Today I am interviewing Sam York, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Viridian Convict.
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DJ: Hi Sam! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
Sam: Hi DJ! I am excited to be here!
DJ: For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Sam York: Well, like most readers, I fell in love with books at a young age and read voraciously. Everything I could get my hands on. I especially enjoyed reading the encyclopedia and scientific books, which spurred my imagination! Scifi and fantasy were my go-tos (especially Piers Anthony and Douglas Adams!), but I loved reading everything.
As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before I tried my hand at writing. My first book (which remains unpublished!) was a story about a dyslexic dragon. I wrote it to try to explain what it was like to be dyslexic and to help other kids learn to cope with this challenge. My mother told me that this was not a learning disability, but an opportunity. And I believed her.
Though my teachers told her I would probably never learn to read, and certainly not to write, naturally we had to prove them wrong. I’ve always been a rebel like that.
I went on to write over 40 books under another pen name, many of them best sellers and award winners.
To all the haters? So there!
DJ: What is The Viridian Convict about?
Sam: The Viridian Convict is the first of three books about the Blue Dominion. In a universe where everything is run by the Fed, also called the Blues, everyone is under their thumb. The series arc follows the efforts of the rebellion to wrest back control of their lives.
This story takes place on a prison moon called Viridian–not so much a prison as a waste dump for everyone who stood up to the Fed. Our hero, Tig, is the ONLY human to survive intake. And he survived by a series of flukes. We find him eking out an existence as an enforcer for Granny, the mob boss who runs the settlement.
When Tig is given a mission by Granny, he has no intention of doing anything other than obeying, because Granny is God. He holds fast to this philosophy even when he’s given orders by his Blue nemesis, a Fed agent named Mia, to do the exact opposite.
Granny wants Tig to pick up and deliver a package to him and Mia wants him to take the package to the Barrens, out in the desert.
Tig is torn when he discovers that this “package” is a beautiful woman. A woman Granny wants to kill.
And then, his mission goes sideways when he discovers his “angel” is really a firebrand who wants nothing to do with his “protection.” From there on out, it’s a wild romp with Tig trying to save this woman who doesn’t want to be saved, a literal flock of aliens who want to grab the prize and some really squishy surprises!
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Viridian Convict?
Sam: This book was SO much fun to write. To be honest, I wrote it as a palate cleanser, after I finished a three book series for another publisher (in three months–so I needed a breather). I had a month to “play” and used it alternatively writing this book and binge watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. So, as you can imagine, there are some SOA influences.
I also LOVED Guardians of the Galaxy–the humor, the music and the playful tone–so naturally, I tried to infuse my love of that movie into my writing!
There is a lot of my trademark snark and darkly playful references.
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?
Sam: Tig is our POV character. We see everything through his eyes. After the Fed conquered Earth ten years ago, he was sent to the prison and promptly became a Draw addict. Draw is a smoked drug that is particularly addictive for some species (but not the Blues, so this is the drug of choice to control the convicts.) Tig managed to kick the habit–but still feels the, ahem, draw to Draw. A great deal of his struggle surrounds his lingering obsession to this vile substance.
Other characters of note include Angel, the “package.” She seems all innocent and helpless, but you know that ain’t the case. She’s actually been sent to the prison by the rebellion to deliver the key to escaping this un-escapable planet to the Sisterhood, all of whom were interred here because of their power to fight the Fed. I won’t tell you all her secrets here, because that would ruin the fun!
Tig’s partner is One Eye, a froggy creature from the planet Creel. If you’ve never met a Skeeg, there’s one thing you should know. They. Stink. Oh, and they ooze. And bloat. And fart rainbows.
I’m just kidding. They fart noxious clouds of bilious gas. Which should make you happy that books don’t have smell-o-vision. Yet.
For some reason Tig can’t figure out, Granny has a fondness for Skeegs, and makes all his enforcers partner with them. Though Tig is revolted by One-Eye’s slimy presence, he has to comply, but half his time on the streets is spent trying to lose this repugnant tail. Through the story, though, Tig comes to see the benefit of having One Eye at his back and when the stunning truth–about who One Eye really is–is revealed, it blows him away.
