An Interview with Matt Williams, author of the Jak Phoenix space adventure novel…


 

Jak phoenix ebook paperback independent space opera sci fi book coverFeathered Quill Book Reviews was kind enough to do an interview with Matt Williams, the author of the space opera novel ‘Jak Phoenix.”  The interview is posted below for your reading enjoyment:

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Today we’re talking with Matt Williams, author of Jak Phoenix.

FQ: Are you a lifelong fan of science fiction? Which authors and books inspired your writing in particular?

I’ve enjoyed science fiction as long as I can remember. The thought of there being more to the universe than the day-to-day operations of our planet has always captivated me. I grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek, always craving a large helping of action and adventure with my sci-fi.

Ian Fleming, Douglas Adams and Elmore Leonard are a few of my favorite authors and I would say a healthy dose of each of their influence can be found in my writing. I started writing Jak Phoenix around the same time I was on my second run through of the original James Bond novel series, so much of the action and pacing is heavily influenced by how Ian Fleming would so expertly move the story from calm to breathless. Not an influence you’d expect in regards to a space opera novel, but I think it works. In addition, Shadows of the Empire, a Star Wars novel by Steve Perry, is one of my favorite sci-fi books. Adventurous and fast paced – right up my alley.

FQ: Where did you first get the idea for Jak Phoenix?

Jak Phoenix came about after I decided to buckle down after a night discussing story ideas with one of my best friends. I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth was and do more than talk about how we would change this or that in movies we had watched. Above all else, I wanted to write a story that I would love to read. Jak himself was the guy I wanted to see. The imperfect everyman.

FQ: Jak Phoenix is the kind of guy I think many men wish they could be, or at least, be for a day. Do you imagine yourself, at times, living out Jak’s life?

I do every day. There would be positives and negatives though. The negative aspect of being Jak Phoenix would be the refusal to conform to regular society, even in the very least. In the galaxy of Azore’s Crown he’s a hero, at least among the people he associates with. In real life, the nearest equivalent would be driving around in a shabby houseboat, picking up garbage to make your living. The downside would be the poverty…the upside would be the freedom. Unfortunately, in real life you have to budge, at least a little. One of the things Jak struggles with is what to do with his life. That is something I can say I have definitely thought about more than once.

FQ: What was the most enjoyable part of writing this story? What was the hard part?

The most enjoyable part of the story was the character creation and dialog. Above all else, I wanted this to be dead on. It also became very enjoyable trying to ensure the right amount of humor was being injected at the right time without watering down the action scenes. I wanted to make sure it was funny when it needed to be, but when there was danger, it was serious business.

The hardest part was overcoming my fear of showing what I had created to others. I’ll always remember the nervousness I experienced while waiting for my fiancée to read an early version of my first chapter. Scary, but rewarding.

FQ: Is there one character with whom you identify in particular?

There is a bit of Jak in me with a mix of Baxter in there too. I gave Baxter my technology skills while Jak, for better or worse, inherited my procrastination and slacker skills. Jak’s need to make light of serious situations is something that hits home with me. Life is too short to be troubled too often.

FQ: Which one of the various villains did you most enjoy creating/writing about?

Villain-wise, I enjoyed writing about Murdock the most. Everyone has met that one person who just seems to always be one step ahead. He is smug, pretentious ad arrogant, making it easy for anyone despising those traits to find a common enemy with Jak.

FQ: Jak Phoenix is light and fun. Were you deliberately trying to avoid morals, messages, and metaphors, which are common in a lot of science fiction?

That was the goal from day one. As I started out, more humor than I expected began to creep in, but the goal had always been to take the adventurous part of a story like Star Wars and elaborate on that. In recent years my interest in sci-fi has waned due to the doom and gloom in modern stories that always need to be “dark,” and “gritty.” There is enough of that in everyday life. Other writers are doing an amazing job at this, but I’ve come to the point now where I need something more upbeat. Jak Phoenix is pure escapism and I’m proud to admit it. It’s a pulp space opera tale anyone can pick up and enjoy, even if they haven’t gone beyond Star Wars and Star Trek in their science fiction repertoire. If there is any type of message in Jak Phoenix, it is to be yourself, take things in stride and realize there is more to life than jobs.

FQ: Do you have more adventures planned for Jak?

Absolutely. I am several chapters into Jak Phoenix 2 as we speak. Book two will explore some of the repercussions for the events in the first novel while flipping things around, testing Jak’s friendships and outlook on life. Of course there will be plenty of explosions, gun battles and chases as well.

To learn more about Jak Phoenix please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

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The original interview can be found at http://www.featheredquill.com/reviews/interviews/williams_int.shtml

The book they reviewed is available on Amazon right here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0986526614/?tag=azorscrowpubl-20

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Jak Phoenix – The Space Adventure Reviewed


Jak phoenix ebook paperback independent space opera sci fi book coverHey Everyone!

Jak Phoenix, the space adventure novel by Matt Williams, was recently reviewed positively by the good folks over at Feathered Quill Book Reviews.  The review is reprinted below:

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Jak Phoenix

By: Matt Williams
Publisher: Azore’s Crown Publishing
Publication Date: April 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9865266-1-9
Reviewed by: Eloise Michael
Review Date: September 17, 2010

If you thought that Han Solo was the real hero of Star Wars, then Jak Phoenix, a novel by Matt Williams, is for you. Jak and his partner, Baxter, are space pirates traveling the Azore’s Crown Galaxy in an outdated ship called The Tempest. The ship constantly needs repairs on the fly, partly because it is old and pieced together from several different ships, and partly because of the scrapes that are common to the life of a space pirate.

