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Dan Henk's The Black Seas of Infinity

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

 

Illistration from the Dan Henk novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

Author Dan Henk

Dan Henk
The Black Seas of Infinity


24Oct2011
: MilSciFi.com interviews Dan Henk, author of the military science fiction novel, The Black Seas of Infinity.

MilSciFi: "Welcome. Please tell us a little something about your novel."

Henk: "It's apocalyptic/dark sci-fi. I've pitched it to agents and publishers as "mad Max meets Predator, as written by John Steinbeck"

MilSciFi: "Is this part of a large series or universe?"

Henk: "I'm well into a series of short stories I will collect into a book, hopefully by next year. All are vaguely related, but only in that they all seem to share the same world, more or less. The novel ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and although it can be read as a stand-alone work, a sequel is definitely planned for the future!"

MilSciFi: "What inspired you to write this story?"

Henk: "I've had the rough idea bouncing around in my head ever since I was a teenager. Initially, it was to be a graphic novel. I drew a number of storyboard pages, had interest from both Paradox Press and Kitchen Sink, but both companies folded. An interview with DC Comics made me realize a few things. Both that I could accomplish much more in a novel, and that the big companies want all the rights, try to push you into commercialization of your idea at the expense of story, and pay very little!

So, the idea gelled into a solid concept, I finally sat down to writing it. As an artist, I always loved reading those books with interior illustrations as a kid, and I decided to do something similar. Eleven full page interior drawings help bring the story to life, and I used a painted cover with a logo design that was a throwback to the novels I loved as a kid."

MilSciFi: "Does science and technology play an important role in this story (or in your work in general), or is it secondary to the story telling and characterization?

Henk: "I don't think you can really pull of something believable if the science and technology aspect are weak. They may not be the central focus of the work, but they are a necessary backbone. I've worked on cars ever since I was a teenager, including rebuilding three Jeeps, and there are technical aspects that some of my gear head friends were quick to notice. My dad is a retired military colonel, and I grew up on military bases, so I've used the knowledge of my childhood to back up that end of the story. Anything else I didn't know, I researched. Some of it takes place in Mexico, so I took a week off and vacationed down there, visiting the Mayan ruins and taking a horde of pictures. I try not to let the technicalities overwhelm the story, and filling out the profile of the main character is extremely important in the readers connection to him, but I didn't want to get any technical aspect wrong that I would get called on later!"

MilSciFi: "Do you have plans to expand upon, or write other works based on this novel?"

Henk: "Like I said, the novel ends at a bit of a cliffhanger. I think it tells a full story, but I definitely plan to expand on it in the future. It's a wild ride, with a number of elements that would well deserve to be expanded upon in the future!"

MilSciFi: "Most authors we encounter write novellas/novels, do you write short stories, and if so do you find it a challenge?"

Henk: "I am writing a collection of short stories now! I wrote the novel first, and my follow up short story had strict limitations on the number of words it could use, so that created a bit of a learning curve! I'm now into my sixth short story, and I feel much more comfortable with the format. The experience has actually helped me quite a bit, pushing me to further consolidate my overall vision. I think both what I want to say, and how I want to say it, have benefitted greatly!"

MilSciFi: "Since time is of the essence for getting a read up to speed in a short story, do you have a strategy, or preferred method for doing this?"

Henk: "I know the current, popular style, is to start out with a bang, and squeeze in the characterization later. I've had more than one agent tell me (more or less) that it seems to be the "current popular way to draw in a reader". I disagree. You need to feel something for the protagonist or you wonted care what happens to him or her! Short stories make you shorten this process, and force you to distill the important traits of the main character into a shorter format, but I think no matter what, it's an important element. I will say, word count being of the essence in a short story, I tend to leave some of the details revolving around the main character a little out of focus, not quite as fully explained, but I still try to make the whole thing as coherent as possible."

MilSciFi: "What advice would you give the aspiring military science fiction writer?"

