Featured author T Allen Diaz.
Procythian Reign, his first novel, is a dark, fast-paced, character-driven story of two people from opposite ends of the social spectrum caught up in the rising tide of violent social revolution. Procythian Reign has intrigue, betrayal, and lots and lots of action.
About T. Allen Diaz
T. Allen Diaz is the author of several dark science fiction novels, including the space operas Procythian Reign and The Proceena Crusade and the soon-to-be-released sci-fi detective noir, Lunatic City. Currently, he is working on the first draft of the final installment of the Proceena Trilogy.
He is a self-proclaimed history buff residing in the Tampa Bay area with his wife and 3 kids, where he has served as a firefighter for almost 19 years.
Frankie's Inverview with T. Allen Diaz
First of all, thank you for this opportunity. I will try to keep these answers short, but the questions are very deep and us writers like to talk.
1. I like to start off with a BANG! So how about a personal question: this book is clearly squarely based on class warfare and the greed that fuels it. As a child, were you aware of this class divide? Was your upbringing or socioeconomic status enlightening in a way that allowed you to comprehend, at least on some level, the injustices of our society? Or was that something that didn’t plague you in youth; something you later came to realize as an adult?
The short answer is no. You don’t know what you don’t know. My father was one of two brothers. One was a successful, college educated, corporate executive who had the adoration of his mother. The other was my father.
My dad was a hard-working blue collar construction worker. My mom worked in the school cafeteria. They both struggled to give my sister and I a good life. I was never aware of any animosity between my dad and his brother. In fact, his brother was really one of my favorite uncles as a kid, but there was a sense that we were from two very different worlds.
My grandmother bragged on him and his kids, and looked down her nose at my dad and his family. She saw people for their money and status and treated them accordingly. I never forgave her for that, but that’s the closest I ever came to really experiencing the “class divide”.
My full appreciation of the struggle between the haves and the have-nots really stems from my undying love of history. It’s a struggle that’s been there since the beginning of time, and is alive and well today. I see no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.
2. So you see class divide in the world. You see greed and power. You have this ability to write. What was the “thing”, the tipping point that really made you want to make THIS particular novel?
I suppose it boils down the old adage: write what you know. I know history. I’ve read at great length on the pressures and stresses that go into major historical events. Procythian Reign is really just an extension of those readings.
I won’t dispute that there are some social criticisms that are relevant today, but they really weren’t the sole focus of the book. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” and “when the oppressed become the oppressors” are timeless concepts that permeate not just great fiction, but much of my favorite fiction. It’s also in great evidence throughout history.
So, while it’s easy to see the evils of men like Louis Clabar and Nikolai Feterov, what are the true ambitions of Andre Morrell and his cadre? Would the little guy be better off without the Clabars or is it as The Who said: “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”? More than the very real class warfare, my question is: can Man really be counted on to govern Himself or is He just too selfish and too easily corrupted to ever really be trusted with that kind of power and responsibility? If He is, what options do we have?
3. Do you agree that greed is the root of all evil?
Absolutely not. I believe it may be our most enduring evil. It’s our most prolific evil, but it isn’t the root of all evil. In fact, I don’t believe it to be the root of our darkest evil.
Stalin wasn’t greedy. Neither was Hitler. Not in the traditional sense of coveting wealth and riches. They craved power. The allure of power and the corrupting influence it has on even the best of us is undisputed. It’s the same motor that powers serial killers, rapists, and child molesters, and it is rooted in something far darker than simple greed.
4. And now for something utterly cliché: when did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
For as long as I can remember (though I never really thought I’d do it for a living). I loved reading the analysis of A Tale of Two Cities and the symbolism that Dickens was able to incorporate, how Shakespeare created all these flawed, tragic characters, the concepts of character development and plot devices used by story-tellers going back to Ancient Greece.
I tried to write a horror story in junior high (it was terrible). I tried to write historical fiction in high school (awful). In fact, the only story I was ever proud of was a hand-drawn comic book about a Japanese turtle monster named Gamera at age eight or ten, but that was really more about the pictures than the story.
I didn’t really write as an adult until a friend of a friend wrote a screenplay about Shaolin Monks from outer space. It received acclaim from people who should know, and I thought to myself, I can do something on par with this.
I sat down and tried to hammer out a sci-fi story, but (as my good friend pointed out) it read like bad Star Wars. Then I had a dream about a Medieval coastal town being besieged by large Man-O-War-type ships. The town was run by a king, there was a group of friends who didn’t get along (one was the king’s daughter) and they watched the whole siege on TV while talking on the phone.
You’ve read Procythian Reign I imagine you see the connection. Four years ago or so, my then future wife, Melanie, found out I had this story and read some of it. She encouraged me to continue my journey. It’s one of hundreds of reason I’m lucky to have her. Love you, Gorgeous.
5. If we took a peek at your book shelves right now, which titles and authors would we find?
Lots of history, especially military history. The fiction I gravitate towards tends to be darker, edgier stories. I’ve started the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I like Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and love almost anything Dennis Lehane and Stephen King do. Animal Farm is a favorite of mine, but I’m lukewarm on 1984. My favorite from classic literature is All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren.
5. Pretend there is a camera and a microphone in your face right now, and the entire world is watching you. You have 30 seconds, no more, to say anything under the sun to the entire human population. What do you want to tell us? What would you say? It could be anything from the best grilled cheese sandwich recipe ever concocted, to the secret to winning the lottery, or something genuine, or profound. What’s your message?
Stop taking yourselves so seriously. We all have to share this place and we’d better start getting along.
You can read Frankie's review of Procythian Reign here.
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