ABOUT THE SERIES
Beyond Cloud Nine is the first book in the Beyond Series. The second book, Beyond the Horizon, is currently in progress and has not yet been published. The tentative release date for the sequel will likely be sometime in 2016, but that’s not definitive at this point.
After four years of study, twenty-two year-old Maya Davis, graduate of the new Interstellar Expeditionary Force (IEF) academy, achieves her lifelong dream of exploring the stars. She earns a commission aboard humanity's first deep space exploration vessel, New Horizons. With the entire Solar System watching, and with thousands of emigrants aboard, the starship launches into the unknown.
New Horizons has three mission objectives: make contact with a benevolent race of extraterrestrials discovered by SETI known as the Penphins; locate a habitable, Earth-like exoplanet ripe for settlement; and search for traces of the antagonistic alien race whose invasion mankind thwarted seventeen years earlier. But when New Horizons exits hyperspace far beyond the sanctity of the solar system, sabotage cripples the ship, leaving only junior officers in command. Maya must make a series of difficult choices in order to resolve the turmoil aboard, defend New Horizons from alien attack, and bring the stranded starship home.
Back in the solar system, forty-two year-old civilian flight instructor Brooke Davis, Maya's aunt and former U.N. Aerospace Defense pilot, receives a disturbing communication. The call prompts Brooke to head to the Martian south polar ocean, where she learns how a clandestine organization manipulated the current political and social climate into being. She also uncovers the schemer’s nefarious agenda regarding New Horizons' voyage. With time running out, Brooke races to save her niece and the New Horizons mission light years away.
Find more information at http://www.beyondsaga.com.
Title: Beyond Cloud Nine
Series: Beyond Saga Bk1
Author: Greg Spry
Release Date: 23rd Sept4ember 2014
BLURB supplied by the Author
Ace star fighter pilot Brooke Davis lives for pushing hundreds of gees in orbital combat, but she’d give it all up in a moment to become the first human to fly faster than light. When Brooke stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government, she finds their goals seductive but their methods abhorrent. With the moral core of human civilization hanging in the balance, she must risk her shot at history, her family, and her life to prevent the schemers from forcing their nefarious brand of salvation upon the solar system.
In depth synopsis by the Author
When ace star fighter pilot Lieutenant Brooks Davis isn’t pushing hundreds of gees in Jupiter orbit, she spends her off-duty solitude yearning for one thing. She dreams of being accepted to the Project Luminosity test pilot program and becoming the first human to fly faster than light. But when Brooke fails to prevent a mysterious intruder from blowing up the water distillation plant on Europa—a crime aided by fellow U.N. officers and sanctioned by her superiors—she’s drawn into a conspiracy threatening not only her shot at history, but the future of every man, woman, and child in the solar system.
Edward Collins, President of the U.N. Security Council, orders Brooke to keep quiet. Much to her chagrin, he also relieves her of active duty and insists she take time off on Earth. There she reunites with her twin sister, Marie Davis, a small-time reporter who sets her sights on the biggest stories in the solar system. With a little ingenuity, Marie gains admittance to a press conference in which separatists attempt to assassinate the U.N. Secretary-General. Territories are seceding and acquiring antimatter weaponry, and if the U.N. loses its ability to keep the peace, human civilization may stumble back into the dark ages.
Just as all-out war seems inevitable, alleged extraterrestrials attack colonies throughout the solar system, forcing humankind to work together to combat the invaders. As the conflict escalates, Brooke discovers that the attacks tie back to the incident on Europa. And when she realizes the implications for the future of her niece, Maya Davis, she begins to care about more than her own selfish desires.
As the invaders draw closer to Earth, Brooke must choose whether to disobey Collins’s orders and reveal what she knows to the solar system. Keeping quiet might allow mankind to triumph and usher in a golden age, albeit one based on lies and deception. But revealing the truth could send the human race down a path toward self-annihilation.
Find all buying options at https://www.beyondcloudnine.com/Buy.aspx
or learn more at https://www.beyondcloudnine.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Spry has immersed himself in science fiction since he was old enough to obliterate Lego star ships with Lincoln Log photon torpedoes. He writes fast-paced yet thought-provoking science fiction with thoughtful, tortured characters caught up in ethical dilemmas where the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. He's a forward-thinking person who always has an eye on the future, although he yearns for the good old days when there were nine planets in the Solar System (props to you, Pluto).
