04-28-2011: MilSciFi.com interviews author Ann Wilkes, contributor to the anthology, No Man's Land, book four in the Defending The Future series.
MilSciFi: "Welcome. Please tell us about your
story, and what was the inspiration for it?
Wilkes: "'Immunity Project' extrapolates on
the increasing devaluation of individuals -- especially dying ones. Rather than
rendering aid, the Allied Human Worlds Directorate experiments on the survivors
of a nuclear war to develop a human immunity to further its political goals.
This isn't exactly a new idea. The Nazis did it. The difference here is that
the people don't know they are in a Petri dish.
Our 'hero', Donard Terrellen, goes from reluctant mercenary to
conflicted 'could-be' saviour after he meets some of the human
subjects. It's amazing what 'putting a face on it' can do.
I honestly can't tell you what one thing inspired it."
MilSciFi: "Is it a part of a larger universe?"
Wilkes: "The story takes place in a future
in which humanity has taken to the stars, but hasn't learned how to play nice
with other sentient species. No surprise there. The unique thing about my
universe is the use of psionic fences to coral whole settlements."
MilSciFi: "Any plans to continue with this
Wilkes: "I really like Cheela and would
love to give her a tale all her own, picking up where 'Immunity Project' leaves
MilSciFi: "Each story is accompanied by a
unique icon, can you tell us something about the relevance behind your own?"
Wilkes: "Allied Human Worlds Directorate
does not tolerate other humanoid or non-humanoid intelligent life. They
barricade themselves within fortresses to keep the 'others' out and they use
fences to keep the test subjects captive, thus the chain. The dragon represents
the vile control they exert over those subjects from above."
MilSciFi: "How did you become involved with
the No Manís Land project?"
Wilkes: "I read the call for submissions on
the Broad Universe message board. I highly recommend Broad Universe to any
women who write speculative fiction. If you look on the book's web page there
are several contributors who are members."
MilSciFi: "What were your thoughts about the
fact that this was a collection featuring all-female authors?"
Wilkes: "Bravo! Women writers get lost in
the shuffle. We can write every bit as well as the men. And not just chick-lit
and romance. Reading this volume will convince you that women can write
kick-butt military sci-fi, too. I can even write a convincing bull rider. I
wrote 'Bullheaded' for an anthology on bull riding (This Ain't No Rodeo, 2008, Wolfsinger Press). It's time the
publishing world gave women equal airtime."
MilSciFi: "What tips would you given an
aspiring military science fiction author, female or otherwise?"
Wilkes: "Make sure you get your science and
military references right. You don't have to be a military expert any more than
you have to be a scientist. You just need to research primary sources and
cross-reference and have a stable of experts to go to for information and
MilSciFi: "Is military accuracy important to
you, or can one simply 'fake' it?"
Wilkes: "Sure, go ahead. But anyone who's
ever been in the military or otherwise become familiar with the accurate
information will throw your book across the room and tell everyone that they
MilSciFi: "Have you been involved with any
Wilkes: "My story, 'Trapped Star,' appeared
in another Dark Quest Books themed anthology. In Beauty Has Her Way, all the stories are about women getting what
the want even if they have to play dirty. They are not all written by women as DTF IV: No Man's Land is. Beauty Has Her Way released in January
of this year."
MilSciFi: "With your growing success as an
author, do you plan to continue writing for the Defending the Future series?"
Wilkes: "I would love to continue writing
in this series. Working with Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Mike McPhail has been
MilSciFi: "Are there any upcoming projects
you would like to tell us about?"
Wilkes: "I'm currently working on several
stories, one of them in the Awesome Lavratt universe, reviving some of the
characters from the book and bringing some fun, new ones. I have no projects
pending publication at the moment.
I do have a lot going on at Science Fiction and Other ODDysseys
blog (http://sciencefictionmusings.blogspot.com). May seems to be doom and
gloom month, simply because the market is filled with post-apocalyptic themes.
You'll find reviews of books by John Barnes, Will McIntosh and a review of
TNT's upcoming Falling Skies. Stephen Spielberg is the executive producer on
this alien invasion drama premiering in June."
MilSciFi: "And what events do you have in the
Wilkes: "I'm spending 2011 doing more
writing and less traveling. I hope to do more traveling to my favorite cons
MilSciFi: "How can our readers find out more
about your work?"
Wilkes: "I have a complete list of my
published works on my website at www.annwilkes.com. I make sure to always leave
one or two stories up on online magazines to give my readers a taste of my
work. They can also download the first chapter of my tongue-in-cheek space opera,
Awesome Lavratt at www.annwilkes.com/Lavratt.html."
MilSciFi: "Thank you for time."