The following is an interview with Dan Schiro, author of This Bloody Game.
Welcome, Dan Schiro, to empathyseries.com! Your most recent release, This Bloody Game, is now available in ebook everywhere and in print. What’s this novel about, and why did you decide to write it?
As the first book in the AlphaOmega Series, This Bloody Game introduces self-styled hero Orion Grimslade as he tries to make a name for himself in a diverse galactic future. Yet when Orion’s security agency finally lands the high-profile job he’s been looking for, he quickly finds himself in over his head as he tries to unravel an ancient conspiracy.
As for why I decided to write it, well, that’s probably more complicated. Do writers decide to write things, or do things decide they need to be written and just ride the writer? I had a vision of an interstellar James Bond, living in a world that drew on both sci-fi and fantasy, tumbling around in my head for a long time. Before I knew it, he had friends, a city, a home base, lovers, enemies, a favorite drink, a secretary, a barber and a shape-shifting weapon that feeds on blood. These things build up until the dam breaks and the story has to come out. If there was any conscious decision on my part to write this kind of book, it’s probably because I think people who like the type of fun action and adventure stories you’d find in a summer blockbuster are sorely underserved when it comes to books. And everyone deserves to be excited about books!
Tell us more about the AlphaOmega series as a whole. How many books do you see being in it, and how many of them have you written to date?
I’m hoping the AlphaOmega Series explores years of Orion’s life as he struggles to grow as a man and a hero. Though I have an ending in mind, I hesitate to put a definitive number on how many books it will take to get there. As long as I have fresh ideas for new adventures and compelling characters, I want to keep playing in this world. More importantly, I want my readers to look forward to coming back to hang out with their friends again and again. I currently have the first four books written, and I’m working on concepts for book five. Even though I’m only in the concept-generating phase of that book, I feel like I have several ideas that could be books in their own right. The hard part is deciding which one to invest in now, and which ones to save for later books.
What made you decide to turn this into a series as opposed to expanding on the universe you created in your prior sci-fi release Rogue Destiny?
That’s a great question, because several people who read Rogue Destiny did indeed ask me if I was going to write a sequel. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great answer — again, This Bloody Game decided it needed to be written, and so here we are. In a way, I felt like Rogue Destiny explored its world so completely that there wasn’t a need to dive deeper into it. More importantly, I felt like my protagonist’s arc was complete by the end of Rogue Destiny. Zach White is still out there, dashing between stars in the Space Rogue in search of adventure, but he is who he is by the end of the story. But never fear! Those who liked Rogue Destiny will find many of the same concepts have evolved to a more refined state in This Bloody Game and the following books of the AlphaOmega Series.
Have you always written sci-fi, or have you worked in other genres as well?
Always sci-fi. Why? Well, I love it and always have, so that’s a pretty good reason. For me, sci-fi provides the best playground for imagination, and when it’s sci-fi that leans into space fantasy, there’s an opportunity for some wild, genre-bending stuff that’s really fun. I also think sci-fi can provide such and interesting lens through which to view universal themes. If you can explore the mysteries of the mind and heart in space, you should do it, right?
Would you say This Bloody Game 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?
I’d like to think This Bloody Game and the AlphaOmega Series contains some layered metaphors lurking in the background, but the readers will have to discover those for themselves. In the foreground, it’s really an examination of the concept of heroism. What makes a person want to put themselves in danger to save others and “do good?” They’re not doing it because they’re a normal, well-adjusted person — they’re doing it because they’re not normal. Furthermore, what it means to “do the right thing” is often far from clear. What kinds of violence can we justify in the name of the greater good? What are we willing to sacrifice for the greater good? Can a hero really keep his hands clean when it comes to doing good on a grand scale? These concepts fascinate me, and I love making Orion twist as he struggles with what it means to be a hero.
What makes this novel stand out from other science fiction reads?
Readers will definitely see something new and different in how the AlphaOmega universe blends technology and magic. At first glance, it may seem that the galactic society is a place of futuristic spacecraft, super-medicines, nanotechnology and sophisticated weaponry, but all of these advancements are built on an ancient foundation that is truly magical at its core. The fact that the denizens of the galaxy don’t completely understand how this magic works or where it came from creates a juxtaposition that I think readers will find surprising and compelling.
What do you hope readers take away from This Bloody Game after having read it?
It might sound simplistic, but I hope readers are transported by this story. For me, there’s nothing better than an immersive world and fast-paced storytelling to take me away from all the hassles and stresses of daily life. Some would argue that art should make some point, advance some cause or be important in all capital letters. I would contend that the greatest thing art can create is a feeling of delight in its audience. Like I said, perhaps this is a simplistic philosophy of art, but all good things are simple.
What’s next for Dan Schiro, and where can readers find you online?
Up next is AlphaOmega II: The Weapons of War, hopefully out in 2019 as well. You can get This Bloody Game and Rogue Destiny today through danschiro.com, and hit me up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Feel free to reach out — I love to talk books, and not just sci-fi.
On another note, I’d like to thank you, r. r., for giving me this opportunity to guest post. The questions seemed daunting at first, but this turned out to be a fun examination of This Bloody Game!
Thanks to Dan Schiro for joining me on empathyseries.com.
Check out the links below to get yourself a copy of This Bloody Game!
ALPHAOMEGA I: THIS BLOODY GAME
Some choose the game. Some have it thrust upon them.
Orion Grimslade III is determined to forge his own path in a galactic future awash with alien technology and ancient magic. Yet when he takes a job protecting an idealistic young politician, he finds himself drawn into a conspiracy far older and darker than anything he ever imagined.
With the help of an interstellar exile, a fierce warrior from a dying race and his own living-metal spellblade, it’s up to Orion to keep Zovaco Ralli alive until Election Day. If he can, he’ll earn the money and respect he needs to keep his business — and his dream — afloat. But who wants Zovaco dead?
Even as Orion fights his way to the heart of the conspiracy, he must do battle with his father’s expectations and the scars of his mother’s abandonment. With only his friends and his arcane training on his side, Orion must face terrible truths and make hard choices to protect a fragile thing called democracy.
Dan Schiro is a copywriter who wields his words to sell axes, exercise equipment and everything in between. He earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in English and Philosophy. Dan’s debut science-fiction novel, Rogue Destiny, is available through all the internet’s finest booksellers. Thus far, Rogue Destiny has earned positive reviews on amazon.com, iBooks and other platforms, plus one cherished piece of fan mail and one German Facebook stalker. Dan lives with his wife and daughters in Wisconsin. He would love to tell you more about himself, but speaking in the third person gives him the creeps. To be the first to know about the next novel in the AlphaOmega Series, sign up for Dan’s reader mailing list at danschiro.com today.