VFW Author Interview:
Martinus Publishing’s latest anthology, VFW: Veterans of the Future Wars, is now available! Throughout the month of February, I’ll be interviewing some of the authors who have stories featured in this collection. Today, I'm interviewing Pete Aldin, the excellent author who contributed “The Bridge.” Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed.
MTI: Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
PA: I’m Australian, but don’t hold that against me. I’ve been writing scifi/fantasy/horror/thriller stories since he was a kid, but I never finished any until I turned 40 and figured, I’m not getting any further away from death. So I actually took writing seriously (= making it a discipline and humbling myself to learn the art) and HEY, I started actually finishing the damn things. So now I have about a dozen short stories published out there plus a publisher looking at a couple of my novels.
For a day job, I run training programs for long term unemployed people, helping them get their mojo back. I love my job.
MTI: Now, getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
PA: It’s interesting you used the word “compelled”, because that’s exactly my experience. Stories and ideas have always bubbled up out of my psyche since I was a boy. I can’t pin it down to anything other than disposition …
As far as my favourite type of story (noticed I used the Aussie spelling there, lol): I seem to get drawn more and more to monster stories (where sometimes the monsters are the human variety) or pure life-in-danger adventure. The settings I most often lean toward are either dystopian near future sci-fi or mediaeval fantasy.
MTI: Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?
PA: I could talk about Grisham or Asimov or Graham Greene, but actually I’d have to say Joseph D’Lacey (whose horror I greatly admire) was the first professional author to say “Hell, you’re writing’s great, Pete”. That means a lot.
MTI: “The Bridge” appears in VFW, an anthology of military science fiction that honors soldiers and veterans. Was there any particular inspiration for this story?
PA: I was kind of riffing on the idea of “Old soldiers never die”… then I thought “What if the only soldiers left in the world were elderly citizens” … and the foundations were laid.
I think the older I get also, the less I see people who are “Different” as people who are “Wrong”. Maybe that thought crept in there too.
MTI: If you could go back to any point in history, when would you visit?
PA: The Sermon on the Mount.
MTI: A popular choice for many, no doubt. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
PA: Jesus. He fascinates me. (If he wasn’t available, I wouldn’t mind taking a writing master class from Stephen King).
MTI: Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
PA: I’m working on three projects: a werewolf novel, a short story about love between modified and non-modified humans, and a collaboration novel/novella with another author set on an asteroid.
MTI: Other than your contribution to VFW, do you have any other stories coming out in the near future?
PA: Yes, I do. I have a horror story set in 1900 coming out in a Kindle collection and a horror-sci-fi tale in a post-apocalyptic anthology.
MTI: On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?
PA: I’ve just discovered Modern Family. It’s growing on me. Also, I truly enjoyed the Dr Who 50th Anniversary special back in November. But over here in Australia, we’re in the Summer Non-Ratings period, so most TV is abject crap at present. Looking forward to the return of Black List over here.
MTI: What sort of music do you enjoy?
PA: Oh, man. I’ve a broad taste in music. When I’m writing, I tend to listen to dark or emotive movie soundtracks (the soundtracks to Trance and Cosmopolis are doing it for me at present). The rest of my playlist includes metal/hard rock bands like Demon Hunter and Stone Sour, and an eclectic mix of other artists including Gary Numan, Johnny Cash, Devo and Smashing Pumpkins).
MTI: You note in your bio that you have an affinity for alcoholic ciders. Are there any particular vintages that you especially prefer?
PA: Hah! Not really vintages, but there’s a Swedish brand that make a killer Apple & Guava one. I could drink that every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of it.
MTI: You have the attention of potential readers. Are there any great words of wisdom you’d like to share with them?
PA: I saw someone post recently something like this: I don’t read because I have no life; I read because I want to experience many lives. It was a little more finessed than that, but I truly loved the sentiment. Reading is not good for us; it’s great for us.
PA: If you’d like to read full stories in their entirety for free: a dark fantasy story is available at Niteblade.com, and a vicious little crime pulp piece is to be found at Bareknuckles Pulp.
Alternatively, the following is the intro to a piece I’ve been tinkering with for a while now…
High Priestess Philyu’s chest tightened as she stepped over the twin trails of blood. As her eyes adjusted to the crypt torchlight, the source became apparent. The soldier impaled on the spikes of the booby trap had probably lived a dozen seconds after triggering the device – just long enough to realize his mistake, long enough certainly to regret it.
“One does not summon the dead without serious repercussions,” she murmured, quiet enough that those watching from behind her would think it an incantation.
The young man said nothing in reply. He was either unwilling to compromise himself or too rapt watching the machinations of Junior Priest Achimu beneath the torchsconce ahead. The dark haired priest from a wealthy family was busy scratching symbols on the wall.
Philyu stepped a little closer and murmured, “Careful where you’re writing. Don’t want to trigger another one of those.”
Achimu’s scratching faltered a little. He swallowed with an audible click. But to his credit, he kept carving away at the tunnel walls with his trowel without so much as a glance at the soldier’s body nearby.
Behind them at the tunnel entrance, the Queen shifted, a noise like rats in a wall. She was nervous. Who wouldn’t be with necromancy at work? If Achimu messed up his symbols, he might raise something far worse than a dead theif.
He stole a glance at her, masking his curiosity with a bow of obeisance. No, not nervous – impatient, hungry. She wanted what the thief could bring her.
Oh, Timaeus. You may yet rue your death for more reasons than the obvious one.
MTI: Great stuff. Thanks for the interview, Pete. It was another great one. For those who want to read even more of Pete Aldin’s stuff, pick up a copy of VFW: Veterans of the Future Wars today!