You are cordially invited to visit nine different worlds! You won’t need to pack a thing; there’s no passport or visa required, and all expenses are paid. All you need is one book to transport you.
Passageways is an anthology featuring some of the strongest independent authors writing today, happily playing in the universes they’ve each built. Running the gamut from fantasy to sci-fi to horror.
This Author Interview Series will focus on the authors featured in Passageways, exploring their individual writing process, world-building, and characters. Passageways gives you a peak into the narratives these authors weave. I aim to give you a peak at the authors themselves.
Over the next 11 weeks, we’ll hear from authors Tahani Nelson (The Faoii Chronicles); Brian Fitzpatrick (Mechcraft); R.H. Webster (Rosebud); S.E. Soldwedel (Broken Circles); G.A. Finocchiaro (SCALES); Evan Graham (The Calling Void); Susan K. Hamilton (Shadow King); and Jane-Holly Meissner (The Fae Child Trilogy), curator Mike X Welch (Enantiodromia), and Editor/Publishing Rep extraordinaire from Writing Bloc, Cari Dubiel (How To Remember).
About Mechcraft, the world in which Fitzpatrick’s short, Sophie’s Gambit, is set: Mechcraft is a sci-fi series featuring individuals whose bodies contain millions of shape-shifting nanotech robots, which they can control telepathically. Mechcraft and its sequel Mechcraft: Disruption follows Jake London and his journey through Los Angeles as he learns to deal with his powers. A war wages between factions of Mechcrafters, and Jake appears to be the key to ending it.
Sophie’s Gambit follows eleven-year-old Sophie, whose life is tragically upended once she receives her injection of nanobots, as she learns the ins and outs of Mechcrafting and discovers that everything isn’t always as it seems in the dark world of warring factions.
- Brian, aside from Tahani, I would consider you to be another successful indie author. You talk to a lot of your fans. What do they come away talking about once the cover closes on your books?
Tahani is amazing, and I appreciate any comparison with her. I really feel honored to be with all these talented authors for the Passageways anthology.
I do communicate as much as possible with fans of the Mechcraft novel series. It is imperative for authors to build a fan base; to market themselves and their work, but I always viewed the process more like fostering real relationships as much as possible. I do my best to start conversations, answer questions, and build friendships- even if it’s only online. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to reach out and communicate about the series and writing.
What I hope when people close Mechcraft is the same rush as the first time they saw The Matrix, or Star Wars, or Terminator 2. I want to deliver a thrilling story that gives readers something new. By and large, that is the reaction I’m hearing from readers. In fact, an industrial rock band, Chmcl Str8jckt, loved the book so much they’ve written a song about Mechcraft titled “Tendril and Blade,” and it’s being released on their upcoming album later this month. A couple who own Orion Chandeliers were inspired by Mechcraft’s cover and created a metal sculpture/light for me to display at writer events.
- What inspired the nanotech superpowers in your Mechcraft world?
The idea for Mechcraft and the nanotech powers came from an article I read in an online medical journal. The article discussed a near future where specialized nanotech would one day be injected into a patient, and those nanobots would be programmed to attack cancer cells and leave healthy ones alone. My imagination ran wild: what if the nanobots were sentient? What if the living host could telepathically control them and summon them up through their pores to make any shape, item, weapon they wanted? And the story took off from there. Secret factions waging war in Los Angeles, vying for dominance and the fate of humankind.
- How does Sophie’s Gambit connect with your other novels?
In Mechcraft, one of the fan favorite characters is a 13-year-old cage fighter girl. She had no name in the first book, but plays a larger role in the sequel. I thought readers would like to know her origin story. How she came to have the Mechcraft power. How she wound up on the streets of LA. And how she wound up being the best underground cage fighter in the local Mechcraft scene.
- There are multiple factions of Mechcrafters in your work. Can you give us a taste of how they are all unique?
At one time there was unity among the scientists working on the Mechcraft project for the U.S. government. However, once the true potential of the substance came to light, the group could not agree on the best use of the godlike power. Arguments eventually turned to fighting, which escalated into all out war.
Phalanx maintained the philosophy that Mechcraft should remain a secret from society, but be used in the background for the betterment of humankind. This faction also kept the government’s favor and financial backing.
Gauntlet fosters a military structure and hierarchy, and believes Mechcraft should be used to help society, but out in the open for all to see. In their eyes, this would not only gain the adoration of the public, but also strike fear in their enemies.
Hunters, led by the diabolical Sasha, believe Mechcraft is an abomination and must be destroyed at all costs. Their cult-like focus on their mission makes them deadly. They have the Mechcraft power, but use it only to slay other ‘Crafters. Their ultimate reward is to be “purified” (killed) after a life serving the cause.
- 2020 was a tough year, but you still managed to be productive and creative. Do you have any advice for creatives who have struggled during the pandemic?
The pandemic has been a dark and difficult time. Every creative must practice self-care as much as possible. For some, being creative in all this chaos is an outlet of relief, but for others, it’s taking all their focus just to make it day by day. My advice is to give ourselves a break—be happy with whatever level of creativity we can manage. We all need to cut ourselves some slack.
For me, I found that having a goal kept me distracted from the bad news all around. I finished the Mechcraft sequel, and turned my attention to obtaining an agent or new publisher. A publisher liked both books and gave me a contract for each. Then the anthology opportunity came up, and motivated me in the later half of the year.