Posted on behalf of J. Aurel Guay, who will return to blogging once recovered from a minor Plasma Burn:
Today’s post is a transcript from a recent conversation with author J. M. Salyards over tea. Mr. Salyards is an up and coming novelist and acquaintance of mine through Xchyler Publishing. Enjoy:
J. Aurel: Hello Mr. Salyards, thank you for coming. Would you care for some Tea?
J.M. Salyards: I would love some, thanks. And thanks for having me.
J. Aurel: You are very welcome. Let’s see now I have Earl Grey, Green, and Raspberry Zinger, which would you prefer? I am so glad you were able to make time in your busy schedule. I understand that you have a new work of fiction coming out soon. Can you tell us a little about your story?
J.M. Salyards: Earl Grey, if you please. “Shadow of the Last Men” is the first volume of a three-book series called the Next Man Saga. Set centuries in the future, it follows three unlikely allies as they attempt to survive on the wasted earth known as the ‘Outlands’. Each of them has their own reasons for opposing the Last Men— the cruel, technocratic tyrants who rule the earth from their massive, black-domed city.
It is a tale that weaves science fiction, fantasy, military, paranormal and metaphysical elements. Sounds like a monstrous hybrid, I know. Nonetheless, I do like to think that it never strays far from the human touch.
J. Aurel: How intriguing, and how does the ‘Next Man’ portion of the title relate to the tale?
J.M. Salyards: The antagonists of the work style themselves as the pinnacle of human evolution— the ‘Last Men’. There are heroes, however, who beg to differ. The elite of every civilization on earth has considered itself the epitome of progress. I prefer to view humankind as a work that remains perpetually unfinished. There are no Last Men. At least, I hope not. There will always be a next kind of man.
J. Aurel: Ah, I see. Please help yourself to a biscuit. And tell me Mr. Salyards How is it that you came to be published by Xchyler Publishing?
J.M. Salyards: A rather boring story, I’m afraid. Having finished my draft in November of last year, I came across www.xchylerpublishing.com early in my search for publishers. Struck by the precise procedures for submitting and the exacting guidelines, I set to work hammering my query and synopsis into the requisite shape. Providence seemed to be on my side, as I received a response about a month later. I sent the full manuscript, and a month later, I was offered a contract. The rest, as they say, is history.
J. Aurel: A mundane start perhaps, but merely the beginning to an exciting adventure I’m sure. Has your work been published elsewhere?
J.M. Salyards: “Shadow of the Last Men” is my first published work.
J. Aurel: Congratulations then! This calls for cigars! Do you partake? Can you tell us about some of your most favorite authors, and how you began your endeavor in authorship?
J.M. Salyards: Thank you kindly. I very much enjoy the work of Steven Pressfield, Osron Scott Card, Cormac McCarthy, Charles Frazier and Ken Follett. Unfortunately, female authors are woefully underrepresented in my library, though I’m endeavoring to change that. Truth told, I read much more non-fiction than I do fiction.
J. Aurel: How curious. Then if it is not from other fiction works alone, then what is it that inspires your writing?
J.M. Salyards: “What man is a man who does not make the world better?” I want to write like a canary in a coal mine sings.
J. Aurel: An admirable goal to be sure! Do you have any words of wisdom for the burgeoning authors reading this interview?
J.M. Salyards: Finishing a first draft is a great place to start. Really, it’s the only place to start. So write about something you’re passionate about. That makes it easier to reach that first waypoint on your journey. A set routine helps, as well. I’ve heard it said that if an author writes a thousand words per day, by the end of the year he or she has enough for at least one good novel.
J. Aurel: Well put. Here then, help yourself to some shaved ice, while you tell us what is next for you.
J.M. Salyards: I’d like to get volume two of the Next Man Saga ready for publication around this time next year.
J. Aurel: Naturally, naturally. Last question: if you had the choice between Atlantean Aqua Polo, Warp Gate Croquet , or a Plasma Pistol Duel, which would you choose?
J.M. Salyards: Well I happen to have some stem cell burn cream with me, so let’s charge up those plasma throwers! Burnt hair can’t stink forever, right?
J. Aurel: But of course! I happen to have my pistol case right here. As you can see I’ve a fine pair of matching plasma blasters fitted with fine mahogany grips which offset the blue glow of the ion chambers nicely, if I do say so. You will be a good chap and ensure this interview is published, on the off chance that I should lose won’t you?
J.M. Salyards: Don’t worry. I usually cry “Hold! Enough!” after the first exchange.
‘Shadow of the Last Men‘ will be available on in hard copy and e-book from Amazon and other online vendors Sept 13th 2013