Hello, everyone! Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sean Danker, author of the Evagardian series. The review of the first book of his series, Admiral, can be found here. The sequel, called Free Space, was published about a week ago, and I will post my review in a few days. Go check out this science-fiction story, as the adventure isn’t nearly over! 🙂
- Hi, Mr. Danker! Thank you for agreeing to this interview! I would like to start with an all-time classic: Could you enlighten us a little bit about yourself?
Not much to tell; I got out of the military recently, and I do social work now. I like to bake and I recently took up the ukulele.
- Your first book Admiral was published last year. Congratulations! What are your new expectations for its sequel Free Space?
I just hope readers enjoy it and get into the Admiral story. It’s an unusual series, and it’s just getting started.
- What type of research did you do for your Admiral series?
The main thing I had to invent was Evagardian culture; everything else sort of stems from that. To do that I had to design an alternate history to explain why Evagard is the way it is. A lot of time went into the philosophy that underpins the Evagardian way of thought, and I looked into visual design from entertainment, around the world, and throughout history for the aesthetic. For the story itself, there was a fair amount of reading in political science and military espionage.
- Are the twists prepared in advance or do they sometimes happen while writing?
Small things always happen organically during writing, but the major plot points were planned in advance. Every sentence of every book has the final destination in mind. As a result, there’s a lot of setup and foreshadowing that won’t come into focus until we’re a little deeper into the story.
- How do you feel you have developed as a writer since you started on your first book?
It’s been about fourteen years since my first one, which was an unreadable mess, and I’ve written dozens of novels since. These days I have more confidence, but I don’t expect to ever stop learning. There’s always a way to do a better job.
- If you could branch out in another genre, which one would it be?
I’ve already gone rogue and branched out irresponsibly into quite a few genres, though most of that is languishing unpublished. If I could pick which ones could make it to prime time next, I’d actually like it to be some of my cozy mysteries.
- Does your book have a lesson? A moral?
My feelings and beliefs are always at the core of the story, but I try not to be too preachy. The Admiral series is built on some pretty strong themes, but it’s always going to be up to the reader to interpret. In this particular series there are enough twists that you don’t want to make too many assumptions about where it’s going or what it’s trying to say. I set a lot of traps for readers.
- What was your favorite element to write about? (a character, an event, a description…)
Evagardian culture has evolved into an interesting topic, and the character of the Admiral is always tricky because I’m not sure there’s ever been a protagonist quite like him. Salmagard’s growth as a character was also very satisfying to write. She’s not as twisty and unorthodox as the Admiral, but she still finds ways to surprise readers.
- Is there something you wish someone would ask about Free Space? If yes, what is it, and please answer it!
My favorite question is “When’s the next book?” And the answer is I don’t actually know – but telling the publisher that you want it can’t hurt our chances to get it sooner.
- Last but not least, what are you currently reading?
Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown (and Sneaky Pie Brown)
- Voilà! Thank you so much for doing this.
Thanks for having me.