08-27-08: MilSciFi.com interviews
author Danielle Ackley-McPhail, contributor to the anthology Space Pirates,
which contains her story Carbon Copy.
MilSciFi: "Welcome. What was your inspiration for your
Ackley-McPhail: "Well, any time I think of Sci Fi, I can't
help but work in the universe of the Archives Martial Role Playing Game, which
was developed by my husband, Mike McPhail because it is the one I am most
familiar with the workings of (where I wouldn't be prosecuted for copyright
infringement, anyway.) Consequently, most of my Sci Fi stories start off with
that as a basis. It isn't always heavily referenced, but definitely has the
feel of his universe. So I had begun a story set on a space facility that kind
of petered off and lost it's focus because it missed the deadline for the
collection it was intended. It was military based and had the infrastructure
for some intrigue to take place but I had other more pressing projects I had to
finish so I'd set it aside. Some time later CJ Henderson had told me about a
collection he was writing for that he felt was in my realm of interest. It was
the first book in a proposed Sci Fi series by Flying Pen Press and the title
was Space Pirates. Well, it got me thinking and I already had a third of a
story started that would be perfect with just a bit of rewriting so I contacted
the editor and he was interested in seeing it when it was done. No, I'm not
going to say much about the story because anything I shared would pretty much
give away the punchline, but suffice it to say that I always look for the most
unexpected twist to a story when there is a given topic or theme. This project
was no different, but you'll have to read to the end of the story to find out
what kind of twist I was able to put on pirates :) "
MilSciFi: "Do you have any future plans for stories set in
the same universe?"
Ackley-McPhail: "Well, since I'm playing in someone else's
universe--with permission!--and I am quite comfortable with it, I would say the
answer is safely, yes. I like Sci Fi and apparently I am fairly good at writing
it...Of the five Sci Fi stories I've written, all five have sold, and for the
most part, they've been easier to write than my fantasy. I'm not saying I
wouldn't develop something new an original at some point, but the Archives
offers such a wide range of concepts to play with that it might be a while."
MilSciFi: "What other upcoming works are on the horizon for
Ackley-McPhail: "Well, as I mentioned, I've sold a few
more Sci Fi stories than have been seen in print so far. The one that has come
out already is Zinn Mensch, which was the cover story for the eighth issue of
Trails of Indiscretion Magazine. My upcoming works are Building Blocks, which
is slated for the anthology Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and By Any Means,
which is slated for...believe it or not...New Blood, an anthology of newly
turned vampire stories. Now, don't let that sour you on the story before it's
even in print, I guarantee I put an interesting twist on it that should satisfy
fans of either genre. Also, unrelated to science fiction, my fantasy novel,
Tomorrow's Memories, by Mundania Press, is scheduled to release sometime in
MilSciFi: "What are you working on next?"
Ackley-McPhail: "Currently I am acting as first reader for
So It Begins, the sequel to Breach the Hull, edited by Mike
McPhail, as well as working on my own anthology, Syren Songs, which is book
three in the Hear Them Roar series by Marietta Publishing (www.mariettapublishing.com).
For my personal writing projects, I have way to many than I should, but
foremost is writing The Halfling's Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, which is an
upcoming novella in the Bad-Ass Faeries series, also by Marietta Publishing,
and Today's Vision, my third novel in the Eternal Cycle series, by Mundania
Finally, from a loosely military Sci Fi standpoint, in 2010 I have the
third anthology in the Bad-Ass Faeries series slated to come out, and that is
Bad-Ass Faeries 3: Battlefront, which will be all Military faeries, some of
which I can guarantee will qualify as Sci Fi."
MilSciFi: "Give us the details on your upcoming author
Ackley-McPhail: "I'm doing a lot of one-day events in
September, but in October I have a packed schedule. On October 4th I'll be at
the Collingswood Book Festival, on October 10-12 I will be at FaerieCon, in Philadelphia, and on October 17-19 I
will be at CapClave near Washington DC. I don't have anything
planned for the final weekend yet...but I think by then I will have earned a
break ;) "
MilSciFi: "Who is your single-most influence in science
fiction and what impact have they had on our own work?"
Ackley-McPhail: "I'd have to say Mike McPhail. I've always
been a fan of all the speculative genres to one degree or another, but it
wasn't until I met my husband and started role-playing in his military science
fiction universe that I really began to understand the inner workings of both
the military and science fiction. I also got to experience first hand the
interaction of individuals in a combat scenario. True it was a game, but as
most of the players had at least some time in the service, the only thing
missing was the sheer terror of being shot at, the interaction itself, along
with the problem solving was very much in keeping with a military situation."
MilSciFi: "Do you have any awards you would like to tell us
Ackley-McPhail: "Why yes...yes I do :) I am very proud to
announce the Breach the Hull, of which I am one of the contributors, received
the 2007 Dream Realm Award, and my anthology, Bad-Ass Faeries, of which I am
both senior editor and a contributor, was a finalist for the same award, sadly
in the same category...still...gold and silver, not bad ;) "