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Editor Mike McPhail's So It Begins reviews

Editor Mike McPhail's Breach The Hull

Interview for Breach The Hull


Author James Daniel Ross

James Daniel Ross

The Nature of Mercy
(Radiation Angels)

Biography of

2009-05-18: interviews James Daniel Ross, contributor to the military science fiction anthology, So It Begins, book two in the Defending the Future series.

MilSciFi: "Welcome back. Please tell us a little something about your story, The Nature of Mercy."

Ross: "Of course! The Nature of Mercy was a difficult story to write. Itís much quieter, more cerebral story than people may be used to from me. Most of my stories kind of have a major explosion that starts them off. This story revolves around a man and his son in a winter landscape. They are discussing the nature of mercy, of faith, and of life. As it progresses, the discussion becomes more and more intense, more serious, and the reader begins to realize more is going on than is obvious."

MilSciFi: "Is this part of a large series or universe?"

Ross: "Yes, this is one of many stories available for the Radiation Angels universe. In chronological order (and where they can be found): First Drop ( Eshort story), Not One Word (Breach the Hull, short story), The Nature of Mercy (So It Begins, short story), A Different Kind of Courage (Barbarians at the Jumpgates, Short story), The Chimerium Gambit (novel,, and The Key to Damocles (novel,"

MilSciFi: "What inspired you to write this story?"

Ross: "Wow, something different. Many of the above stories begin with a BAM! and yes, that is exciting, but just once I wanted something that started out beautiful and pure, and became dark and menacing the longer the reader kept on. I wanted them to identify and connect with the characters, so that when night fell they would feel the same pain."

MilSciFi: "Does science and technology play an important role in this story (or in your work in general), or is it secondary to the story telling and characterization?"

Ross: "It is definitely secondary."

MilSciFi: "Do you have plans to expanded upon, or write other works based on this story?"

Ross: "On this story? I believe I will write about the antagonists in this story again. They are too good to just let lie."

MilSciFi: "Most authors we encounter write novellas/novels, do you find it a challenge to write short stories?"

Ross: "I want to say I do, but really I want the challenge. I need to be pushed a bit to provide my best work. I need a crippling deadline, an insurmountable challenge, or a difficult concept to pull the best work from inside myself."

MilSciFi: "Since time is of the essence for getting a reader up to speed in a short story, do you have a strategy, or preferred method for doing this?"

Ross: "For me short stories are always character-driven. That allows me to treat everything else as furniture, and because it is unimportant, I donít need to explain it. It just is, and exists only to provide space for the character to perform. It saves on lots of time and effort.

Also, I am fond of an introduction for the main character. It is bold, it is blunt, and welcomes the reader into the world as fast as possible: I am Blank. I do Blank. My situation is Blank. Begin first action sequence."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any other projects in the works?"

Ross: "Actually I do. As well as being welcomed into the (now Eppie award winning series) Bad Ass Faeries, I hope to continue to put out material good enough for Defending the Future. I just finished working on Snow and Steel (, and Iím shopping around a few more shorts. My first Fantasy novel is almost done."

MilSciFi: "Do you have any upcoming author events?"

Ross: "I will be appearing at Balticon, I have a signing the very next weekend at the CVG airport Borders Books. I will be signing at SciFi City in June."

MilSciFi: "Thank you."

Ross: "And thank you!"

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Copyright ©2009 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


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