JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Jeff Whelan, author of Space Orville
Space Orville, a young man of 16, is a new apprentice with Morphean Gaming Systems and has just moved into an Earth-orbiting apartment with his companion, NeutroFuzz, to test holographic video games.
As a result of a questionnaire he answered in the back of a magazine, Space Orville finds himself recruited by the Universal Protection Service to rescue a brilliant inventor who has been kidnapped by a group of diseased refugees seeking a cure for their malady.
Meanwhile, two agents from the OmniCosmic Alliance are in pursuit of a dangerously powerful and deranged scientist who has escaped from prison with a device that can alter reality and enslave every living mind. The two missions quickly collide, and Space Orville must find a way to work as a team while maintaining a hold on his newfound independence.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Space Orville?
Jeff Whelan: I took a lot inspiration from my love of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by the brilliant Douglas Adams and from the often outlandish science fiction of Doctor Who and the bizarre humor Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Put those all in a blender, and you come up with something like Space Orville.
JP: What sets Space Orville apart from other books in the same genre?
JW : Science fiction novels seem to be a hard sell wherever you go. What sets my book apart didn’t make things any easier. What I’ve concocted is a humorous, young adult, science fiction adventure.
I’d say it’s the “humorous, young adult” bit that sets it apart from other, more literary sci-fi. My sci-fi is playful and irreverent. It includes, for example, a warrior dwarf who tools around the galaxies in what looks like a giant banana, a sentient lightship that argues constantly with one of its operators, and a group of baddies that resemble rotten candy apples. So yeah, it’s different.
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Space Orville getting out to the public?
JW : Once I had all the information I needed regarding self-publishing online, the only real key was diligence. Publishing online was easy enough but the formatting was tricky.
I read up on it and did my own, although you can find services that will do it for you. After that, I dove into the social networks that I had shunned for years and began to shamelessly market myself. I quickly found myself part of a vast community of other independent authors who all support each other in our efforts to get our work noticed and, most importantly, read.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Space Orville?
JW: This all began as an assignment for my high school creative writing class. I still have the original type-written pages dated “3-29-82”. Eighteen years later, I dusted off that collection of loosely connected, almost incoherent rants and managed to pull them together into a novel-length story that actually made some sense. That took about another year.
So Space Orville was almost 20 years in the making. Ordinarily, though, I write more quickly than that once I get started. I’ve written more poetry than prose lately. Prose or poetry, however, I prefer to write first drafts longhand and revise at the computer. I seldom outline but instead sit down with a general idea and just let the story happen as it comes off the pen.
JP: What’s next for Jeff Whelan?
JW : Some time ago, for an adult creative writing course, I wrote a short, autobiographical piece titled “Greyhound” about leaving home at the age of 19. That was an early post on my blog and readers have wanted more of it, so I plan to oblige. Beyond that, I have ideas for a sequel to Space Orville tentatively titled “Methuselah’s Cradle”. What I desperately need are more hours in the day to make all that happen.
Thank you so much, Joey, for this opportunity. It is so important for independent authors to have the kind of support and encouragement that folks like you provide. You do us all an incredible service. And, to all other independent authors out there, keep at it – write, publish, read, review, support each other. Keep spreading the word.