Interview with T. J. MacDonald

How would you catagorize Righteous Reign?
Righteous Reign does not fit into the standard sci-fi categories. There is action; but, it's not a space opera. It is military; but concentrates as much on the personal relationships. I would say it's more like a saga. The hero or heroes make great journeys, face powerful obstacles, find the loves of their lives and win great battles. Saga is not usually considered a sci-fi category; but, I like the hopeful upbeat nature of this type of story.
So, if Righteous Reign is a saga, does it have a lot of characters and character interaction?
I believe Righteous Reign has one hundred eighteen characters. Thirty-nine are heavily developed; enough so that, I have a dossier on each of those. It includes all the data pertinent to any persons life. Appearance, build, day and date of birth, home town, elementary school, secondary school, universities and colleges including degrees and graduation dates are all included with a lot of other information. As far as interactions go - they are the glue that keeps the story flowing. There are mutual problems, happy moments, crimes and even weddings within Righteous Reign.
You say you employ hard science for the story. Why?
I am a big sci-fi fan myself; and, I can accept fantastic ideas within the fiction; if they're not dominant. For example, one of my favorite series employs transporters. I understand this is a writers device. It allows the writer to virtually change scenes instantly. The issue with me is that it takes a bit for me to accept it. I think there are many people like me. Fiction writers ask their readers to suspend their disbelief. I think this is hard for the reader if there is a lot that's hard to believe. But using hard science takes a lot of work.
What do you mean; using hard science takes a lot of work?
Well if you're going to use hard science, you better know the science. For example, I have an engineering background that is heavy on physics; but, that doesn't mean I understand everything in physics perfectly. So, it requires a lot of research to ensure you really have the concept right. Once you do, you have to extrapolate into the future. You don't want the future sounding like today. A good example in Righteous Reign is my use of particle accelerators to generate relativistic mass; thus gravity. A few weeks after the initial publication of Righteous Reign, NASA announced they were working on that very concept.
Is there a twist in the plot of Righteous Reign?
Righteous Reign builds slowly to its climax which contains the twist of all times. I am quite sure it has never been used before. The climax and the twist revolve around the Emperor; but, I won't say anymore than that. It would be a real spoiler. The book is written so that when you reach the climax (and the twist) it hits like a slap in the face. It moves slowly to there; though, there are several action sequences spaced throughout that should keep the reader interested. But, the twist is sudden and shocking.
What were you trying to achieve when you wrote Righteous Reign?
I wanted to write a story that people would enjoy reading. But I wanted to make it a little hard to follow; so, they would have to think as they went along. I don't know if I'm right; but, I believe that would allow me to slowly build; so, I could just suddenly drop the twist on you. I found a good technique to create a bit of a challenge for the reader; as, long as they don't become confused by it. I worry it could lead to frustration. I want people to like it. I don't want them to put it down because they were confused.
What's the technique you used to challenge the reader?
I used a split timeline. The reader has to pay attention to the chapter titles and dates in military memos and orders. The story takes place over two timelines which are both in the future from our point of view. But in the book, one is their present and the other is the past. Kurt Brubacher is kind of my avatar. He is telling the story. We go from his present to his past and back over and over; until the two timelines meet. But, I made sure there are lots of clues; so, people can figure out where they are.
Will there be a sequel to Righteous Reign?
Yes, it is already in progress. That story starts three years after this one and takes place over a three year span. But, it all depends on Righteous Reign. The better it does the sooner the next one will appear. It's a motivational thing.
I want to thank you for this interview. Do you have any advice for those who read Righteous Reign?
Sure, the most important thing is to enjoy the story. If you get confused set it down; then, come back; sort out the timeline and start reading. If you stick with it - you will be rewarded.
Published 2016-05-10.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Righteous Reign Episode 4 Ragged Remnant
Pre-release—available July 31, 2018. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 101,350. Language: English. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
Fourth and final installment in the exciting Righteous Reign Series. Space is very cold. But, love and war are scorching hot.
Righteous Reign Episode III Rampant Rampage
Series: Righteous Reign. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 94,100. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
Rampant Rampage is the exciting fast paced third episode in the Righteous Reign series. Kurt Brubacher takes the reader on a roller coaster ride describing the effort of George Bryant to free their besieged Federation. As they solve one issue after another, the two men realize they are facing a tyrant who will stoop to anything to possess the region he so deeply covets.
Righteous Reign II Righteous Rule
Series: Righteous Reign. Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 100,180. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
Kurt Brubacher continues the saga of Admiral George Bryant relating the spell-binding story of the stressful encounter with an enemy that wages war like playing chess. Shifting us from one scene to another Kurt relates the twists and turns of Georges effort to triumph. If he wins things return to normal. If not it will be the end of the Orion Federation.
Righteous Reign
Series: Righteous Reign. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 189,670. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
Like the Greek sagas, this post-apocalyptic tale of the birth, spread, politics and battles of the giant Orion Empire and its greatest hero. Admiral George Bryant will do anything to protect his one true love and the Empire he serves and loves. He is a man of ethics and deep convictions; with the tactical genius to wage wars on a galactic scale. The shocking twist is in who leads a rebellion.