Today’s guest is H. Peter Alesso, author of the science fiction space opera, Lieutenant Heny Gallant. As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, Peter has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of seven books.
Thank you for this interview, Peter. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, I conducted research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for over twenty years. As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL, I led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. I graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. I have published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and I am the author/co-author of seven books. My website is www.hpeteralesso.com.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, one man pits the naked human mind against the perspicacity of machine intelligence.
In an era of genetic engineering, Lieutenant Henry Gallant is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. Many of his superiors, including rival Anton Neumann, have expressed concern he is not up to the challenge. However, his unique mental abilities have proven essential to the defense of the United Planets in its fight against the Titan invaders.
Serving on the first FTL prototype, the Intrepid, on its maiden voyage to Tau Ceti, Gallant finds a lost colony on the planet Elysium. Cyrus Wolfe and his son, manipulate planet politics against the democratic opposition led by James Hepburn and his granddaughter Alaina. Wolfe has allied himself with an ancient Artificial Intelligence which had lain dormant on the planet for millennia, but is now willing to protect the colonists against the Titans.
With Alaina’s help, Gallant discovers the ancient AI has a sinister ulterior motive and he matches his unique and exceptional mind against the complexity of machine intelligence to escape the ultimate trap and prevent the extermination of humanity.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
All stories involve basic human behavior—emotional and physiological reactions to specific internal and external stresses. What makes science fiction special is the tension originates from unexpected places with unusual characters and strange circumstance all of which combine to produce surprisingly ordinary human responses. These manufactured adventures can be a wonderful entertainment. I’ve enjoyed them all my life.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
I believe science fiction should be based on hard scientific principles. I researched the technology included in the story and tried to project their development path into the next centuries. For example, genetic engineering is current an important topic in our society and humanity faced difficult choices as it develops over the course of the next century. In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, genetic engineering plays an influential role in the background, but it is cast against another important innovation that also may prove a future concern—Artificial Intelligence.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
In the past, I have published several books through large traditional publishers, but for Lieutenant Henry Gallant I chose self-publication in order to get the book to market more quickly.
Was it the right choice for you?
Yes, it allowed me more flexibility in editing and marketing choices.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I am participating in Virtual Blog Tours, Facebook ads, and I will offer free copies on Goodreads when the paperback copy is available in October.
How is that going for you?
This marketing approach was successful for the first book in The Henry Gallant Saga. However, I have found that the impact of social media is hard to gauge and evaluate though it has certainly been successful for other authors.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
Interviews are very helpful in explaining the author’s perspective and intent. Often readers find this interesting enough to form an opinion of the author’s philosophy.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I am the founder of a software company that develops Android apps, see www.videosoftwarelab.com.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Find a great editor.
You wouldn’t know if you are writing well, until you work with a knowledgeable editor. An experienced editor will tell you when your book is ready for publication—when the characters are properly defined, the plot arc is properly developed, and the environments are clearly described.
So once again, I say, find a great editor.
What’s next for you?
I am looking forward to further developing The Henry Gallant Saga—if the readers encourage me to do so through their reviews.
Thank you for this interview, Peter. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Lieutenant Henry Gallant is available at Amazon.