1. Tell us about your current science fiction novel. What is it about and how did you come up with the concept?

The Third Rescue follows CJ, a 17 year-old being raised by his grandparents because his parents had died when he was an infant. He gets an assignment at school—trace his ancestry, take a DNA test, and write a paper on one of his relatives. Sounds easy, but then something goes wrong with his DNA test, and he decides to write his paper on his grandmother, despite the fact that she says she was an orphan. The project quickly becomes a desperate quest for family for CJ. When an old man tells him about a strange shootout in the desert many years ago, CJ finds himself in conflict with a secret the government has been hiding for over seventy years, and in the crosshairs of someone who wants to capitalize on that secret.

I have no idea how I came up with the concept.

2. What elements make this story a science fiction thriller?

The DNA, and the government secret should give you a sense of why the story is sci-fi. In a thriller someone is at risk; the protagonist is in jeopardy. Often the fate of the world, or of the universe, or of mankind, is at risk. I prefer smaller stories, where ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances. The fate of the world is not at risk while CJ searches for family, but his life, and that of his friends and family, are.

3. How did you get started writing science fiction?

I’ve always loved reading sci-fi, going back to when I was a kid reading Jules Verne. I loved Heinlein, Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and many others. I think part of my love of the genre is the imagination that’s on display as writers create worlds that don’t exist, or at least, don’t exist yet. So it was natural for me to write what I love.

4. What tropes do you think are important for science fiction thrillers?

There are many recurring themes in sci-fi—time travel, worlds at war, technology gone amok. But I don’t think anything is required except imagination. Many of the stories I love, and the stories I write, take place in a world just like the one we live in. Many are so plausible, we wonder if they might be true. If not now, soon.

5. Is this novel written in first or third person and past or present tense?

This novel is written in past tense, close third person, with multiple narrators.

6. What is your favorite part about this story?

I tend to fall in love with the characters in my books. They become very real to me. I laugh when they say something funny, and I cry when they feel pain. The Third Rescue has some great characters.

7. What stories or authors have influenced you?

I’ve mentioned some of the classic sci-fi writers. I also love writers like Elmore Leonard, for his spare prose. And thriller writers like Grisham and Harlan Coban. Modern sci-fi writers like Andy Weir and Hugh Howey.

8. Recommend a great science fiction book or movie that we might have missed you didn’t create?

One that everyone doesn’t know about is the Silo trilogy by Hugh Howey. Amazing world-building. Douglas E. Richards is very prolific. One of his I really liked was Split Second. And a book I just read and loved was Recursion, by Blake Crouch.

9. Anything else about you or your novel that you would like us to know?

I guess I’d like to put in a word about independent authors, like me. Many books by independent authors are really great—I believe Hugh Howey self-published the Silo trilogy—and I hope my book will be placed into that category by readers. We live by reviews. And of course, blogs like this. Many of us don’t have the means, the expertise or the desire to do a lot of marketing, so we have to rely on readers and writers to help spread the word.

10. What’s the best way to find you online?

I built a very simple website, jaymackey.com. And I’m on Twitter and Facebook. You can find my book at mybook.to/TheThirdRescue

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