Simon J. Dodd


Lt. Margaret “Racetrack” Edmondson played a key role in the events of “Battlestar Galactica.” In “The Racetrack Chronicle,” coming March 2018, find out who she was and what happened below-decks on the Galactica.

Smashwords Interview

How do you approach cover design?
For this book, I had two fairly clear ideas for the cover, and I went with the one that was better-formed and more practical to implement. I had a clear idea of what the elements and typography would be, and so it was just a question of finding the right balance among those elements. The typography was a no-brainer, there were two typefaces I knew immediately were right from aesthetic and genre perspectives. And I knew that the focal-point should be Maggie, the main character. But because she has this relationship to the ship, she's always thought of it almost as a guardian-angel of sorts, I liked the idea of shooting the ship from a low angle so it looms over Maggie. I like that visual language, both for the looming aspect and also because insofar as we're seeing what's recognizably the Galactica but from an angle we're not used to seeing, which is exactly what the reader finds in the book once we get there.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
It's a cheat, but the Expanse trilogy, starting with Leviathan Wakes, directly inspired the idea that I could write fiction. I've written non-fiction for a long time, I learned by reverse engineering writers like Antonin Scalia, Frank Easterbook, and Jonah Goldberg, where, stylistically, you want it to be concise, forceful, vivid, and recognizably personal. Corey's writing-style is so clear and direct, almost minimalist, and I just immediately loved the idea that fiction could be written that way, in something like the way I already knew how to do.

Not a book, not even really a writer, but definitely a person who writes who's influenced me is CGP Grey, who wrote a post a few years ago about a model of writing that he describes as "iterative." The idea is that you start with a zeroth draft and work through dozens and dozens of iterations, just trying to make it a little better each time. And that was great because if Corey showed me it could be done, Grey showed me how to actually do it. (He gets a namecheck in the book: Maggie mentions a series of novels she likes, the "Detective Grey Mysteries.")

What else? The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill is probably the ur-book for me. I read that when I was young and it's always stayed with me. This will sound weird in a fiction context, but David McCullough's The Great Bridge has amazing pacing and vivid writing. Early Clancy; The Hunt for Red October has fingerprints all over this one, I think. Greg Bear's Forge of God. It's also a cheat to say Asimov's Foundation series, but that was certainly my first exposure to what you could call "epic sci-fi." That's got to be five in there somewhere!
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Where to find Simon J. Dodd online


The Racetrack Chronicle
Price: Free! Words: 85,060. Language: English. Published: March 18, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Military
In Battlestar Galactica, Margaret “Racetrack” Edmondson repeatedly played pivotal but unsung roles. She was the first human to see the inside of a baseship. The first to lay eyes on New Caprica, on the Resurrection Hub, on the Colony. She was a key witness to and integral part of every major event. Now, in "The Racetrack Chronicle," find out where she came from and who she was.

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