James M. Corkill, author of the Alex Cave Series, was kind enough to participate in this interview on "Books and Movies: Reviews" blog.
Thanks for the interview, James. Can we begin by having you tell us what got you started writing this series of books featuring Alex Cave?
Of course, and thank you for this opportunity. Although I did a little writing during my early years in high school, I never aspired to be an author until twenty-five years later while I was a Federal Firefighter. I was always reading in my spare time and thought some of the stories were awful. During the oil crises in the late 1980’s, a friend asked a general question; what would happen if suddenly we didn’t have any more fuel? I began writing down some of the issues that might arise if it actually happened, and it was the beginning of my first novel, Dead Energy.
Q. Is the Alex Cave character based on you or anybody that you know?
A. I suppose Alex and I are very similar. I loved the adventure of being a Federal Firefighter for thirty-two years, and I was always exploring something new in my off time. When I began the series, I decided to send him on the kind of adventures that I could only enjoy in my imagination.
Q. Is there a lot of technical research behind the scenes for you to write believable passages or is this just your imagination at work?
A. I do have a vivid imagination, but I do extensive research for each story. Wikipedia and I are close friends, and I try to keep up with several science magazines. I enjoy the science and weather channels for ideas and current facts that would make an interesting and believable plot. Since I try to keep my stories based on fact as much as possible, I studied resonate frequencies of atomic structures for book 2, Cold Energy. For book 3, Red Energy, I studied Volcanism, (volcanoes, not the planet Vulcan from Star Trek). For this new story, Gravity, I did research on Astronaut Rusty Shchweickart’s B612 Foundation project, the Sentinel Asteroid Detection Satellite, as well as study the effects of the lunar orbit on the planet for the past 4.5 billion years.
Q. “Gravity” is the fourth book in the series. And it is getting better and better as it progresses. Can your readers be assured that there is many more to come?
A. Oh, Definitely! I always have new ideas rattling around in my head, and as you might have noticed throughout the series, I set the stage for the next adventure by mentioning an object that is only slightly related to the events in that particular story. My biggest challenge is coming up with a completely unique idea that has never been used by another writer.
Q. Do you feel yourself like the next George Lucas? I am asking that because I feel like Alex Cave is in a way similar to Indiana Jones, that although he is a professor, he lives a life full of adventures.
A. I suppose in a way my stories are similar, in that Alex is always involved in some kind of exciting situation, and has been compared to Indiana Jones. He has also been compared to Clive Cussler’s, Dirk Pitt, and Tom Clancy’s, Jack Ryan, only with a geophysics background.
Q. Is there any book that changed your life?
A. Yes, Clive Cussler’s, Night Probe. I decided that if I write a book, that’s the type of story I would want it to be, a lot of action to keep it exciting.
Q. If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and why?
A. That would be Alex’s best friend, Okana. That’s his last name, by the way, pronounced, O’Kaw-nuh, like O’Conner without the R’s. While growing up on one of the Islands in the Puget Sound, I was always a loner and never had a best friend, so I created Okana as the type of friend I would have wanted. He’s become my favorite sidekick, always jumping into the thick of things on impulse, whereas Alex would handle the situation in a much more reasonable way. Most of the time.
Q. Any final words?
A. Yes, I would like to thank you for this opportunity, and all the people who have supported me with the series. It’s nice to know that my hard work has given someone the opportunity to escape from their own reality for a little while, and since people enjoy my stories so much, I’ll keep writing.