Since graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, Greg has worked in the IT and computer programming industry. During that time, he's learned web design, search engine marketing, entrepreneurship, and other skills which help aid him in developing his author platform. He's also participated in multiple writing and critique groups, honing his craft while helping others to do the same. An MS Space Systems degree from the Florida Institute of Technology helps him craft sci-fi that's as realistic as possible.
What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Greg Spry. I was born in Green Bay, WI and currently reside in Orlando, FL.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since the fifth grade when I started writing stories and drawing comics based on the video games I played and shows I watched as a kid. But I always wanted to be an astronaut, and I still maintain hope that it might still happen someday. I recently earned a graduate degree in Space Systems and have been applying for jobs in the space industry. Things are gravitating from big government more toward commercial enterprise and it won't be long before commercial astronaut becomes a real profession. Virgin Galactic and other companies will be beginning suborbital flights soon with price tags ranging from US $100,000 to $250,000. While still not affordable for most people, a person could do it if he or she really saved, and costs should come down in the next few decades. I'll definitely get up into space in my lifetime, even if I have to pay to do it.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
I’m a computer programmer and IT professional by day. I currently work as a contractor for my former employer.
Who is your publisher? or do you self-publish?
I’m self-published. Like many authors, I got sick of querying for naught. A couple different industry professionals actually advised me to hold out for a traditional publisher. Military sci-fi, space opera, hard sci-fi, and the more general science fiction genres have established fan bases hungry for the type of subject matter that I write. However, the publishing paradigm has shifted in recent years, and it's become increasingly difficult for unknown authors to get their foot in the door with agents, editors, and publishers. The new strategy which I'm following is to establish an author platform and show on my own that the book can be successful. A query letter is far more likely to peek someone's interest when you include that you're selling, say, over one-thousand units a month. Let's face it. While we all like to believe we're crafting art, the publishing industry is a business. The bottom line is that publishers want books that sell.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
I wrote the prologue to Beyond Cloud Nine in January 2009 and published the book in September 2014, so the process took roughly five-and-a-half years. Incidentally, I removed the prologue and began the story with chapter one.
I began writing with the serious intent to publish in January 2004. I spent t2004 outlining another novel, Destalis, which remains in progress. From 2005-2008, I worked on Destalis and attended numerous critique groups in order to hone my craft. In 2009, I still wasn't satisfied with my progress on Destalis, so I decided to start a new project, Beyond Cloud Nine. I'm certain that Destalis is going to be phenomenal when it's finished, but BC9 turned out to be an easier book to publish first.
In actuality, I began writing in late elementary school, and both Destalis and BC9 are based on much less developed stories I wrote before graduating high school.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Beyond Cloud Nine. "A high-intensity rocket ride about a fighter pilot who dreams of becoming the first human to fly faster than light."
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I'm a slow, meticulous writer, and I'm working on speeding up the process. The success of my first novel has been positive enough that, if I currently had five to ten books available, I could quit my day job. At my current pace of work-by-day and write-by-nights-or-weekends-whenever-I-get-around-to-it, I knock out a manuscript in about two years. Then I need one to two additional years to polish it and another six months to a year to publish it. I want to eventually get to publishing one novel a year.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
It's rare for me to write anything but science fiction and that's not likely to change. The reason is that nothing compels me like real possibilities for the future. It's my belief that any modern day drama can be enhanced by elements of sci-fi, but one must be careful. If done poorly, adding sci-fi to a story can make it cheesy. Conversely, smart and well-done sci-fi is better than anything.
My writing definitely falls into the different sci-fi sub genres. Beyond Cloud Nine and the entire Beyond Saga can be classified as military sci-fi/space opera/alien invasion. Destalis is a space opera with a little bit of a fantasy feel. I also have a sci-fi comedy, Bears in Space, on the drawing board, as well as a dystopian short story, Goodbye, Mars.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes, I'm currently writing the sequel to Beyond Cloud Nine, Beyond the Horizon. I'm also working on Destalis, a space opera that isn't officially part of the Beyond Saga but is set in the far future after the events of the saga.