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Viridian Convict like?
Sam: All three stories are set in the Blue Dominion–the parts of the galaxy the Feds have conquered. But this book takes place on a barren moon. The majority of the landscape is sharp-sand desert which is frequently flooded by raging monsoons that consume everything. The settlement, fortunately, is covered by a huge dome that keeps the city free of the outlying storms, though they can be seen in the sky. Granny controls the weather inside the dome, and that is the base of his power. Well, that and his goons.
The settlement is a large city, made up of brownstones, warehouses and businesses that operate much like they do on Earth. Except the proprietors are all aliens. Some of whom want to eat you. There is also a sewer system underground, which is populated by the night creatures, including large rat-like creatures who will steal anything shiny (and who wouldn’t?)
Though Granny runs things, there are several gangs that roam their territories, including the notorious Swan Cartel, who’ve gotten word of the key Angel carries and are determined to capture her. Most of these groups abide by the Accords–an agreement that each species keep to their place–but you know, as soon as they can, they’re going to violate the rules. It is a prison moon, after all!
One of my favorite elements in the town is the freeway–called the flyway–that lofts overhead, connecting the territories. Tig drives a skimmer, a hover car, which he prizes. He’s learned, though, to bring extra towels to protect his upholstery from Skeeg drippings.
As one does.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Viridian Convict?
Sam: I didn’t write this book for anyone but myself. In fact, I never expected it would be published, because it’s SO different from my other books. (Writing in some genres, there are certain “rules” you HAVE to follow. Not so, when you are writing a scifi. And writing for yourself!) I had NO expectations of myself or the book and just let my imagination fly. It is a completely free-flowing narrative and I loved writing it!
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Sam: I hope they will be talking about the things that made them laugh and, of course, the surprises near the end of the book.
I especially hope they will be asking for the next book.
And of course, I pray they will tell their friends to read it too, because that is how most people find great books!
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing The Viridian Convict? 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?
Sam: If anything, when writing a book about a plethora of aliens, there is always a theme of “differentness.” Now, we’re all different here on Earth, and we have trouble overlooking our different-ness to see the same-ness, but we are all–as far as I know–human here.
On Viridian, there is no such sameness, yet I hope I wove in recognizable traits that make the aliens relatable. There’s the Maltby, the Rat who steals anything shiny. I don’t know about you, but I can relate to that! There’s One Eye’s deep and quiet forbearance when his partner rebuffs him, and Tig’s chagrin when he realises what an ass he’s been to this seemingly stalwart but vulnerable soul.
This theme continues in the next book, which features the stand-out villain of The Viridian Convict, Mia Dominios. Would it surprise you to know the anti-hero has a story too? And one you won’t expect.
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 Viridian Convict that you can share with us?
Here’s a small clip from a scene where Tig and One Eye have come to a brothel on the Strand, looking for their missing package. It always makes me chuckle:
The Viper ticked a finger at the Trog. He grunted and jerked his head. I took that to mean Follow me. When One Eye started after us, she held up a hand. “Not the Skeeg.
I leveled a glare on her. “He’s my partner.”
Her lashes flickered and she gestured to the expensive hand-woven Daneurian carpet. “They drip.”
Here is a mini-excerpt from a scene in the Barrens. Tig, Angel and One Eye have taken refuge from a sandstorm in an underground cave…
Somehow, I drifted off. I was in the middle of a dream, featuring a beautiful green-eyed siren, when something woke me. A gentle, probing touch. The stroke of her toes against my ankle. I grinned to myself, a sleepy offering, and tightened my hold on her. I was on my back, with her on my chest. It was a nice weight. She murmured something indistinct and sighed against my neck.
Her toe moved higher. Curled around my ankle. Coiled up my leg. I liked where this was heading…until it occurred to me that toes, generally, didn’t coil. By the time I realized it wasn’t her at all, it was too late. The tentacle tightened on my leg and yanked.
