Interview with sci-fi author John Adrian Tomlin

Sci-fi author
John Adrian Tomlin joins me
today and we’re talking about his new novel, The Imaginarium Machine.
Welcome, John. Please tell us a little
bit about yourself.
I was born
with a genetic disease called merosin deficient muscular dystrophy. I am in a
motor wheelchair and I am physically weak and unable to walk. Growing up, I
made playing video games my hobby…more like an obsession. It started when I was
five years old when got an Atari. After the Atari, I got an NES, then a SNES,
PC, N64, Gamecube, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Wii, and finally a Playstation
4. Today, I’m 35 and still playing.
I have a B.S.
in Game Art and Design from Westwood College Online. The goal was to become a
game designer, but it’s hard to get a job at the video game companies near me
(Rockstar San Diego and High Moon Studios). The closest I got was interning as
a tester at Rockstar San Diego. Also, my physical ailment limits me to my full
potential.
Game
designing is just a different form of storytelling, and since I couldn’t get in
the video game industry, I needed a different medium. I decided to write books
when, I believe, God gave me the idea of a future E3 conference where they were
introducing a new device that allows you to play in your mind instead of the TV
which would allow you to interact with all five senses. The plot came later.
Please tell us about your current
release.
Well,
technically my current release is “The Imaginarium World,” which is the sequel
to “The Imaginarium Machine.” I’ll talk about “The Imaginarium Machine” first.
It’s about a video game console that lets you play in your mind instead of the
television. This opens up the opportunity to fully immerse the player in the
game world. The world gets excited for this new device and most people buy it
when released. Over time, more and more people buy it and they have fun using
it. It’s also being used for other purposes, like talking to a comatose patient
or attending class when a snowstorm prevents everyone from going to the school.
All was going great until one day a calamity happens where everyone in the
Imaginarium Machine becomes trapped inside and unable to get out. An
investigation leads to a manhunt for the person or persons responsible and to
free everyone trapped inside.
The sequel
“The Imaginarium World” takes place five years after the events of “The
Imaginarium Machine.” It’s about the aftermath of the calamity and how people
live now. In this book, I took inspiration from “The Walking Dead” in that it
focuses on characters and the drama that they’re living.
What inspired you to write this book?
I believe
that God inspired me because the idea wasn’t something I planned on. Once the
idea was implanted in me, I ran with it like a little boy playing with a new
toy. I started writing out the idea, and then the plot came out little by
little like a movie playing in my head. Nothing was planned ahead of time. I
was writing each word, each sentence, and each paragraph one step at a time. It
was like I was walking with God in faith that we will write this together and
trust that He will guide me in the right direction.
Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Imaginarium Machine:
 The
Conference
“Welcome
to E3 2030 on G4. We are your hosts, Axel Wayne and Mandy Kohn. We’re here at
the Sony conference, awaiting the news of a next gen gaming console, with
rumors that this will blow the competition away.” Axel then turns his head to
Mandy.
“That’s
right. But what could we possibly expect? What more could we ask for? I just
don’t see how we can expand upon what we already have. Even virtual reality has
been done to death perfectly with the Xbox World. I guess we’ll just have to
wait and see what Sony has up their sleeve.” While Mandy and Axel are talking
about rumors and speculation, the background music starts to get louder and the
lights dim.
“Well,
it looks like we’re about to start, so we’ll see you after the show.” Axel and
Mandy turn their heads away from the camera and face the giant screen on the
big stage.
The
video playing shows clips of the generations of Playstation consoles starting
with the original Playstation and ending with the Playstation 5. It also shows
how far we have gone with the games graphically, from a pixilated mess to
absolute realism. The video ends with an unknown logo that has a resemblance to
Playstation. As the music lowers down, the lights go up and the president of
Sony Computer Entertainment International comes out.
“Hello,
everyone! I’m Adam Stanley, president of Sony Computer Entertainment
International. What you have seen today is a glimpse of the past, but now we
must look to the future. What could possibly be in the future, you may ask. Is
it just more games, a new console, or new accessories? Well, in short, the answer
is all the above. But I can’t just make a short answer like that. It wouldn’t
be fair. So let’s take at a look at what games are missing. So far, we have an
experience that lets you interact with a controller with buttons or using
motion control or using your voice to do certain things. That’s all well and
good, but you’re still missing out on experiencing being in the world. Things
like smell, touch, and taste are nonexistent. Feeling the wind in your hair,
smelling a field of flowers, or touching a scaly dragon can’t ever happen with
the technology of TV. This brings me to what we have been working on, here, at
Sony. But my words can’t do justice what a video can. So I will draw your
attention to the big screen, please.” As the lights dim, Adam walks off the
stage.
The
video shows a man alone in an empty world. The man waves his hand like he’s
painting a canvas, and the world materializes into a field of red and white
flowers with petals flying around. The sky is bright and blue, and the sun
shines on the man’s face. The man closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, like
he is soaking up the world as his own. He opens his eyes and takes a walk down
through the flowers with the wind blowing in his hair. He then waves his hand
again, and out of nowhere, a fierce-looking dragon appears. It blows fire into
the sky, challenging the man into a fight. The man then raises his hand and out
comes a sword. The man takes a fighting stance and stares at the dragon. The
dragon stares back and gives a roaring snort. The video then goes to black and
out comes that unknown logo again.
What exciting story are you working on
next?
I’m working
on the third book of the Imaginarium trilogy currently titled “The Imaginarium
Conspiracy.” It answers any and all unanswered questions from the previous
books and opens up the reasons and motives for the great calamity.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
I got my
first taste in writing in fourth grade. The teacher assigned us to write a
story in 30 minutes (I think it was 30 minutes). Any story at all. I just wrote
what I saw that came to my mind as if a movie was playing. We all turned in the
assignment when we were done. This is a class of around 30 kids. The next day,
the teacher said, in a nutshell, that everyone’s story was bad…except one.
Mine. She asked me if she could read it to the class. I said sure. I honestly
don’t remember what I wrote, but that experience told me that I have a hidden
talent to tell stories. I didn’t really exercise my talent until I started
writing “The Imaginarium Machine.” I still feel I could get better the more I
write.
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?
Due to my
handicapped status, I’m unable to work or travel long distance. I mostly play
video games, watch TV and movies, do physical therapy, and I write when I can
and when I’m in the mood. I type with a mouse and the On-Screen Keyboard, which
makes typing slow. I used to type on a keyboard fairly well, but not anymore.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I can’t
really say because I feel like I’m not fully experienced yet. My writing style,
if it really is a style, stems from playing video games and watching TV/movies.
I guess I need to read more books.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
At first, I
wanted to be a doctor. I think most kids wanted that. I also wanted to be in
the Air Force to fly jets. I also imagined that it would be cool to be a sniper
in the military. If it wasn’t for the muscular dystrophy, I would have either
become a fighter pilot or sniper. I feel like I have a warrior’s heart.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I hope you
enjoy my book(s) The Imaginarium Machine
and The Imaginarium World. I pray you
will be fully entertained and love my work. God bless you all.
Links:

Thanks for being here today, John. Happy writing.

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