Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Interview with Davila LeBlanc, author of Dark Transmissions


Inside the Book:

Title: Dark Transmissions 
Author: Davila LeBlanc 
Release Date: March 1, 2016 
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse 
Genre: Sci-fi/Space Opera 
Format: Ebook/Paperback

It is the late 23rd century. For engineers Jessie Madison and her husband David, a routine maintenance contract on board the orbital mining station Moria 3 has become a nightmare. Upon awakening from cryo-stasis, they learn a horrifying truth: while they were asleep, machines rose up against humanity...and won.

Marooned and at the mercy of the station’s malicious artificial intelligence, OMEX, David and Jessie rig an emergency transmission to broadcast into the darkness, desperately hoping someone is still alive to hear it...

Navigating the fringes of explored space in the Covenant Patrol vessel the Jinxed Thirteenth, Captain Morwyn Soltaine picks up a distress signal from a space station. But it’s broadcasting in Ancient Humanity, a language that has been extinct for several millennia. Even more incredible: there are two survivors on board. Morwyn’s rag-tag crew of reformed criminals mount a rescue op, unaware of the dangerous foe awaiting them. As the past and future collide, a routine mission becomes a deadly game of wits.
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What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

There are so many things I am proud of I’ve always made it a point to produce work that I can stand behind. That being said, so far I would have to say it was finishing my second book. Part of me was worried that finishing the first one was just a fluke. I was happy to prove myself wrong.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

My parents were big on making sure that my younger siblings and I stayed out of trouble, so they would sign us up for theatre classes and insisted that we read books. My mother would pay me 5$ a week for each book I read plus a book-report. I think living with three other creative biological and step-siblings in my life was a major influence for me. We would all spend time, sharing our projects with each other and turning to one another for feedback and advice. I’m really lucky to count my brothers and sister as my closest friends. 

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved to read and tell stories. If I had to pinpoint an exact moment in my life though it would have to be in High-School. I’s easily get bored in my economy classes and would spend a great deal of time writing short-stories in my agenda. One day my friend Rend Mohamed asked to read what I was writing and when she was done she asked me what happened next. I wound up writing three “novels” in high-school which she read and shared with her friends. When I graduated she made me promise to become a writer or she’d break my arm. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

When I was ten I was watching TRON for the first time. Only it was aired in two parts. I remember after watching the first part that I wouldn’t be able to wait until the end of the week, where I would finally be able to see the conclusion to the movie. So I took my notebook and wound-up writing my own ending to TRON. And the funny part was that at the end of the week when the second part aired, I didn’t think it was as good as the story I had written, so I never watched the end of TRON until four years ago. I remember that being one of the key moments in my life, wherein I discovered that I really loved writing.

When did you first know you could be a writer?

Professionally? It would have to be at the Ottawa Animation Festival where my business partner Phil Ivanusic and myself got together and sold the League Of Super Evil to Nerd-Corps productions. We were both youngsters out of university and I remembered that we were able to produce a production level pilot script and pitch package. “We can do this for a living.” I remember saying to him over our beer.

However that being said I’ve always known I was going to be a writer. It’s just something I’ve always been passionate about and most of the great teachers in my life have told me to chase your passions.  Before I got my firs paid gig though I was working dish-pits, restaurant lines and retail jobs. Whatever could support me in my quest to become a writer.  

What inspires you to write and why?

Well I’ve always been drawing inspiration from books, movies and video-games. And I feel that if you take from something it becomes your responsibility to give back. I wasn’t inspired by rebooted properties rather I was inspired by fresh works, and that’s what drives me. I want to create new stories, new characters, worlds, realities and share them with as many people as I can. It’s my greatest hope that I will inspire someone with my works. 

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

Science Fiction and Fantasy. They are the genres I have read the most. I also love writing action and horror films. Which is odd given that I am at heart an incredibly peaceful person. 

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was working on screenplays for children’s animation and trying to finish another one of my novels: Sprawl (which may or may not get published one day). It was a pretty good read but I was seriously blocked and not moving forward. I figured I would take a break from that universe and start something “fresh” which was a tale set in the universe of the Jinxed Thirteenth. At the time I had just moved in with my partner Jessie Mathieson, and I drew inspiration for her as the main character of the book. And I remember when I told her “Your going to be the main character of my book” feeling that I was going to be able to complete this one.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Well other than Jessie, there was my role-playing group and my fellow writers and artists. I’d have to say that it was binging on Firefly, Farscape and Star Trek TNG that really kept my creative fuels burning. I was fortunate to find the works of Isaac Asimove and the Foundation series, which I read from cover to cover. I love reading the older works from that golden age, they may not be perfect but in many cases the old masters had the art of story-telling down pat. 

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

Honestly it is summoning up the will to get the work started in the first place followed closely by not wanting to stop once you’ve started. You need to ignore the excuses you will come up with in either case. If you want to make it professionally you need to jumpstart yourself into creating content, even when you don’t feel like it. But you also need to have the ability to know when you’ve done enough and step away from the monitor and enjoy the real world. I said in one of my articles that writers live the paradox of KNOWING through and through that their story is worth telling and being published, yet will still second-guess every word they put down to paper. 

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

Oh that one is easy: RESIST THE URGE TO SELF EDIT. If there was only one lesson I would walk away from all this it would be that. Do not edit your manuscript until it is done. Because once you step back and start editing you are taking steps back and risk being trapped in the permanent loop of editing rather than completing.

Do you intend to make writing a career?

Oh yes. I always tell people that I am a professional writer. If you want a screenplay I will write that for you, or a novel, or a comic script or anything really. I love writing, it is a passion of mine and I want to climb as far as I can with the abilities and talents I’ve mastered and am still mastering. I don’t mean to say that I will be rich (although that would be awesome) , rather I just want to be able to support myself and any life that will come to rely on me. 

Have you developed a specific writing style?

I don’t know if I have a specific style per-se. This is mainly due to the fact that I rarely re-read myself once the final edit-pass is done. I am always looking to produce something new, so I do try not to cling too much to one specific formula or style. That being said I do prefer to tell tales that are up-beat with heroes behaving heroically and villains being dastardly. 

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I’ve been told that my dialogue is really good and that I am always moving the plot forward (this is a throwback to my television days and screenplays) but I think this works really well in novels as well. If I can tell you a great story in two hundred pages instead of eight then I feel I’ve done my job. 

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

My imagination when it is causing me to think the best in the world.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

My imagination when it causes me to see the worst.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“Just make good art.” By Neil Gaiman. It’s plain, simple and to the point. Every time I feel like I need to lay down and quit I remember those four words and they’ll force me back into action. 

Meet the Author:

Davila LeBlanc spent his college years studying print journalism but quickly found himself working as a writer and performer in the comedy circuits of Montreal. During this time his goal became to break into the world of professional writing. He would get his first opportunity when he co-created and sold the hit animated television series The League of Super Evil. This was his first foray into the world of production and an important first step on his road to becoming a writer. After working on various television shows, in 2013 Davila decided to take a year off from children's animation to focus on writing his first novel, Dark Transmissions. He is an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy and wants to add his own voice to the genre that inspired him. Davila currently resides in Ottawa where he is working on several other writing projects.

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