind reaches the technological level where we can travel at faster than light speeds, we are, in a sense, Forbidden The Stars.


Why did you believe your book should be published?

Over the past few decades, science fiction has splintered into two main categories: there is far future which is set thousands of years from now where star travel is commonplace; and near future which is set a few years from now and deals mostly with current technology and trends. Forbidden The Stars examines the threshold between those two categories, where humankind leaves the space age and enters the interstellar age. This evolution may not happen in my lifetime, but I find the concept very exciting because it offers hope and progression to the human race. I believe there should be a return to science fiction which offers that kind of optimism to us.


Can you tell us the story behind your book cover? Did you choose it or did your publisher, Mummer Media have full control? Were you happy with the decision or did you have something else in mind?

It was extremely difficult to come up with suitable cover art for this project. Early designs included some deep space photographs of nebulas from NASA, and other designs were more dramatic depictions of space battles. I was not completely satisfied with either concept, and began browsing stock photo websites for ideas. On fotolia.com, I came across an illustration by an Italian artist named Innovari, and it was like a chime went off. The cover was perfect and did not need any alterations. I immediately licensed it.


How have you approached marketing your book? Do you have someone doing it for you or have you had to do most of the marketing yourself?

Before I published, I spend a great deal of time how best to market my books, and quickly realized that the internet would give me the greatest reach. Following some very helpful advice from fellow authors and marketing guides, I set up a website, facebook page, and twitter account. I joined a few forums dedicated to the new ebook format which is gaining prominence in leaps and bounds, and slowly contacted book bloggers to do interviews or spotlights. I’ve also contracted with www.pumpupyourbook.com to augment my efforts.

What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

More than a few people have compared Forbidden The Stars to Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and while the tone and setting may be somewhat similar, I’ve gone in a different direction with my book by examining how the discoveries of faster than light technology and of multiple alien races waiting for us to travel to them will affect humankind, our society, and how we think about ourselves as a species.

Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Alex Manez, one of the three main characters, has just survived a catastrophic accident in the asteroid belt. A chemical and physical reaction has quantized (turned into photons) his security chamber and has sent him hurtling through our solar system at the speed of light. He is undergoing a physiological change due to the exposure to the new element, and is very disoriented, confused, and frightened.

Disconnected.
Free falling.
Force of pressure.
The depths of space.
Lost in the farthest reaches.
Found by the light of Sol.
All things seen as if one.
Nothing is possible when everything is gone.
Feeling his way through the morass of darkness.
Screaming against the vast vacuum of madness and pain.
Sailing with the solar wind as guide to his destination.
For one instant he feels the power of all.
The next moment the call comes to him.
It is power; it is for him.
The beacon of a million stars.
The shores of all consciousness.
The signal is Home.
It calls him.
Come, Alex.
Come.



Do you plan subsequent books?

Forbidden The Stars deals with the decade leading up to the first interstellar voyage and first contact with an alien race. The sequel will deal with the decade following that moment in future history.


Thank you for your interview, Valmore. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

The paperback is available at Amazon US, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble. The ebook is available on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Smashwords, and coming soon to Barnes & Noble and Apple iBookstore
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