Across the Pond : Q&A with Rafael Chandler

I reviewed Hexcommunicated last week and was lucky enough to chat with Rafael after I had read his book.

Hi Rafael, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.

Q. Being a science fan, though not necessarily understanding much of it, I was interested in your ideas for human ‘enhancements’. Do you think we will ever do anything like that outside of literature and would you think it ethical to do so?

A. Some of the inspiration for my novel’s Force Amplified Entity (FAE) enhancements came from the US military’s Future Force Warrior program, which envisioned armored exoskeletons, nanotech enhancements, and liquid body armor. Other augmentations mentioned in the novel, such as the extracellular matrix enhancements, are also based (albeit very loosely) on actual projects.

I’m not how long it will be before someone develops exoskeletons that grant superhuman strength to soldiers, but given the events of the past decade, I can see no good resulting from placing such technology in the hands of the military. The idea is frightening, actually.

Q. Who or what are your inspirations?

A. Clive Barker is a phenomenal writer, and he’s also worked as a playwright, a movie director, a comic book creator, and an artist. He’s created legendary works that transcend genre, like his novel Imajica, and he’s left an indelible mark on modern horror fiction. I admire him immensely. And he needs to hurry the hell up and release The Scarlet Gospels.

Q. Describe your typical writing set up.

A. Depends on my mood. Some days, I sit down with a notebook and scribble. Other days, I set up the treadmill desk and hammer out text while trundling along at 3mph. Then there are days when I feel like going outside to see what the real world looks like, and I stumble through some hiking trail in hundred-degree humidity while muttering into a digital recorder, swatting mosquitos and watching for mambas. And then sometimes I just sit down and write with my headphones on, blasting black metal (Lord Belial), death metal (Amon Amarth), or thrash metal (Evile). I’ve been writing full-time for about a decade, so I switch things up to keep it interesting.

Q. The ending left some questions, are you thinking about a sequel or do you like to think of your readers imagining their own possibilities?

A. Hextermination (Agent Tepes, Book 2) is underway, and it will answer many questions. Various loose threads will be tied up in Grand Guignol style, but new problems will emerge.

Q. What question do you wish I had asked you?

A. Hmm. Interesting question! It’s always fun to talk about my career as a video game writer, so had you asked me about the differences between writing a video game and a novel, I would have talked a little about that. The short version is, video games are written by committee (even if there’s only one writer on the team), and novels are typically written by a single author.

Thanks for giving me a chance to chat with you!

Across the Pond : Review of Hexcommunicated

I’ve been reading and reviewing outside of my “comfort-zone” lately and, with “Hexcommunicated”, I find myself yet again jealous of the wealth of different ideas out there that deserve recognition.

Agent Tepes is a Hex agent, a Forced Amplified Entity in service to his country. Yet when he discovers a dangerous threat he finds himself on the wrong side of the law fighting to survive and save his country. Sounds a familiar plot, yet the characters and ideas make this something different.

Hexcommunicated, the debut novel by Rafael Chandler, has vampires and werewolves, but not in the way you’d imagine. Government-funded secret medical experiments have led to genetically modified humans, FAEs, created for the purposes of … well whatever nefarious purposes governments have.

The plot is convoluted but not confusing and I enjoyed seeing the characters worm their ways out of various situations. Rafael certainly put a lot of thought into how the story was going to play out and manages to keep you guessing – right to the end and beyond.

Even though fundamentally he is a killer with various personality problems Tepes still managed to make me worry about the outcome of his day – he’s supposed to die according to a psychic vision. I don’t give spoilers though so don’t ask what happens. You can buy the book (e-version & dead-tree) from various sources, all of which are listed on the author’s website.

As Blackadder might say, this book twists & turns like a twisty-turny thing, but it’s fun & exciting and you should totally go buy it.

Look out for my short Q & A with Rafael next week.

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