Interview with Brian H. Roberts, author of scifi Red Dragon
How do you fight a hidden adversary on Mars?
Dallas Gordon’s miners keep disappearing. Back on Earth, general Zhang Aiguo has seized control of the Chinese military and declared himself emperor. His forces have secretly dispatched to the Red Planet to plunder EPSILON’s hard-won treasure.
Time is running out. Can Dallas Gordon and the Prospector team find Zhang’s hidden bases before they are all killed?
Excerpt from Red Dragon
“I’ve lost contact with Dave!”
Allie stood in the shop doorway, her eyes wide as saucers.
Dallas looked up from the shop bench, saw the panic in her eyes, and started toward the door. He briskly accompanied her to the common room.
“Tell me everything you know.”
Allie spoke in a torrent, “I compiled the latest welfare check just five minutes ago. The drill rig was still parked at Site 7. Dave and Number Two were positioned a hundred yards to the northwest of the drill rig. Dave’s heart rate, respiration and core temp were all nominal. Radio check was normal, using MGPS comm band.”
Allie sat down hard at the communication console.
“I no sooner sent the report to you and Doc when I looked up at the MGPS locator map and saw this!”
She stabbed an index finger at the display. Dallas followed her extended finger to the screen. A solid X labeled “Drill Rig” occupied the center of the screen. Three inches higher and to the left, another X was labelled “Site 7.” Other than topographic contour lines, the screen was blank.
Dallas ordered, “Show me where Dave and Number Two were located when you compiled the welfare report.”
Allie’s finger slid a few inches higher and to the left, then hovered over the X at Site 7.
Interview with Brian H. Roberts
-What inspired you to become a writer?
As an author, I’m a late bloomer. I didn’t begin writing until after I retired. Throughout my adult life my time was consumed with raising a family and my career as a civil engineer. But I always found time to read. I devoured Sci-Fi by the great authors. Being a science nerd, I loved their collective vision of where science and technology could one day take us. I also read thrillers. I loved the pacing, the great plot twists. My favorite author was (still is) Dean Koontz. His characters – good and evil – are so engaging and entertaining. He has influenced my writing style more than any other author.
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
Mars is a third the size of Earth, yet it boasts some amazing features. Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the solar system. You think Mt. Everest is big at 29,000 feet? Olympus Mons is 72,000 feet high. You think the Grand Canyon is deep? Valles Marineris is four and a half times the depth of the Grand Canyon – also the largest canyon in the solar system. And Hellas Planitia, the setting for Red Dragon, is the largest impact crater in the solar system, over five and a half miles deep, and over eight hundred miles across.
I would definitely visit Hellas Planitia. It’s the garden spot of Mars. Hellas Planitia is so deep, the atmosphere is thick enough to allow liquid water to exist on the surface. On a balmy summer day, the temperature can get above freezing. But I’d have to bring a warm blanket. Summer nights can drop down to minus 50o F.
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
In spite of his courage and war hero status, Dallas is painfully shy and insecure around women. While on Mars, he and his former lover Ann Waters renewed their relationship. At 200 million miles, they set the world record for longest long-distance relationship! But Dallas worries that he will be a disappointment to Ann after they are reunited back on Earth.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Genady Antonov. He’s a former Russian Air Force pilot who defected to the United States, and nearly died for his trouble. He winds up befriending a US Air Force flight surgeon while convalescing. After she leaves the Air Force, she recruits him to serve as a test pilot at EPSILON, where she is a Mars prospecting mission trainee. Genady becomes mission commander for the crew replacing Dallas Gordon’s team on Mars.
Genady is everything Dallas is not. Dallas is logical, meticulous, brave, a natural leader. Although as I’ve noted, he’s shy to a fault around women. Genady is a bit – correction – he is, a womanizer. He’s distrustful of authority. He’s a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants risk taker. But everyone (me included) loves a rogue.
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
“Seriously? How about a trivia smack-down instead?”
Truth be told, I’d stand a much better chance against an enraged drunk dwarf in a trivia contest, than I would with pistols at ten paces…
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
That’s easy. Romance. I guess I’m too steeped in testosterone. I’m too addicted to the action and violence of a good thriller. And I’m too committed to my love of science and technology.
Although… as my wife can attest, my secret guilty pleasure is watching Rom-Coms…
About Brian H. Roberts
In his first life, Brian worked as a contractor and civil engineer in bustling Seattle. Desiring a change, he and his wife traded big city life for the outdoor adventures of Central Oregon. His writing draws deeply on his lifelong loves of science/technology and adventure sports. His EPSILON Sci-Fi Thriller series now boasts two novels: Red Dragon and Crimson Lucre.
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Brian H. Roberts will be awarding a $75 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.