Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In The Interview Corner - Wayne Basta

Hello dear readers, and once again it's time to introduce you to another author via the interview corner.  Today I have the pleasure of hosting Wayne Basta, author of ARISTEIA:  REVOLUTIONARY RIGHT and the upcoming release of its sequel, ARISTEIA:  A LITTLE REBELLION.  Stay tuned below to find out how you can enter to win a copy.

DAB:  So welcome, Wayne!  Tell us about the moment when you decided to pursue writing as more than a hobby.

WB:   I made the final decision to take a shot at making writing a full fledged career in the fall of 2010.  I had recently been promoted to a management position in my company.  Initially I was excited to get to train and work with a new host of employees.  I had been unsatisfied with my job for awhile and I thought this would be a chance to turn things around.  It turned out to be the opposite.  Instead of being in a position to try and help make some changes, I was in a position to be the company's "yes man".  Needless to say, I hated it.  Despite that, it was quite a challenge making the decision to quit.  I had always wanted to write but knew there would be little chance of ever making any money from it.  Leaving a well paying job in a down economy was kind of crazy.  But after talking it over with my wife, we both agreed we could get by without the paycheck if we cut back on some nonessentials.  We decided taking that chance was worth it, knowing I would be happier with what I was doing with my life.

DAB:  Is there a character in the ARISTEIA series you most identify with?

WB:   I'd probably have to say Maarkean, simply because I've used the name as my internet personality as long as I can remember.  That said, there's an element of every character that I can identify with that helps me understand who they are.

DAB:  Such as?

WB:   Zeric Dustlighter, for example, is loosely based on an RPG character that my friend Eric created.  That character was loosely based on himself, or how he'd see himself in a more adventure filled world.  Knowing him, his relaxed attitude and his quick wit helped me to create and get to know Zeric.

DAB:  You were in the U.S. Navy, I see (thank you so much for serving).  How have your military experiences translated into your novels?

WB:   While technically I was sworn in as a Midshipman while in ROTC, I wouldn't really view my time as serving in the Navy.  It was going to be my career, but an injury disqualified me from being able to serve while only in my freshman year.  However, my love of naval matters, naval history and interest in the service has definitely influenced my writing.  I've actually had to resist working in to much military jargon into my writing.  Both Aristeia novels have military elements, but that's not really the focus of the series.  One day I plan to write a more nitty gritty military sci-fi series.

DAB:  Ooo - that sounds like something up my alley.  Do you already have a storyline in mind?

WB:   To many actually :-)  One idea is something in the style of Tom Clancy and Larry Bond's "Red Storm Rising" that follows a wide range of different characters and shows different aspects of a war.  Another is more narrowly focused, following one ship through a long war and all that happens to her and the crew.  That idea is inspired by the Enterprise from WW2, which was the only carrier to survive the entire war in the Pacific.  But I don't let myself think about it to much yet.

DAB:  ARISTEIA:  A LITTLE REBELLION, the second in your series, is written from the point-of-view of the female protagonist.  Have you ever struggled when writing from the POV of the opposite sex?

WB:   Writing for a member of the opposite sex, and one who is from an alien race and a lesbian, has it's challenges.  One of my biggest concerns with writing from Saracasi's POV is that it will just be obvious that it's being written by a heterosexual male.  In the end though, I just pushed that aside and treated her like any character.  Since her gender or her sexual orientation do not define her, in her mind, I didn't worry about it to much, instead treating it no different than if she were left handed; ie just one small piece of who she is.  It also helps that, while Saracasi's journey in this second book is the main one, it is far from the only one.  "A Little Rebellion" has a total of six POV characters.  Switching between those coherently, I find is more of a challenge than writing for any particular character.

DAB:  I usually have alot of POV's in my novels as well - what sort of challenge do you encounter when writing from multiple POV's?

WB:   Making sure they are distinctive.  It's easy to lose track of which character's POV you're writing a scene from and remembering that they will see things differently than other characters.  This is especially difficult when a part of a scene is mostly intended for the reader.  Background information or explaining something about the world.  Which character you're following can sometimes feel irrelevant at those points, but there are always subtle things that are easy to miss.

DAB:  How long does it typically take you to write a novel from first draft to final edit?

WB:   I started writing "Revolutionary Right" in December 2010 and it was released in December 2011.  During that year, there were several months were I didn't touch it.  "A Little Rebellion" started in early summer 2011 but I ended up throwing pretty all of my work on it away in September and starting from scratch.  In general I'd say it takes me about 3 months to get a piece of work to the first Beta stage and then another 3-6 months to get to the final version depending on reader and editor input and work schedules.

DAB:  Do you have a hard and fast writing schedule?  Tell us about your writing regimen.

WB:   I used too.  While writing books 1 and 2 I would sit down every morning, work out an outline for the days work, and then push myself to get 2-5k words done.  Whenever I reached those milestones and felt like I was done with a section, I'd stop for the day.  Now that my son is here, I'm lucky to get in 30 min during nap times.  As he gets a little older and finds a more regular schedule, I should be able to get myself on one too.

DAB:  Ah-ha!  You've hit on one of the topics I like to ask every writer.  Do you always write from an outline?

WB:   Until recently, not at all.  For most of "A Little Rebellion" I started doing daily outlines to help frame my days work.  It was mainly a time saving tool.  Figuring out what I want to say before I try to start typing it speeds up the process.  But, no, I don't right a big detailed outline for the entire story.  I know where I want to go and some idea of how I want to get there, but often times the story decides it wants to go somewhere else half way through the book.  An outline would kill that creative process for me.

DAB:  Writers are usually avid readers.  What is your favorite genre for reading pleasure, and what are you presently reading?

