As a science fiction fan and author myself I absolutely love Ceri London’s work. Her characters are convincing, exciting and charismatic which, combined with her ability to create a complex mix of science, technology, government intrigue, the military mindset and esoteric subjects, results in a masterful blend of high-powered science fiction. Her “Shimmer in the Dark” series possesses all the suspense and intrigue of my old-time favorite author, Michael Crighton, clearly the stuff that best sellers are made of.
Ceri has recently released “Destiny Nexus,” the sequel to “Rogue Genesis.” I am grateful to have had the privilege of interviewing this up and coming author whose well-thought-out responses provide a glimpse into the mind behind these outstanding novels.
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MF: The “Shimmer in the Dark” series is a masterful blend of high tech, esoteric knowledge, paranormal phenomena, and government conspiracies along with a generous dose of Erich von Däniken’s “ancient alien” theory. What originally inspired you to tie these together into a novel?
CL: A crazy blend of various ideas collected over many years! Shimmer in the Dark dates back at least twelve years to a story I wrote where the antagonist crossed timeflows to his advantage. I thought how amazing it would be to live an entire fantastical life in a blink of an eye where that split moment is part of a more normal life in a slower timeflow. Around the same time I read a book by Francis Hitching called The World Atlas of Mysteries detailing curious, unexplained or connected events over the course of Earth’s history and researching some of these ideas led me to the Sedona magnetic anomalies.
A vortex of energy sounded fun and I came across an article discussing the brain’s EM output and how that magnetic output increased over the central nervous system, and I then researched the medical use of SQUID magnetometers for measuring the body’s bio-magnetic energy field. I also love all the Star**** films and TV serials, anything where huge distances can be shortcut – stargates, wormholes, portals crossing space-time, or jumping to alternate dimensions and universes. So when I picked up this research again years later, I incorporated all these different aspects into the ideas I’d explored in my practice writing. The result was the first draft of Rogue Genesis, a story I originally called The Boat People in reference to the Vietnamese refugees being taken in by countries across the world.
I wanted to write a fantastical story but to let it evolve from a scientific foundation of electro-magnetic forces, dark energy, and the exploration of how the geomagnetic field can interact with the human body. I’m convinced much of “paranormal activity” is due to the human brain interacting with and interpreting its surroundings the best way it can, whether that means tapping into realms beyond the physical, or simply reacting to physical forces we can’t explain from the senses we know and understand. I love hearing from readers who tell me the story felt so real they quite happily swallowed the more speculative and fantastical aspects of Rogue Genesis.
Some of my inspiration stems from Celtic history, druids and legends. Merlin! Uathach, Miach, Niall, Etlinn, Kean, Succellos, and Macha are all names chosen for a reason that I intend to incorporate into the later sequels, if my brain can pull it off. In the end, once I started writing, all these ideas and previous stories drove the characters forward. The characters get to influence the path there – they have a habit of taking over – but they are still headed in the general direction.
MF: Your protagonist in “Rogue Genesis” and “Destiny Nexus,” Niall Kearey, is a badass Special Forces type who possesses tremendous abilities. It seems the majority of super heroes hail from more ordinary professions. Was there a specific reason that you chose a warrior as opposed to some other government employee such as an IRS agent or Post Office worker?
CL: I have a passion for a good old fashioned kick-ass hero willing to put their life at risk for others. Niall does develop some outrageous abilities, but he’s not invincible and he’s resistant to his unique heritage. His emerging powers don’t confer on him an ability to cope with difficult and dangerous situations; instead they complement a pre-existing skillset. However, his commission as a US Air Force officer constrains his freedom to do what he pleases and I wanted him to feel at home in the military so it’s all the more of a wrench when he has to fight the restrictions and expectations of his chain of command.
By making him Special Forces specialising in rescue Niall has the training and mind-set to deal with the enemy when he needs to, plus he possesses an innate and human competence for e.g. medical situations, weapons, helicopters, rappelling, and skydiving. Rescue has been his life’s purpose for many years, but the urgency of his mission often falls in conflict with his unquestioning love for his wife and children. Time and time again, he’s torn between duty and family. Niall would say his family comes first, and yet, once more in Destiny Nexus, he’s out there putting his duty first, and although the two aren’t mutually exclusive, it can feel that way. Niall is a natural hero and his need to rescue people influences the decisions he takes, first in his career and later on as he discovers his capabilities.
