Friday, June 5, 2015

Interview with author C. T. Christensen

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What influences your writing?

That’s, pretty much, a life story question; I am what I am because of what I have done and where I have been. One of the most common recommendations to new writers is to write about what you know. In my case, it was technical interest, military experience, and observing how humans manage to screw up almost everything.

What made you interested in Science Fiction?

My earliest memory of SciFi grabbing my attention was back in elementary school when I found a book by Heinlein in the small school library. BANG! That was it!

What advice would you give people wanting to write Science Fiction?

I don’t think of myself as the Guru On The Mountain Top, but I would make sure they understand that I do not consider Zombies, Vampires, and Fairies to be Science Fiction. To my mind, true SciFi is human problems set against, and influenced by, a technological background.

In Kaleidoscope, Josiah West Book One, Josiah West is of the Federation Navy; how did your own experience in the military help to define this character?

My Father was a paratrooper in WWII. His brother, my uncle, lost a leg during that war. While my Father’s side of the family did not arrive in the U.S. until the beginning of the twentieth century, my mother’s side of the family has participated in every scrap this country has had right back to the Revolutionary War.
I was the oldest of three brothers and a half-sister; I did over four years in the Air Force, my next youngest brother did a tour in the Navy as a corpsman in Vietnam, our youngest brother was an Army paratrooper before becoming a helicopter pilot, our half-sister also enlisted in the Army and became a helicopter pilot. I guess you could say that there has been an interest in the military in my family.
The military is a different culture from civilian life because of the job that has to be done. The people that are in the military are just ordinary people with the usual array of abilities and weaknesses. When I created Josiah West, I aimed for an ordinary man with a slightly unusual background, a good character, but, otherwise, just an ordinary guy that gets dumped into the ultimate test of that character.

How do you feel the military has shaped Science Fiction today?

Technology! The military is one of the most visible users of the latest technology. Military contracts pay for some of the greatest advances we have made. It is an unfortunate consequence that some of the greatest technological advances have been made under the influence of war. The more we know is possible, the more we wonder what is possible.

How important was it to make Josiah a strong character when dealing with firsts like the first ship of its kind?

That was easy! Josiah has been a pilot since he was a kid. As an example of his kind of mentality, I have a private pilot’s license with ratings for single-engine and sailplane. Would I like to be dropped into the cockpit of an F-16? HO BOY! You bet!

Where can readers buy Kaleidoscope, Josiah West Book One?

Available today at (my site), and and is showing up on other Internet sites too.
Also available in paperback to libraries and brick and mortar stores...Just ask them if they have it or will get it.

When is the next book in the series coming out?

I am aiming for early summer 2015 and, at the moment, everything looks like that will become a reality.

In your short stories collection, Science Fiction Short Stories Collection one, you have four specific stories. How did you pick those four to go into this collection?
There wasn’t much in the way of “picking” involved. Elaine’s Gift, Ringside Seat, and Shadows were the first out, were pretty short, and offered as singles. When I had the three, I put them together to make a better deal for the readers. When I finished Article Six, I offered it as a single for those that had already bought the collection and added it to the collection to enhance its value. Kaleidoscope will remain a single because of the sequel I am working on.

In your short story, Article Six, you talk about the importance of Technology. How do you feel technology has helped or hindered us in today’s generation?

I think of technology as the proverbial double edged sword. Humanity has made huge advances in mathematics, electronics, aviation, chemistry, and much more. On the downside, we put many--if not all--of these advances to the mundane task of killing each other. I find it highly indicative of how human mentality works when I see pictures on TV of people squatting in the ruins of a bombed-out town, having a hard time feeding themselves or finding clean water, but they all seem to have an AK-47 and plenty of ammunition.
Humans are tool users; it is our instinct to build things. Our technology has enabled us to expand to 7 billion on this planet. I believe that 7 billion is easily sustainable if humans only had the cooperative ability needed and a real test for leadership ability that would eliminate most politicians.
As an example of how I think humanity is losing its ability to use its technology for its own benefit, I have noticed for the last forty years, or so, that every year in this country we have massive floods somewhere while right next to those reports are the ones about the droughts out West and the depletion of aquifers due to drilling and pumping. Every year, I await for one of our, so called, “leaders” to come up with the idea of building pumping stations and a cross-country pipeline system to pump trillions of gallons of flood waters from where it isn’t needed to where it is needed. The Earth is not running out of fresh water; the Earth is what is known as a closed system, so nothing is being lost. Negative aspects of technology exist only in the human mind. Humans are clever, not smart.

In your story Shadows, you describe things happening for a reason or none that a person can think of. How often do you feel things happen for a reason?

I believe in coincidence and chance. I do not believe in supernatural beings guiding our steps. If things happen for a reason that means that reason was behind it. Shadows was intended to leave a question dangling; it could have been a good dose of celestial coincidence or something else.
I might add here that I used a small part of Shadows in the sequel to Kaleidoscope.

In your story Ringside Seat you describe the characters in Alaska. How has being in Alaska influenced this story?

Alaska has to be experienced to be believed. I was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base at Anchorage. On the Base and in the city, you are in a normal, civilized environment. Drive a few miles away, get off the road and you can get lost forever. I spent a good deal of time out in the woods and found it to be quiet and peaceful. The opening scene of Ringside Seat attempts to convey that move into another world.
The city boy, Jerry Grant, reflects my impression when I was first exposed to that vast and quiet landscape. Then, there were people like Bill Fowler, the ones that came and just didn’t leave. I don’t mean to sound like a stooge for Alaska Tourism, but it left an impression.

Where can readers buy Science Fiction Short Stories Collection one?

Like Kaleidoscope, it is available today at (my site), and and is showing up on other Internet sites too.
Also available in paperback to libraries and brick and mortar stores...Just ask them if they have it or will get it.

Where can readers find out more about you?

They can go to “About the Author” on my site,, for one. There is also my Author’s Page on and as well as I also have a Facebook page at:

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