Welcome to my interview with John O’Brien, author of the “A New World” series. Here’s a bit about John;
John O’Brien has had a very interesting life! A former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career, gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm, John immediately followed his military service by becoming a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with his new career path, he fell into the Information Technology industry in corporate management. At present, John is writing full-time on the series, A New World.
Former marathon runner, John, lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and enjoys kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedalling his road bike along the many scenic roads.
You can find him at his Website or on Facebook;
What made you want to be an author?
I am constantly running scenarios through my head. While reading one evening, I realized that I had a story to tell. The next morning, I began typing on Chaos. I really don’t know that I set out to be an author, I just knew the story wanted to be told and so it was about setting the story down.
What is your favourite book?
I have two favorite series: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King and The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.
Who is your favourite author?
I have many favorites and would be hard-pressed to say any one of them are my absolute favorites. If I had to choose, then I would go with the authors of my favorite series, Robert Jordan and Stephen King. I also really enjoy the Tom Clancy novels.
For you, what is the most important aspect of a book?
For me, I have to become involved with the characters and care about what happens to them. I enjoy characters without super powers, unless it’s in the fantasy genre; real people caught up in extraordinary events.
What made you choose to write Zombie Fiction?
Although the creatures aren’t technically zombies, I included them to add an additional survival factor to the post-apocalyptic world.
Would you write other genres?
I have thought about writing in the fantasy genre and have a prologue finished that was written a couple of years ago. I may get back to that one at some point but will be writing in this genre for at least one other series after A New World has finished telling its story.
How do you feel your “New World” series has been received?
I would like to believe that the series has been fairly well-received. There are a few comments about the detail and slowness of starting that the first book, Chaos, has. That was my first foray into the writing world and I was still trying to find my voice and style of writing.
How many books do you intend to include in the series?
That is a good question. Although I have some idea about the story line, it’s up to the story to tell itself. I just write the words down. I do feel, however, that this part of the story line is drawing close to a conclusion. If a conclusion can truly be had.
Are you working on anything else at the moment, and if so what can you tell us about it?
Mark Tufo and I have a collaboration book that is about halfway finished. We started it some time ago and then our schedules became a little offset from each other. When I had finished one e-book, he was in the middle of one of his, and vice-versa. We’ll be getting back to it soon though.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
First, I would say just write your story without wondering whether it will sell or feeling worried about setting yourself out there. It’s a hurdle to start an endeavour like that, but just start with the first word and write it as it comes to mind. Immerse yourself in it and the story will come out on its own. As you write, ideas will form and become part of the tale. Have a voice recorder or something to write on by the bed. I can’t tell you how many great ideas were forgotten when morning arrived.
Second, after you get the story finished, hire a good editor. A reader will often get thrown out of the story if there are too many errors. A beta review group of readers will also help you catch plot holes.
And third, hire a good cover artist. Whereas the saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, many do.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I would really like to thank the readers. Your messages and reviews have brightened my day. I just really appreciate all of your support. Many may say it but it is so true for me, you are truly the best.
Also, I would like to thank you for the opportunity for the interview.
Many Thanks to you too John.
Lets take a look at the synopsis of the series;
A New World.
Over two billion people dead within a matter of days. Thirty percent of the world’s population lying lifeless, strewn across parking lots, slumped in cars, fallen in their homes, and streets littered with corpses. The Cape Town Flu was deadly but not as much as was the vaccine that was rushed through the approval process.
The vaccine didn’t stem the tide of the pandemic, it was the very reason that civilization came to a standstill, and then fell. Almost a third of humankind felled. That was just the beginning. The vaccine distribution was halted but it was too late. The remaining populace underwent genetic mutations from which emerged a new species – the night runners.
Ferocious, cunning, and unrelenting, the night runners controlled the night. They became more agile, developed canine-like hearing and smell, and could see in the dark. Sweeping through the night time streets, they hunted for the one percent of humankind which proved to be immune to the effects of the vaccine. Only one aspect allowed any survivors a meager chance at survival, the night runners could not operate in the daylight. They spent the daytime hours holed up in lairs they created deep within darkened buildings. When the sun set, they emerged and, with a pack-like mentality, hunted the streets seeking prey.
