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Hey ladies, Not only is he a rocket scientist he’s a hunk too.
Hi Ray, I am so excited we are chatting today. It is so good of you to join us. This must be such an incredible day for you, your book publshed and on the lists.
Could you tell us a little more about you and your work – what makes your work tick for you?
Matter of Resistance, the novel I’m releasing this month, is a second edition that’s been coming for about six total years. It spans roughly a decade of time during our Mars’ settlement’s struggle for independence from Earth. A handful of power brokers on Earth are driving the Earth Space Fleet to attack Mars to gain access to a material there known as Magnematter. But much of the book centers around the Marsian Isaac Raleigh, a creative and brilliant child who becomes part of his planet’s leadership group – at a time when his ideas are sorely needed. There’s cool new technology, a touch of romance, and enough action scenes to keep things interesting.
What’s made me excited about it have been the responses to the book from early readers. I’ve gotten quotes from a Senior NASA Scientist, several USAF Colonels, and other individuals remarkably qualified to comment on my book. I was most excited with the response I received from the former Commander of the Air Force Astronautics Lab – the guy that was leading the charge to research antimatter and fusion-based propulsion decades ago. For the curious, a good list of these quotes is in the “About me” section of my book’s Facebook page.
At what age did you realize you are a writer?
Actually, I like to think of myself as an inventor that didn’t make it. The ideas are always, always jumbling up my mind and trying to break free. And that started as early as I can remember. One noteworthy memory I’ll share was in fourth grade when I took apart a 3 speed fan and re-wired it to run several appliances in my room – at the push of a button. I haven’t invented anything groundbreaking (yet), but I think writing has been a therapeutic way to release that nervous energy into something positive. And there’s no doubt that Matter of Resistance includes a healthy dose of inventing.
What inspired you to write your latest books?
I was working on the NASA Orion Program as a Systems Engineer. Of course my job didn’t include daydreaming about what it might be like on Mars, but it certainly happened. I had already written the beginnings of several other books prior to that. The difference was my discovery of a method of writing known as the Snowflake Method – a brilliant way to help a technical mind work diligently toward a coherent story.
Where did you do your research? The Net – Library – your own private library? If you do have a private library, how many books do you have and what?
Matter of Resistance was written largely out of personal experience – from studies at school to spending time in a rocket factory. When I get stuck on a specific technical detail, though, I stick with the internet.
Do you have a private space to write?
I have three young daughters, so I’m not sure I understand what “private” means anymore. I have a desk in our living room, one I use regularly, but the trick in my house is finding time. Time between gymnastics and soccer and church and cleaning and cutting grass and playing games and wrestling and keeping them from killing each other. My solution has been darkness. When it’s dark, that’s when I get to do my thing. My typical “writing” day begins around 4:30AM and ends around 6:00AM when the first daughter wanders out of bed and joins me at my desk. This usually lasts about 30 seconds, and then I’ve got my first set of commands to fulfil.
How long do you write each day?
Not enough. When I was working hard at it, I might find a solid hour each day. Now, it’s much less, if at all. My fingers itch to return to my next story, though.
Do you get emotional writing – feel for your characters? Even live them?
It’s a good question. I think it’s hard to. I may be too emotionally bulldozed from the movies I watch to get that close to them. Or it may just be that the build-up of emotional tension happens over a month instead of an hour – the writing process really spreads it out, diluting the impact of it that a reader might feel.
Do you find yourself, smiling, laughing aloud, crying, feeling scared?
I can’t say that I do.
What do you have with you when you write? Coffee, sweets, etc.?
Typically just coffee.
Do you an initial plan? Alternatively, or do you find the characters start coming alive and takes you where you never thought of?
If there are other writers with technical background or leanings who are interested in my method, I highly recommend clicking the Snowflake Method link above. The characters will CERTAINLY drag the story around, but my initial plan includes a rigorous adherence to following each step of the method. It’s made writing over long periods of time easier, and I think it’s resulted in a well-organized sequence of events.
Do you rein them in if it doesn’t fit your plan or do you let them take you outside of your initial plot?
There’s a balance to be struck here, one that often takes a thorough rewriting process to really line everything up. I do let them take my outside of my original plot, but I’m careful to keep them within a reasonable distance.
Do you edit whilst you go along or leave it until the end?
A mixture. My tendency is to edit as I go along, but I will ardently disagree with anyone that says it’s the best way. It’s better to let the book flow out, in one smooth slap, because otherwise you’ll lose that sense of connectivity and coherence that you get from fast writing. I’m not even close to smart enough to hold a full novel together in my head while also trying to edit my words.
Can you share what you are presently writing, or hope to write?
The manuscript I keep wanting to get back to is a post-apocalyptic story that occurs after the aliens have won, humanity is enslaved, and a group of teenagers have decided to revolt. I finished the first draft, but it desperately needs one or two more passes before it would even be worthy of showing to an editor. It was fun to write, though.
Do you aspire to write in other genres?
Matter of Resistance is science fiction for young adults, and I guess I lean toward science fiction just because my imagination drives me in that direction. But I don’t think that will limit my writing aspirations. I’m much too scatter-brained to stick with only one genre.
How does your family feel about your life as a writer? It can get somewhat solitary – how does that fit in?
They’re very supportive. With small children in the house still, I don’t really write when it interferes with them. But I think my wife’s proud of what I’m accomplishing, and at least my oldest daughter (an avid reader) is excited to be famous since she was mentioned as a reviewer in Matter of Resistance – she’s listed in my book under my “What the Experts are Saying” section. J
Ray this has been a wonderful experience. I am sure the readers will be clicking on Amazon on the 22nd to see your new novel. I am just so privileged to share this time with you
About Matter of Resistance:
The science fiction imagining of a former rocket scientist, Matter of Resistance pushes technology and human nature to the limits as it chronicles our Mars settlement’s struggle for independence from Earth. Though it was written for young adults, it’s received high praise and recommendations from a retired NASA senior executive, a retired USAF Colonel, and the current Senior Staff scientist managing Materials and Processes for the NASA Orion Program. Matter of Resistance “examines space travel within the possibilities of today’s technology and in the context of natural human drives,” and delivers an experience that’s “captivating, suspense-filled reading, beginning to end.”
Some of the places you can find Matter of Resistance:
- Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Resistance-Raymond-Vogel/dp/0989312836
- Goodreads.com: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18251073-matter-of-resistance
- BarnsandNoble.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/matter-of-resistance-raymond-vogel/1107109114
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn0989312836
Outside the US:
Connect with Raymond Vogel at: