interviews Patrick Todoroff, author
of the military science fiction novel, Running Black, The Eshu International series.
"Welcome. Please tell us a little something about your novel."
"In a nutshell, Running Black is a near-future action
story about a private military outfit getting far more than they bargained for
after accepting a black ops contract to steal prototype nano-technology."
"Is this part of a large series or universe?"
"Yes. I'm finishing the second novel now. The same team is caught in the
cross fire of a vicious civil war in Somaliland.
There's A.I.-controlled tactical drones, Somali pirates, foreign mercenaries,
and child-soldiers. It shaping up to be quite interesting, if I do say so myself.
I also have the outline for a third novel set in a maximum security prison on the
"What inspired you to write this story?"
"I wrote down the first scene - the last survivor/escape one - and the rest kept coming, spooling out in my
head. Before long, I realized I was faced with the task of writing an entire
novel, and it became a "put up or shut up' challenge. I had to finish what
"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
"Science and tech are certainly present, and indeed are major plot points,
but they're props. background. To be honest, I loathe sci-fi that reads like an
owner's manual or doctoral thesis. To me, science fiction is about people
responding to advancing technology and scientific
discovery. It's the struggles of interacting with the applications, the
implications, that I find so fascinating. In my opinion, science should be a
catalyst, not a character, in genre fiction."
"Do you have plans to expand upon, or write other works based on this
"Yes. See previous answer. I currently have two other Eshu International
"Most authors we encounter write novellas/novels, do you write short
stories, and if so do you find it a challenge?"
"I find writing short stories is easier. You can keep a hold on all the
moving parts and bring it to a conclusion sooner. I thought writing a novel was
like wrestling with an octopus. Just when you think you got it pinned down..."
"Since time is of the essence for getting a read up to speed in a short
story, do you have a strategy, or preferred method for doing this?"
"Some writers do a lead in or explanation. I tend toward 'sink or swim'
immersion. Throw people onto an already moving vehicle. It's not for everyone,
but, that's where I am right now."
"What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?"
"The usual: read history, research, write, read more, write even
"Who is your single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have
they had on our own work?"
"I'm up front about my debts and influences from the first word in Running
Black. It's William Gibson."
not Sci Fi, historical military writers Steven Pressfield and Bernard Cornwell
run neck and neck for second place. And
I'm a fan of anything Dan Abnett."
"What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing military
"One book certainly doesn't make me an expert, but my personal challenge was
to keep the science and back story from dominating the characters and
minimizing their conflicts.
"Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there
something else out there we should be looking for?"
"I set aside a fantasy novel 'The Dark Within' to hammer away
at the Eshu International sequel. I can feel that wants more attention though.
Also, there's the beginning of a supernatural
horror story ("Dead Saints") on my blog that has traction in my mind,
so I suspect I'll develop that eventually as well.
"Please tell us about your publisher, and how did you came to chose them?"
Patrick Todoroff: "Running
Black was completed at the bottom of the financial 'slump' and even
though it generated attention from several legit agents, they ultimately passed
on it. Instead of fussing, worrying, lingering, I opted to self-publish and
move on to the next project."
"Thank you for your time."
"Thanks very much."