The downfall of humanity was lightning fast and didn’t allow for any intervention. The infrastructure of humankind fell within hours. The scant survivors had to quickly band together in order to withstand the onslaught of the night runners.
Jack Walker, an ex-special operations soldier and pilot, was thrust into this new world. Saving his teenage son and daughter, he struggles to survive in this new environment – to provide safety for his children.
Encounters with the new species develop slowly and each new confrontation brings a little more information as to what he is dealing with. And, as they venture into this new world, they begin to meet additional survivors, bringing them together to combat the ever-growing threat from the night runners.
Night runners aren’t the only threat though. The small group of survivors also encounters others of their kind, both benevolent and malevolent. Marauders have also banded together and are out to take what they want, when they want.
Although strong characters emerge, both male and female, part of the story centers on Jack. At the very core, he become like a father figure to the group of survivors and provides hope for their very existence. He is faced with several dilemmas with the most prevalent dealing with his children. He knows they must learn and gain experience in this new world if they are to survive in the long run, but he has a father’s protection.
Wanting to shield them from harm, he knows that very action will keep them from gaining the experience and knowledge they’ll need. He struggles with decisions affecting them. And his protective nature causes some friction as they are eager to learn. Scared yes, but wanting to gain knowledge.
Jack knows his decisions-making process is altered – he would do things differently were his children not involved. When loved ones are involved, decisions dealing with dangerous situations are altered. With deep misgivings, he allows them to partake in operations – sometimes. At others, his protective nature takes hold and he holds them back.
With the loss of Nic, his middle daughter, this dilemma only deepens. He knows that experience and knowledge may save the lives of his children at some point, but he can’t allow the loss of another. Nic’s loss hardens Jack. He shuts down many outward expressions of emotion although he retains this internally.
Lynn, Jack’s girlfriend and a Master Sergeant in the Army, brings Jack out of his moods. She is the rational counterpoint to Jack’s impulsive nature. She is the planner whereas Jack plays a lot of his actions by ear. Jack plans but then takes it as it comes. This mode has enabled him to make it through many special operations missions.
The other dilemma facing Jack, although similar to the one he has with his children, is putting others in harm’s way. Not wanting to put others in danger without being there himself, he is constantly at the forefront of operations – much to the dismay of Lynn and others. At times, this is so strong that he leaves others outside as he ventures solo into night runner lairs, relying on his stealth skills. This almost leads to his undoing several times as he learns about the night runner’s abilities the hard way.
The group of survivors grows marginally as he and the others venture out in search of additional survivors. Jack knows the only way they will survive in the long-term is through numbers. They are heavily outnumbered by the night runners and have only survived to this point due to their strength in firepower and increased intellect.
During one of the operations, Jack tangles with a horde of night runners, becoming wounded. Night runner blood infects the wound. A short time later, he himself becomes infected and slips into a coma. Awakening, he finds that he has undergone several dramatic physical changes. He gains strength and agility, a slight increase in hearing and smell, and develops the night runner’s ability to see in the dark. The most startling change though, is his ability to ‘hear’ and sense the night runners.
Jack comes to find out that the night runners communicate with a form of telepathy – they send each other a series of images. He can sense, with pinpoint accuracy, where the night runners are. The ability seems to come and go and is affected with distance. The drawback is that they can sense him as well. Eventually, he learns to control this ability and can shut it down when needed.
Building a sanctuary and erecting a twenty-foot concrete wall around it, the group branches out and continue to find small groups of survivors. They also embark on an endeavor to find family members of the soldiers he rescues from Kuwait. Each time out, they find additional clues as to the night runners. What they find is that the night runners are evolving.
I hope you have enjoyed my John O’Brien Event as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. If you have anything to say about it you can comment on this post, post on the Rebbie Reviews Facebook Page, or tweet @Rebbie_Reviews with hashtag #JohnO’BrienEvent
Thanks for reading!