This week I have a nice surprise for each of you. I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing one of the up and coming sci-fi authors of our time. You may not have heard of him yet, but I guarantee you, he’s worth hearing about.

His name is Mark Sheldon and he’s the author of the “Noricin Chronicles” series. I introduced you to book 5, The Relics of Time” a few weeks ago in one of my Review blogs. If you are looking for a fun, exciting, fast-paced read, look no further. Head on over to his website (click on the link above) and enjoy the ride. And as a plus, after you read each of the books, you’ll receive clues for really cool puzzles that he created on his website.

Mark lives in Los Angeles and has been a sci-fi geek fan since he was a kid. His imagination, creativity and love of puzzles is brilliant, in my opinion. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

So Mark, what was the first Science Fiction book you ever read? What was the impact on you?    

Cover of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galax...
Cover of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Not sure if it was the first, but definitely the first Science Fiction book I remember reading that had a long-lasting impact on me was Douglas Adams“Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. My dad and I actually started reading them together before I went to bed in the fourth grade. We read the first three together, and then I went on and read the fourth and fifth in the trilogy by myself. Undeniably, those books have been the most influential to me, not only as a writer, but as a person in general. My writing, my sense of humor, my general philosophy and outlook on life, almost everything can be traced back to Douglas Adams.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

It wasn’t ever really a question, to be honest. And there certainly wasn’t this big “Aha!” moment. It’s just who I’ve always been. As far back as Kindergarten, I was making up and writing down stories – and I would reckon that even before that I was telling them, until I learned how to write them down.

You are a serious Science Fiction fan. Some might classify “The Noricin Chronicles” as Fantasy? What genre do you consider your work?

I see “Noricin” really as a sort of hybrid of Science Fiction/Fantasy. Yes, it’s got several fantastical elements within it, but it’s still more or less grounded within a “potentially plausible” reality. Rather than being based in magical powers, it’s based in psychic/paranormal powers. And there deliberately aren’t any fantastical creatures within the “Noricin” universe either – unless, of course, you count the Golems, which technically speaking aren’t really creatures.

My basic concept for the series when I started out was basically the mystery elements of Harry Potter, combined with the science-fiction superhero elements of “The X-Men”, and the riddles/code-breaking elements of “The DaVinci Code”. Add in a touch of Dean Koontz’ horror, and Douglas Adams’ sense of humor, and that’s pretty much my writing style in a nutshell.

So one geek to another, in your opinion, what positive impact has science fiction had on our world as a whole?

Cover of "Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under T...
Cover via Amazon

I think that science fiction really pushes the human race to seek its full potential. Fantasy allows us to escape into an alternate reality, but science fiction allows us to escape into an alternate future, and the thing about escaping into an alternate future, is that if you do it well, there is nothing stopping us from making that future a reality. Look at “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, for example. Jules Vern imagined a machine that could travel great distances under water, and not even a hundred years later, that dream became a reality!

Your “Noricin Chronicles” series–which I love by the way–seems to be gaining momentum. How did you come up with the idea?

There were about three or four separate ideas that I’d been playing with for some time – some of them as far back as high school. The three primary ideas, I can’t really talk about yet as they will give away too much about the last four books. The fourth – and most recent idea – was the basic concept I mentioned previously, of a more mature “Harry Potter” combined with The X-Men and DaVinci Code. That’s all I can really talk about right now, but I will say that at the end of Book 8 you will know at least one of the Mysterious Three. 😉

Book 6 in the series, “The Fall of the Eagle,” is being released on April 8th. Without giving too much away, what can your fans expect with this new installment?

As we find out at the end of Book 5, “The Relics of Time”, Dan’s journey is about to take a turn for the darker. In “The Fall of the Eagle”, he takes an irrevocable plunge into a quest to find out the truth about the Scorpion. From this point on, there is no turning back for Dan, and he will have no choice but to see this quest through until the end.

Ok, I have one more question. I just have to know. How did you come up with the amazing puzzles on your website?

Hehe. I have always had a love for creating coded messages. Ever since reading Michael Crichton’s “Sphere”, I was hooked. So when “The DaVinci Code” became a smash, it was a natural draw for me. Dan Brown has been known to leave puzzles on the jackets and/or the last pages of his books, or even on his homepage, so I thought I would take a page out of his metaphorical book. Unfortunately, I am at something of a disadvantage of being slightly numerically dyslexic, so I have to pay extremely close attention when I’m making these puzzles, but it’s fun for me, and I’m glad that you, at least, have been having fun with trying to solve them!

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