Angela/SciFiChick: In your own words, tell us a bit about Savage Survival.
Darrell Bain: This is a story of survival, of an eleven year old girl, kidnapped along with millions of other humans by invulnerable aliens. It goes from her first horrifying experience after being thrown among undisciplined humans with no parents or guardian to help her, and on through a succession of terrible and harsh environments, where her only means of survival are her innate sense of honor, her bravery, and an unwavering belief in the goodness of most humans. It is a coming of age novel, describing her struggles to survive as she grows into a young woman, always wondering what the aliens have in mind for the few who will live through the cruel winnowing process. I love this heroine, Lyda Brightner. She is the epitome of a strong female character.
Angela: Where do you get ideas for your characters?
DB: Every author gets asked this question and I doubt any of us really know. My best guess is that our ideas come from the sum of our experiences and then reading or thinking or talking may suddenly provoke a thought where you think, “Hey! That might make a good story!” As your writing experience grows, you’ll have more and more of those moments. And then your characters will evolve and take shape from the theme you’re writing about. When you become really involved with the characters you’ve created, you know you have a good book going.
Angela: How long did it take you to write Savage Survival?
DB: Barely a month for the first draft. This was one of those rare novels where the idea for the plot and characters and theme sprang almost full blown into my mind. Perhaps my experiences in Vietnam had something to do with it, where I saw young girls and boys, orphans, who coped so well while living hand to mouth and frequently supporting younger siblings besides. Maybe that experience roiled around in my mind for thirty some odd years and then finally jelled into the idea for a book. I don’t really know, but once I had the idea I dropped everything else to write it. Savage Survival is my favorite book of the dozens I’ve written, and Lyda is my favorite character.
Angela: WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s next for you? Any other stories on the horizon?
DB: Yes, I’m currently collaborating with Travis S. “doc travis” Taylor on a novel, titled Human By Choice. He is the co-author with John Ringo of the best selling Von Neumann’s War, a terrific book. I’m also writing another book, Alien Seeds that’s nearing the halfway point.
Angela: Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.
DB: I had kind of a hard go of it in my younger years. A broken home, shuffled around to different relatives and homes, moving often, a ninth grade dropout in school, many years in the army, including two in Vietnam and a family history of the addictive syndrome which has plagued me and my two brothers off and on most of our lives in one form or another. Fans asked me this same question numerous time and I finally responded by posting a series of memoirs on my web site. One of my publishers read them and asked me to expand them into an Autobiography. I did so and it has been published in e-book at www.fictionwise.com and will be in print in 2008, both under the title Darrell Bain’s World Of Book, which tells you what the biggest influence in my life has been. I’ve always loved to read, sometimes to the exclusion of almost anything else. The reading almost certainly helped me when I began writing full time. The biggest event in my life was certainly my third marriage to my wife Betty. She is an absolute gem, the love of my life. We’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary soon.
When I first began writing I was very naÃƒÂ¯ve and got scammed out of a lot of money by crooked “agents” who ultimately went to prison, but it probably set my writing career back ten years. I began getting a lot of recognition in the e-book world several years ago and it has gradually expanded to the print world. Most of my books are in print now or scheduled to be.
Angela: What inspires you?
DB: Betty most of all.
Angela: Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?
DB: Robert A. Heinlein, David Weber, Fredrick Pohl, John Boyd, and a lot others, not necessarily science fiction. I like any good, well written book. My reading has always been rather eclectic but more science fiction than anything else. I like military history, fiction or non-fiction and other historical fiction. I like medical novels, thrillers and good mysteries and humor. I guess it shows in my writing because I’ve written books in all those genres.
Angela: What do you do when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not writing? In your spare time?
DB: I read, mostly, and correspond with fans and friends and talk with Betty.
Angela: Thanks for your time! Is there anything else youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to add?
DB: Yes. Thanks for inviting me. I sincerely hope you all buy a copy of Savage Survival and enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!