Today I am interviewing Tyler Wandschneider, author of the new science-fiction novel, LOCKHEED ELITE.
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DJ: Hey Tyler! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Tyler Wandschneider: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure being here and sharing my story with you all. I’m a Seattle-based author breaking into the published world this year. I have been figuring out this writing thing for almost a decade now with a serious case of the 9-5ers that I would love to shed. 😉 By trade I am a structural engineer but really my passion is creating stories. Before Lockheed Elite, I wrote my first novel, Pandora’s Chase. I decided not to publish that one but it is available on Instafreebie for those that may be interested in reading a first novel. As my second novel, Lockheed Elite is far better, hence sending it out into the world. (I still love the story of Pandora’s Chase).
DJ: What is Lockheed Elite about?
Tyler: Lockheed Elite is about the survival of a tight knit crew who have chosen a life in space. I’m not talking about surviving the elements of space, because that doesn’t interest me. Well, surviving interests me but I think a story about people surviving other people is a much more engaging and satisfying story than man vs. nature (elements of space). I’m talking about navigating the duplicitous nature of life in space. I see there being a difficulty to police the vastness of the big and black so when we have a setting where space travel is as abundant as cars on the road are to you and I, I see flight crews banding together and adopting a kind of career doing what they need to get paid and eat. So, we zoom into Anders Lockheed and his crew. By trade, they are scavengers. They’ll get wind of an abandoned ship or something left out somewhere and they’ll head out and scrap the thing and sell the parts. They’re known for being the best at everything they do, so naturally, they become the target of the military for use as bait/puppets/decoys for a much larger target. They are drawn into a monster job where a trap is set and they take the bait. And therein starts the story and the rest of it is Anders and crew doing what needs to get done to survive and break free from the arm of both the law and the underworld. In it we have a life ransomed, secret operatives infiltrating our crew, tension, mystery and there’s even a heist, though sadly it’s not the champion of the story. You’ll also see a genious mechanic whose creative inventions help the crew in and out of trouble so that’s a bit of fun.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Lockheed Elite?
Tyler: Gosh. This is a tough one. I’d say readers might see a hint of Firefly in this story, without the western angle though, Lockheed Elite becomes its own story very quickly though. At the beginning, you’ll see a similar character but then as the story moves on and character is revealed they become their own too. I’ve been told, though I don’t see it, that my writing style is along the lines of Card and Bradbury. I do love their books. I read a lot more fantasy than I do sci-fi which is why my stories are more about characters and story than they are about the aspects of sci-fi. I stole a bit of storytelling techniques from Brandon Sanderson to tell the story of Lockheed Elite. I needed a way to reveal story but keep some things hidden from the reader at times to lift up the mystery and tighten up the tension so I adopted his style of the 3rd person limited point of view in storytelling. It worked wonderfully for this story and turned out brilliantly.
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 would sympathize with them?
Tyler: As the captain and ship owner, Anders is kind of a hard-ass but there’s a soft side to him that we get a peek at. We see him reveal that as the story unfolds. But he loves his crew hard and will do whatever it takes to save them. Wicked’s a sweet quirky genious kid who loves his job as the mechanic. He’s taken on the responsibility of taking care of the crew with his many inventions. Severn is the newest member who carries some secrets. Same with Aura, but she has deeper secrets. The twins are a couple of assholes who you will love to hate. And let’s not forget about Jones. Anders’ pilot and 1st mate and most loyal companion. He’s tall dark and handsome and packs quite a punch.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Lockheed Elite like?
Tyler: I don’t name the world/universe in the book. I think people will apply their own time in our history to this story which I think is perfectly fine. The main “world” / setting is the crew’s ship Elite One. But, for large portions of the story, they do hit up other ships, a space station or two, another place which will remain nameless. I use a lot of dialogue in the story and place locators in there so the reader knows where they are and what is happening while the story goes on around them. It’s not a violent story but there is some delicious action.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Lockheed Elite?
Tyler: Tons of stuff here! I learned a lot about writing well while writing this book. About dialoguing, about revealing character, about how to piece things together to create tension and mystery and yet revealing tidbits of information to satisfy as we go along. But I’d have to say that my favorite thing about writing Lockheed Elite was seeing it all come together at the end. When you read a book or watch a movie there’s a memory of it we’re all left with. So it is with writing a story. My “memory” of Lockheed Elite is a satisfying one where the story held up and came together well for me. I’ll cherish that feeling and strive for it in my next book.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Tyler: (evil grin)
Johnny handed Sam a beer and said, “I thought there was something going on there but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.”
Sam shook his head and twisted the cap off the Miller High Life bottle, “Bullshit, you were just as surprised as I was. With all of it.”
“Whatever, bro.” Johnny slugged Sam. Sam tipped over in his chair and slammed his body and then his head on the porch. Sally didn’t see it and rocketed out of the house, hitting Sam in the head with the door. The door stopped short and bounced back hitting Sally in the nose.
“Ouch! What the hell are you two doing? Ma!”
Johnny laughed, “Take it easy, Sal. Just goofing around.”
Sam replaced his chair and made room for Sally who sat between her two brothers. Together they watched cars and kids on bikes head down the street.
