Interview with sci-fi author Christian Porter

Christian Porter is in the house today to talk about the first novel of a contemporary sci-fi trilogy, Shadow Precinct.
Welcome, Chris. Please tell us a
little bit about yourself
:
I am a Howard University alum from New Orleans. I worked in the video game
industry for a few years after I graduated. The story of Shadow Precinct began as a video game design document. I was
enjoying fleshing out the ideas and the characters so much that I amassed a
nice amount of material. I met Rochelle Levy (President of Aziza Publishing,
LLC) through a mutual friend. She convinced me to try writing as a creative
outlet and the rest is history as they say.
Please tell us about your current
release.
Shadow Precinct is my first novel, the first in a
trilogy of books. It takes place in an alternate reality United States where
firearms are heavily restricted. Because of this, a new hybrid law enforcement
organization is developed that supplants the police force. Members of this
group are called zealots and they are trained from childhood in all manners of
hand to hand combat and covert operations tactics. The story focuses on Everett
Santeaux, the best zealot to ever come out of the program, and his family history.
What inspired you to write this book?
I grew up
immersed in “nerd culture,” I guess you could say. I loved reading books,
comics, watching anime, playing video games, and listening to hip hop. That’s a
quick synopsis of what made young me tick. After I made the decision to turn my
notes into a novel, I wanted my love for all of these things to be reflected in
the story. Of course, I’ve been inspired by life experiences as well. My time
at Howard University was definitely instrumental in me putting pen to paper so
to speak. Time with family and friends was and continues to be an inspiration
for me to keep writing.
Excerpt:
1982—————————————————————————
Sitting
on the sun…


Sitting
in a lava waterfall…


Sitting
at the center of the Earth…


Sitting
in a dragon’s lair…


Sitting
in acid rain…


Mind
over body…


Mind
over body…


Mind
over body…


Mind
over body…


Mind
over body…

Everett was in his second
year at the zealot training facilities in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. At
this moment, he was participating with other students in a training exercise. They
sat just outside of a large cave with torch lined walls, the cold air rushing
in through the mouth of the cave making the flames on the torches leap wildly. This
grueling task was designed to help them endure extreme pain, a trait that every
zealot must develop. Lines of students sat cross-legged in a meditative
position, outside in the blistering cold wearing all black cloth training kis. The
elevation made drawing each breath difficult. The sub-freezing temperatures
made it impossible for many of the potential zealots after the first hour. Overseers
and Xi Wang Xi were pacing the lines, removing those that were clearly not
going to pass this exercise. Thirteen young boys had already been carried out
to the infirmary after going into hypothermic shock, collapsing to the hard,
snow covered ground. In the third hour, another boy collapsed dead. Halfway
through the fourth hour, two more would die, one with tears frozen to his face.
Everett continued to sit. Had he opened his eyes, he would have seen just how
many students were failing. As his focus intensified, time became relative. Inside
of Everett’s mind, he was meditating in the center of an exploding star. Everett
continued to sit, his skin beginning to turn blue, oblivious to the pain. Three
shift changes of overseers had come and gone, the only constants were the
students and Xi Wang Xi.

Mind
over body…

Mind
over body…

Mind
over body…

A
young overseer walked up to Xi. Like all of the others that were keeping watch
of the training exercise, he was actually adequately dressed for the elements. He
spoke through a heavy wool facemask.
“Master
Xi. This has been the longest that this exercise has ever gone. It is beginning
to cut into other areas…”
He
was interrupted by the aged voice of Xi, his English accent having faded over
the years, “Let it continue. You and the other overseers can return to the main
building. I will watch the remaining students.”
“Yes
sir.”
“Answer
me this overseer, who are these last two students?”
“Master
Xi, one is Everett Santeaux. The other is Olufemi Anyogu.”
They
both gazed at the two young boys in astonishment, both of them sitting
perfectly still unaware that they were the only ones left.
“Master
Xi, it is quite amazing that they’ve lasted this long. I’ve never seen anything
like this.”
“Nor
have I.”
The
young man followed his orders and helped to gather the other students. Some
whose extremities had become black with frost bite, requiring amputation and
subsequently ending their zealot training. The two students remaining continued
to sit for another half an hour. Everett’s focus was finally derailed by the
feeling of a large fur blanket being thrown around him. His eyes were frozen
shut, and as his mind and body began to rejoin, he started to feel the pain
that he had dismissed for an ungodly amount of time.
“Everett
is it? Try to breath or you will go into shock. I have overseers here to help
you to the infirmary. Move very slowly, your joints have probably locked into
position.”
Xi
saw that Everett’s mouth was moving, but he could not hear any words. His lips
were chapped and turning bluish. He leaned closer and could make out a faint
question.
“How…how
long?”
Xi
chuckled, “five and a half hours.”
The
overseers helped Everett up and placed him on a stretcher where they carried
him back in doors to the infirmary. He was placed in a bed and administered an
IV. As he began to fade into unconsciousness, he could hear the overseers
speaking with the onsite doctors.
“No,
I don’t think you understand. Both of these boys should have died hours ago. Normal
body temperature is 98.6 degrees, a couple of degrees below that is considered extremely
dangerous territory. These boys had temperatures hovering around 90 degrees.”
“Jesus
Christ.”
“Tell
me about it. They also don’t exhibit any signs of frost bite, I’ve been a
doctor for over 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this out there. And
the fact that they are kids? It’s incredible.”
“Incredible
is quite the understatement, doctor.”
————————————————————————
What exciting story are you working on
next?
I am working
on the second part of the three-part story of Shadow Precinct. I joke all the time and say I’m writing my Empire
Strikes Back. We’re shooting for Fall 2013 to have Part II out there.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
It’s hard
to say. Honestly, I considered myself a writer since I wrote my first short
story way back when I was in like the third grade or something. I compare it to
people who enjoy taking pictures and people who are legit photographers. I
enjoyed writing, but I never thought that it would be a potential career path
or ever be anything more than a hobby. I definitely didn’t consider myself an
author. It wasn’t until I was literally holding the finished product in my
hands that I was like, “Damn, wow. I guess I am an author now.”
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I do not
write full time. I have a job that can get pretty demanding at times. The
writing for me was always therapeutic in a way. After a long day, it was as
much a relaxing thing as it was fun to flesh out the story and the characters. For
me, the writing process is not confined to any time, though. If I have an idea
for some cool setting or action set piece, I pull out my phone and make sure I
document it so I can revisit it later and refine it. It is a balancing act, but
very manageable especially if you really have a desire to see your project
through.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Ha, that’s
a good question. I think I just go into a zone with my headphones on. Music is
a large part of the creation process for Shadow
Precinct
. The references in the story and the nods to different albums and
songs, they act like, in my mind, the soundtrack or what the main character has
in his iPod or something like that. If possible, an infinite supply of peanut
M&Ms.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
As a kid, I
wanted to make video games. I was, and still am, a gamer for sure. I literally
grew up with them. My degree is in computer science, and like I mentioned, I
did get the shot to work in the industry for a little while. It’d be cool to
return to it in a design capacity, come up with a cool idea to convert to that
medium. Maybe even adapt Shadow Precinct
to that form.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I just want
to thank them for reading about Shadow
Precinct
. I hope it sounds cool enough that they want to explore it
further, please hit the site up (www.shadowprecinct.com) or follow me on
twitter (@ShadowPrecinct).

Thanks for joining the blog, Chris. The artwork with your novel is impressive. I’m a fan of black, white, and shades of gray. Write on!

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