Two posters, fire starlight and Ryu Long, were the first two to ask questions, so here we go. If you have a question you'd like to ask (about anything!), either leave it as a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At what point did you begin writing Task Force: Gaea?
I began Task Force: Gaea in high school, actually (circa 1985). In English class, we had to write a creative short story, and mine was entitled “The Olympus Corps.” It encompassed heroes in starships, flying around the galaxy, encountering gods and monsters on various planets. The story evolved over the years, and I abandoned the outer space setting for a more earthbound one.
How did you come across the artist that created the cover art for Task Force: Gaea?
I met Michael Hamlett on a comic book artist website. Currently, he’s on deviantart, but since we met back in 2002, I don’t remember the actual site where I found him. I really liked his style, as it was the more realistic style that I wanted, so I asked if he could do some artwork for me. The rest is history.
Did you base any of the settings used in your book off of actual locations? If so, what locations?
Well, I tried to be as real as I could (for a fantasy novel), so I researched everything, down to street names. I wanted to make the locations as real as possible so that if a reader had been there, he or she would feel a connection. I think that, sometimes, if the world is too unfamiliar, readers don’t always picture things the way we as writers intend. When I wrote a chapter where Apollo was in Windhoek, South Africa, I found streets and locations so I could plan his journey through the city. Part of the novel takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana as well as Boston, Massachusetts—both places were researched quite well.
Even the mythological settings, like Arkadeia and Athens, have their origins in Greek myth; again, I wanted to strike upon the familiarity of the reader’s past experiences so that prior knowledge would make the reading more pleasurable.
Being a former student of yours who knows that you used to tabletop game, I'd be interested to know if you remember any of your characters. Did you have a type you liked to play, any memorable moments, basically anything in your old gaming career that stands out in our head.
As far as character names? I’m afraid not. Those are lost to time. Somewhere, in my mother’s house probably, I have my old character sheets, but they haven’t made the journey to Florida. I remember playing a few types: paladins, sorcerers, and Amazons. Like those of the character names, my memories of playing Dungeons & Dragons are vague, but I do remember playing DM (Dungeon Master) as well being a part of campaigns. These experiences, certainly, deepened my love for fantasy fiction, a love that coursed through me so much that I had to write about what I couldn’t stop thinking about.