Today I am interviewing Rhett Bruno, science fiction author of Titanborn and The Circuit Series. The Circuit: Earthfall, final book of The Circuit series is being released on December 13, 2016.
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DJ: Hey Rhett! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Rhett Bruno: Sure thing. I’m an architect from New York by day, and a scifi-fi fantasy author at every other time. My published works include The Circuit Series, Diversion Books, and Titanborn, Random House Hydra. I’ve been writing for a long time, but five years back or so I recommitted myself to reading science fiction, and have been focusing on writing that genre ever since.
DJ: What is The Circuit: Earthfall and then The Circuit series about?
Rhett: It’s hard to pin point one thing. I try to layer my books so that there is a lot going on, but basically, on a personal scale it’s about three broken people whose lives unexpectedly collide. As they each come to terms with their lot in life and what they really want, they are thrown into warm conspiracy and heartbreak. On a grander scale, The Circuit is a space opera taking place in our solar system after Earth has become unlivable. Opposing factions stake a claim to who will control the future of humanity, and a horrific war ensues.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Circuit series?
Rhett: Star Wars for sure, (Some character names may give that away) but I’m also a big fan of golden age scifi. The idea of keeping the story in our solar system exclusively came from there as well as different ways of characterizing the planets in it. For a modern book, the Expanse Series was a huge influence as well.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Rhett: There are four so I’ll try to keep this brief. Cassius Vale plays the largest role of any as a mysterious protagonist, who may also be the antagonist it’s up for debate. He can be ruthless and calculating, but at his core he’s a man who can’t cope with the loss of his first and only son.
ADIM, Cassius’ android companion, was created to fill the void left behind by the death of Cassius’ son. His power is matched only by his naivety. He remains staunchly loyal to Cassius throughout, but a slowly grows more and more aware of his abilities.
Sage Volus starts off working for what appears to be the enemy faction in the Circuit, The New Earth Tribunal. They are a religious group which clings to the fallen Earth and have grown to be the greatest power in the system. Sage works as an Executor, or assassin, for them, but an unknown tragedy in her past has left her conflicted and open to seeing other peoples’ perspectives.
Talon Rayne is a mercenary-type from the Tribune’s greatest threat, the Ceresian Pact. On the surface he seems roguish and out only for credits, but he is suffering from an incurable, terminal illness known as the Blue Death. All he wants in life is to make enough credits to leave behind to his daughter.
DJ: What is the world/universe/setting of The Circuit series like?
Rhett: The world is The Circuit, which has become the name of our solar system now that it is settled. A series of ancient Solar Arks deliver resources to settlements throughout the system, most importantly Gravitum. This element can be found in the Earth’s mantle only, and allows for the generation of artificial gravity fields.
In the time of the books this is a violent setting. The New Earth Tribunal is slowly conquering all that remains of humanity and attempting to convert them. They believe that by worshipping the “Spirit of the Earth,” their homeworld will one day revert to its habitable state. People like Cassius Vale resist this notion, and want to move on from their broken homeworld to embrace the future.
DJ This is a science-fiction novel, so I’m pretty sure there is some unwritten rule out there that says I have to ask you about the technology in you novel 😛 So, what sort of tech and weaponry did come up with?
Rhett: I try to keep the story humming along so any description of technology is kept brief, but Gravitum is a major focus of the book. This element allows us to create artificial gravity, and it is strongly hinted at early on that the unrelenting mining of it cause the Earth’s fall to begin with. I won’t confirm or deny that here! But, artificial gravity generators play a key role, as well as mechs and exoskeletal suits. The Solar Arks utilize massive solar sails to zoom around the solar system. Plasma-based shields. There is a ton of stuff in there, but the focus is always on the characters. ADIM journey towards becoming self-aware is the biggest focus on technology.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Circuit: Earthfall and completing the final book in The Circuit series?
Rhett: Finishing the series ha. No but really, I had this idea that I thought would be one book and then it wound up becoming a trilogy. I’d say my favorite part was discovering exactly where the characters wound up in the end. I always had a basic outline and guidelines, but telling this story took me on many unexpected turns I can’t reveal here.
DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers for the first two books of The Circuit series? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?
Rhett: The reviews have been great! Especially for book one. People seem to be drawn to ADIM and his arc. I should’ve expected that based on the popularity of androids in everything. But I think what people most enjoy are that the story is told in shades of gray. It’s hard to know who is good or evil, as even the “heroes” of the tale have done horrible things. It isn’t a perfect world and it’s inhabited by imperfect characters.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish The Circuit: Earthfall?
