Sometimes you meet someone with such an amazing imagination that your jaw drops in awe. This would be my reaction when I met J. Dallas Brooks via ZOOM during a writer’s meeting. I’m delighted to introduce him and his work to all you Sci-Fi and Middle-Grade fans out there who love a bit of Sci-Fi with 80’s flare. He writes for the general market.
Sci-Fi fans, assemble!
Without delay, here’s Dallas:
Q: Where is your Martian Mist set? It’s an adult book, right? And why did you pick your specific genre to write in? Tell me what you love about it.
Dallas: Martian Mist is set in a dystopian nightmare of a future in the year 2037. The bulk of the story takes place in the scorching Arizona desert, which would be bad enough were it not for the new predators that roam, trying to pick off the survivors. This setting is largely due to the fact that the first scene that came to my mind was from the point of view of a crow flying over the desert. He was looking for food, and he had a sense that something bad had transpired, although his bird brain couldn’t grasp the enormity of the change to the planet. That scene came to me about three or four years ago, long before I had any idea that this was a full novel brewing in my mind. The imagery with that scene was so strong that it makes an appearance in the 4th chapter of the novel.
Q: Who will like Martian Mist?
Dallas: Everyone! Just kidding. I’ve read enough books on marketing and Seth Godin blog posts to know that isn’t feasible. To be honest, I feel like my writing appeals to traditional fans of science fiction as well as folks who might enjoy a good action-adventure story. Although this story takes place in the future, it’s meant to be a recognizable future. I say that I write a lot of 80s fiction, meaning it’s either set in that awesome decade, or it’s told in the style of action-packed stories or movies from my childhood. I don’t hit you over the head with a million new sci-fi terms, alien races, descriptions of new starships, new types of commerce, governments, and intergalactic disputes over some mysterious relic…at least not in these stories. My stories take place in places where regular people live. I put ordinary characters, like you or me, in extraordinary circumstances. If you liked the movie Predator or Alien, my latest book might be for you.
Q: Tell me about your main characters.
Dallas: Zachary Granger is a cool dude, although he doesn’t know it. At 16 in 2037, he’d spent most of his adolescence being raised by his mother after a tragic loss of his father years before Martian Mist takes place. He’s a dichotomy, as are most teen boys (I was one, I know!). He wants to fit in, while at the same time he despises trends and the crowd. His main influence becomes his grandfather, Michael, a Generation X throwback who speaks his mind, cusses, and doesn’t give a rat’s behind what anyone else thinks about it. Just as Zach is starting to figure things out, he’s met with the end of the world. He finds himself alone, with the exception of a loyal hound dog named Blue, on his journey west.
Q: What was your favorite scene to write?
Dallas: Chapter 16 was my favorite. It’s entirely a dream sequence, not a particularly long one, but it captures the mood of the story and explains so much about Zach Granger and the journey he’s on in, what I hope is a fun, and slightly terrifying way. Read that part with the lights on if you’re easily frightened.
Melony: Noted, I’m a ninny so all the lights will be on when I read that. Thanks for the warning.
Q: Where is your happy place when you write? Indoors, outdoors, office, coffee shop?
Dallas: I write from my home office. Depending on my mood, I either sit up at my desk, or I pull the laptop back to my recliner and pound away at the keys. The views are nice out here in southern Colorado at my little family farm, so sometimes I shut the shades to avoid the distractions. You can see my office in my blog post about where writers write. I’m happiest when I’m listening to some good mood-setting music. I’m really into Marvel83 right now, and other futuristic-sounding synthwave, as well as 80s hits, and even 90s alternative.
Q: What are you working on now?
Dallas: I’m in the deep, final edits of a Middle Grades book that I call Ghost Karate: 1985. It’s told from the point of view of Billy Justice, a small-fry 5th grader who sees ghosts. Everyone else thinks he’s just a scaredy-cat, but he has a real gift. It’s told against the backdrop of the Cold War, and, of course, it takes place in 1985! My kids (the target audience for this one) loved it, so I hope it finds a good audience of younger readers, as well as parents or grandparents who might enjoy the memories of the 80s. A cool part of this book will be that a particular scene happens at the same time as a scene in a short story I wrote in Dystopian Spacetime Volume 2 called “The Peppermint is Out of Season,” which was also written mostly for a younger audience.
Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book, Martian Mist?
Dallas: A sense of vindication for sticking with what might seem like an impossible goal or dream. Cue Van Halen’s “Jump,” and get started on your own journey!
Thank you so much for being my guest today, Mr. Brooks!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Surviving the end of the world is hard. It’s even harder if you’re on the menu.
When the first manned mission to Mars makes an unexpected return in 2037 with a dead crew, a terrible contaminant is unleashed that turns the skies purple and threatens humanity’s survival. It brings with it a frightening new apex predator that bumps the surviving humans down the food chain. In this new world, the unflappable sixteen-year-old, Zach Granger, rides his dirt bike across the scorching Arizona desert. With only a shotgun and his loyal beagle hound, Zach must find the robotics expert, Skylar Lucas—a man who may not even exist. His life hangs in the balance when the monsters catch his scent, and Zach must race to California in a quest to find where he belongs.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connect with Dallas Brooks here on his WEBSITE and subscribe to get updates.
Catch the RAD WRITER interview with me on HIS website here. Super cool website folks!
Melony Teague writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words, and she believes everyone has a story to tell. Melony is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and The Word Guild. She is the co-author of As the Ink Flows, a devotional for authors. Her fiction debut, A Promise to Keep released, Jan 21, 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her handsome husband, their two teenagers, and does the bidding of her two adorable cats.