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Interview with Charley Pearson – Author of SCOURGE

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Thrice Read Books interviews SCOURGE author, Charley Pearson

On this edition of “Between the Lines”, we sit down to talk to author Charley Pearson about his writing career, life, and new release, Scourge.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: I was reading your bio this morning while setting up the blog post for Scourge. It sounds like you have a fascinating background in all kinds of science-y goodness. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Charley: Well, I started in biology, moved on to chemistry, then joined the Navy (after protesting the Vietnam War) and spent a career with them as a nuclear engineer. They had to give me extra training for that. Mostly oversaw chemical and radiological environmental remediation after the end of the Cold War, releasing sites for unrestricted future use.

Jenn: That’s an unexpected life choice, going from protester to the Navy.

Charley: I may be unique, for all I know. Gotta defend our right to protest. LOL. I was in the first OCS class post-Vietnam that was 100% volunteers, no draftees.

Meanwhile, raised two daughters and spent hundreds of hours backstage at their ballet studio, on sets and stuff.

Jenn: Biocheminuclear engineer by day, ballet stage-dad by night? And I hardly think you’re alone in the “defend our right to protest” thing. I’ve met a few folks in my years as Army wife and Army civilian that would join you in that sentiment.

Charley: Good. Oh – you’ve heard of soccer moms? The other guys and I called ourselves “ballet dads.” (heh, heh). Wrote a humorous mini-memoir that got published last January by Kallista Gaia Press

Jenn: Ah, yes! You mentioned your humor collection before we began. Before we get into the yummy stuff about Scourge, could you tell us a bit about your humor?

Charley: Well, that ballet thing was separate. The humor collection’s title piece, “The Marianated Nottingham,” finally tells the truth about Robin Hood, by revealing the Sheriff of Nottingham’s side of the story. (Poor guy’s trying to found a national park to protect deer, for goodness sake.) Full-length screenplay. Then there are 24 short things – skits, stories, and ballads (solid meter, strict rhyme, and no redeeming social value). Off the wall and sometimes Pythonesque.

Jenn: Aww… Are you gonna make me add more to my TBR pile? Everyone in the Thrice Read family is a huge Monty Python fan.

Charley: Yay! It is available from Amazon; the e-book is only $2.99.

Jenn: I’ll add a link down below for those interested.

Having read the blurb for Scourge though, this seems to be a huge leap from humorous screenplays, poetry, and skits to intense medical thriller. How did that come about?

CharleyScourge – yes, quite different. I had this idea for the technology back in college, but it was premature. Now that computers are so much better, I dug it out and couldn’t resist finally writing it. The tale includes a recurring theme for me — pragmatism vs. morality (aren’t there at least some situations where ends justify means? Maybe?), plus the idea of someone who decides, dang it, they’re going to do what seems right no matter what it costs them.

Jenn: The Messiah archetype?

Charley: Perhaps. But coming from a flawed character who’s been concealing a dark secret about her Roma clan her whole life.

Jenn: It’s those flaws that really make those characters pop off the page and become real. Now, in reading the blurb… is there a single protagonist? Or do you have co-protagonists (hero and heroine)?

Charley: Ah, there’s a love story subplot about these two geeks who have no clue how to read each other. The woman is the main lead, but the guy cons her into trying something she wouldn’t have on her own. The resolution depends on both.

Jenn: Nerd-love! While saving the world, no less. Very cool.

Charley: So terrorist virus, multiple villains, and FBI who thinks the protagonists are at fault, and health agencies who could never solve the problem on their own.

Jenn: Sounds rather twisted and complex, and a little too close to plausible.

Charley: I have a Kirkus quote, “Imaginative and full of action…continually shifting the quirky plot into places that are both surprising and fantastical.” – Kirkus Reviews

Jenn: So, on the seriousness scale, where would you say Scourge falls, between light-hearted and ultra-serious/dark?

Charley: Hmm, tough one. The science may be achievable someday, which I find seriously worrisome from an oversight standpoint. But the story has a lot of light moments and comic relief. I particularly like the parrot, as will your Monty Python fans.

Jenn: I’m trying not to laugh hard enough to alarm Brian. I can imagine how a Python-esque parrot might fit into the story.

Charley: He’s named Mr. Praline. You know, for the John Cleese character, in the.. well, you know which sketch. 

(Clip from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Season 1 episode 8, aired 12-7-1969)

Jenn: Oh, my!

Charley: Sometimes I have a difficult time avoiding humor, even when writing serious stuff. Sigh.

Jenn: I personally like a little humor in the suspense I read, because I get heavily invested in the really good ones, and that makes for some disruption in the real world. And I know several readers that are the same way.

