Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Powers Molinar. Risingshadow has also had the honour of interviewing Power Molinar, so this guest post includes an interview.

Powers Molinar grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and earned engineering and business degrees at the University of Iowa. While he works as a process engineer and project manager during the day, his passion is writing science fiction. His first novel, Spartanica, is the culmination of several year's of part-time effort mostly late at night and on weekends when he wasn't enjoying time with his wife and kids, all of whom were big helpers getting Spartanica written.

Powers' dream is to write sci-fi full-time and to get to know the readers of his books. Reading excellence, being creative, and achieving success are goals Powers holds for every kid and he hopes his books are a helpful, entertaining part of every reader's experience.

GUEST POST: Risingshadow guest post by Powers Molinar

People often ask me, "Where did you get the idea for Spartanica?"  The answer is simple.  I love creative, original, unpredictable, well-written sci-fi.  So I asked myself, "If I was going to write a sci-fi novel of my own, what would it be about?"  The answer turned out to be Spartanica.  When I started the story, I knew little more than what's in the first couple chapters.  Seriously, nothing more than that.  Then, each step of the way, I asked one simple question, "What would be really interesting and help the story right here?"  The awesome thing about science fiction is that there are very few limits on what an author can do.  The personalities, the plot, the setting, the weapons, the vehicles, the monsters... it's all about creating each puzzle piece to make a rockin' story that people will dive into and enjoy.

I often get asked about where I got the ideas for the characters.  Each of the personalities in the book reminds me of someone I've known, watched, or read about.  Some are based on friends of my kids.  The character of Ty, for instance, is based loosely on a friend of my son's that's a bit of a hypochondriac (always thinks he sick or injured).  Marcus reminds me of a friend of mine from middle school.  Professor Otherblood (brilliant but goofy) is meant to be a personality along the lines of Doc Brown from "Back to the Future" and Dr. Walter Bishop from "Fringe".  Bellana is how I see my daughter behaving if she was the sole survivor of a planetary apocalypse.  And Forticus, Guelphic Commander of Sapertys... well... he's based on me.

I really hope you read Spartanica.  I know you'll enjoy it.


Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?

I grew up north of Chicago and went to the University of Iowa where I majored in electrical engineering and business.  I presently manage multimillion dollar computer system projects during the day but I have the most fun hanging out with my family, reading and writing exciting stories, and playing awesome games like Settlers of Catan, Agricola, and Pandemic with my kids.  Video games are a blast, too.

What kind of books do you read? What are your favourite authors and books?

I primarily read sci-fi action-adventure novels.  I've read a number of authors but my faves have to be Rick Riordan, Brandon Mull, Alex Scarrow, and Hugh Howey.  These guys are really good at 1) writing genuinely original and creative stories and 2) keeping me guessing.  I don't like stories that are predictable or totally beyond the realm of possibility.  I like those authors because they strike a good balance between the two.

Have your favourite books been a source of inspiration to you?

They certainly have from two perspectives.  First, they're just flat out entertaining.  My son often enthusiastically takes me through the stories he reads.  I want to bring that same level of excitement to him and other kids through my writing.  Secondly, I often catch myself reading a book and thinking of how I would've written a scene or a character differently to make the story more engaging.  With Spartanica, I was able to create a world with characters exactly how I thought they'd be the most entertaining.

Your debut novel, Spartanica, was published in October. Could you tell us something about it? How would you describe it to readers who haven't read it yet?

Spartanica is about a couple middle school brothers who live with their Aunt Andi, who is an archaeologist that studies ancient artifacts in their basement.  One night, a loud ruckus in the basement awakens the boys and, before they know it, they're hurtled through a gateway to a parallel world where they come across a gigantic city called Spartanica that has been utterly destroyed.  While trying to figure out where they are and how to get home they meet several survivors of the apocalypse who tell them about being imprisoned by and escaping from animalistic desert-dwelling marauders that are certain to come looking for them. Without revealing too much, I'll tell you that brothers and their new friends end up having to battle their way through a lot of unexpected adversaries on the way to understanding who they are and whether they'll ever be able to get home.

Because you're a process engineer and project manager, was it challenging to find time to  write Spartanica?

It was definitely a challenge to find the time to properly write Spartanica.  It took a couple years to finish but not just because of work.  My kids are also very active in school activities, friends, and playing in tennis tournaments.

Spartanica is the first book of The Survivors of Sapertys series. How many sequels are you planning on writing?

The Survivors of Sapertys series will be three or four books.  I want it to end where it ends.  I know that sounds goofy but I won't cut it short or stretch it out.  The Survivors is a story that'll unfold and be told as if it really happened.

Do you have any other writing projects in mind?

Other than a novella or two to fill in back-stories related to Spartanica, no.  For instance, I'm thinking about a short novel regarding the rise of the Guelphic Varkis or a prequel that ends at "the last day" on Sapertys, both of which originate from Spartanica.  Once I can write full time, other novels will come but, for now, The Survivors are my writing world.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

I believe every kid has the potential to become exceptional.  In addition to being a blast to read, I truly hope my books spark kids' imaginations and inspire them to read more and maybe even become writers.  Being a solid reader is a foundational piece of leading an exceptional life.  I hope my books can be part of that foundation for as many kids as possible.

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