Please welcome Tony Bertauski to the newest interview series from Author PK Tyler! This series is highlighting an amazing project, with 23 award-winning, and best-selling authors, Dominion Rising!

Tony is a fan of big plot twists, Piers Anthony & Isaac Asimov. He has always been fascinated by robots and AI. Writing is a thought experiment for Tony to explore human nature and possibilities and I’m thrilled to have him here to share some of his insights with us!

We hope you enjoy getting to know this Dominion Rising author a little better today on this installment of the Dominion Rising Science Fiction & Fantasy Interview Series.

PK Tyler: You have written a few series, including The Socket Greeny Saga: A Science Fiction Saga, Halfskin: A Technothriller, and The Annihilation of Foreverland: A science Fiction Thriller. Can you tell us a little more about each series, and what kind of reader they might attract?

Tony Bertauski: It all started with Socket.

I didn’t plan to write fiction. Ten years ago, I was mostly a technical writer who had published a couple of textbooks and was writing a newspaper column. I stumbled into fiction when I started writing a story for my son and caught the bug. I spent years crafting The Socket Greeny Saga and was fortunate enough to catch the burgeoning indie wave. Self-publishing was just getting started.

Socket and Foreverland were both written for a YA audience. Like much of YA, a large part of fans are older. It’s much more gritty than most YA, something closer to The Maze Runner or Hunger Games. While there are romantic elements, it’s no Twilight. Halfskin is more of an adult audience.

The common thread in all my writing explores human consciousness in sort of a Zen manner—who am I, what’s my purpose? I value a fast plot with surprise plot twists, The Sixth Sense, that sort of thing.

PK Tyler: Dominion Rising is an independent box set with 23 amazing authors taking part. What drew you to participate in this box set? Did you know the organizers, or were you excited to work with other science fiction authors you might not have known?

Tony Bertauski: Dominion Rising was a way to expand my audience. Boxed sets like this are a great way for readers to sample a list of authors with little financial risk. I’ve worked in other boxed sets and enjoyed the synergy with fellow authors. This has been no different.

I knew a few of the authors before I started, but this has been an amazing experience.

Writing is not my full-time gig. I teach during the week and look forward to writing on the weekend. The authors in this boxed set are indie pros. The energy and creativity dedicated to marketing and curating has been incredible. A lot of this experience will stay with me long after the boxed set has gone to sleep.

PK Tyler: Now it’s time for the good stuff! What are you writing for Dominion Rising? Is it part of another series you’ve written? Is it sci-fi, fantasy, or something in between? Tell us more!

Tony Bertauski: I had nearly finished the novel Maze: The Waking of Grey Grimm when I joined the boxed set. I had initially planned to release the novel in May/June but I’d been looking for an opportunity like this and the timing was perfect.
The Maze started as a sci-fi short story. It falls in line with my other work—an entertaining exploration of consciousness. The Maze is a global full-sensory immersion game. While the objectives vary, it typically wipes a player’s memories and reassigns an identity. Players wake in an alternate reality as real as our own. They have to find their way out.
And sometimes they don’t know they’re even playing.

PK Tyler: You mention Peirs Anthony and Isaac Asimov in your bio, can you tell us about a few more authors in science fiction or fantasy that inspire you? Or maybe, you’re one of those voracious readers who finds inspiration for your own work from a vast array of genres?

Tony Bertauski: Frank Herbert was the first author that inspired me. This was long before I thought of becoming a writer. It was how he created an entire universe that included cultures and philosophy—I was in awe.

Nowadays, I marvel at authors with an incredible voice. Stephen King, Paula Hawkins, John Scalzi, and Gillian Flynn are great talents. Sometimes reading makes me a better writer.

PK Tyler: As a final note, tell us about one thing you’ve learned or experienced working with the Dominion Rising team, and one thing that surprised you!

Tony Bertauski: So much I’ve learned about promotion opportunities and attention to detail. Most of all, it’s the professionalism.

I still write part-time and that probably won’t change anytime soon. This is a second job for me and isn’t likely to change. Indie writing is my perfect match. A lot has been said about indie writers from those who view traditional publishing the one and only true route to reaching fans. These folks are real writers. This avenue is legit.

PK Tyler: Thanks so much for being my latest interview victim!

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My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I’ve always fancied fiction.

I’m a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I’d rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That’s the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it’s only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer’s Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult’s struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I’m a big fan of plot twists.

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