Charley: Yeah, the pacing is essential in any tale.

Jenn: I noticed that your protagonist/heroine comes from a Roma family. When I read that, I think of gypsies. Am I assuming incorrectly? Or could you clarify that, for our readers?

Charley: Ah, yes, Roma = Gypsies = Romani, though the latter is also an Italian name. Some people have used the term Gypsies in a disparaging manner, so it has been dubbed incorrectly occasionally. I tried to clarify the issue in the novel. The clan often refers to themselves as Gypsies, but outsiders vary.

The female lead is in the clan. The guy isn’t. That’s one of the key problems between their ever getting together.

Jenn talks to Charley Pearson, author of science fiction/medical thriller SCOURGE

Jenn: Okay. Major intercultural hurdles can make for some delicious tension.

Charley: Hey, my mother (mixed English/Irish/Belgian/who knows ancestry) faced prejudice from my father’s parents (3rd generation pure Swede). It’s amazing how stupid prejudices are.

Jenn: It is. And yet they persist, sadly. Hopefully, as the literature world starts to come around to diverse books, that will begin to change.

Charley: Yup, diverse should help a lot. The MC in my historical is Japanese-American, and I was really lucky to find a guy born in Tokyo in 1938 to give me a beta-read and advice.

Jenn: Very awesome! That particular generation, while I grew up surrounded by them, they are rapidly disappearing. You’re very fortunate to have that kind of reference.

Charley: True. My dad was the meteorologist on Tinian during the war. Got me interested in that theater and era.

Jenn: And probably gave you a little boost in the direction of a science-based career?

Charley: Undoubtedly. No way he would let me major in music no matter how good a drummer I was. No money in it. Gotta have a productive career. Depression mentality that generation grew up in.

Jenn: Exactly. Although… I think a few drummers have made quite the living, but, erm… I don’t quite think that working in a rock band would have fit the description of “gainfully employed” by his standards?

Charley: LOL – you got it! Hey, I had a great career, so can’t knock his advice!

Jenn: Bingo!

As we reach the end of our time, is there anything else that readers should know about Scourge, or you as an author?

Charley: Well, I’ve got a couple of short stories out in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s fantasy anthologies, if anyone reads those. And I’ve got a YA-historical that’s nearing completion. So don’t count on any consistency from me.

Jenn: LoL! Keep us in mind when that YA is finished! I bet Sam will be all over that.

I’d like to thank you, on behalf of Thrice Read Books and our readers, for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

Links for your published work and your social media are down below, so readers can find you.

Charley: And a humongous thank you back at you! Most fun, and truly helpful for getting the word out to potential readers. Here’s hoping they like it!

Jenn: May your launch be successful, and your book sales through the roof!

Charley’s Social Media: 

             Facebook              Twitter               Website          

 Buy Scourge:

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

Check out Charley Pearson’s

THE MARIANATED NOTTINGHAM AND OTHER ABUSES OF THE LANGUAGE

Scourge – Promo & Excerpt

About the Book

Scourge     By Charley Pearson

Fiery Seas Publishing     August 14, 2018   

Adult – Medical Thriller

Financially independent, biochemistry genius Stacy Romani grows up off the grid, while her Roma family takes advantage of her knowledge for their own gain.

Watching his family farm struggle, and traumatized by mass slaughter, Aatos Pires wants to heal animals but gets seduced by industry and goes to work for a big pharmaceutical company.

When Aatos’ co-worker Trinity creates a deadly doomsday virus, it puts the world population in jeopardy as it spreads exponentially. . .with no cure in sight.

Stacy and Aatos work alone to find a cure, as the CDC and FBI close in. Will they find a way to stop the plague or will it be the end of the world?

~ Praise for SCOURGE ~

“Imaginative and full of action…continually shifting the quirky plot into places that are both surprising and fantastical…succeeds with its scientific intrigue and decisively high stakes.”

– Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Charley Pearson started in chemistry and biology, then moved on to bioengineering, so the Navy threw in some extra training and made him a nuclear engineer. This actually made sense when his major task turned out to be overseeing chemical and radiological environmental remediation at Navy facilities after the end of the Cold War, releasing them for unrestricted future use. Now he writes fiction. 

Social Media: 

Facebook     Twitter     Website

Thrice Read Books is a stop on the blog tour for Charley Pearson's new medical thriller, SCOURGE. Now available from Fiery Seas Publishing

Excerpt (w/ permission from author & publisher)

Excerpt, Chapter 9

The blast was louder than the angular man expected. Dirt and rocks burst from the earthen dam. One shard clipped his arm and two of his followers swore at injuries. But water ran through the cove once again, the balance of creation restored, and the night’s mission a success. Or the knight’s mission, for was he not a crusader, the most sterling of advocates for the recovery of nature?