“You finish that book yet, Sal.”
Sally snagged Johnny’s beer from his grasp, “I finished it last week while you were still on the first chapter.”
“Hey, you started a day before I did,” Johnny offered.
“I read it in a day,” Sam claimed.
The other two nodded. “For sure.”
Sam bent over and eyed his chair looking for the source of its looseness, “Who wrote it anyway?”
Johnny shook his head, “Dunno.”
“Some guy from Seattle,” Sally said, “I can’t remember his name. It’s long though. And he’s got an ugly mug too.”
“Nah something else.”
“Good book though.”
“Yeah, good book.”
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Lockheed Elite? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Tyler: No not really. I’m not into hidden meanings or messages. I’m a fiction guy who likes a good story that entertains. And I definitely like surprises and gotcha and aha moments. I get that we’re aloud to slip in meanings and such inside stories but maybe my skill level just isn’t there yet. I like the idea of people doing good the best they can with the life they have. I guess it’s pretty neat that I have characters in my story that encourage that.
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 Lockheed Elite that you can share with us?
Tyler: “Can your spam, Maddix!”
DJ: Now that Lockheed Elite is released, what is next for you?
Tyler: Ahh, yes…The Rift in Saela. Last November for NaNoWriMo I wrote 60,000 words of an outline for my next thing. So far it’s looking like a three book deal. Sci-fi in nature again but this time I’ll be using a framing story that takes place in story present day which will be accompanied by a first person telling which is the majority of the story. It’s pretty epic and ambitious and I’m totally pumped to be finally working on it. I can’t really say much more than that, other than I’ll be following my same style where the story is character driven instead of driven by sci-fi elements. Although it is set in this pretty wicked awesome generation ship. The Leaders of the people want to stay sailing the stars but there are those who want take advantage of a viable planet nearby…
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
This biggest thing for me is the author website and newsletter, I send a few emails a year but things get a little more involved around book release time. Fun stuff happens there. It also helps having people click for “New Deal Alerts” on Bookbub and of course, the famous Facebook Page like is always a gooder too.
Follow Tyler on his Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/tylerwandschneider
Sign up for his Newsletter, Blog & Website: tylerwandschneider.com
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Lockheed Elite that we haven’t talked about yet?
Tyler: It really is a fun and entertaining read. In fact, I’ll give a free Kindle copy to the first 10 readers of this interview that sign up for my newsletter. Just reply to the welcome email with the secret phrase “Kvothe killed Malcom in Vin’s castle while wearing Jayne’s hat!” That’s good stuff right there.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Tyler: You’re very welcome, it was an honor. And thanks to you all for reading this and I hope to hear from you in the future! And if you do pick up Lockheed Elite, I truly hope you enjoy the ride and hope to see a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Thanks again!
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*** Lockheed Elite is published by Stars in Hand and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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“Never failing to entertain, Lockheed Elite establishes characters who could recur in a series that would find a loyal audience. …stands out as a captivating, well-plotted science fiction novel that’s loaded with action and intrigue. It’s a rollicking sci-fi tale with twists and turns one does not always see coming.” -Foreword Clarion Reviews
“LOCKHEED ELITE was the 2016 Channillo Award winner for Best Science Fiction series…is a must-read for sci-fi fans.” – Channillo.com
After Anders Lockheed unwittingly hires an undercover operative, he takes the bait that draws the attention of the very mastermind he’s been avoiding.
Now Anders must flip the military and use them to pull off a monster heist to extract his crew from the heat mounting from both sides of the law.
Working to pay off a blackmailer who has learned that a certain genius mechanic isn’t as dead as he was made out to be, Anders Lockheed takes his team on their biggest salvage op yet.
Unfortunately, Anders has hired an undercover military operative bent on using them as bait to draw out a mastermind who has been attacking the public with deadly mechs.
While on the scav op, things go from bad to worse as the crew of Elite One recover an abandoned woman aboard the claim. Now Anders must decide quickly—stay and fight or cut cables and run.
Either way, it’s too late. Someone has other plans for them. The trap has been set, they’ve rescued the woman and taken the bait, and before long Anders and what’s left of his dwindling crew must navigate with caution through the grips of the military and an especially vile outlaw.
But Anders doesn’t captain just another team flying the black. With a genius mechanic who uses his ragtag high-tech machine shop to aid them in getting in and out of trouble, they’ve earned a reputation as the best of the best. With Anders’s careful planning, this motley crew must band together and flip the military to use them on a monster heist and dig themselves out from the heat pressing in from both sides of the law.
Fly with them. They are clever, they are fierce, they are Lockheed Elite.
Tyler Wandschneider is a Seattle-based novelist working in the professional world. He and his wife are expecting their first child in October 2017. It is a girl, and he is delighted to meet her. Lockheed Elite is his second novel, and no, you cannot read his first. You can follow Tyler on some of the usual social media channels, and he has a website for you to check out as well, http://www.tylerwandschneider.com. You can subscribe to his newsletter there in which he shares all the trouble he gets into. He is also fond of hearing from those who have enjoyed reading Lockheed Elite and will always give a copy of a book to someone who wants to write a review.