Interview with Michael Brachman

What's the story behind your latest book?
Rome's Revolution is a science fiction series about a man from the 21st century and a woman from the 35th century who meet and fall in love. Along the way, they face dangers bigger than the sun and smaller than the eye can see. Rei Bierak, the hero, is one of 543 humans, frozen and launched in the Ark II toward the stars with the hope of establishing a colony on a habitable world in the Tau Ceti system. However, the ship is damaged and tumbles in an uncontrolled fashion until it is discovered 14 centuries later. The 24-chromosome mind-connected humans of the future called the Vuduri are efficient, indifferent, and emotionally deficient. The Vuduri have conquered faster-than-light travel and have established an outpost in the Pi3 Orionis system (aka Tabit) to study why certain stars are disappearing. They thaw Rei out, he meets Rome and the adventure begins.

Cinematic in scope, Rome's Revolution offers romance, comedy, heart-pounding thrills, suspense, "legal" time travel, and meticulously researched hard science. It is a love story and a culture clash that celebrates the triumph of the individual over a mass-mind that thinks it is infallible. Rome's Revolution has it all: robots, aliens, computers, genetic manipulation, spaceships that travel faster than light and some that travel a lot slower.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I never had any intention of being an indie author. I just wanted to be an author. I wrote stories, novels, submitted them to agents for years and never got anywhere. Suddenly, this wonderful option became available and I have embraced it wholeheartedly. I can publish, edit, advertise, revise, do whatever I need to gain a wider audience.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords offers a streamlined method of submitting the books to platforms that were heretofore inaccessible. This includes the iPad, Diesel, Sony and also participants who want to download from Smashwords directly. The publicity offered when the books are first released is priceless.
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on a new series tentatively entitled Vuduri Knights. The first book, The Milk Run, is already underway. It stars Rei and Rome's son Aason. The second book, tentatively entitled Vuduri Knight, stars Aason's son Rory and his sentient plant friend B'Shev. The final book, as yet untitled, possibly will feature the return of Rei and Rome who have been given virtual immortality by a well-meaning but misguided computer friend.
Who are your favorite authors?
Growing up, I loved H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs and many of the classic authors. As I got older, I loved the works of Frederik Pohl, Roger Zelasny, Issac Asimov, Brian Aldiss, Larry Niven and others. Nowadays, I mostly like science fiction movies. I think the power of computers in rendering CGI graphics are creating visual novels unlike any other genre.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have a day job. I love the Phillies and Eagles. I take out the trash. I sleep. I eat. The usual stuff. Oh, yes, I clean other people's computers from virus infections. That eats up a lot of time. And I market my books. I watch TV in the fall. I like Survivor.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I must admit I do not read many ebooks. I actually like real books that you can hold much better. Isn't that ironic?
What is your writing process?
My stories grow in a very organic way. The idea for the next novel just comes to me. I look back over all the pieces I have written over the years to see what is relevant. Then I fit it into an outline, a short one, but an outline nonetheless. I figure out how long each chapter needs to be and what is the purpose of the chapter. Then I start writing. I usually write the more interesting (to me) chapters first then go back and fill in the connecting chapters. Luckily, my characters supply most of the dialog. I simply have them accomplish the goal and they are very cooperative. Finally, after the book is written, I hand it out to my stable of readers for feedback. Finally, I read the entire book into a recorder (on the computer) to make sure it reads well and sentences or ideas that seem so clear in my mind actually sound clear in the real world. Then I publish and accept feedback.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first science fiction story I ever read was "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle. It was the first science fiction book I ever read. As I worked my way through it, I realized this was how I wanted all my books. I love the fantastic and science fiction is the only genre where there are no limits. As long as you can justify it, you can throw it in there. It is very liberating and also challenging.
How do you approach cover design?
I try and think about the book and what is the seminal moment? There are usually several. I have to pick the one that teases but does not give the whole plot away. In Rome's Revolution, it was a snapshot of the Stareater arriving in the Tabit system. For The Ark Lords, it was when the Darwin people nuked Rome's library. For Rome's Evolution, it was an image of The Hand of Deucado. Once I have the image in hand, I sketch it out (I'm a terrible artist) and then give it to my immeasurably talented brother, Bruce, who then renders into a beautiful and completely professional cover.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have employed uncounted methods of marketing but the single biggest boost to sales is when I release another book. People stumble across it, see that it is yet another in a series and go back and purchase the first then the second and so on. So I have made it my life's goal to crank out a new novel every nine months. We'll see where that takes us.
