This week, we’re talking with John Dreese about his new scifi novel, Blue Hope.
Tell us something unexpected about yourself!
I was over 40 when I published my first book…
How did you get into writing?
Starting in high school, I’d written the first chapter for many books that I never completed. However, in 2012 I stumbled onto a really fun idea and decided to take it all the way to completion. The result of that effort was Red Hope: Book 1. Book 2 in the series, called Blue Hope, is the final adventure that I’ve just published.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on two outlines for future novels. One is modern-day sci-fi and the other one is more of an adventure drama taking place in the 2000/2001 time-frame.
Where did you get the inspiration for Blue Hope series?
The entire Red Hope / Blue Hope series came about when NASA announced a press conference they were going to have regarding an amazing finding by the Curiosity Rover. Rumors abounded that the press conference was about fossils on Mars. It turned out to be something about unexpected gasses they found. No fossils. But the idea kept turning over in my head about what if they -did- find fossils on Mars. Two years later, I released Red Hope. Three years after that.
Tell us more about the main characters in your new novel.
Adam Alston is the main character in both books. He’s a former astronaut pulled back into service and put through some harrowing challenges. His decisions are influenced by extreme stresses pulling him in different directions.
Who is your favorite writer and why?
My favorite writer (based on how many of his books I’ve read) is John Steinbeck. Nobody creates characters as interesting as he does.
What are your top 3 books of all time?
My favorite book is Accidental Empires by Robert Cringely. It’s a humorous and factual history of the personal computer. I’m a geek, which is why it’s my favorite and I’ve read it several times. I’m a huge fan of Steinbeck so my second favorite is a tie between Grapes of Wrath and Travels With Charley. Thirdly is probably Jurassic Park by Crichton.
Have you got any writing rituals?
I try to write every night. Even if it’s only for a few minutes or if it’s editing a chapter. I promise that if you do this, your book will eventually be completed.
How important is marketing and social media for you?
As a new writer, I was astounded at how much time had to be spent on marketing. I’ve found that if you don’t actively market your books, nobody will buy them.
I’m not all that slick at social media marketing. Not yet, at least.
Do you read your book reviews?
Absolutely. I try to learn something from them all, both good and bad.
What advice would you have for other writers?
For any new writing project, start out by writing an outline. Just a few pages. Then turn each sentence into a chapter. I did this for the second book and it went so much smoother.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading Moon Shot by Deke Slayton. It’s about the history of NASA’s Moon program and it’s pretty amazing. I’m also re-reading Accidental Empires.
What’s your next step?
I’m in the marketing phase of Blue Hope which just launched.
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