MF: Your stories incorporate a wide variety of plots and subplots which touch upon several genres outside of science fiction such as suspense, techno-thriller, fantasy, and military action. Have you written any stories in other genres?
CL: I enjoy the convoluted plot so the bulk of my work falls in to the Sci-Fi / Fantasy Thriller sub genre. I haven’t written anything pure fantasy, nor would I write a strictly military action novel (as I simply don’t have the background). All my stories tend to involve suspense, thriller, and action, even my more romantic stories. I’ve had a number of reviews from Shimmer readers who reveal they don’t normally read science-fiction. I think the drama and suspense carries them along and the sci-fi becomes this interesting backdrop.
MF: Was there a specific moment when you decided you wanted to be a novelist or was it something you always knew you wanted to do?
CL: I did a creative writing course in my twenties and I’ve written on and off for many years, usually focused on sci-fi suspense. Some fan-fiction ten years ago provided me with the practice I needed. Then after I finished a long stint of voluntary work, I picked up writing again with another writing course and set to on Shimmer in the Dark, pulling together all those ideas from previous stories. That’s when I decided to test the water with Rogue Genesis.
MF: There’s a tremendous amount of research involved in your stories. About how much time do you spend gathering information versus the actual writing?
CL: I think for Rogue Genesis it was 30% research, 70% writing and editing. Researching a scene often takes considerably longer than writing it, but I then spend months and months editing the story, which skews the breakdown. Once I’d established the rules in my Shimmer world the need for research reduced considerably. I tend to research as I need the information, and I often read a paragraph many months later and wonder, how did I know that, is that correct? Then I do the research again.
MF: Keeping track of research data is a job in itself. Does your IT background help you keep it organized electronically or do you maintain paper files? Do you have any advice for others for maintaining an efficient filing system?
CL: I’m terrible for filing, but I do bookmark websites. I definitely need to retain my research in a more coherent manner. I can take a while to hunt down an original source of information and have taken to popping references on an Inspiration page on my website. I bought Scrivener to help me with this and hope to use it properly for the next novel.
MF: Do you work from an outline when you’re writing a novel or does it come to you along the way?
CL: To date, I have the outline in my head, and I write towards that. It’s written down in that the premise for the whole series is already written but with totally different characters. So the plot is fairly well laid out in my mind, but these new characters evolve and develop the plot as I write.
MF: What do you think is the best part about writing a novel?
CL: Writing that big scene you’ve been steadily working towards. In Rogue Genesis, that first scene was a meeting at the Pentagon when Niall’s world drops out from under him. The next big scene was when Niall creates a full bridge from Earth to Astereal for the first time and it goes very badly for him. Another was a fight with his best friend. It’s best to just let go and enjoy the writing. Edit it to death later. I also love those moments when a new twist pops into your head and you can’t get it down fast enough, or when a theme threading through the book links together and introduces an exciting nuance you hadn’t planned for beforehand.
MF: What do you think is the most difficult part?
CL: Marketing the book afterwards. The initial feedback after the first draft is hard-going, too. I’m bouncing. It’s amazing. Everyone’s bound to love it. Then the first feedback arrives. I’m lucky. My closest critique partners do enjoy my work, but they also want my book to be the best it can and they jump on any aspect that doesn’t ring true and never let me off the hook. That’s when I realise how much work there is still to be done. A writer needs to be ruthless ripping out work it took hours to create, but once it’s gone there’s a sense of relief. What’s left is cleaner, better paced, and truer to the characters. You let go of where the story was, because now you love what it’s become. I believe you have to love what you write or it would be the most pointless, thankless task in the world.
MF: Have you started working on the sequel to “Destiny Nexus” yet or can readers expect something new in the “Shimmer in the Dark” series?
