Wednesday, November 4, 2015

PJ McDermott: The IAN Interview

PJ McDermott was born and bred in Scotland. After leaving school at sixteen, he worked in various jobs on building sites and in factories before he learned to play guitar and began performing in pubs and clubs around town. At twenty-one he returned to college and from there went on to Glasgow University, where he eventually graduated Bachelor of Science. 

At twenty-seven, PJ married and moved to Australia with his wife, Sue, settling in the beautiful city of Melbourne. He has two daughters, one son-in-law and two delightful grandchildren—Mia, 3, and Ryder Patrick, 1

Please tell us a bit about your books.

PJ McDermott: I have just finished writing book two in my science fiction series, The Prosperine Trilogy. It’s called Rise of the Erlachi and it was launched on 5th November on Amazon. The novella is approximately 40,000 words and continues the adventures of
Commander Hickory Lace of the Alien Corps.

The Corps has been searching for an interstellar messiah since the discovery of an ancient manuscript in Turkey eighty-four years before. In Book 1, Avanaux: A Hickory Lace Adventure, Hickory meets up with the mysterious Teacher and foils a plot by alien mercenaries to steal Prosperine’s precious resources, a key ingredient for FTL fuel.

‘Erlachi ’takes place six months later. The fabled Sword of Connat-sèra-Haagar has been stolen and Hickory and her team have been ordered to find it.

Their search takes them deep into the high mountains of Erlach, where they discover that their arch-enemy, Sequana, is rallying the northern tribes to war.

As well as overcoming the dangers in this hostile environment, Hickory and her team must restore the rightful king to his throne, and rescue the Teacher if they are to retrieve the Sword and stop Sequana.

Fail in their mission, and Prosperine will be plunged into a new Dark Age that will threaten the very existence of the aligned planets.

IAN: Have you published your books in print, e-book or both?

PJ McDermott: Avanaux is available as an e-book and in paperback. Rise of the Erlachi is currently available only as an e-book. A paperback edition will be available in the next few weeks.

IAN: Where can we buy your books?

PJ McDermott: The Second Coming (The prelude to Avanaux) is available free of charge at Amazon: and at itunes

Avanaux: A Hickory Lace Adventure (eBook) is available at Amazon:

The printed version of Avanaux is available at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble

Rise of the Erlachi (e-book) is available at Amazon

IAN: What inspired you to write The Prosperine Trilogy?

PJ McDermott: After writing the gritty coming of age novel Small Fish Big Fish under the pen name Jacob Carlisle, I felt I needed a change to something lighter. Fish was the book I had to write, if you know what I mean, but it took me four years and it was hard!

As a teenager, I devoured science fiction stories by authors such as Asimov, Niven, Le Guin, Herbert, Huxley and many, many others. I loved the genre and found it a great escape from the boredom of school. That love of SF has stayed with me throughout my life. (I still watch re-runs of Dr Who!), and so after Fish, I decided to try my hand at creating an SF story with a difference.

IAN: What do you hope readers come away with after reading The Prosperine Trilogy?

PJ McDermott: The Trilogy has a religious premise, but it’s not a spiritual book—it’s an adventure story. The character of the Teacher is loosely based on Jesus and I play with the idea that perhaps he may be one of many Sons of God sent to save intelligent beings on other worlds. I guess I’d like my readers to reconsider the universe-centric mindset of mankind and our ideas about God. But if they just enjoy the story that’s great!

IAN: How much is realistic?

PJ McDermott: My background is in science, so I’ve tried to be credible with my world building, for instance the parts about faster than light travel and Avanaux’s climate. I don’t go in for magic wands as a solution to difficulties characters might find themselves in, but in other areas I let my imagination run free. The plants and animal life (as well as the natives) are colourful and, well—alien, and probably break quite a few of the laws of nature.

IAN: How did your interest in writing originate?

PJ McDermott: I read with envy about those authors who began writing as a seven year old and just kept going! I didn’t discover my love for writing until late in life. I’d already enjoyed successful careers in business when I came down with cancer (not once, but twice). Thank God I’m cured now, but it certainly gave me pause to think what I was doing with my life. I realised that I wanted to lease some sort of legacy for my children and grandchildren to remember me by. I joined a professional writing class and loved it.

IAN: Do you see writing as a career?

PJ McDermott: I wish I had started writing earlier. I feel there are a lot of stories inside me, desperate for expression. So, yes, I do see writing as my career. I will write for as long as I get pleasure from it and for as long as people want to read my work. Does that mean I will make a lot of money from my writing?  Ha! I wish.

IAN: Did you learn anything from writing these books?

PJ McDermott: Heaps of things. I did an enormous amount of research into archaeological discoveries in Turkey, the bible stories, history. In terms of the business of writing, this is a whole new industry and it takes time to understand how it works. Not just the writing (although development of those skills is one of the most exciting parts of learning) but everything to do with self-publishing—cover design, formatting, writing promotional blurbs, marketing and promotional opportunities etc.

IAN: Do you have any advice for other writers?

PJ McDermott: Following on from above, writing can sometimes be a lonely experience. The best advice I can offer anyone starting out is to realise that good writing takes time to develop. Find yourself a professional writing group in your local area and one or two via the internet that fit your needs and aspirations. Listen to more experienced writers talking about their challenges and how they overcome them. This will same you heaps of time and heartache. The other piece of advice is don’t stop. Write as much and as often as you can and share it with others.

IAN: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?

PJ McDermott: Without readers, a writer is nothing. The most delightful moments in my life as an author are when a reader tells me they appreciate my work. Writing, like other creative arts, comes from the heart. A book is like a child, born of many months of labor, and every parent loves to hear others praise their new-born!

So, if you enjoy my books, please leave a review. Better still, drop me line. You can contact me on with any questions or suggestions you might have. I'd love to hear from you.

IAN: Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand-alone?

PJ McDermott:
I’m currently working on a first draft of book three of the Trilogy, tentatively titled The Scarf. Some of the questions readers might have about Hickory’s birth father (who apparently died in a car crash back on Earth. No spoilers!) and about the Teacher will be answered here. There will be, of course, action and intrigue aplenty.

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