Henk: "I've read extensively ever since I was a little kid. We didn't even have a TV until I was in the 5th grade. As with everything, it really helps to study the masters. Don't copy them, but try to learn from how they approach their subject matter. The second important instruction is research! I remember seeing a Punisher comic, as a kid, and the punisher is firing a gun on the range. The illustrator draws the bullet flying through the air, with the shell case still on it! He had obviously never fired a gun, didn't know how they operate, and made a huge mistake. Don't be that guy! And the third is, if you really believe you have a good product, work your ass off to push it! Get it in local book stores, buy magazines and call the editors, advertise the hell out of it. You might be a literary genius, but no one will ever know unless you do the groundwork of getting it out there!"

MilSciFi: "Who is your single-most influence in science fiction and what impact have they had on our own work?"

Henk: "I don't know that I have one sole influence. I've read so much, that I can name a whole slew of people, all of whom have contributed in some way to the writer I am today! I love the otherworldly and claustrophobic feel of H.P. Lovecraft, the sweeping vision of Frank Herbert, the studious technicality of Arthur C. Clark, the wild inventiveness of Philip K. Dick, the attention to atmosphere and sensory perception of John Steinbeck, the dark manipulations of Alan Moore, and I could go on! They all contribute something, and I find new people every day!"

MilSciFi: "What is the one thing you find the most difficult about writing military science fiction?"

Henk: "The technical aspects! Everything has to be right. I like to describe whatever is in front of my characters in detail, and to do that accurately, I ask a lot of questions! If a gun is used, I need to know how it operates, what it fires, who uses it, if a business is involved, how does it run? What security is in place? The last thing I want to do is make a mistake that will cause someone in the relevant field to put the book down in disgust!"

MilSciFi: "Is military science fiction the only thing you write, or is there something else out there we should be looking for?"

Henk: "I don't try to stick closely to a genre. It all involves a bit of otherworldly creepiness, but other than that, I like to run the gamut. Horror, Thriller, Sci-Fi, they are all fair game. I have way too many ideas, and the last thing I want is to pigeonhole myself!"

MilSciFi: "Please tell us about your publisher, and how did you came to choose them?"

Henk: "It all started when horror author Wayne Simmons had me review a book of his involving zombies and a tattoo artist. I told him I was writing a book, and a friendship was born! I finished up the book, and then searched high and low for a publisher. I am a commercial artist by trade, I attended art school, I've done work for everything from bands to book publishers, and I was insistent that I be allowed to illustrate my own book. Many companies had a problem with this, and I turned down more than one publisher that wouldn't let me do the cover. Andy Remic started a new press named Anarchy Books, and Wayne Simmons had good things to say and pointed me in their direction. Andy was very accommodating, liked my script, and the rest is history!"

MilSciFi: "Do you have any other projects in the works?"

Henk: "I have various short stories out now as ebooks, but I want to collect them all into a novel in the future. I'll be doing a new painted cover and interior illustrations for them, so it might take a while, but it's definitely in the works! After that, I think a sequel to my first novel will be the next project!"

MilSciFi: "Do you have any upcoming author events?"

Henk: "I'm a travelling, internationally known tattoo artist, and I have conventions in Washington DC, Miami, Detroit, Edinburgh Scotland, Liverpool, Hamme Belgium, Breda Netherlands, Columbus Ohio, and quite a few others coming up. I'll be hawking my book at all of them! This year I attended the World Horror Convention, and I might do that as well."

MilSciFi: "Thank you, for your time."
 


Dan Henk's website is:
 
www.danhenk.com

Dan Henk's author page on Amazon

Publsihed by Anarchy Books:
http://anarchy-books.com/


 

FTC 16 CFR Part 255 Discloser:
Solicited by the author with no compensation made to MilSciFi.com.

 

Copyright 2011 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved

 

The views contained in this interview are those of the author, and
do not necessarily represent the views of MilSciFi.com.