Mary Ann: Hi! Welcome to All Things Writing. We're glad to have you as a guest today!Tell us a little about yourself and your latest novel, The 5 Moons of Tiiana.
Paul: Well for starters, I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada when it was a small, dusty town of about 60,000 in population. Our home was situated on the outskirts of town, surrounded by desert and there wasn't a whole lot to do. Back then, there were only three television stations and they went off the air fairly early, though that didn't matter as I didn't get to watch a lot of TV anyway. My father wasn't a big fan of the idiot box or the boob tube as he called it—he was a reader.
I can't remember exactly how young I was when he first gave me a book to read, but I do remember the book itself. It was A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. That book opened up the universe for me. It was unlike anything I had read before and I was smitten. From that point on, I devoured every book in the series, and from there I went onto Burroughs’ Tarzan series. Along the way, I took in books by Asimov, Frederick Pohl, Robert Heinlein and many others. These were the writers that inspired me and filled my head with dreams of fantastic ambition. They were the cornerstone for me wanting to become a writer—that and the other curse my father gave me. He insisted that I learned how to type.
I didn't actually begin writing until I was in college, and I didn't start off by writing science fiction. During my high school and college years I was involved in theater, and my first piece of writing was actually a rock opera that I co-wrote with two other individuals. Later, after college I got married, and it was then that I ventured back into writing as more serious endeavor. Still, it wasn't until I started writing screenplays that I obtained a small measure of success.
Most of my screenplays and short stories at that time revolved around science fiction concepts, but it was also around this time, the germ of an idea began to form for The 5 Moons of Tiiana. I think it lay in my head for a good 10 and 12 years smoldering and developing until I realized I needed to sit down and write it.
As for the novel itself, here’s a quick teaser.
The 5 Moons of Tiiana is a science fiction narration on a soldier caught up in the middle of an interstellar war, faced with rescuing the princess he loves, and solving a 2000 year-old mystery that just might yield the secret to bringing peace to both sides of the galaxy.
Captain Rez Cantor is a commander in the Imperial Army’s Shadow Guard, and the personal attaché to Princess Leanna, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the Emperor, and sole heir to the Melelan throne.
On the eve of a treaty signing ending the twelve-year-war between the alien-hybrid Relcor and the Empire, Rez learns that the Imperial family has been slated for death. Under orders from the Queen, Rez is given his final command–save the Princess at all costs.
Faced with overwhelming odds, Rez abducts Leanna from the Imperial palace, and the two flee Melela along with others of the Imperial guard. Unfortunately, their ship is nuked as it enters warp, creating an event horizon that sends the ship 128,000 light years across the galaxy to the Moons of Tiiana. It is on one of these moons that Rez awakens upon a beach–injured and alone–without the Princess.
So begins the sojourn of Rez Cantor upon the Moons of Tiiana: Five moons stagnating from a 2000 year-old war that has left its alien races in limbo and decay. Five moons that crave a hero bold enough to lead its people out of the darkness. Five moons that hold the future of the Melelan Empire deep within the ashes of war.
So there you have it—pure adventure with hostile alien races and bizarre landscapes, a man searching for a young princess, but instead discovering a beautiful woman and a perilous mission where the fate of the galaxy is at risk. It’s all here for your reading enjoyment.
Is science fiction your main genre or do you like to experiment in other areas?
For the most part I have stayed within the field of science fiction. It’s not that wouldn’t like or try other venues, it’s just that I enjoy tinkering with the “what if” factor too much.
According to your author bio on Amazon, you also write screenplays? Is The 5 Moons of Tiiana something you've also written in that format? Is it hard to switch from screenplays to novels?
No, The 5 Moons of Tiiana has not been written as a screenplay, not as of yet, anyway. For one thing, the scope of the story is far too large to be put into just one movie. It would have to be a series of movies. Additionally, I'm considering writing a prequel and a sequel to the book to fill in the back story on the Relcor (the bad guys) and the continued adventures of my hero, Rez Cantor. So, with that said, putting The 5 Moons of Tiiana on the big screen would take an effort equal to that of Star Wars.
Now regarding the second portion of your question—I don’t think switching from a screenplay to a novel is any more difficult than determining how you want to tell the story. Okay, I can see some of you rolling your eyes, so let me clarify that statement. It goes without saying that screenplays and novels are drastically different birds of a feather. Each venue holds its own format, point of view, nuances, and the method of delivery must be crafted precisely if the story is to be successful. And yet, it just really depends on what you want to accomplish as a writer, and how you see your story unfolding. For me, I saw The 5 Moons of Tiiana as a novel. It was too expansive a story for a two hour screenplay. And honestly, I think screenwriting has become too competitive today; it’s much more difficult than ever before. Twenty years ago, before the advent of the internet and e-publishing the reverse was true. Back then it was it easier to penetrate the facade of Hollywood. Additionally, I think the biggest drawback for screenwriters is giving up ownership to your writing. If you write a novel, a short story, or novella, the work is yours, minus the edits and corrections by your editor. With a screenplay you can end up with twenty fingers in the pie and still not get greenlighted.
Okay, your protagonist, Rez Cantor, sounds like a bad ass! He reminds me of an Indiana Jones type in space. How did you go about creating his character?
The truth is I borrowed a lot of Rez from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character, John Carter of Mars. I wanted to take the reader back to a time where the protagonist was swashbuckling hero, intelligent and honorable, if not flawed. I wanted him to be smart, cool, and calculated, but with a certain level of charm. With that said, I actually owe a lot to the development of Rez to Dr. Jennifer Dare. She was the English professor I ran the story by when it was in development, and because of her Rez became stronger and more rounded as a character. What I like most about Rez is his ability to adapt to any given situation.
I always like to know what other authors are reading. What's the latest book you've read that really grabbed your attention?
Destiny of Souls by Dr. Martin Newton, PH.D., and before that, Journey of Souls by the same author. I found his research into our lives between lives astounding. His work gives real meaning to the adage: fact is stranger than fiction. Of course, not everyone will agree to his hypothesis, but still it’s a fascinating read.
I gotta ask: Agent or no agent? What's your take on authors and agents?
If Hollywood is on the line offering you an option on your book or screenplay, get an agent or better yet, an entertainment attorney—just make it one who is a Writer’s Guild affiliate. Truth is, I can’t really say. The last agent I had I fired because he was an idiot.
Thanks for being with us today. Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Yes. In addition to my earlier comments about writing a novel verses a screenplay I stated that the writer needed to determine the right voice for his narration. That was especially the case with The 5 Moons of Tiiana. It was my first narration written in first person and it worked far better than I could have ever have imagined. It was a blast to write and I think that comes through in the prose. I do hope all of you will give this novel a read and let me know what you think. And thanks for having me!
To learn more about Paul T. Harry or to purchase his book from Amazon, click on the following links:
Paul T Harry Online: