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Kris Alexander

Kris Alexander

SERVANTS OF THE LIGHT


07FEB2012
: MilSciFi.com interviews Kris Alexander author of the military science fiction novel, Servants of the Light.

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

Alexander: "It's a bit of a genre-bender with strong military elements and themes running through it.  One blurb describes it as a "gritty metaphysical thriller", which is about right.  It's set in the contemporary world yet there are hidden histories and powers that most people don't know about and wouldn't comprehend.

The main character is Jake McPherson who is an ex-Army Ranger who discovers that he has superpowers during a brutal ambush in Iraq.  He can lift heavy objects and block bullets.  He uses his new found powers to save his unit from annihilation, but this reveals him to two groups of similar groups.  The first is the Servants of the Light, an ancient order of protectors and swordsmen who have been in a steady decline in the modern age.  The other is the evil Chosen who believe their powers sanctify them as gods on earth.  They thrive in chaotic, ungoverned spaces like Iraq in 2004 where the novel opens.

The Chosen determine that Jake will not be any use to them so they send assassins to kill him when he returns home.  He is rescued by a Servant of the Light named Erika who is both a beautiful and dangerous warrior.

The rest of the book is about Jake learning to control his powers and leading the Servants of the Light into battle against the Chosen.  The story careens from the mountains of the Pacific Northwest to Iraq and to wild Texas borderlands.

One this about Jake is that he is a scotch swilling, skirt chasing irreverent smart ass so there is a lot of humor--dark military humor that is really fun."

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

Alexander: "I don't know if I'd call it a large series.  I'm writing a sequel write now because I wasn't really done with the idea or the characters.  We'll see where it goes."

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

Alexander: "I had been kicking around the idea and sketching out this story for a while.  I did a tour in Iraq in 2009 and decided to make the most out of the time when I wasn't working.  I was doing a staff job in the Embassy in Baghdad so I had a little free time which I spent writing.  I guess the environment was inspiring in itself.  "Living in the Embassy" sounds cushy, but we were getting rocketed regularly.  There was always the threat of IEDs whenever you were traveling.  I witnessed some pretty big attacks too.

I wanted to say something about it but through science fiction.  The Chosen were my fictional answer to Al Qaeda."

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?"

Alexander: "Science and tech are there in the sense that Jake, through his military contacts, gives the Servants of the Light access to some military hardware.   But the story is not a tech story.  In fact, it's more of a low-tech story.  Because of how the powers in my universe work--the Light or the Dark depending on your alignment--high technology and even firearms are vulnerable to mental attack.  Those with powers end up fighting each other with swords and other melee weapons.  Jake is a bit of a gun nut so he still carries one, but it gets him into trouble."

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

Alexander: "Like I said, I'm writing a sequel.  I was transfixed last spring by the Arab revolts especially the footage coming out of Tahir Square.  I thought to myself that Jake, Erika, and the Servants of the Light need to be in the middle of that."

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

Alexander: "I guess the same advice that I'd give to any other writer--write everyday and don't quit.  The only person who can decide that you're not a writer is you.  Besides that, I think it is both a scary and exciting time to be in the writing business.  We're in the middle of a revolution and there is lots of opportunity for those bold enough to take chances."

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

Alexander: "For science fiction, it would have to be William Gibson.  How many people can rightfully claim that they invented an entire genre?  His cyberpunk stuff was great, but his later works are really what inspire me.  His last few books are set in the world we live in, but he sees things in it that we don't.  He somehow makes our world seem stranger than fiction.  There is something very appealing in that, the idea of the hidden yet real."

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

Alexander: "Authenticity. First, I struggle with the idea that I might be cashing in on my military experience so I want to get the military details right.  I feel like I owe that to my brothers and sisters in arms.  But then again, I'm writing fiction that needs to have a good pace so I can't explain every little nuance.  Plus, I'm writing about a modern world populated with sword-wielding warriors who can block bullets with their minds so I do have to make some stuff up."

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

Alexander: "I occasionally contribute to non-fiction writing to Wired Magazine's Danger Room defense blog."

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

Alexander: "Equinotes Media is a small start up press founded by a fellow writer who I've known for years.  He knew that I had a book in the works and that I had not enjoyed my interactions with the legacy publishing industry with other, yet unpublished novels, that I've shopped around.  The digital revolution in e-books, print on demand, and distributed collaboration was creating a new world that we wanted to be part of.  In a sense, publishing is just venture capitalism.  We're taking risks in new markets."

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

Alexander: "Besides the Servants of the Light sequel, I've started a novel that I plan on tackling next.  It's a military twist on zombies and plagues that I think will take the genre in a new direction.  Well, that's the plan anyway.  I'm also pretty fascinated with idea of quantum entanglement combined with time travel and counter-terrorism.  Maybe I watch too much late night science channel."

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

Alexander: "Not yet.  I'm waiting for the print edition of my book to be ready so I can start book some.  I'm open to any invitations, especially in the Northern California area where I'm currently stationed."

MilSciFi: "Thank you, for your time."


Biography: Kris Alexander is an active-duty intelligence officer in the United States Army who specializes in countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He is an Iraq veteran and has served at every echelon in the military from the tactical to strategic level. For a period of time, he left active duty and worked in Emergency Management and Homeland Security at the state and local level while serving in the Army reserve. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and is currently earning a master's degree in Security Studies at the prestigious Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. He is married and the father of two.

Kris Alexander's websites are:
 
http://www.servantsofthelightnovel.com/
http://www.krisalexanderonline.com/


 

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Copyright 2012 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.