Learn more about the Beyond Saga at http://www.beyondsaga.com/
What genre would you place your books into?
All my books are science fiction. Each book contains one or more elements typically found within the following sci-fi sub genres: space opera, cyperpunk, military, alien invasion, dystopian.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Real possibilities for the future get me excited. The real prospect of traveling to other worlds and star systems is beyond tantalizing when one considers what could really be out there. Different gravities, orbits, and star types lead to different color schemes and environments that are unlike what most of us can imagine. Humans might be able to fly unassisted in the right gravity and atmosphere. Real intelligent aliens will have more differences than a few ridges on their foreheads. Or how about the real possibility of life extension procedures that could double a person's lifespan? Real scientists are working on the problem as you read this interview. The list goes on and on.
Now, let's not forget about the human elements of the story. No matter how jaw-dropping the environment is or how far technology advances, people still have dreams and will still be falling in love. There will be problems to solve and ethical dilemmas to face due to the march of progress. No offense to other genres, but that's so much more compelling than hanging out in the woods with a bunch of elves or worrying about who's a vampire in Mrs. Jane Doe's eleventh grade class. Seriously, folks. We live in exciting times where commercial space travel is about to make it possible for the average person to leave the Earth, and things are only going to get more exciting.
Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
Honestly, most of my current working projects are based on ideas I had in grade school. Those ideas were inspired by TV shows, movies, video games, comics, Anime, and books that involved similar stories. I fell in love with certain ideas, but at the same time, wondered what they would be liked if certain aspects were different. In my arrogance, I even believed I could do certain things better. Only time and other readers will tell if can.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Since I began writing with the serious intent to publish, I've joined a member of numerous different writers critique groups. I cannot overstate the importance of critique groups for anyone serious about producing a quality end product. There are few other places where you can get multiple different perspectives on your writing for FREE in exchange for providing the same for others' work. You learn a lot not only from member feedback but from reading others' writing. It's far easier to identify flaws in someone else's work than in your own. As an author, your story is your baby, and it's hard to be objective about your children.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes, I've already done a number of giveaways on Goodreads and LibraryThing and will continue to do so. Also, I've contacted a multitude of bloggers and reviewers and offered them each a free copy of my book in exchange for a review. To get right down to it, anyone who promises to review my book after reading it can have it for free.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I read and appreciate every single one. All readers should consider taking two minutes to rate and write quick reviews for the books they read. This helps other readers and provides authors with invaluable feedback. And let's be honest. Reviews help sell books, so if you really enjoyed a novel, post a review to help spread that joy. The last thing you want is for your favorite author to stop writing because he or she doesn't think anyone likes his or her book.
What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
When I submitted my very first chapter to my very first writers critique group, my submission came back to me with more red marks than original text. I was told that what I'd written violated every major rule in Creative Writing 101. I've come a long way, baby.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Never. Readers are entitled to their opinions, and I try my best to find the truth in all criticism. In the handful of good-but-not-great reviews I've received for Beyond Cloud Nine, the issues readers have identified haven't come as any surprise. Most of what's been said are things that someone in a critique group or my editor pointed out and I addressed but not to the full satisfaction of every reader. I know the book isn't perfect and never will be, but I also know it's pretty darn good. I also realize that, while I believe my books can appeal to a wide audience, not everyone has a taste for what I write. I'm fine with that.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
I put a lot of thought into the title of Beyond Cloud Nine and into all my books. The title of BC9 as multiple meanings and embodies the irony found in the plot of the story. If you want the full explanation behind the title, I've written about it here: https://www.beyondcloudnine.com/Background.aspx.
The cover took about three months to design and required coordination between three different designers. One designer was responsible for the background and merging everything together. Another did the character designs. The third created the Starthroat (star fighter plane). Throughout the process, I provided stock images found online and did sketches to give the designers visual examples of what I wanted. Overall, I had a specific vision and the final design came out about as close as I could've reasonably hoped. I considered myself a project manager for a book cover design project.
More details and contact information for the designers can be found here: https://www.beyondcloudnine.com/Acknowledgements.aspx
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title? Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
With the way that my process works, the title is set before I ever start writing. In my opinion, if you don't know what the title of your book should be, you haven't yet formulated the concept of your story well enough to start writing it. The title should embody the themes found within any story, and my books always have a theme, a moral conundrum that the main protagonist must face. Books that compel the reader to reflect on their own life and the real world are on another level from books that merely entertain.
