Q&A: Dan Melson

Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer in his day job, Dan Melson lives in Southern California with The World’s Only Perfect Woman, daughters in training to take over the world, and two dachshunds.

Life in the Empire has finally settled down. The last of the ston rebels have taken amnesty, and re-joined civilization – or have they? A massive terrorist attack kills millions and the trail leads the investigator straight to a remote world with no known Imperial contact – a world known to its inhabitants as Earth.

My questions are all about Melson’s book: The Man From Empire (Rediscovery book 1 of 4). If you are looking for additional information about this author and his writing check out the following social media links:

Blog: http://www.danmelson.com/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/Dan.Melson.Author/

Melson provided me with an excerpt to share with my readers.

Let’s take a look inside the book:

Twenty-three kilometers up, Osh Scimtar felt the explosion through his feet.

More ominously, he immediately realized that he was no longer feeling the full force of Sharanna’s acceleration. The building was falling.

Quick probes with his mental abilities and datalink told him all he needed to know about this disaster before it happened. Blue Gold Arcology held fifty-two million people at the peak of the primary business day, and its’ support columns had been severed and back up gravity generators destroyed by a series of cutter bombs at the base.

There was no time for anything but trying to save as many people as possible. He commanded all portals within the arcology to lock into emergency exodus mode – they would lock onto the destination chosen by the first person to enter them, and would refuse to accept any incoming traffic. Matos, his superior, beat him by less than a millionth of a second to flashing the emergency via all data channels.

Osh wasn’t concerned for his own safety. Like roughly a seventh of the Imperial population, he was capable of generating his own portals. The question was how many he would be able to save with himself.

Next question, what would happen to the mass of Blue Gold as it fell? Either of the destroyed systems would have had no difficulty keeping the Arcology up alone, but with broken supports and no gravity generators, the hull charge on the building wasn’t enough to keep it from falling – down or over. That hull charge was the real issue, as it was likely to cause irregular resistance as the massive arcology fell, imparting lateral force to the building as a whole. In short, the hull charge made it more likely the building would fall sideways, into the lesser arcologies surrounding it. The choice was to order the hull charge dissipated and hope it fell straight enough not to hit the smaller but still populous arcologies around it, or keep it on in order to buy perhaps an extra minute to escape with a practical certainty it would fall and hit at least one of its lesser brethren, more likely two or three.

Osh ran a quick mental simulation – the structural systems of arcologies were tough. It would take something more than bare mass to bring them down, but if Blue Gold Arcology still had its own hull charge when it hit a neighboring arcology, there was considerable doubt they’d maintain their integrity. He linked with Matos, his superior, who concurred in his estimate, and Matos ordered the hull charge dissipated. It wouldn’t make that much of a difference to those inside Blue Gold Arcology.

Already in the first four seconds, at least a million would have died as the lower floors pancaked, falling ever faster with the force of Sharanna’s acceleration. Ironically, the people at the top would have the longest fall, and therefore the greatest chance to find a way to save themselves. More than eight sixtieths of the imperial population were Guardians, and most of them would be able to rescue some non-operants as well – perhaps two or three each. Perhaps another five or six sixtieths might make it through a portal on time. Some few would be close enough to vehicles or spacecraft on the parking levels to get out. Isolated individuals might figure something out that enabled them to escape or be rescued, but already the lowest levels were crushed debris, and the levels above were crashing to ground with ever greater force. Osh estimated than probably eighteen million would die in the minute it would take for the collapse to complete itself – at the end, the top floors would be falling at supersonic speeds. Most of the non-operants were simply too far inside the building to have any hope of escape.

Osh, Matos, and all three of Osh’s Primus subordinates were among the Guardians – one of them, Fridalisa, was a known Fourth Order Guardian, and she had already created a portal for everyone in the government office to escape the fall, with a terminus in Leading Edge Arcology, too far away to be endangered by the fall of Blue Gold. Aided by Matos she was expanding it downwards as fast as she could – an escape column in one corner of a building several kilometers on a side. It wasn’t much, but it was what could be done. Matos and the Primuses had the situation in hand; that left Osh free to investigate.