Describe your desk
My whole work area is very plain. There are no pictures on the wall. There are no toys or novelties. I can't have anything drawing my attention since the world I am creating in my mind. Other than my computer monitor, a keyboard and a printer, that's about it. Sometimes when I am into something heavy, I may have a few papers lying around but nothing that anybody would consider interesting.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To me, writing has always been a hybrid between writing and reading. I have an idea of what the characters are going to do and where they have to be but they always surprise me with things they say and do. Sometimes I can barely keep up with their conversations. It is more like I am transcribing than authoring. It is an incredible and enjoyable experience.
Published 2013-09-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Tales of the Vuduri: Year Four
Series: Tales of the Vuduri. Price: Free! Words: 166,040. Language: English. Published: February 12, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The fascinating 35th century world of Rome’s Revolution is calling to you. Tales of the Vuduri: Year Four consists of 370 entries containing scientific tidbits, unrevealed secrets and back stories and more. Often amusing but always thought-provoking, these detailed articles should provide some entertaining insights into this brave new and amazing world.
The Vuduri Companion
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 98,700. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The Vuduri Companion is a compilation of 30 backstories and articles filling in many of the mysteries underlying the 35th century world of Rome’s Revolution. The origination of the Ark program and the man who invented the PPT star-drive are just a few. Also included are two original short stories written exclusively for this volume plus the very first version of Rome’s Revolution written in 1973.
Tales of the Vuduri: Year Three
Series: Tales of the Vuduri, Volume 3. Price: Free! Words: 155,010. Language: English. Published: January 24, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
It's time to go back to the fascinating 35th century world of Rome’s Revolution. Tales of the Vuduri: Year Three offers you 366 additional entries containing even more scientific tidbits, unrevealed secrets and back stories. Often amusing but always thought-provoking, these detailed articles should provide some entertaining insights into this brave new and amazing world.
The Milk Run
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 89,610. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
While testing out a new star-drive, Aason Bierak's sister Lupe is kidnapped by creatures made solely of light. Aason embarks on a desperate search to rescue her ultimately leading to a dimension beyond comprehension.
Tales of the Vuduri: Year Two
Series: Tales of the Vuduri, Volume 2. Price: Free! Words: 140,350. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
A second look behind the curtain at the fascinating 35th century world of Rome’s Revolution. Tales of the Vuduri: Year Two offers you 366 additional entries containing even more scientific tidbits, unrevealed secrets and back stories. Often amusing but always thought-provoking, these detailed articles should provide some entertaining insights into this brave new world.
Tales of the Vuduri: Year One
Series: Tales of the Vuduri, Volume 1. Price: Free! Words: 123,570. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
Come look behind the curtain at the fascinating 35th century world of Rome’s Revolution. Tales of the Vuduri: Year One offers you 366 entries containing backstories, scientific tidbits, unrevealed secrets and more. Often amusing but always thought-provoking, detailed insights into this brave new world await your arrival.
Rome's Evolution
Series: Rome's Revolution, Book 3. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 84,520. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
Past and future collide in this riveting conclusion to the Rome's Revolution series. One day, Rei and Rome's peace is suddenly shattered by an explosion, destroying their house and leaving Rei severely injured. Who planted the bomb and why? The plot to kill Rei and Rome stretches all the way to the Earth with their son, Aason caught directly in the cross-hairs.
Future Past
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 107,340. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
An ordinary man, currently "between wives" stumbles upon an audition for a new reality show. The show's pitch: We’ve all had so many relationships over our lifetime, some that we remember clearly and some that have dimmed with the passage of time. We always think back and wonder if somebody we had met, someone we had dated, somebody we had loved a long time ago was really the right person for us.
The Ark Lords
Series: Rome's Revolution, Book 2. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 79,620. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
If a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous, then too much knowledge could be deadly! In this fast-paced sequel to the novel Rome’s Revolution, Rei, Rome and MINIMCOM, the 35th century starship that was once a computer, embark on a desperate race through three star systems to try to prevent The Ark Lords from rising again. At stake is nothing less than the fate of all of mankind!
Rome's Revolution
Series: Rome's Revolution, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 168,200. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
Rome's Revolution is an interstellar saga about a man from the 21st century and a woman from the 35th century who fight forces from the incomprehensibly large to the infinitesimally small, all intent on destroying mankind. It is a love story and a culture clash. If you are looking for some science in your science fiction, this book is for you.