Terry was brave enough to answer our interview questions! Terry, you’ve got the mic.
I wanted to share a short selection from the first book, Third Exodus, in the science fiction series, In the Days of Humans, which I have always personally found moving. I hope you enjoy it!
Evah was early and stood alone in the desert on this unusually cloudy morning for this wasteland, at the agreed upon coordinates. A clear path was worn in the hard earth as she paced while waiting. She hoped that they would arrive soon. Evah checked her watch for the thousandth time, and then heard what sounded like three mighty drum beats off in the distance. That must be the sonic booms of the Yamakarā, she thought to herself. They would be here any minute!
Scanning the sky in the direction of the last signal of its approach she finally saw what she was searching for. As large as a mountain and with the magnificent wings of a mighty, ancient black dragon, the Yamakarā punched through the cloudbank and glided silently to a stop on top of a choking blanket of rushing air, dust, and sand. She caught herself jumping with joy and clapping her hands like a schoolgirl as the vehicle rolled to a stop. Heat radiating from the ship made it seem alive, overheated, and weary from its long journey. This was not the spacecraft that left Earth four years ago; it was something completely different. Something beautiful, but not of her world.
She quickly moved to place the portable stairs where the external hatch should be and secured everything in preparation for the egress of the crew. Almost convinced it was taking too long and there must be something wrong, she sighed with relief as the hatch opened inwardly and one of the young engineers stuck his head out, waved, and shouted a greeting. To her surprise, as the crew departed the ship her eyes welled with tears of joy. Her long departed crew had finally returned home, if only for a short while.
What is your greatest temptation:
Well, this is probably not the time or place to say anything incriminating. So instead I’ll have to say curling up on the couch with my wife, a piece of turtle cheese cake, and some Netflix binge watching instead of sitting down and writing. Sounds odd for a writer to say this, but there are those days when you have to step back and feed the soul and creative spirit by getting lost in some dessert….uh, I mean a good movie.
What is your greatest weakness (example: buying shoes)?
Good food. I’m not talking about cheesecake – which I do have a weakness of which I’ve already confessed – but I’m talking reeeaallly good food. I’m talking Godfather Italian food, Greek dishes that would humble Cesar himself! The kind of meals that physically leave you feeling physically happy and like you’ve just experienced something special.
If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?
Hmmm, probably a $5M luxury motor home. 🙂
Your dream home – mountains or ocean?
I think I could get very happy in a home on Fiji. However, a house halfway up the mountains would probably be more practical, as I’m told zombies can’t climb mountains that well.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Like most of us I am the result of a lifetime of experiences. Becoming an author was a culmination of practicing my writing over the years through my private journals, school assignments, work products, etc. Also realizing in my fourth decade on this little planet that I have always been a creative individual, and for recent history I had put that creative person on the shelf.
It wasn’t until I was driving home one summer afternoon in 2012, after having a string of particularly bad and uninspiring days at work. I was feeling defeated, burnt out, and questioning the point of everything that I had worked on professionally up unto that point. That’s when the seed concept for a story popped into my mind. And over the course of the next few days I toyed with the idea, fleshed it out a little and decided that there was enough there to possibly write a book on. Coupled with the need to produce something that was wholly and uniquely my own, I started writing. Four years later the series is complete along with a handful of short stories! At some point along the way I became a writer. J
While being a writer had never been part of my life plans, I am quite comfortable now with the idea of being a full-time writer, and I’m putting wheels in motion that will hopefully lead to that being a reality.
Do you have a daily writing routine? If so, please share.
Yes. I either have a routine, or I don’t. 🙂 But in all seriousness, with a challenging day job at NASA, and as a husband and father of a young family, routine is a bit of an amorphous concept for me.
When things are going smoothly, I often write during my lunch break, or after the kids go to bed, and sometime first thing in the morning before everyone wakes up. There are moments I steal during the weekends, and at times I take a day off from work and hide someplace to write.
It’s not a preferable routine, but because time to write is at such a premium, I think that I’m more productive because of it, and in general are much more focused when I do get the opportunity to sit down and pound on the keys.
What is your favorite book?
Hmmm. Another tough question. I would have to say that it’s three-way tie between: The Sleeping Dragon by Joel Rosenberg, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. These three in their own unique ways fundamentally impacted and shaped the way I would later regard creativity, religion, politics, fairness, work ethic, and personal relationships.
If you ever get the chance to read any of them, and can allow your mind to experience them for what they are, I think you’ll be glad for the journeys.
What is your favorite movie?
Ha Ha! This one will probably surprise many. Despite it’s campiness, I would have to say it’s The Last Star Fighter. It has all the elements of action sci-fi, the innocence of a first love, one-man against an entire armada, being thrown into a situation you didn’t ask for or want to be in, and good guys winning in the end against all odds.
