Featured Interview With Alan Felyk
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, but I moved to Colorado when I was seven. I was raised in Canon City, and I’ve spent my adult life in Denver metropolitan area. I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and spent 13 years as a newspaper editor and reporter. After that, I spent 27 years in the space industry working on new-business proposals for the Pentagon and NASA. I wrote my first book, Damaged Right Out Of The Box, in 2012. It’s a sometimes hilarious, sometimes wistful memoir. Now I’m working on Infinity’s Trinity, a series of science fiction, romance, and humor novels.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I started writing short stories when I was in junior high school. I wanted to be the next Rod Serling with dreams of going to Hollywood and working on the Twilight Zone television series. I tinkered with creative writing in college and while I was in my 20s. But I allowed life to push those dreams aside, and I didn’t begin writing in earnest until I retired from work. And yes, I do regret that I didn’t keep at it years ago.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I was always enamored with science fiction short stories. I used to buy every anthology that I could find in the bookstore. So, I have probably read something from just about every science fiction author who has ever written a short-form tale. I do have my favorites—Kurt Vonnegut, Rod Serling, Douglas Adams, Philip K. Dick to name just a few.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Damaged Beyond All Recognition was inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan. At the time, I was debating on what I should write after I published Damaged Right Out Of The Box. I thought about writing humor or a collection of science fiction short stories. And after I started Vonnegut’s book, I realized I could combine the two. My title is derived from FUBAR, a Vonnegut short story.
Originally, I outlined the book, but I wadded it up when I realized it started to feel like a college term paper. So, all I knew was how the book would begin and how it would end. And sitting down each night provided the same feeling I had whenever I sat down to watch an episode of Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead: wow, what’s going to happen next? At that point, the book became fun because it held the same mystique for me that I hoped my readers would experience they read my story.
At first, the novel was just a combination of science fiction and humor with just a dash of romance between Paul Tomenko, a celebrated counterculture writer, and Maggie Mae Monahan, a beautiful geneticist who has the ability to “connect the dots.” But the romantic element ballooned when I introduced Allie Briarsworth, a soon-to-be science fiction writer with a remarkable knack for sensing past and future events in the cosmos. Initially, she was to serve as a fleeting temptation for Paul and appear in a few chapters. But I had a dream soon after I started writing about her. In it, she walked up to me while I was typing and DEMANDED to get a more significant role in the book. (The demand was laced with a lot of choice profanities.) The next morning I mulled over her words. and a very unusual love triangle was born. It was the right decision, too—Allie seems to be everybody’s favorite character.
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