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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Antagonize review and Interview

I was one of the lucky few to get the chance to read an advanced draft of Thomas R. Manning's second Daniel Quinn novel, Antagonize. Here's my review!
A fantastic sequel in every sense!
Antagonize, the sequel to Energize (From the Logs of Daniel Quinn), is an amazing sequel in every sense of the word. The danger is greater, the action stronger and the character growth enlightening; he has to save two whole planets for flux sake!
From the start, this book will not disappoint. Beginning with a mission from the starcade, Daniel's journey takes him to a new alien world where he meets his employer. Within minutes, he's engaged in a gunfight with an incredible adversary before flying off on an adventure where every tick of the clock diminishes his chances of success.
He meets new friends, makes new enemies, and sacrifices more than any one man should in the name of peace.
If you enjoyed Energize, you will absolutely love Antagonize.
A well deserved 5 stars!
So there you are, a well deserved 5 stars! Antagonize can be picked up here
Keep reading though for an interview with the man himself, Thomas R. Manning!

What inspired you to write your first book?

All my life I loved science fiction. I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. I love Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica (the new version), and Firefly also. When it came down to picking a project to write and potentially publish, sci-fi seemed a natural course!

But there’s also something more: sci-fi tends to be epic, following a large group of people on their voyages and adventures. I wanted something more intimate. In the case of Daniel Quinn, I wanted a sci-fi adventure that focused on just one individual, and how the galaxy could be affected by his actions.

How did you come up with the titles (Energize and now Antagonize)?

The overall theme of Energize is power. And a simple search using thesaurus brought up the word energize, and being a huge Star Trek fan, I loved that my title not only emphasises power, but is also a homage to the series I grew up watching!

After that, I wanted to keep consistency among the titles in the Quinn series, so I went to google and typed in, “words that end in ize”. ^_^

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Antagonize?

I’m sure with every read-through of the book I’ll catch something that I’ll want to fix. Nothing’s ever perfect, but the story, the characters, and the narrative are all what I imagined them to be. I’m thrilled with Antagonize and I hope the world shares my opinion!

How much of yourself is to be found in the main character of Daniel Quinn? What differs?

I didn’t use much of myself when creating the character, but I think he does relate to my sense of awkwardness. Also, I tend to have strong feelings when I know something is right versus when it’s wrong, so I’d like to think that, like Daniel, I would stand up for what I believed was right if given the chance.

What books have influenced your life the most? What book are you reading now?

Jim Butcher, and more recently Brandon Sanderson, have been my biggest inspirations. I read Butcher’s Dresden Files series and became immediately hooked on his storytelling and characters. In fact, one of the first things I thought of when brainstorming projects was, “What if there was a story, very Dresden-like, set in outer space? That’s how the intimacy and personal theme of the Quinn series came about.

I recently read Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive books and became floored with his ability to craft an epic story, incredible characters, and an original magic system. I’m jealous of his imagination! Currently I’m reading his Mistborn series and loving it!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The writing itself is the most difficult for me. I can create the ideas with ease, outline the story without problems, but when it’s time to dedicate myself to writing 70,000-100,000 words, I sometimes have trouble finding a groove. With a full-time job, two (soon to be three) kids, and my wife, I have to be able to find random times throughout the day to write, which isn’t always possible.

Do you write an outline before writing you book or is it 'on-the-fly'?

It’s dangerous for me to write on-the-fly lol. I would end up writing a story about ninja unicorns and flying turtles (which people would apparently want to read, I’ve found out)!

But a danger with a full-blown outline is you either become bored with the story quicker, because you have it all in your head from the start, or you get distracted by later scenes that are more exciting than the current one you’re working on (Not that it’s a bad thing. There’s no reason you can’t jump around in your writing).

For my next project, after NaNoWriMo, I plan to outline each chapter before I write it, that way it’s my sole focus both in my mind and on the page.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

I think I’ve hated everything I’ve written at some point or another, and that’s a common thing among writers. One of the reasons writers quit is because they aren’t confident in their work. They think it’s substandard and give up. But that’s why revisions and edits exist. You can turn anything you hate into something you love, if you give it the time and attention it deserves.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Whenever I’m asked this, my first immediate thought is, “never stop writing”. However, I think it’s also important that you have a message within your story. Ask yourself: Why am I writing this? If you have a purpose behind it, then the writing will come naturally.

Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers?

THANK YOU! I write because I want to share my stories and messages with as many people as I can. I win and succeed every time a person reads my stories and enjoys them. So thank you to all my readers!

What's your next project?

Currently I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, writing a steampunk adventure with assassins, sky-trains, and a city built within the mountains. It’s called The Doom Clock. Here’s the current synopsis:

When the most important assassination order of her life fails, Rayne is left for dead on the outskirts of Theradin City. Weaponless and alone, returning to the city means marking herself a traitor. The King's ruthless guard would do anything to hunt her down.

But if Rayne does nothing, the Guild she grew up in could be destroyed. And she'll learn that there's more at stake than just the loss of lives.

The destruction of the Guild could herald in an unprecedented event, one that would shake the foundation of Theradin City.

It could start the Doom Clock.


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