David Derrico – Right Ascension

Title: Right Ascension

Author: David Derrico

ISBN: 978-1-4486-8760-2

Page count: 216

Genre: Science Fiction

Price: $0.99 (Kindle), $9.77 (paperback)

Author Bio:

David Derrico was born just north of Miami, Florida, and developed his appreciation for complex moral issues while receiving a degree in philosophy from the University of Florida in Gainesville. He wrote his first novel, Right Ascension, before attending law school at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). Derrico has written two novels: Right Ascension and its sequel, Declination, and currently lives in South Florida where he is working on his next novel.

Tell us about your book:

Right Ascension and its sequel, Declination, are science fiction novels that blend action and adventure with philosophical and moral undertones. They invite readers to ponder difficult ethical dilemmas and question their own notions of fairness, honor, and the nature of justice. They ask the question: “What if humanity had to choose between honor … and our very survival?”

Set in the year 3040, Right Ascension examines mankind’s place in the Universe, how we ascended to that lofty position, and the horrifying price of that ascension.

Humanity’s position of political and technological dominance within the galaxy is suddenly shattered when a sleek alien vessel arrives unexpectedly at Earth. Admiral Daniel Atgard and the crew of the Apocalypse embark on a mission to find these enigmatic aliens, but the focus of the mission quickly turns from finding answers to exacting revenge. Meanwhile, a belligerent species of reptilian warriors, seeking to avenge a previous defeat at the hands of the human-controlled United Confederation of Planets, takes this opportunity to plan an all-out assault on Earth. Faced with overwhelming odds and the terrible knowledge of mankind’s most horrifying secret, Daniel must choose between honor … and humanity’s very survival.

How long did it take to write the book?

The first draft of the book took about 10 months to write, plus another solid month of editing. I’d say almost a year. However, several years later, I went back through and did a cover-to-cover proofreading and edit, including adding a couple of scenes.

What inspired you to write the book?

I have enjoyed reading and writing for as long as I can remember. I broke my arm when I was 2 1/2 years old, and my parents tell me it happened when I was climbing on a stool to reach a book on a high shelf. As a kid, I read lots of Piers Anthony and C.S. Lewis. I have always enjoyed creative writing, I enjoy storytelling and using the amazing diversity and depth of the English language. After getting a degree in philosophy from the University of Florida, I became interested in exploring ethical issues in a much more interesting and accessible way than what gets presented in philosophy textbooks. So, the idea of an action/adventure science-fiction novel that explored deep moral issues was born.

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I’m generally a night person, and I found myself often staying up all night writing until 8 AM or later. It helped that I wrote the book while working at a job that was not very demanding, as I’d find myself thinking about the novel all day, percolating ideas even when I wasn’t writing. It was very helpful to be able to start writing pretty much whenever the inspiration struck me.

Before I started writing, I actually developed detailed character sketches of each of the main characters: physical description, history, family, background, morals, motivation, personality, etc. I found that having realistic characters caused many parts of the book to almost “write itself,” as I found myself saying, “Well, this character would react to that by doing this…” After the first couple of chapters, I also realized that I needed an outline in order to maintain the pacing of the book, keep the sense of continuity, and foreshadow important elements that came to fruition later. Outlining was the hardest part for me; once I outlined a chapter or two, the actual writing came relatively easily.

As for research, I did a fair amount of research, mostly involving astronomy, physics, and astronomical distances. My book does not focus on the “hard sci-fi” method of describing technical details of things like hyperspace drives or force shields, so the research was not overwhelming, but enough to make sure everything was realistic.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I hope, first and foremost, that readers enjoy the book. That they are sad for the last chapter to end. I hope they identify with the characters and come to care about what happens to them. And I hope that maybe, just maybe, they think a little bit about their own ethics and morality and I hope it inspires them to do the right thing, even when it is hard to do.

Where can we go to buy your book?

My novels (Right Ascension and the sequel, Declination) are available through my own website, www.rightascension.com, in both paperback and eBook formats. They are also available through Amazon.com, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.com.

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

I have a Facebook Fan page at www.facebook.com/NovelAuthor where I post news, discussions, and free giveaways.

Excerpt:

The dim light radiated by the candles flickered imperceptibly, casting dancing shadows along the earth-toned walls of the room. Tapestries of both human and alien origin adorned the walls, and a collection of artwork assembled from throughout the known galaxy decorated the small chamber. Though it usually gave him much pleasure, the room gave the Admiral little solace now.

Even the seat his wife sat in was a work of art—created by an Arcadian sculptor thousands of years ago. His wife, too, seemed to be a part of that sculpture, her graceful lines blending with the subtle contours of the chair. His eyes followed her elegant form, tracing the flowing patterns of her robe up to the supple lines of her neck and into the recesses of her dark eyes as they burned back into his.

“I think you should go,” he finally blurted out. “It’s too dangerous for you to stay here, Tara.”

“What do you mean?” she asked him, stiffening up at the unexpected request. “Where do you think I should go? To stay with my parents on the mainland? Would I be safer—”

“No, not on the mainland,” he replied, looking down into the dark fibers of the carpet. “I mean somewhere else … maybe just to Mars or the moons of Saturn for a little while … or maybe to the Cygnus System …”

“The Cygnus System?” she repeated incredulously. “My God, Dan, Earth has to be better protected than Cygnus Prime—this has to be the safest place in the sector.”

“That’s what they said about Korgia Prime,” he snapped uncharacteristically.

The soft lines of Tara’s face deepened noticeably. “What is it? What is it you know? The Confederation reports claim everything is under—”

“Under control? No reason to panic? Of course that’s what they’re saying.” He paused and took a deep breath. “But the truth is there is damned good reason to panic, Tara.”

“Daniel,” she said seriously, leaning toward him. “I’ve never heard you talk like this before. Not when there were daily attacks on Earth in the old days … not even when the Korgians were massing for their assault. What in the hell is going on out there?”

“I wish I knew,” he lamented helplessly. “I wish I knew.”

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