The Many Deaths of Dynamistress, Book One
by Vincent M. Wales
There is much disagreement about when super-powered metahumans began to appear. Most scientists believe the first births were in the ’40s, perhaps the ’30s, although there is a small (but vocal) minority claiming they have always been among us. More than anything else, young Dinah Geof-Craigs wanted to be one of them, to be famous, to be on the cover of Supers magazine. But puberty came and went without the meta-mutation that would imbue her with superhuman abilities. Mother Nature had cheated her of what she deserved. And that would simply not do.
In Reckoning – the first volume of a trilogy about the metahuman known as Dynamistress – award-winning author Vincent M. Wales (Wish You Were Here, One Nation Under God) gives us the memoir of the world’s first self-made metahuman. But it is less a story of becoming a superhero than it is the story of a flawed woman becoming whole.
I had never been very studious in high school. My grades had always been decent, and I’d always enjoyed learning, but even in the late ‘80s, I knew the schools weren’t concentrating on things that really mattered. Seriously, why does anyone need to know what our Gross National Product is, or the major imports and exports of Brazil?
I will, however, defend one practice that a lot of people don’t seem to understand. Why, they lament, when kids today all have computers, are we still filling their heads with advanced mathematics? It’s simply not necessary, they claim, to teach them how to do calculus. But they’re wrong. If we stopped teaching it, we’d never advance. No one would be able to take math in new directions.
Memorizing the terms of office of all the U.S. presidents, however, will always be pointless.
At any rate, I think my professors were a bit astounded. After all, for these first two years, I was taking just the basics in biology. But after class, I’d pick their brains about the latest things. The automated gene sequencer had been invented recently, and I had all sorts of questions about that. There was talk about a Human Genome Project soon to be beginning, and I asked almost daily if they’d heard anything new about it. I badgered them about the finer points of the regulation of gene expression. And I think they got tired of my incessant questioning about point mutations.
But I didn’t much care if others thought I was odd. It was the life I wanted, at that point… working on weekends, spending weekdays in classes taking as many credits as allowed, and passing my nights by avoiding home as much as possible. I was in my own little world, avoiding my family, and becoming estranged from those I used to call friends.
Talk about establishing a bad precedent.
It is my pleasure to welcome Vincent M. Wales, author of Reckoning, The Many Deaths of Dynamistress, to Room With Books!
What do you do when you are not writing?
Well, I do have a day job (but let’s not discuss that). I have a lot of the common hobbies: reading, listening to (and playing) music, watching movies, etc. I also enjoy creating cocktails and brewing beer. And lately, I’ve been Netflixing TV shows a season at a time.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
If I had to pick a single author who shaped my story-telling, I’d have to say Robert A. Heinlein. Long before I ever entertained the idea of being a novelist, I was reading him all the time. What impressed me most about his works is that they were all page-turners. I never found myself bored with what was going on. Now, as a writer with some experience behind me, I do see plenty of flaws with Heinlein’s works, but I’m still totally engaged by them. I enjoy his characters. His dialogue is good. His books are ones I return to repeatedly. And that’s something I can’t say about a lot of writers, even ones I enjoy.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
The single biggest problem I had was when I was trying to acquire an agent. I sent out a slew of query letters, providing all the information they wanted. Invariably, this included a word count. Now, Wish You Were Here comes in at a bit over 300,000 words. And I got rejection letters that basically said no publisher was ever going to take a chance on a book of that length from an unknown author. They suggested I cut it in half. Well, I wasn’t willing to do that. I’ll admit that, if I were writing the book today, I’d cull some bits of it. But half? Not a chance. What was most frustrating to me about this was that it was a fantasy novel, which are quite often humongous books. How often do you see a short fantasy novel?
What types of books do you write?
I write speculative fiction. I mentioned my fantasy novel, and my current trilogy is superhero/science fiction. I also have a dystopian future novel, One Nation Under God. But the one thread they all seem to have is that they’re coming-of-age stories. Even my current series, The Many Deaths of Dynamistress, where the protagonist is in her 30’s, is still a coming-of-age tale, in a way.
Who’s your main audience?
It’s funny, I never really think much about a target audience. To my surprise, I found that many of the fans of Wish You Were Here were teenage girls. I don’t specifically write for a particular age bracket, but many of the topical themes of my stories are definitely not for younger readers. As many readers have told me, none of my books are typical of their genres. So I suppose I’m writing for the jaded fan of speculative fiction, the ones who are tired of the same old thing.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite?
I’d have to say Dynamistress is. Mainly because she’s probably going to see this interview and she kinda scares me.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
Actually, yes. Reckoning has a number of personal experiences in it. For example, Chapter Six opens with a scene that takes place when Dinah is in first grade, involving an inoculation. It actually happened to me, as did several others.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
It usually is, yes. The weird thing is that the titles of all my published works have “common” words and phrases for titles. Still, they’re perfectly fitting for the stories.
If you could pick one profession what would you choose if you were not an author?
Rock star. It’s no secret that I’m a frustrated musician. But I’m a much better writer than I am a guitarist, so…
What are you currently working on?
The second book in my current series is now in the final editing stages and I’m also participating in NaNoWriMo (for the first time) by diving into the final book in the trilogy.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Y’know, this is a pet peeve. Ben & Jerry’s keeps killing my favorites of theirs! As a kid, I despised chocolate ice cream, but I’ve started taking a liking to it. I also like coffee ice cream, especially with chunks of toffee.
Night owl, or early bird? Avowed night owl who has somehow evolved into an early bird. It’s sick and wrong.
Red, or white wine? Not a fan of wine unless it’s made from something other than grapes. Cherry wine, anyone?
Roller Coasters or Water Rides? Water rides, definitely, though it’s been forever since I’ve been to an amusement park.
Swimming in the ocean or a pool? Pool. With as few people as possible. It’s been forever since I’ve been swimming, too.
Walking or fitness club? Walking. Or more likely, riding my bike around town.
Thank you for chatting with our readers and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour!.
Vincent M. Wales was raised in the small town of Brockway, Pennsylvania, where he frequently complained about the weather. Since then, he has worn many hats, including writing instructor, suicide prevention crisis counselor, essayist, Big Brother, freethought activist, wannabe rock star, and award-winning novelist.
He spends most of his writing time in coffee shops, since his cats fail to grasp the entire concept of “writing time.”
He currently lives in Sacramento, California, where he frequently complains about the weather.
Vincent will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
Room With Books encourages our readers to follow the tour and comment.