He stretched his perception to the now crushed sublevels where the explosion had been. There was a fading Instance Portal not five steps from one of the blast centers. Where it led, he couldn’t tell, but it wasn’t the home Instance. There wasn’t much doubt; the ston terrorist who planted the bombs had fled through that portal. The time for action was now; in the next minute tracking down the exit Instance, let alone a precise destination, would be something that would take a specialist days at least to track down. Osh didn’t want to emerge right on top of his quarry, so he applied a small lateral – thirty ififths. He was confident he would be able to sort out the proper Personal Event Line from that distance. He reached his hand into his personal pocket for his main weapon, and projected himself through the portal.

It’s time to delve into the Q. & A.

This my favourite part. My Questions are crafted to give a reader a clear look at how an author writes; what drives them; and what can be expected in their books.


Carol Ann: What genre would you say the book falls into?

Dan Melson: Space Opera. It has elements of action/adventure and coming of age story, but it’s a space opera.


Carol Ann: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content readers should know about?

Dan Melson: Two non-sexual adult situation scenes, including one with nudity


Carol Ann: What is your favourite Quote?

Dan Melson: “Don’t you have any adults on this planet?”


Carol Ann: What advice do you have for new writers?

Dan Melson: The same advice my dachshunds would have about most things: Persistence will get you there. Don’t expect to succeed immediately. I’ve been writing for forty years. Some of it, I’m really glad it wasn’t published. But everything you write will help you. The difference between the master and the novice is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried. I’m not claiming to be anything like a master, but it’s the failures that helped me learn.


Carol Ann: Where do you write?

Dan Melson: By preference, at my desktop at home. I really appreciate having a good keyboard and a good trackball and a broadband connection for research on the fly. But I can write on my laptop any time I have half an hour to work with.


Carol Ann: Are your characters real to you? Do you speak to them?

Let me illustrate: In pretty much all of my stories, the characters – not me – have had better ideas that have changed my pre-planned plot significantly, making it better.


Carol Ann: What piece of advice from other authors do you hear the most but choose to ignore?

Dan Melson: Follow the market. The money is in traditional publishing.


Carol Ann: Which do you prefer – Novels or Novellas and why?

Dan Melson: Evidence says novels. Every one of my stories has been over 60,000 words. The characters think things through. They make plans in response to events, and sometimes the adversaries do smart things too. You can’t gloss the thought process of the characters coming up with something better. Not and have it be an actual thought process.


Carol Ann: Are there any Easter eggs in your book(s)?

Dan Melson: General pop culture references, yes. Teasing other story lines from other works, which is what I consider to be Easter Eggs, I try to avoid except where necessary. They’re cool, but they can also alienate someone who’s giving you a try for the first time.


Carol Ann: What’s your favourite food? Have you ever mentioned it in your book(s)?

Dan Melson: Barbecued tri-tip roast, red-rare in the center. At one point, it’s mentioned as being contributed to a potluck, but it’s not the favorite food of any of my characters. Just a convenient thing to use in that particular example.


Carol Ann: Do you have a writing Motto?

Dan Melson: The readers can forgive anything but boredom. That said, the best stories are worked into a framework of the way things actually work. Do your research, get your facts right. If you have to distort something from the way it actually works, it will also distort the story. Figure out a story that works with reality as best you can picture it.


Carol Ann: If you could change the date to any year past or future, what date would you change it to and why?

Dan Melson: I have an almost boundless confidence in the ability of humans as individuals to adapt and overcome and make things better. If I could change the date, I’d go forward as far as possible. Yes, I’d have to learn everything all over again, completely start over as far as every skill I possess. But I’m as confident as I can be that it would be worth the effort.

Thank you for your time. I hope you’ve enjoyed this Q. & A. Session. I’ve already picked up a copy of The Man From Empire. Watch for my review coming soon. If you are looking for a copy, follow the links!

Kindle page: https://www.amazon.com/Man-Empire-Rediscovery-Book-ebook/dp/B00FDLKNXU

Paperback page: https://www.amazon.com/Man-Empire-Rediscovery-Dan-Melson/dp/1493682822

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Melson/e/B00FSDT1MC