Whenever someone ask me to read their book, my first question is what's the theme? What are you trying to leave the reader with after they're done? I won't read a book unless the author can answer this question. And unless the theme itself is something profound or at least unique and interesting, I take a pass.
How do you come up with characters' names and place names in your books?
In most cases, I do online research to try to come up with something with a little extra meaning. For instance, in BC9, Brooke's real first name is Kishiko, which means "child of the seashore" in Japanese. Since American kids made fun of her Japanese name when she was young, she chose to go by an American name also having to do with water. It's these little details that add authenticity to a story.
Then again, sometimes I tire of being so painstakingly clever and randomly pick something that sounds about right.
More observant readers will also notice that the obscure chapter names in my novels embody the theme of each chapter. I don't expect most readers to care, but hardcore fans can have fun trying to figure them out. The meanings are more or less obvious depending on your vocabulary.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I do both. I create initial character profiles before I write that define each character's base personality, goals, fatal flaws, looks, and identifying habits. Sometimes when I write, a character will change or grow based on the flow of the story , and I'll adjust his or her profile accordingly.
At a bare minimum, it's critical to define the main protagonist and his or her goal before you start writing. You don't have a story until those basic elements exist.
Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
I do both. I outline heavily to start. Once I reach a certain point where the story seems developed enough but not necessarily solidified, I begin writing and see where the flow takes me. Also, writing for me is an iterative process. I don't just write the manuscript and be done with it. It typically requires multiple passes involving cutting scenes, adding new ones, adding or removing details, and lots of tightening up. For BC9, I cut the prologue and epilogue, rearranged scenes, enhanced characters, and added three new chapters before I was done.
What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ?
Books that do better share certain core underlying structural elements, such as a relatable main protagonist with a compelling goal caught up in an ethical dilemma with a controversial solution. Books that adhere to the Three Act Structure or follow the Harmon Embryo are more likely to succeed. Here's a key point everyone should remember. Stories don't contain conflict. Conflict IS story, so books that are gripping, non-stop conflict compel better than those where the author simply tells us about something nice that happens. Authors that know how to move readers and make them feel and experience the story are the most successful. There's a cool idea and then there's experiencing the full reality of that idea.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I believe life's too short and there are more than enough books available today that there's no justification for reading anything I don't enjoy. I give any book I've purchased 50-100 pages to hook me. If it fails to pull me in by page 100, I ditch it and find another. The following is a list of highly rated books that utterly failed to hold my attention: Atlas Shrugged, The Great Gatsby, Clockwork Orange, Count Zero.
The types of stories I refuse to read are trashy romance novels, the book versions of tabloids; unrealistic fantasy horror stories involving vampires, werewolves, zombies, or anything unbelievably supernatural; and anything preachy where the author shoves his or her agenda down readers' throats rather than letting the theme or message naturally develop through the flow of the story.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Learn how to write before and while writing. It sounds simple, but most beginners start writing without knowing what they're doing. Read books on plot and character development, world-building, viewpoint, etc. Familiarize yourself with the Three Act Structure and Harmon Embryo, even if you choose to deviate from them. Attend writers critique groups and learn from members more knowledgeable than you. Earn your self-taught degree in creating writing. Look at it this way. No one in their right mind would trust a surgeon to operate on them if that doctor hadn't attended medical school. So why in the world would anyone think they could sit down and write the next bestseller without knowing the basics of creative writing?
That said, the best way to learn is by doing. A new writer needs to write and share their work with others who are knowledgeable sooner rather than later. It's tough on the ego at first, but don't be afraid to fail. When people point out your mistakes, and when you see missteps in other people's writing, you'll grow faster than hiding out on an island all by yourself. If you wait to share until your story's perfect, you'll never share it, so why wait?
Where can readers follow you?
Head to https://www.gregspry.com or https://www.beyondcloudnine.com to keep up with me or Beyond Cloud Nine.
I do frequent Goodreads Giveaways: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23272077-beyond-cloud-nine
All social media links (FaceBook, Twitter, Goodreads, IAN, etc.) can be found here: https://www.beyondcloudnine.com/SocialMedia.aspx