James Pyles Interview: The Mind Behind The Fallen Shall Rise

James Pyles is the latest author to join the incredibly rich fray of the 224-Verse with a piece entitled “The Fallen Shall Rise”.

In it, an archeologist from a backwater system seeks to discover what caused an entire ancient civilization to collapse some three thousand years prior. With surprising cooperation from his despotic government, he is sent via an ancient spacecraft through an interstellar gateway found in the distant regions of space. But is he the key to discovering the truth about the past, or a pawn in an even more dangerous present?

We recently sat down with the man behind the story to dig deeper into what brought the piece to life.

James, tell us more about yourself, your life and your writing career.

I’ve been a technical writer and author of computer textbooks for over twenty years, but it’s only been within the past three to five years or so that I’ve become successful in writing fiction. I started out as an avid science fiction fan as a boy and carried that love into adulthood. Now I write stories and create fictional role-playing games for my grandchildren.

In fact, two of my earliest published short stories started out as a game I was playing with my grandson when I wrote stories for him on my blog. I’m gratified to be able to actively create within the genre I’ve loved for many years.

Give the world a short pitch about your story “The Fallen Shall Rise” (don’t worry, no spoilers). Why do you think readers will love it?

My story operates at several levels including interpersonal, political, and “space opera.” It also presents a mystery of why a civilization fell thousands of years in the past and how only by exploring that past and the darkness it contains, can two races confront their futures. This is all seen through the lens of one person who is trying to make a better world or galaxy, for his family, and to do that, he risks everything, perhaps even his own life.

What was the inspiration behind this story?

It started with the premise of the 224-Verse, which is fascinating. I thought about what a civilization would need in order to join the Galactic Assembly and what that would look like, especially with newer members, barely having experienced space travel, encountering more advanced races and technologies. I considered “future shock” and how these alliances could lead to a cultural disaster. After that, the rest of the story rolled out of my imagination.

Oh, I must say that the rise and fall of the Soviet Union played a significant part in my crafting my protagonist’s world.

What sci-fi books have you recently been reading and which titles represent
your long-time favorites?

As I write this, I’m just finishing the last novel in the “Expanse” nine-book series by James S.A. Corey (actually Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) “Leviathan Falls.” I haven’t seen the television series, but the novels are a very good, modern space opera. The writing quality has held up well over the past ten years of their history.

It’s hard to define a list of favorites since it changes periodically. “Starship Troopers” by Robert Heinlein and “Rendezvous with Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke come to mind. Almost anything by Isaac Asimov, particularly his “Robots” series of short stories and novels. Harlan Ellison was the author who made me want to write because his characters were so accessible.

The books that introduced me to science fiction were the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Skylark series by E.E. “Doc” Smith. All that said, I’m enjoying Martha Wells Murderbot books and Neal Asher’s Polity collection.

This is all just scratching the surface, though.

What are your favorite genres to write in, and are they different from the ones
you read? Do you have preferences when it comes to story length?

I pretty much enjoy writing the genres I read which are mainly science fiction and fantasy. I did have fun writing a “hard-boiled detective” short story that was also a ghost story featuring a female private detective in 1940s San Francisco (contact me if you want to know where to find it).

Typically though, I write science fiction and fantasy, with a side of horror. Earlier in my writing, I favored stories with a word count of 2,000 to 5,000 words and spent some time writing drabbles, but as I’m growing in the craft, I’m starting to write longer. I’ve got several novels that never got past the first draft stage. I’m starting to revisit, if not those as such, other stories I could expand upon. It just depends on which one captures my imagination and my time limitations.

Tell us more about your writing process. Would you say you’re a pantser or a plotter, and do you do a lot of research for your writing?

Being “old school,” I prefer writing on my desktop PC with a full-sized keyboard in my home office. I like being surrounded by books when I write. It’s not very orderly, but it is inspirational. I rarely listen to music anymore as I write, but if I do, it has to be instrumental, such as jazz or classical. Anything with lyrics gets mixed up in my brain as I’m writing.

I’ve been both a pantser for shorter pieces and a plotter for longer ones. While I tend to craft an initial plot before writing, it tends to expand and change as I go through the editing process and find the “holes.” I’ve woken up in the middle of the night on several occasions during the writing process with ideas and have to make notes so I don’t lose them (no, I can’t remember them the next morning).

As far as resources, I have a private page on my blog where I collect them for my own use, but most are specific to addressing a certain technical problem. My number one “go-to” resource for science fiction is the Stack Exchange Worldbuilding forum. Often, I don’t have to ask a question, just search for the topic I’m interested in, and usually, someone has already come up with a solution.

For other resources, it depends on what issues the writer is facing. I used to have a terrible time with head-hopping and a very kind editor sent me several links including one from www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com called “What is head-hopping and is it spoiling your fiction writing?”

As writers, we all have different needs, so there’s no one-size-fits-all for everyone.

How do you promote your writing, what marketing strategies and tools have worked for you? Which platforms would you recommend to fellow authors? Where do you like to promote your writing and engage with readers?

Since I work mainly with indie publishers, beyond relying on their efforts, I use my blog and social media to “get the word out.”

That includes a number of writers’ pages on Facebook where we all agree to promote each other’s work. Developing online relationships with other authors, particularly those who are more experienced, is a great help, especially if they agree to share/retweet an announcement of your latest story or book. It’s also helpful to review other indie authors. Sometimes the “favor” goes both ways.

I mainly use Facebook and twitter, although a friend of mine has recently started promoting his books via Tik Tok. I’m not sure I’m ready to make small movies yet, but video may have a greater appeal and tap a larger audience. I’m waiting to see how my friend’s “experiment” goes before wading into the stream myself.

Where can our readers find more of your works?

My blog: https://poweredbyrobots.com/
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/James-Pyles/e/B001IQXL38%3F
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/jamespylesauthor
Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/jamespyles (although I don’t keep up my Goodreads page as well as I should)

The Fallen Shall Rise is Available Now on Amazon

International Buyers, Click Here

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