The following is an interview with fellow science fiction author, M.D. Neu.
Welcome, M.D. Neu, to empathyseries.com! Your most recent release, A New World–Contact is now available in ebook everywhere and in print from most major retailers. What’s this novel about, and why did you decide to write it?
Thank you for hosting me, r.r. Well, basically the novel is about aliens coming to Earth in need of our help. The story takes place in modern times so the world you see in the book is very much our world. Here is the basic blurb:
On the cusp of the greatest announcement humankind has ever witnessed, Todd’s personal world is thrown into turmoil when his estranged brother shows up on his front porch with news of ships heading for Earth’s orbit. The ships are holding the Nentraee, a humanoid race who have come to Earth in need of help after fleeing the destruction of their homeworld. How will one man bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age of man or will bigotry and miscommunication bring this small world to its knees and final end?
The reason I wrote the novel and the series is twofold. First, I asked myself what would happen if the President of the United States came on TV tomorrow and told us that aliens were coming to our world. Not to take over, but in need of our help. They are refugees and need a place to live. What would we do? How would this affect religion, global politics, our day-to-day life, etc. How would the aliens react to us? They would see the good, the bad, and the ugly. The idea is huge and the ramification are immense. You would have some people welcome it and others not. I got to play with all this in the books.
The second reason for the novel is I wanted to see gay characters (not in a romance) who don’t typically get the spotlight shown on them, especially in Sci Fi, have their moment. Even with the harsh edges of some of the characters, I wanted my queer characters, who are not perfect, to have an amazing adventure. I wanted this to be a story that had nothing to do with the fact they were queer (even though it does play a small role in the overall story). The queer elements are in the background, not the focus.
You’ve written in other genres before, so what made you want to get into the world of science fiction?
Actually, this novel, well, Contact and Conviction were the first novel I wrote (they started as one novel, but have been split into two), I continued to work on them while my other books came out. Anyway, I love Sci Fi. Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, the Orville, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, pretty much anything Sci Fi I’m into. The problem I have with Sci Fi, in general, is unless you read romance, you never see queer characters. Oh sure you get the occasional side character, or suspected character, or whatever, but never do you get to see the queer character as the main character. Happily that is changing, but still I wanted to write that book.
Would you say A New World–Contact focuses more on character, classic sci-fi tropes and themes, or the world in which the novel takes place? In other words, what really lies at the heart of this story?
This story is character driven and deals with larger topics going on in our world right now (like all Sci Fi), but at the heart of the story is a gay man trying to live his life in the best way he can and to make the world, our world, a better place. Family, Friends, Love and Loss all play a big role in this story. You get a sense of that from the get go. Todd, as well as my alien point-of-view characters Mirtoff and Mi’ko, are just beings. Doing the best they can with whatever the universe has thrown at them. I want this story to be about the people and how they deal with these larger issues.
What makes this novel stand out from other science fiction reads?
For one, you won’t see or read about romance or sex. This is not a romance novel. This is a Sci Fi novel. There may be small elements of romance but everything is fade to black. The other thing you’ll get in this novel is unapologetic characters. We all say and do things that people won’t agree with and these characters are no different, so there are moments were characters may say things that offend the reader, it’s not meant to put people off, it’s done to show these characters are real people who have faults and who are as imperfect as we are.
Now I’m not saying that this is dark and gritty, but it should feel real and I think that is something that is missing from most Sci Fi. In some cases it all feels to perfect and everyone is too nice. I tried to not go that route with this book or with the series. For me this book is a mirror of who we are at this moment in time. We shouldn’t really like the image we see staring back at us, but we should see the hope.
The other big point about the novel that I hope stands out is that the gay is not the focus of the story. Like I’ve mentioned this novel is all about people. Who they share their bed with is not important.
What do you hope readers take away from A New World–Contact after having read it?
That we need to stop looking at our differences and start seeing our similarities. We spend so much time trying to put ourselves in boxes that we’ve developed this fear of ‘the other.’ Instead of celebrating who we all are, we pick at each other and that doesn’t help anyone. You see it every day. I want people to sit back and ask themselves, if aliens showed up tomorrow would all this petty BS really matter?
What’s next for M.D. Neu, and where can readers find you online?
Oh gosh. Okay, well coming out on March 11, 2019 is Book two A New World-Conviction, it will wrap up this first part of the story. In June 2019 I have my urban fantasy novel coming out T.A.D.-The Angel of Death. That should be a lot of fun. I’m also working on book three in the A New World series. That one is called Conspiracy and I’m in the process of wrapping up the first draft of book two of The Calling, which has the working title of The Called.
Also, February 21, 2019 I’m having my official book launch for A New World-Contact. People can find the details on my Facebook page. I’m also in conversation with some other area venues to do book signings. So there is a lot happening.
People can find me at all the usual haunts; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They can also sign up or my mailing list so they never miss anything that is going on.
Find M.D. Neu online at the links below!
M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA fiction writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has
influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of nineteen plus years.
Thanks so much to M.D Neu for visiting the EMPATHY series blog!