Williams’ characters are familiar archetypes of science fiction. Jak is irreverent and prefers to work no harder than is necessary to feed himself and to stock the bar on The Tempest. His treatment of women is obnoxious. Then along comes a woman strong enough to turn Jack around. Jak’s friends are mechanics and engineers who get by on their intelligence and the ability to collect and make use of what others see as junk. There is, as well, the typical assortment of villains– from weak and servile to evil-cyborg-scientist to megalomaniac.

Williams breathes new life into these archetypes, thoroughly developing each character, not with lengthy descriptions, but through the characters’ actions and conversations. Readers will have no trouble keeping the characters straight; Williams creates lasting images of their physical appearances while at the same time revealing their motivations. As readers get to know the characters, they will find themselves liking and identifying with Jak and his friends.

Above all, what makes Jak Phoenix a good book is the pacing. Williams brilliantly balances action with plot and character development throughout the book. There is never a dull moment, whether Jak and his friends are outmaneuvering attackers in space, boarding an enemy ship, fighting robotic soldiers, or outwitting captors.

Though the action never lets up, the plot of Jak Phoenix always continues to move forward at an engaging pace. The details that Williams includes in the middle of all this action will create vivid pictures in his readers’ minds. Readers will get hooked early and want to stay with the book to find out what happens.

The plot is fairly simple; Jak must rescue a race of aliens– perhaps the whole galaxy– from an evil mastermind who has quietly been building armies in a corner of the galaxy. It is a tried-and-true plot line, and it’s simplicity works in Williams’ favor. Readers of science fiction want an alternate universe, which is believable, characters with whom they can identify (even if they happen to be aliens), and a story that will keep them turning the pages. Williams easily achieves all three within the context of a plot which, like his characters, is original enough to be memorable but sticks to a basic formula that works.

Williams’ grammar is not always perfect, and his sentences are occasionally awkward. This does not interfere with the story, however. If Williams’ style is a little rough around the edges, it complements Jak, himself, who chooses practicality over appearances. The narrator’s voice reads the way an average science fiction fan might talk, which many will find appealing. Readers will find this well-crafted novel diverting, will want to recommend it to a friend, and will look forward to Jak Phoenix’s next adventure.

Quill says: Perfectly paced to keep science fiction fans absorbed and engaged.

For more information on Jak Phoenix, please visit the book’s website at: www.jakphoenix.com

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The original review can be found at http://www.featheredquill.com/reviews/sciencefiction/williams2.shtml

The book they reviewed is available on Amazon right here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0986526614/?tag=azorscrowpubl-20

First Post of the New Jak Phoenix Blog!


Jak Phoenix Paperback and Ebook Cover Art

The following is a blog entry entitled, ‘Jak Phoenix: Doing Something About it,’ from Matt Williams, author of the novel, Jak Phoenix.

I started writing Jak Phoenix in September 2008, after beers with friends led to the inevitable conversations nerds have about movies, comics, space and how we always had ‘better ideas’ than the churned-out supply of Hollywood remakes and reboots.

‘Better ideas’ is a pretty subjective term, but after the 50th conversation about being able to do something better without having any experience doing said task, I decided to put my money where my mouth was. Write a book. Pretty easy right?

Wrong. Writing, while rewarding, is difficult. Decent original ideas are hard to come by. The line between something marketable and garbage is pretty blurred. I am convinced the key to being a successful author lies more in self-discipline and an intense work ethic. Putting words down is tiring, stressful, boring and exhilarating all at the same time. At the very least, my efforts over the 15 months dedicated to putting the book together has given me the utmost respect for writers of anything; be it books, news articles, scripts, plays, or commercials.

I am no Hemingway. I am several large steps below a guy who has read a Hemingway. My goal was never to write a life changing magnum opus of epic proportions, but to have fun with the archetypes we all grew up admiring. From a literary standpoint, I’d have to say my biggest influence came from Ian Fleming. Not from a story perspective, but in action, suspense and pacing. What you read won’t be boring. I can promise you that much. My short attention span wouldn’t allow for boredom.

I set out to write a story that made me feel like I did the first time I saw the original Star Wars. Jak Phoenix morphed into something different when my focus swayed a little into the comedic field, but the simplicity, strong characterizations and appeal to mainstream readers remained intact. I wanted something everyone could have fun reading, with relatable flawed characters and a light tone. I’d had enough of the doom and gloom so prevalent in media these days. I’m not ashamed to admit I wanted a slam bang space opera.

My novel is far from perfect and I am the first to admit it. But, I went out on a limb and ‘did something about it,’ and for that I am proud. My fiancée’s understanding to my dedication toward sitting at the computer for multi-hour stretched will also never be forgotten. Her support is part of the reason she is my fiancée.

If you have read Jak Phoenix, I sincerely hope you enjoy it, as I certainly did while I was writing it. I picked the book up off the shelf the other day and started reading it. With my best attempt to separate myself as the author, I can honestly say it still put a smile on my face. Goal accomplished.

Matt Williams

http://mattdwilliams.wordpress.com/

Author of the Jak Phoenix Space Adventures at www.jakphoenix.com

Jak Phoenix is available at:
Amazon.com Paperbacks
Barnes and Noble Paperbacks
Barnes and Noble ebooks
Smashwords ebooks