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Patrick Todoroff's Running Black reviews Patrick Todoroff's Running Black























Patrick Todoroff, Running Black

Patrick Todoroff
The Eshu International series

03Oct2011: interviews Patrick Todoroff, author of the military science fiction novel,
Running Black, The Eshu International series.

MilSciFi: "Welcome. Please tell us a little something about your novel."

Patrick Todoroff: "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."

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

Patrick Todoroff: "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 moon."

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

Patrick Todoroff: "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 I'd started."

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?"

Patrick Todoroff: "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."

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

Patrick Todoroff: "Yes. See previous answer. I currently have two other Eshu International novels planned."

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

Patrick Todoroff: "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..."

MilSciFi: "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?"

Patrick Todoroff: "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."  

MilSciFi: "What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?"

Patrick Todoroff: "The usual: read history, research, write, read more, write even more."

MilSciFi: "Who is your single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have they had on our own work?"

Patrick Todoroff: "I'm up front about my debts and influences from the first word in Running Black. It's William Gibson."

Although 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."

MilSciFi: "What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?"

Patrick Todoroff: "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.

MilSciFi: "Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there we should be looking for?"

Patrick Todoroff: "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. 

MilSciFi: "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."

MilSciFi: "Thank you for your time."

Patrick Todoroff: "Thanks very much."

Patrick Todoroff's website is:

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Copyright 2011 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved

The views contained in this interview are those of the author, and
do not necessarily represent the views of