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James Daniel Ross

James Daniel Ross
"Not One Word"

Biography of James Daniel Ross

08-21-07: interviews author James Daniel Ross, contributor to the upcoming military science fiction anthology "Breach the Hull".

MilSciFi: “Welcome. What was your inspiration for your story?”

Ross: “Believe it or not, I was really stumped. Even with my experience in military science fiction, I could not come up with a compelling story, but then I was struck by a particular piece of music. It was: Children of the Sandstorm by Darude vs. Robert Miles. The ultra-fast beat, periodic pauses to breathe and general feeling of obstacles overcome laid the seed for my action-adventure run."

MilSciFi: “Do you have any future plans for stories set in the same universe?”

Ross: “Actually, yes! The character of Rook, and the universe, is found in my first novel, The Radiation Angels: The Chimerium Gambit and First Drop a short story, both from Mundania. I am on the verge of completing the second novel, The Radiation Angels: The Key to Damocles, and another short story, Poison Bullets.”

MilSciFi: “What would your ideal project be if you could plan your own anthology?”

Ross: “I have an idea for two, actually: Blood for Glory and Curses! The first for heroes, the second for villains of every stripe, one story from each genre: Horror, action, scifi, fantasy, superhero, and so forth.”

MilSciFi: “What other upcoming works are on the horizon for you?”

Ross: “Well, with The Key to Damocles almost finished, I need to start a story I have been asked to do for Bad-Ass Faeries 2.”

MilSciFi: “How would you describe your experience working on the book?”

Ross: “Fast. I have to admit this is one of the fastest I have ever seen something go from concept to reality. It’s very impressive to see so much talent come together so quickly and professionally. It is much like being a part of a highly trained science fiction SWAT team.”

MilSciFi: “If you had a chance to write one story just because you wanted to, and didn't have to worry about if it would sell or not, what would it be about?”

Ross: “You know what? I was asked at a writer’s workshop at ConGlomeration if a particular scene I had described in my next novel is based on reality. I said it was, and nothing much was said for a few seconds. I’d like the strength to really write about those things one day, without the veil of fiction to act as armor.”

MilSciFi: “What is your favorite story you have ever written and why?”

Ross: “My favorite story was The Harvest.

I was writing for the RPG industry, and not only did it prove I could write a good bit of fiction (if I do say so myself), it proved I could write the end of a story and the ghosts of the beginning and middle would support the whole thing. Not only was the main character my first attempt to write Rook, it proved the RPG world I was working on could live in other formats. You can read it yourself at”

MilSciFi: “What are you working on next?”

Ross: “After my contribution for Bad-Ass Faeries 2, I want to finish Poison Bullets. I have dozens of story seeds (about 1000 words apiece), but I think I am going to work on a novelization of one of my old short stories, a fantasy piece. After that, the sky is the limit, I suppose.”

MilSciFi: “Give us the details on your upcoming author appearances.”

Ross: “Wow, well I plan to be at Context (Columbus) in September, Philcon (Philadelphia) in November, as well as numerous and sundry signings in bookstores from Dayton to Louisville.”

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

Ross: “It is not the first ten thousands words that makes one a writer, it is the last ten thousand. Never give up until it is done."

Oh, and something my Creative Writing teacher, Mrs. Hannigan, once said: NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY. The first four paragraphs of The Radiation Angels was actually written in 1995. I dug them out while cleaning out some old papers and, suddenly, I knew what came next. Everything you write has value.”

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

Ross: “Joel Rosenberg, by far. His stories are compelling; his characters memorable; his relationships feel honest and deep. I admit to being very jealous of him, and he doesn’t get anywhere enough accolades for his work.

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

Ross: “Honestly, it is striking the balance between glory and glorification. The story has to have a hero, action, adventure, and when its over it has to make everyone cheer and pump their fists like someone just scored a touchdown…at the same time one can never forget that war is a horrible scar on the body of humanity, and has a weight, a growling presence of its own. There has to be a cost, even in success, a price even greater than blood. Stating that cost, without becoming macabre, is the most difficult thing by far.”

MilSciFi: “Do you have any awards you would like to share with us?”

Ross: “Wow, no, but if you find any lying around on the ground, I will gladly claim them (begins attacking someone’s Hugo with a dremmel tool).”

MilSciFi: “Do you have a website where our readers can go to fine more information about your work?”

Ross: "Of course." or

MilSciFi: “Do you write under any other names?”

Ross: “Nope. But maybe I should. The commoners might throw less fruit on the street.”

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

Ross: “So far my only novel is MilSciFi but my role-playing work was actually Dieselpunk, a combination of fantasy with 1940’s style pulp adventure. What I always wanted to write was fantasy, so I hope to get into that before long.”

James Daniel Ross' websites are:

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Copyright ©2007 Mike McPhail, All Rights Reserved.


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