Q&A with author David Allan Hamilton!
What are your favorite TV shows?
I’ve always enjoyed Star Trek The Original Series, and The Next Generation. Not all shows, mind you, but for the most part, they are my go to shows. I also love the Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch and I could easily binge watch the original Law and Order shows and the Law and Order: Criminal Intent.
What is your favorite meal?
I have so many, haha! I suppose if I really was forced to pick just one, I would have to say my own beef stroganoff dish, served with mashed potatoes. It’s a wonderful winter season meal and is the epitome of comfort food for me.
If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
I’m a fan of quests and adventures, so for example, I really enjoy Clive Cussler’s series that feature Dirk Pitt and other characters going about their adventures. So I could see myself patterning a series after something like Cussler’s Numo Files or Oregon Files. But what I’d do is have my protagonist be a geophysicist or geologist in space, rather than a biologist on Earth. In fact, once I finish my current novel which is a follow up to The Crying of Ross 128, I will be developing that kind of adventure series set in space.
Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
I have a few writing heroes. One is the Canadian writer Ernest Buckler. He wrote The Mountain and The Valley, and what I really admire about his writing is how poetically it flows. His smithing of words is masterful. I also really like Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and although I haven’t thought much about it, I suppose his writing style has influenced me over the years. For plotting and adventure, I enjoy Clive Cussler’s work.
How did you come up for the title of this book?
The Crying of Ross 128 evolved from a series of possible titles I’d been mulling over. The story centers on what is purportedly an alien vessel adrift in the Ross 128 star system, 10.8 light years from Earth. It sends out a cry. A cry for help.
So as I was thinking about the title, I began focusing on this word “cry”, because of the multiple meanings it carries. A cry can be a shout. It can be literally crying. These two meanings suggest a mix of sadness and perhaps anger or hostility or fear. I decided, then, that the word “crying” needed to be in the title.
Finally, there’s an echo to Pynchon’s “The Crying of Lot 49” which is a different context altogether, and with a different meaning, certainly. But I liked the echo that my title had with Pynchon’s and felt it might be easier to remember that way.
The Crying of Ross 128
America has splintered into various independent republics after a brutal civil war. Against this backdrop, space exploration is on the cusp of new technological breakthroughs. Jim Atteberry, a mid-30s English professor at City College in San Francisco, spends his free time listening for alien signals on the amateur radio astronomy bands. His life as a single parent to his precocious daughter is turned upside-down when he hears an intelligent cry for help from the Ross 128 system and realizes we are not alone. This signal unleashes a chain of events pitting Jim and his brilliant, mysterious colleague Kate against a power-hungry scientist with his own secret agenda. Jim must learn the truth about the signal, the strange disappearance of his wife Janet, and the meaning of true love before it’s too late in this first contact thriller.
Whitt continued talking while he worked. “So, there are the two Americas, our own government of course, the Russians, Indians, Chinese... not to mention those terrorist groups out there who would love to exploit our human fears about hostile aliens and such.”
“I hadn’t thought about all that.”
“I’m sure if you spend any time at all on this question, you’d come up with a list of 50 organizations all wanting to know how you discovered the signal, and how to use that for their own goals.”
Whitt replaced the cover on the computer and wiped his hands on his coat. “There’s someone else you may want to consider, too. Someone closer to home as it were.”
“I hesitate to say because I recognize how close you are.” He put his tools back in a small pouch.
“Who is it, Dr. Whitt?”
“How well do you know Kate Braddock? I mean, how well do you really know her?”
Atteberry threw his head back and laughed. “That’s insane! I trust her more than anyone in the world.”
“Oh, I understand, truly, I do. But the work she did in the past was highly specialized and top secret. Where does she come from? What kind of dubious alliances has she forged over the years? In short, she may have been playing you all along.”
“No, no, I don’t believe that for a second.”
“Fair enough, Mr. Atteberry, but if you’re considering who could be behind this mysterious tracer, I think you have to consider all possibilities. Even the ones that appear impossible.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
David Allan Hamilton is a teacher, writer, and multipotentialite. He is a graduate of Laurentian University (BSc. Applied Physics) and The University of Western Ontario (MSc. Geophysics). He lives in Ottawa where he facilitates writing workshops and teaches. When not writing, David enjoys riding his bike long distances, painting, and knitting.
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