What is The Andromeda Project about?
In so many words, The Andromeda Project is about the potential fall of humanity. The alien known as Neight Caster has sought temporary refuge on Earth. His arrival means our immediate future has one of two results, evolution or extinction. Neight warns of a highly sought after power beneath Earth’s crust that can protect humanity from destruction. In exchange for resources, he agrees to assist in locating it.
Lead by Nicolas Delemar, a human archaelogist, the Andromeda Project is formed by the world’s strongest governments to discreetly fund the search. A mysterious tragedy brings the project’s progress to a stand still.
Twelve years later we find Allister Adams at a crossroads in his life where he can continue to hide from his potential or find true purpose. Despite his mother’s advice, Allister enters the revived Andromeda Project, to learn more about himself, his past and his future. There he discovers they aren’t the only organization after the elusive power and he may have chosen the wrong side to fight on. He’ll have to decide who’s right, who’s wrong and what’s necessary.
The novel follows each character in a specific way as they learn about themselves, what role they play in a bigger plan and how the battle between self preservation and sacrifice is ever present. Perspective, understanding and purpose are all major themes in The Andromeda Project and without fully realizing these, our characters won’t survive. If they don’t survive then neither does humanity.
Finding purpose and understanding one another are definitely themes which stand out in The Andromeda Project. Do you feel society right now is doing enough to realise how important these things are?
Some people are, some people aren’t. I’ve seen more “purpose” and “understanding” in the younger generations. I believe there’s more we can do as a whole, as humans. You know, not as Americans or Europeans or intellectuals or within our class systems. As I said those separations are only relevant within Earth but what if we left, or if something came here?
I could’ve written a non-fiction work about these concepts as well but I figured this would be a bit more fun for everyone.
Allister Adams, one of the key characters in the story certainly faces some big challenges in the story. Where did your inspiration for him come from?
Allister has been around almost as long as I have. At first his name was Jordan and I dreamed him up at about seven years old. Over the years, he’s grown and evolved with me. My inspiration for him in this first book came from my own experiences and experiences from close friends.
In The Andromeda Project, Allister deals with loss, lack of purpose, but most importantly, he has amazing gifts that he hasn’t been using because he’s been told not to. It happens to the best of us, because being normal and accepted are safer routes than standing out and striving to be who we’re meant to be. Sometimes other people tell us to conform, sometimes it’s us telling ourselves.
Allister’s struggles throughout the novel are very similar to the struggles I’ve faced as a writer, even as recent as the process of publishing. But neither of us had a choice in pursuing our true purpose, it was meant to be and it was time. As Neight says, “Time is everything.”
Had you planned out the storyline before you began writing or were you creating it as you went?
I’ve planned out the storylines for the entire series. There was a lot of content packed into the earlier version of the manuscript, which I think is normal. Sometimes I added concepts in that I felt needed to fleshed out, but I ended up removing them later because they were too distracting. They’ll be incorporated into the series in later titles.
Why did you go back and rewrite 500 pages of the book?
When my editor came back to me and said things start to go a little crazy after page 100, my heart dropped. She could tell over the phone I was overwhelmed, confused, and anxious. As a writer, (as a creator really), there can be a big disconnect between where you think you are in the process and where you really are in the process. I thought I was so close to publishing! At that point I had gone from 220,000 words to 180,000 words and thought okay this is a pretty solid story.
Thankfully, I hired a content editor because the story had way too much content, the conflict wasn’t clear, I introduced so many characters, civilizations, new concepts, it was overwhelming. She told me I needed to get it down to 100,000 words, that was the hardest part. 80,000 words had to go.
To be fair, in my professional career as a brand story teller I’ve always emphasized focus. Be known for one really great thing and build off of that as your product gains traction. With that mentality I’ve learned not to become emotionally attached to ideas, storylines, or characters. Over half of the content was moved into the second book, everything else was cut completely. It surprised me at times how easy it was to highlight and delete entire sections of dialogue that I loved. I knew it would stay in my head though and if I wanted to bring it back in a different way I could, but it didn’t belong in this story. Some of the character motivations had to change, their interactions with each other had to change. No characters that I really liked got the axe, in fact if I knew if I wanted them to stay, I had to keep them there for a reason. So in many ways it helped me expand on their role within the plot.
I write for me, I write what I want to read as a young person who is into science fiction and fantasy, with a steady career and wide range of interests. I rewrote 500 pages because it’s tough but very necessary to play both sides, between what’s marketable/sellable and the story I want to tell.
Are Neight and Nicolas based off people you know?
Neight and Nicolas are based off of lifestyles, ideologies and personalities of people I know. Neight’s name and character has been consistent, he came from my seven year old imagination as well. As I’ve learned more about people, why we do the things we do, why we don’t do things, how fear, lack of time, and societal pressures play a role in our choices every day. I wanted to position Neight above all of that in a sense, to be able to look from above the turmoil and make the decision that’s best for everyone in the long run. I wanted him to appear not selfish. Neight represents patience, wisdom, logic sometimes at the cost of traditional emotions like love, fear, desperation.
Nicolas is quite the opposite, he’s definitely an antagonist but I hope people can see themselves in him. How his narrow perspective causes him to hurt people around him, even those closest to him.
What I want everyone to learn from Neight and Nicolas is perspective, because if an alien were to come to Earth, its not going to care how long you think you have to live, your career goals, your race or sexuality. We are all humans and the most important distinction between each other are the choices we make.
Do you have a set routine for writing or do you write when you feel inspired to?
I met an author about three years ago and he told me to write a page a day. I adopted the mentality and suggest it to other young writers when they ask. Otherwise, it can be daunting.
I normally take one day over a weekend to put in a solid 6-10 hours of uninterrupted writing. During the week I write for an hour or so before I go to bed. Every bit helps.