CL: I have an outline building! Everything will be new for Niall in Galacticus Elecion. There will be a host of new characters and he can throw off old constraints although he will discover new ones. Niall has outgrown Earth in many ways, but as his playground gets bigger, the fight gets tougher. The villains in the first two books have nothing on the baddies in the next two. The Formorri are cruel, ruthless, vicious and very alien. Niall needs to make some friends fast or he won’t survive. There is no easy route back to where readers of this series will want him to go. He needs to makes some hard decisions and he will discover the hell predicted for him in Destiny Nexus. This series needs to get considerably darker before any light appears, but there will be a lot of uplifting excitement along the way to balance some of the lows.
I’m also writing a spin off story set in the future with links to the main Shimmer series and characters. It’s dark, tragic, and inspiring.
Book Blurbs & Synopses of “Destiny Nexus” and “Rogue Genesis”
Series: Shimmer In The Dark
Author: Ceri London
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy
Publisher: Self Published
1st Edition: eBook
“This man isn’t the exclusive property of the US any longer. He is answerable to the world.”
Major Niall Kearey is the only man capable of bridging space-time to create portals across the known universe. His government and the US military exploit his abilities, a secret society incites global unease in a bid to control him, and the alien refugees he smuggled to Earth revere him as the fulfillment of ancient prophecy.
Under threat of exposure, a potential one-man weapon of mass destruction, Niall and his family are forced back into hiding. Struggling to protect his wife and children, honor his oath to God and country, Kearey discovers he’s attracted the attention of a devourer of worlds – the legendary Balor – an enemy so powerful it enslaves or destroys everyone in its path.
The world needs Niall Kearey and his abilities, but the shady politics and dirty maneuverings of Earth’s power-brokers have tied his hands. Shackled by the unceasing suspicion and assaults on his liberty, Niall desperately seeks a means to protect planet Earth against the ancient predator hunting him down. Whether Balor’s purpose is Apocalypse or invasion, the threat escalates as Niall realizes the answer to the future lies in the past—his past.
How far can one man travel to preserve a world that has turned on him? Niall must accept his destiny as the nexus – a magnet for destructive forces and possibly mankind’s last hope for salvation.
An exploration of love and betrayal with the high-octane pace of military thriller, Destiny Nexus stretches a man’s moral fiber to breaking point and changes him forever. This action-packed sequel continues the epic space opera saga introduced in Rogue Genesis.
Destiny Nexus is the sequel to Rogue Genesis. Rogue Genesis is the first book in Ceri London’s Shimmer In The Dark series and can be read as a standalone novel.
“I’ve loved developing the characters from Rogue Genesis and have introduced a few more as Niall discovers his heritage and unravels the threat of an alien predator hunting him across the cosmos. I’m now looking forward to developing a cast of new alien characters in Galacticus Elecion, the third book in the series.” Ceri London.
Rogue Genesis Blurb/Synopsis:
One man. Two worlds separated by a universe. Space-time warped by black holes. In the passing of seconds on Earth, Major Niall Kearey has witnessed the birth and death of generations on Astereal. His mind shortcuts light years to visit a fantastical world of floating sky cities populated by telepaths.
Astereal is in decline, the dueling forces of black holes threaten extinction. Ancient prophecy predicts their interstellar visitor brings salvation. As Niall faces the staggering truth – that his alien dream world is real – he and his family are targeted by secret societies, scheming politicians, and the US military.
Time is running out as Astereal races towards annihilation and temporal alignment with Earth. Power brokers vie for control of his capabilities. Niall must act, balancing the needs of Earth, his family, and the alien civilization he has come to know and love. The fate of two worlds rests on Niall Kearey’s shoulders.
About Ceri London
Ceri London (pen name) is an author of science fiction / fantasy who has just published the second volume in her Shimmer In The Dark series. She is a member of ASMSG, a league of international writers.
Back on Earth, life is very normal. Ceri lives in the UK, is married, a mother of two girls, and a piano tutor following a fifteen year career in IT within the international financial industry. She holds a BSc Honours degree in Chemistry & Computer Science, but acknowledges that in no way provides her any authority with regards to the science in her fiction writing, relying on research and drawing on the experience of others far more qualified.
Looking forward, Ceri is committed to completing her Shimmer In The Dark series and developing a range of related short stories and spin off novels.