S.A. Asthana loves to write about robots, spaceships, and explosions — also, blood. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, The Final Wars Rage.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Final Wars Rage is about.
TFWR is about the fall of human civilization in the 23rd century. It follows the domino effect triggered by Bastien Lyons, the central character, in book 1, The Final Wars Begin. Against this backdrop, TFWR explores many themes - can morality exist in a fractured, technologically-advanced world? Is redemption plausible when one's hit rock bottom? What does it mean to be human in a world where transhumanism and synthetic construction of man is a possibility? There's a lot to unpack against the premise of civilization's collapse.<?p>
Was there something in particular that inspired you to write this book?
I am fascinated by the idea of small, insignificant things, events, or people having a significant impact on their world — the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an isolated incident by some measure, sparked World War One, and the wrath of a former slave, Genghis Khan, allowed him to conquer vast swaths of Asia which ultimately helped introduce the plague into Europe & triggered the collapse of science in the Islamic world.
Tell us about ex-lieutenant General Bastien Lyons - what makes him tick?
Bastien is a righteous man, brought up an orphan with a Christian compass, who is struggling to keep his morals intact in a world full of sin and monsters. He is flawed in many ways just like many of us, but he is a good human at his core - a man many would aspire to be.
Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems?
They have to be believable. Worldbuilding within a science-fiction context (and fantasy, as well) can stretch the boundaries of believability, and in turn, lose the reader's interest if not done correctly. The trick is to make the incredible seem credible.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Eating copious amounts of chocolate... daily.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
Dialogue. Every character has a unique style, and it's fun to play with things like voice and tone.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I didn't use an outline or anything close for The Final Wars Begin, and it took me almost two years to finish that book (there were multiple rewrites). But for The Final wars Rage, I not only had an outline ready at the start, but I also had a self-imposed schedule - in this manner, I finished the book (edits and all) in six months. I'm a project manager by trade, so a process-heavy approach makes sense for me.
Your book contains a lot of political tension. Why did you write it this way?
To be human is to be political - it's in our blood. Even early homo sapiens, when living in small tribes, had a hierarchical structure, and that must have bred politics. So to discount this critical human factor would be disingenuous to my character-driven plot.
What are you working on right now?
The Final Wars End - trying to get it done in the next five to six months.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?