Flow increased as the dam crumbled. Water gushed, pulsed, then poured downhill as the structure gave way. Not exactly smashing down the trees, scarcely more than annoying to the people below from mild flooding, but still acceptable. Sweeping away the village may be what Jamie had promised, but none of his people had achieved such skill.

“It’s not enough,” said a mousy young woman, his latest recruit. “One river at a time, one hamlet’s worth of people, will never get the job done.”

“Yeah,” said another. “Jamie was supposed to get three times that much dynamite.”

“You should talk,” said Jamie. “You were promising poison gas.”

The angular man raised his arms. “Patience, dear ones. We are the best our species has to offer. We shall not bicker amongst ourselves. We shall not accuse. Perhaps Trinity is correct, and the technology does not yet exist to accomplish our beneficent goal. But someday we will prevail. Seek on, and in the meantime, continue your smaller acts of distraction. Ecoterrorism, some may call it, but we know better. Any action to slow the destruction of habitat, to forward the path of Luddism, is honorable.”

A bit of moping, but mostly nods. Glorious people, his disciples. Even that skinny Chad boy, with little academic training to contribute to the cause, could make a fine soldier should they ever need one. It shouldn’t come to that, of course. Peaceful extirpation of the human species was the goal. Well, as peaceful as they could make it. Dynamite made a charming exception now and then.

Time. That’s all it would take. Eventually, one of his people would find a means to secure the final objective. Perhaps Trinity. Far more competent than any other he led, and her dedication grew with time. She had not cried about the necessity of killing people in months.

Buy the Book

FIERY SEAS BOOKSTORE     AMAZON     BARNES & NOBLE     KOBO

The Redeemed – Review

About the Book

The Redeemed by Matthew S Cox (RoadHouse Chronicles)

Adult Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic 

Curiosity Quills Press (December 18, 2017)

The worst part about chasing one’s dream is catching it.

Six months ago, Kevin opened a Roadhouse of his own. No longer the idiot braving the dangerous post-nuclear highways of 2073, he thought he’d finally grow old and happy selling bullets, beds, and booze to those still foolish enough to get behind the wheel.

Then, he’d met her.

The white-haired outcast from the xenophobic Enclave crashed into his life, becoming the conscience he never wanted and everything he desired. She couldn’t save the world from the Virus, but she could save Kevin’s dream.

A biker gang calling themselves the Redeemed starts shooting up Roadhouses in flagrant disregard of the Code, shattering the serenity of his humble waystation. When the long-vaunted retribution of Amarillo’s army fails to materialize, Kevin feels more like a sitting duck than he ever did on the road―but it’s not his ‘house he fears losing.

Determined to protect her, he takes it upon himself to enforce the unwritten law of the Roadhouse.

About the Author

Originally from South Amboy NJ, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Since 1996, he has developed the “Divergent Fates” world, in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, The Awakened Series, The Harmony Paradox, and the Daughter of Mars series take place.

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems, and a fan of anime, British humour, and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

Jenn’s Review

After being pulled away from the series for a bit, I finally finished Matthew S. Cox’s The Redeemed. The story of Kevin and Tris continues and the mysteries surrounding the events after the end of the world deepen.

Kevin finally has his Roadhouse, his life long goal achieved. Except, his dream is starting to turn into a nightmare. The long-respected Code is being ignored, Roadhouse owners are dying, the Virus is spreading in strange circumstances, and Amarillo isn’t all it once seemed.

Tris and Kevin are pulled in opposite directions, as she tries to unravel the growing mysteries surrounding Amarillo and rescue the survivors of an impossible Virus outbreak.

Kevin has to leave his ‘house in the hands of virtual strangers to chase down then who murdered his long-time friend and mentor, only to discover that things are not what they seemed; and he must reconcile what is with the fading satisfaction of finally having a safe, stable life.

MAD MAX meets DIVERGENT in this post-apocalyptic, science fiction thriller with a thread of romance. Book 3 is due out in a few months; so we won’t have to wait long to resolve the bit of cliffhanger readers are left with. I’d toss this book in the New Adult category, along with One More Run, for some sexual content (book two has less than book one). The language is mild, and there is moderate violence.

THE REDEEMED by Matthew S. Cox, book 2 in the Roadhouse Chronicles - Review by Jenn on the Thrice Read Books blog

Buy the Book

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle edition here. [affiliate link]

Other Books in this Series:

One More Run (Book 1)