WB:   As you might guess, I love science fiction.  But I also love fantasy and nonfictional history.  I just finished reading the Hunger Games series, since everyone has been talking about it, and now am about to start a history book called "Morning of Fire" about a trade mission America launched into the Pacific just after the Revolutionary War.

DAB:  Big history buff here too - what era of history do you enjoy reading the most?

WB:   Age of Sail is a big one for me, 18th and 19th centuries in particular.  World War 1 and 2 also.

DAB:  Where do you come up with ideas for your novels?

WB:   Many of the big themes come from my study of history.  History is replete with interesting people and stories that most people have never heard before.  Many elements of Aristeia stem from the American Revolutionary period.

DAB:  Do you have some pointers for the writers in our audience?

WB:   Persistence is the key.  You need a tiny grain of basic talent, but that's not much more than the ability to write a coherent sentence.  Beyond that, it just comes not continuing to work at a story until it's right.  That often involves throwing away lots of work and starting over.  Just writing these two novels, I've probably thrown away two more worth of material.

DAB:  So that brings me to another question - how many books overall do you plan for the ARISTEIA series?

WB:   There will be three novels in this first story arc.  That will conclude the story of the rebellion in the Kreogh Sector.  I have ideas for several other arcs in the same universe.  At least one following some of the same characters I will almost definitely do.  The rest will depend on writing schedule and personal interest.  I have a bunch of completely different stories I'd like to write as well that I am holding on the back burner until this set of three books is done.  Once I finish the third one, I'll have to decide between them all which interests me the most.

DAB:  Please share with us your final thoughts on ARISTEIA:  A LITTLE REBELLION.

WB:   I'm excited to be able to get the second novel out.  Seeing the first one in print was wonderful.  But seeing the second one means this writing thing is more than just a fad.

Thanks so much for the interview, Wayne.  It was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.  Readers, please go to the link below to find out how you can win one of Wayne's novels - but hurry and enter by June 15th.

You can also find out more information about pre-ordering A LITTLE REBELLION at a discounted price or visit Wayne at his blog.

About the Series

Aristeia (Greek): is a scene in the dramatic conventions of such works as the Iliad in which a hero in battle has his finest moments

The main inspiration for much of my writing comes from my love of history. In this case, the American Revolution. One thing that fascinates me about history is the difference between actual events and the common perception of the story. Here in the US, the Founding Fathers who participated in the war are larger than life heroes. In reality, they were just ordinary men in an extraordinary time; flaws and all. This in no means diminishes their accomplishments, but instead raises them up from caricatures of ideals to genuine people.

When writing Revolutionary Right, I set out to combine that flawed aspect of historical heroes with the concept of aristeia; and to tie them together in a fun space adventure setting. This book follows Maarkean Ocaitchi as he goes from a man down on his luck but still loyal to the Alliance to a man the galaxy at large perceives as a heroic revolutionary leader. Throughout the book he faces his aristeia moment while his loyalty is torn between his government, his family and his beliefs. In the end, he has to decide if he is the traitor he thinks he is, or the hero everyone else says he is.

In this new book, A Little Rebellion, Maarkean has made his decision about where his loyalties lie. This book moves to follow his sister Saracasi, as fate moves her toward her moment and she has to decide what kind of person she wants to be; the peaceful idealist or the fiery revolutionary.

While each book heavily features one characters aristeia moment and follows their personal journey, the books include a wide array of interesting characters. No hero is ever alone on their journey and no revolution is ever won by one person. It takes a large swell of people, each with their own unique story to tell.

Aristeia:  Revolutionary Right
The Alliance has always stood for freedom and democracy, but after winning control of the planets of the Confederacy, the Alliance's vaunted principles have become secondary to its security.  Disillusioned with the Alliance and its subjugation of its citizens, Maarkean, a former naval pilot and supporter of the Alliance, has become a smuggler.  Despite the conditions he survives under, he nevertheless refuses to believe his sister's notion that the whole system is corrupt...until she is arrested and jailed as a traitor.

Now, Maarkean must decide where is loyalty lies, and will either spark a rebellion or crush the spirit of democracy once and for all.

Written in the spirit of heroic space adventure, Aristeia; Revolutionary Right is the first book in a series that explores the essence of resistance, loyalty and friendship.

Aristeia:  A Little Rebellion
Unlike her brother, Saracasi Ocaitchi has always known that her loyalties belong to the ideals of freedom and democracy, not the government of the Alliance, and that protecting those ideals would require a fight.  But now that the rebellion she has dreamed about has finally begun, she must come to terms with what that truly means:  for herself, for her brother, and for all of the people who will die in the coming war.

Aristeia:  Revolutionary Right
As a child, Wayne Basta was introduced to science fiction at a young age by his father.  Mainstream hits like Star Trek and Star Wars were followed by old Tom Swift novels and then classics like Asimov and Clarke.  Growing up on Florida's space coast only served to fuel his imagination and love of space, science and adventure.

At the age of 9, his family got their first home computer, an old Macintosh Plus, and he immediately used it to start writing science fiction adventure stories.  He continued writing as a hobby all the way through college at the University of Florida, where he initially pursued a career in the US Navy until an injury changed his plans.  Wayne then spent several years teaching high school and working in the education non-profit sector before coming back to his old dream of writing. 

Wayne currently lives in Houston with his wife, son, and dog.  He remains a fan of geek culture, board games, video games, fantasy, science fiction and all around silliness.


  1. Wayne,

    Continued success with Aristeia: Revolutionary Right and good luck with the sequel. Good advice, too, on being persistent with one's writing and also not being afraid to throw out parts of a story and starting over.