It’s a simple movie with aging special effects, but the spirit of the movie and the familiar tropes make for an enjoyable, feel-good experience for those nights when you want to enjoy some 80’s nostalgia from your youth.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
Wow, not even sure I can answer this one. I think any notable historical figure has both a story of greatness to tell, but also one of personal tragedy. We have Herodotus the Greek historian of which much would have been lost if it were not for him. We have the great leaders of the major religions of which in their original teachings taught of love, kindness and faith. We have great military leaders who defended their people against overwhelming odds. We have even more recent figures like Mother Theresa and the current Dali Lama who’s insight into the human condition is humbling with their every word.
So for me to attempt to pick out just one, would be an impossibility and an insult to all the great things that have been done and said by so many others.
In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce them?
This is a very hard question to answer! When writing my books I try to develop several characters who are likeable for different reasons and thus will be endeared to different people.
The definable leader through most of the series, In the Days of Humans, is Col. Zune Adamini. He’s the guy that has to make the tough decisions where there are no good options to choose from.
Evah Adamini, married to Zune, she is a strong woman who not only works as a partner in all that Zune has to do, but also is an integral part of deciding who of humanity will survive, and ironically enough, later is critical in setting up a new society on Mars.
Red Turango is the classic, loveable, oversexed flyboy. He’s the best space pilot there is. And while he seems absolutely incorrigible, beneath the overt flirtation and innuendos lies a sensitive heart and a smile.
Tar’Day – more on her later. 😉
Gov Okoloise, he is the leader of the Mars colony and childhood friend of Zune. While he’s a war-hardened veteran, he is a gentle man who would walk to the ends of universe for Tar’Day.
Capt. Tau Themba is Zune’s first officer. Tau is the reflection us all. He’s fully capable of great things, but is held back by his own insecurities framed by past traumas. But like the ugly duckling, through the course of the series he is forced by events to step out from Zune’s shadow and meet his destiny full-on.
Dr. Amina Khan – Afrikaan woman and lead scientist for the mission to Mars. She graduated from the top university in South Africa in physics and has worked for the last 15 years as the continent’s lead engineer to reverse engineer foreign technology and mathematics. Her intelligence is the only one that surpasses Zune’s and they from time to time would enjoy a game of oware. While Zune felt sure she probably understood more than most mortal humans, her engineering background enabled her to made it understandable to everyone else.
This is but a small sampling of the cast of characters in this series, but there are many more for you to fall in love with.
Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her?
I have to say, and yes I’m biased, that my favorite heroine is one of the central characters in my series, In the Days of Humans. Her name is Tar’Day an in the first book of the series, Third Exodus, she starts out as an engineer on humanities last mission to Mars. Up until this point in her life she largely led a life taking cues from the universe to determine where she was needed and could add value. And prior to landing on Mars, it had worked out well for her.
However, once the team landed on Mars, the universe’s needs of her became increasingly demanding and soul scaring. But through it all she played her part, guided by what she knew to be right even when it flew in the face of conventional morality. In the end she was one of the most despised of what was left of humanity, yet their survival will hang in the balance of her selfless decision to follow the lead of the universe.
To me she exemplifies the best of what we can be, but also what happens to many of us when we try and do the right thing and are rewarded by criticism, or worse yet personal loss, while other benefit from your kindness. But at the end of her life, it became clear had it not been for the trials in her life, she would have not been in the right place at the right time to ultimately save humanity.
New releases anytime soon?
Yes! The final volume, Evolutions, in my science fiction series, In the Days of Humans, is out this month! You can find it on pretty much every on-line book vendor.
“Stunning finale of an epic series!” reported by one advance reviewer.
In the fight for survival, there is no right and wrong, only life or death.
Twenty Earth-years have passed since the first child was born on Mars—humanity’s survival outpost after evacuating amidst the destruction of the planet they called home. Life has settled into idyllic predictability…until an alien artificial intelligence merges with Col. Zune Adamini, revealing a glimpse of the darkness to come.
Zune struggles with the colony’s leadership to take action, forcing him to cross the thin line between morality and necessity. With no option but to send their children into harm’s way, everything humanity has on the line is threatened in a battle against a seemingly unstoppable enemy whose only goal is to annihilate the threat of humans.
In the final moments, when humanity’s flame is at the brink of being extinguished, all will hang on Tar’Day realizing her destiny. But will it be enough?
Evolutions is the final volume by Terry R. Hill in the action-paced science fiction series “In the Days of Humans”. The series is packed with action keeping the reader on the edge of their seat, while woven together with philosophical elements that will deeply satisfy those who enjoy the works of Heinlein and Vinge.
For those who love science fiction wrapped around the human element, Evolutions, is a must read!
Where can eager fans find you?
You can find more of Terry’s articles at: http://www.terryrhill.net
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/t.r.hill.author
However, most of the works are available via all major online venues.
Paperback copies can be purchased from Createspace (look for Third Exodus, New Dawn, Evolutions): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=Terry+R+Hill&sitesearch_type=STORE
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Terry+R+Hill?_requestid=339892
Apple iBooks – Search for “Terry R Hill”.
Thank you, Terry. Best of luck with Evolution!!