I bellowed and lurched up and gaped at the thing that had a hold of me, even as it dragged me toward the pool. Shit!
Too much like a snake for comfort, long and slimy, and it was corded with muscle. I scrabbled at the rocks as I passed, even got a good grip on one, but I couldn’t hold on for long. “Jesus!” I howled as Angel leaped to her feet and cast about for a weapon. She scrabbled for a pistol and aimed. “Shoot it!”
The blast bounced off the walls. The creature—whatever it was—screeched and released me. And the limb whipped back into the water.
I stood, panting, and scanned the pool. My heart was in my throat. My ulcer babies were in an uproar. “Where’s One Eye?” I cried. I didn’t see him. I didn’t see him anywhere.
A fountain of water erupted from the pond as One Eye surfaced, with a nasty-looking squid-thing in his grasp. The two thrashed and splashed. Angel took aim, but they were moving too fast for her to get a bead on that thing without taking a chance of hitting One Eye.
In a flash, they submerged. Bubbles and waves rippled through the pond. My pulse pinged, muscles bunched. If this didn’t go our way, we had to be ready to run.
I should have known better. I should have known better than to relax.
After a long, long moment, One Eye burst to the surface with a loud gasp, and then he walked to the shore, dragging a limp jumble of tentacles behind him. He dropped it at my feet and grinned. And then, he croaked, “Dinner.”
But we scraped some dried algae from the rocks and piled it up and started a fire while One Eye sliced up his kill, which he then roasted over the flames. His expression was proud as he handed me a chunk.
I held it between two fingers and studied it. “Seriously?”
Angel nudged me with her shoulder. “Gumvar. It’s a delicacy on Vanit.” She popped a bit into her mouth and moaned. “Scrumptious.”
I eyed her suspiciously.
“Go on. Try it.”
I did. A lick. When that didn’t make me gag, I took a nibble.
Okay. It wasn’t heinous. Kind of like…calamari.
One Eye grunted and lit in. I guess he was still hungry. Maybe the plankton had been only a salad or something.
It was kind of horrifying watching him eat. He slurped and snorted and even growled a little as he consumed slice after slice of…Gumvar. Little bits of it dangled from his teeth when he shot me a grin. “Gooood.” He nodded.
“Yeah. Good.” It filled my belly, at the very least.
And best of all, I was eating it. Rather than the other way around.
DJ: Now that The Viridian Convict is released, what is next for you?
Sam: I am looking forward to writing Mia’s story, but at the same time, I have other books in play. For those readers who also enjoy snarky sexy romance, check out my not-so-evil twin’s website: SabrinaYork.com.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about Sam?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Viridian-Convict-Blue-Dominion/dp/1635839041/
Author Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/g3l7a1
DJ: And how about Sabrina?
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DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Viridian Convict that we haven’t talked about yet?
Sam: I suppose I should mention this… The Viridian Convict is peppered with curse words (Alien and Earthie), as well as some adult, ahem, situations, so it is not for the faint of heart! If you love snarky, balls-to-the-wall, comedic scifi, this is a book you will enjoy. I’ve also heard from advanced readers that it is not your typical scifi, so strap in and enjoy the ride.
I’d love to hear from you! Especially if you enjoyed the book!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Sam: My pleasure! I love talking about myself and my books! 😀
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*** The Viridian Convict is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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The Godfather meets Guardians of the Galaxy in this crazy-ass adventure set on Viridian, a prison planet full of aliens…who want to eat you.
Tig, the only human, is thrust into a lose/lose/lose situation when the mob boss he works for asks him to pick up and deliver a package that the Fed—the governing body of the known universe—also wants.
To make matters worse, the “package” has curves for days, an attitude to match, and her own agenda for how this is all going down.
About the Author:
Blessed (or cursed) with dyslexia and ADD, author Sam York has always loved creating worlds, tantalizing readers, and having complete and utter control over the universe. What could be better than writing snarky stories in a variety of genres? Under various pen names, Sam has won multiple writing awards and hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller list several times. Sam lives in seclusion east of Seattle with a really drooly Rottweiler.