Today I am interviewing Tom D. Wright, author of The Archivist, a new post-apocalyptic, sci-fi novel.
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DJ: Hey Tom! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Tom Wright: Sure. I live in the stunning Pacific Northwest and support my writing obsession with a day job in the IT industry. Although I have worked in technology for a couple decades, I got my Masters degree in Counseling Psychology at Bowie State University. Since I could not afford the huge pay cut to change careers, now I just provide therapy for my characters; but like most clients, they don’t pay attention and just do whatever the hell they want.
My wife and I have a cat who doesn’t listen either, and a small pack of dogs. At least the dogs listen to me.
DJ: What is The Archivist about?
TW: I describe The Archivist as a post-apocalyptic “Indiana Jones” type of story, so you can expect a fast-paced adventure tale, with romance, twists of misfortune and wry humor sprinkled throughout.
Beyond that, it is about a man struggling to reconcile with what he has lost, and the cost he must pay to get it back. It is also the story of people trying to build lives in a broken world; one that evokes either the best or the worst in humanity—and that we all choose which path to take.
DJ: “A post apocalyptic ‘Indiana Jones'” sounds amazing!
What were some of your influences for the story?
TW: There are different layers of influence behind the story. The seed for the story came when I was listening to Bob Seger’s song, “Turn The Page” and decided I wanted to write a story that would capture that feeling of perpetually being on the road, thinking about someone left behind and constantly moving from place to place. My first opening struggled with a character traveling from planet to planet, so I localized the setting to a post-apocalyptic Earth, thirty years after the sudden and complete collapse of all technology.
But who wants yet another gloomy doomsday novel? So I drew from Thomas Cahill’s book, How The Irish Saved Civilization, which makes the case that Ireland, being (relatively) isolated out in the Atlantic Ocean, escaped much of the turmoil of the Dark Ages and thereby preserved the knowledge which fueled the Renaissance. Similarly, in The Archivist, a group called The Archives has established a base on a remote island and sends out agents called Retrieval Archivists to find and bring back knowledge and technology, which will one day spark a Second Renaissance.
In this world, which is slowly beginning to rebuild itself, a Retrieval Archivist named K’Marr comes across a find which could secure the future of The Archives, or be used to doom humankind to an indefinite Dark Age.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about K’Marr? Why will readers sympathize with him, and who are his enemies?
TW: K’Marr is a survivor of the collapse, when he was cut off from his home and wife with no hope of returning. He still suffers from PTSD and tries to lock away his emotions, but when he realizes that not only could his find secure the future of The Archives, it could also provide a way for him to get home, his carefully managed defenses begin to break down.
The Disciples of the Earth are equally interested in what K’Marr has found. Formed during the dark days immediately following the collapse, when a group of neo-Nazi skinheads subjugated an Amish village, the anti-technology cult seeks to destroy anything that could bring back technology. And these zealots do not hesitate to justify any means of ensuring that end.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Archivist that you can share with us?
TW: A lot of the quotes can be best appreciated in context of the story itself, but here are a few particularly poignant ones.
“I always feel far safer beside a good fire in the wilderness than within any human habitation. The genuinely dangerous animals are the two-legged kind, because they are the unpredictable ones.”
“Those remaining settlements which did not fortify themselves right away became the graveyards of civilization. Which I suppose makes me a gravedigger, in a way.”
“I would tell you that I’ll see you in Hell, but I have no doubt that even the Devil is in your debt.”
DJ: Have you been reading anything good lately?
TW: I like to hang out online in the Goodreads “Sword and Laser” group, and we recently read Station Eleven, which coincidently happens to be a post-apocalyptic story thirty years after the global collapse of humanity—but that’s where the resemblance ends. The group just finished reading Uprooted, which I enjoyed immensely, and next month we are going to read A Canticle for Leibowitz.
DJ: Now that The Archivist is out, what is next for you?
TW: Currently I am working on the fourth in a series of science fiction murder-mystery novellas, which take place in a near-future, non-competitive society called Malhutan. The novellas are available online in e-book format, and when I complete the fifth and final novella this fall, I will release them as a compiled print-only version. The e-book versions will remain available individually.
After that, I have plans for at least eight more novels, including a pair of sequels for The Archivist and am working on the rough draft for a new trilogy.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tom-D-Wright/e/B00US7951A
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
TW: Never, ever ever let someone else define who you are and what you are capable of. I spent way too much of my life defined by self-limiting beliefs which I allowed others to impose on me. And always be generous—it costs little to be kind but it costs your soul to be mean.
Speaking of being generous, if you like an author’s work, take a few minutes to post a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. It need not be lengthy, but just the review and the rating can mean a lot to them.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
About the Book:
In 2052, Artificial Intelligence surpasses humans, and global technology collapses overnight. Thirty years later, primitive communities struggle to survive. Throughout this broken world, a secret organization called The Archives seeks to preserve what knowledge and technology has been left in the ashes. However, a Luddite cult-The Disciples of Earth-is just as determined to ensure there will be no technological rebirth for humankind.
Retrieval Archivist K’Marr’s mission seems : make contact with a source in a remote port town and trade vital technology that could secure humankind’s future.
But few retrievals are ever easy.
While keeping his promise to a dying man and avoiding Disciples who seem to know his every move, K’Marr fights to complete his mission and get back home to the woman he loves. Against the odds, The Archivist must do everything he can to return to The Archives.
“Tom Wright serves up a fast-paced, post-apocalyptic adventure in a well-imagined world. The Archivist is the paper lovechild one might hope for after Burroughs and L’Amour spent a night playing Gamma World.” -Ken Scholes, Author of the Psalms of Isaak
“The Archivist took me back to my childhood reading where awesome ruled and adventure was just a page turn away.” -J.A. Pitts, Author of The Sarah Jane Beauhall Series
About the Author:
He graduated from Bowie State University with an M.A. in Psychology, so when people call him with an IT problem, he can ask them “And how does that make you feel?”
Tom is also privileged to serve on the board of the Cascade Writers, a writer’s conference dedicated to providing educational seminars and workshops for those interested in writing and publishing original works.