The Authors' Words: An Interview with S. Evan Townsend

S. Evan Townsend
S. Evan Townsend has been called "America's Unique Speculative Fiction Voice" and writes novels that cause thrills and rapid page-turning. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives in central Washington State with his wife and has three grown sons. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel. He currently has ten published fantasy and science fiction novels. 

 Hi Evan! Thank you so much for doing this interview with me. 

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, I returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In my spare time I enjoy reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. I am in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. I live in central Washington State with my wife and have three grown sons. I enjoy science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel. I currently have ten published fantasy and science fiction novels. I'm working on numbers eleven and twelve.

When did you realize you were a storyteller? 
I think I was always a storyteller. I would build worlds with my Legos and then tell stories. At age 12 I started writing them down (after teaching myself to type). I assume what I wrote then was pretty jejune but as I kept writing, I got better, apparently. At least I hope I did.

What genres do you write in and what drew you to it them?
I blame Star Trek. I am old enough that I watched the original series (Kirk, Spock, McCoy) in first run. That's what led me to write science fiction. I've always considered myself a science fiction writer, but I also wrote fantasies because I had this great idea for a world and wanted to explore it. My two-book series became five books, eventually.

What is your publishing story?
I used to collect rejection slips. Then I learned about self-publishing from an article in the Wall Street Journal (I read that newspaper back when I was a businessman). I self-published my first novel. This led me to meet other authors. One, Judith Ann McDowell, told me I should send my novel into her publisher. I thought, "What the heck, what's another rejection slip." So I did. And they accepted it. Since then, they have published seven on my novels. I've self-published three.

How much of yourself, if any, is in your characters? 
Most of my main characters have some of me in them. That's especially true of Peter Branton who is in two of my fantasy novels (Book of Death and Gods of Strife). But I've taken some of my personality traits and put them in almost all of my main characters. Maybe I'm nuts, but I think it's very hard for writers not to put some of themselves in their characters.

Do you use friends and family or people you have known as characters in you stories?
Not normally. In my first novel, Hammer of Thor, there is a character named "Doc." I named him after an Army friend of my who had the nickname "Doc." Not sure why he had that nickname, he wasn't a doctor. But he was very smart. He died of cancer a few years after we left the military.

How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from your first idea to
 finished the book?
There's no set time. One novel I started writing in 1988 and finished it just a few years ago (Treasure of the Black Hole). I've done NaNoWriMo so I've done novel first drafts in a month. I'd say typically it's three months to get out the first draft and then a few months of editing and proofreading before it's ready.

Who gave you help and guidance along the way? 
Author Judith Ann McDowell has helped a lot. Also my writers' group. I have a friend who has proofread most of my novels and my wife helps by proofreading and by reading my novels to me out loud. Doing that I hear things (such as word repetitions) that miss while just reading.

 Tell us a bit about your latest book? 

Treasure of the Rogue Moon . . . what fools these mortal be!
Jil Handaughter and Rick Bailey are living in hiding, hoping the Core Empire or the Interstellar Militia and Police won't find them. Hiding is safe, but boring. When a strange creature offers them the chance to find an ancient artifact on a "rogue moon" that can do "something wondrous," they jump at the opportunity.

Pursued by Core Empire operatives who want to take Bailey back to Earth for execution and the authorities who want to put Jil back in prison, they race across the galaxy looking for clues to the artifact. But the mysteries add up: what does the archaic race of the Agrocrageenans have to do with it, and what does that strange being that appears to have telepathic powers want?

Will Rick and Jil find the rogue moon before the authorities or the Core Empire catches up to them? Is it worth risking their lives for the treasure of the rouge moon?

This is the third book in the Treasures of Space series.

Tell us about your other books.
Hammer of Thor (fantasy/Adept Series): When Hitler steals the Hammer of Thor, American Francis Kader is reluctantly drawn into the effort to recover it. That will bring him face to face with Thor himself. Can a mere human defeat an immortal god?
Agent of Artifice (fantasy/Adept Series): Michael Vaughan is sent by the CIA to assassinate Castro after the Cuban Revolution. Vaughan has special powers to help him. But Castro knows he's coming, and he has a surprise waiting for Vaughan. Can Vaughan escape the island nation before Castro's minions catch up with him?
Book of Death (fantasy/Adept Series): The CIA sends Peter Branton to Romania to investigate a ball bearing plant. But what he finds is a cabal of vampires searching for fresh human blood. Can Branton stop their evil plans and learn the secrets of the Book of Death?
Gods of Strife (fantasy/Adept Series): While Peter Branton is searching for a beautiful assassin, he comes across an ancient evil with a plot to destroy the world. Teaming up with the assassin and a mysterious warrior, can he stop the Gods of Strife?
The Terror of Tombstone (fantasy/western/Adept Series): Abel Lewis is a city slicker and a dandy and completely out of his element in 1881 Arizona. But he hides a power men fear, and he'll need all of this skills to find and stop the Terror of Tombstone.
Rock Killer (science fiction): Literally millions of miles from help with no weapons, Alexander Chun and his international crew of asteroid miners, must stop the terrorists who are trying to kill them all.
Force: (science fiction): Olly Johnson is humanity's first interstellar space pirate. But now he has found an alien threat to all humans. Can the plucky humans stop the evil aliens? Don't count on it.
Treasure of the Black Hole (science fiction/Treasure of Space series): When the exotically beautiful and outrageously wealthy Princes Nora hires private detective Rick Bailey to find her lost royal jewels, he thinks this case will be easy money. Until someone tries to kill him. What's in the Treasure of the Black Hole worth killing for?
Treasure of the Pirate Planet (science fiction/Treasure of Space series): When an alien seeking revenge kidnaps his lover, Jil, Rick Baily must find a treasure to ransom her. But it's located on a planet overrun with cannibalistic pirates. Can he find the treasure without becoming the main course?

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you?  
Robert Heinlein was a huge influence on me, not just in writing. Also early Larry Niven and any Poul Andersen. Niven's Ringworld was the first science fiction book I ever read. That's what got me reading (and writing) science fiction.

What genres and authors do you read? 
I read science fiction, a little fantasy. I'm not picky about authors, as long as the book is good. I also read some political nonfiction.

What are your upcoming projects?
I'm working on Titus Chumba of the Intelligence Corps: The Smugglers a Mars. It's a prequel to the Treasures of Space series. It's currently in edits. I'm working on a second book in that same series tentatively titles The Roach Incursion. I think it needs a better name.

Where online can people find you and your books? 

Best place to start is at my website:

Enjoy interviewing you, Evan! Thank you so much!  ~JD

You can buy S. Evan Townsend's books at these links:
Treasure of the Black Hole

Treasure of the Pirate Planet

Treasure of the Rogue Moon

You can find S. Evan Townsend and all his books 

not only on his website:
Twitter: @SEvanTownsend

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