Martinus Publishing’s latest anthology, VFW: Veterans of the Future Wars, is out! Throughout February, I’ll be interviewing some of the authors who have stories featured in this collection. Today, I'm interviewing Neal Wooten, the talented author of who contributed “Divine Protocol.” Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Neal.
NEAL WOOTEN: You’re welcome
MTI: Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
NW: I am a writer for the Huffington Post and I also love to write sci-fi. My first novel, “Reternity,” which is a time travel story based on Biblical prophecies, has won eight national awards and was named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011. I have a sci-fi novel titled “The Balance” due out April 15th, 2014.
MTI: Now, getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
NW: I’ve been writing fiction for a long time. Futuristic stories are definitely my favorite since every aspect comes solely from imagination.
MTI: Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?
NW: H.G. Wells
MTI: “Divine Protocol” appears in VFW, an anthology of military science fiction that honors soldiers and veterans. Was there any particular inspiration for this story?
NW: There were two elements: the very brief mention of the Nephilim in the Bible, and the war in Heaven, which gives us the warrior side of angels. Combining those elements led to “Divine Protocol.”
MTI: If you could go back to any point in history, when would you visit?
NW: Native American life before any explorers showed up.
MTI: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
MTI: Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
NW: I’ve stepped out of my circle for a spell and I’m working with a famous drummer from the biggest country music band in history to write his autobiography.
MTI: Other than “Divine Protocol” appearing in VFW, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?
NW: Besides the novel due out in April, I had a total of eight short stories accepted in 2013, not all yet published. The other seven are:
The Shombie Apocalypse
The Dream Job
Ode to an Urban Legend
MTI: Other than writing fiction, you have had some interesting jobs. Math teacher, stand-up comic, and columnist are just the few listed in your biography. In retrospect, what has been your favorite career choice to date?
NW: Doing standup was great, except for the traveling, but I still do an occasional show. Being a columnist is always fun, but I’d have to say teaching kids math was my favorite thing to do.
MTI: On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?
NW: The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory are all I watch. I’m now a contributor to The Walking Dead Fan Club.
MTI: What sort of music do you enjoy?
NW: Oldies – 50s, 60s, and some of the 70s. Give me the Eagles and CCR anytime.
MTI: And if you would, name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored.
NW: Jaws, All the movies of the Alien series, & Serenity
MTI: You have the attention of potential readers. Are there any great words of wisdom you’d like to share with them? Perhaps something that would persuade them to purchase your work?
NW: I think the most important thing about writing fiction is believability. My novel, “The Balance,” is set 100K years into the future, but I hope people will read it and think, “That’s really possible.”
MTI: Readers love free samples. Is there anything you’d like to share with us today, perhaps something new or recent that you’ve written?
NW: Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of “The Balance.”
Lightning? I have only seen lightning from above as I traveled around the tube, beautiful green and blue bursts from within the clouds thousands of feet below the city. The transport shakes again and I almost fall. I sit on the cushioned seat to brace myself, my fingers digging deep into the outer material. Adon still stares out the side of the tube away from the city, so I look to see what he sees. I see only myself. The darkness outside creates a mirror effect on the tube, a distorted reflection looking back at me, scanning my own eyes as if also searching for answers. I notice my shoulder-length, straight, pale hair, the same as every other male in the city, even my grandfather’s. I see wrinkles on my face that should not be there, then I realize they are not on my reflection but hovering in the span of distance between us. There are lines that seem to be floating in air, little threads tracing across the normally unobstructed view of the sky. The tube is cracked, and the lines seem to be alive, growing, spreading.
The tube’s clear casing breaks even more, the lines darting across the cylindrical enclosure like lightning itself, stretching out in all directions. Then the space beside our transport explodes into a million shards of crystal, reflecting the dim light like twinkling stars as they spin off into oblivion. The transport seems to hover for a full second and then…weightlessness.
MTI: Excellent stuff. Thanks for this intriguing interview, Neal. Those who wish to read more of his stuff can pick up VFW: Veterans of the Future Wars today!