Rhett: That’s a risky question to answer. I’ll just say it’s either where ADIM winds up, or finally figuring out what Cassius has been up to the entire series.
DJ: What was your goal when you began writing The Circuit series? Is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it?
Rhett: Not really a message beyond wanting readers to embrace the gray morality of this story. My goal was write an entertaining space opera story, which also featured gripping characters with realistic motivations. I hope that I succeeded!
DJ: I’m always curious when authors finish a series, how close to the original course they stayed when it is finally completed or if it ended up evolving and changing. Did the plot stay the same as you had first imagined it? How about the ending? The evolution of your characters?
Rhett: The overall Arcs remained the same. That’s how I usually outline. The beginning, and the end, and then major points within. The rest sort of flows from that and how I feel the characters should behave. The biggest changes were certain deaths that I never planned for, but as I wrote felt like they needed to happen.
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 Circuit: Earthfall that you can share with us?
Rhett: It’s tough to say. I wrote them all in a row so I’m not sure what quote is from which ha. I’d be interested to hear what you or any other reader marks down! One off the top of my head is when ADIM says “It is as you said,
Creator, ‘the weak will perish in the flames, and from the ashes of
Earth humanity will rise.’” It’s not the most amazing quote, or most meaningful, but if you imagine that it’s being said by an intelligent android who is in the process of becoming self-aware, it’s awfully chilling.
DJ: Now that The Circuit: Earthfall is released, what is next for you?
Rhett: Next for me is finishing up my Titanborn Series. The second book in that universe, FROM ICE TO ASHES, is being released next March. Right now I’m writing a third. I have some other projects out on submission with my agent, and hopefully next year I’ll get to start something brand new! That’s always my favorite part.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rhett-C.-Bruno/e/B008X8ND1O/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Author Newsletter: http://rhettbruno.com/join-my-newsletter/
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Circuit: Earthfall and The Circuit series that we haven’t talked about yet?
Rhett: I think we covered a lot, but basically, writing this series was a wild ride. It was my first attempt at a pure scifi novel and I think it turned out so well. I’m grateful to Diversion Books for allowing me to tell it the way I wanted to. The first book was actually published by another publisher when it first came out, but Diversion has been a pleasure to work with. Oh and, people always ask, but TITANBORN is in no way related to THE CIRCUIT. They both take place in our solar system so people get confused I think ha.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** The Circuit: Earthfall is published by Diversion Publishing and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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The conclusion to Rhett Bruno’s stunning science fiction epic series The Circuit, which the San Francisco Book Review called “space opera that fans of Firefly and its ilk will appreciate.”
Earth is uninhabitable, but beneath its ruined surface sits massive deposits of Gravitum, a powerful, dangerous element with the ability to generate artificial gravity. Whoever controls the element can control the settled regions of our solar system, now known as the Circuit. For centuries the peoples of the Circuit endured an uneasy, if peaceful alliance designed to share resources. Now the Tribunal, a religious order, is nearly ready to take over all of it. With only the reconvened band of Clans inhabiting the asteroid belt known as the Ceresian Pact standing between the Tribunal and system dominance, one man––Cassius Vale––intends to end their oppressive rule. Vale’s brutal and brilliant plan is nearly complete.
In order to gain more time to complete preparations, Vale builds an army under the control of his robotic creation ADIM in order to attack one of the leaders of the Tribune. ADIM loves his creator, but is growing more independent by the day, and soon may be too powerful for anyone to stop.
Talon Rayne, a mercenary, teams up with Sage Volus, a former Tribunal spy, when Talon discovers that his daughter has been captured by the very Tribunal leader Cassius Vale is after. Together, they have no choice but to ask for Vale’s help in saving her. Vale agrees, but are they just another cog in his scheme for bringing down the Tribune, or is there a part of him left that cares about anything other than vengeance?
Rhett is happy to hear from his fans and can be reached at email@example.com. Please subscribe to his newsletter for exclusive access to updates about his work and the opportunity to receive free copies of books and shorts. For a limited time you’ll also receive a free digital copy of THE CIRCUIT: EXECUTOR RISING. http://rhettbruno.com/join-my-newsletter/
He has been writing since before he can remember, scribbling down what he thought were epic stories when he was young to show to his friends and family. He currently works at an Architecture firm, but that hasn’t stopped him from recording the tales bouncing around inside of his head. Rhett is the author of “The Circuit Series” and “Titanborn.”