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Interview with Leighton Dean

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Today we have Leighton Dean here to tell us about his novel Save Our Souls (SOS)

Also, we get the scoop and are the first to reveal the cover.

Why did you choose this setting?

I wanted a simple, fun but tense sci-fi adventure story, so I made a conscious decision to write a B-movie in book form. I also wanted a disaster story and they work best with small casts in confined locations; it wasn’t a stretch to start thinking of starships.

The Jian Seng is my starship; she’s not beautiful and she’s definitely not top of the line. She’s a working class ship and the book’s main location. There’s an intentional juxtaposition between how far in the future the book is set and how far the technology has progressed. Our heroes don’t have the luxury of using the best technology available to them and all this adds to the tension. The Seng is a family run, deep space haulage vessel and very old.

By refusing the characters a simple escape route rewarded me in discovering who my characters were and how far they would go to survive through that restriction.

What’s unique about your world?

You can pick up the phone and call God for help.

Yes, I’m leaving you hanging on that one.

How real do you think the science is in your book?

There’s a lot of theoretical science around how we’re going to travel around the stars but I wanted to keep up the pace with this book and keeping the techno-babble down to a minimum certainly helped with that. By avoiding detailed science I diluted it into a ticking clock, which then allowed me to concentrate on the characters.

There is something else in the book that is based on scientific evidence but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I’ve taken some liberties with it and stayed with the characters’ perspectives in that they don’t have the time or the right tools to understand it.

What was the most mundane item that you used that really has cool tech behind it? What is the tech?

In the first chapter, Ford (our hero) is working under a stasis bunk. Originally I had him on a creeper (that’s what mechanics use to roll under cars), but my editor, Steve Frost encouraged me to expand the sci-fi tech and that’s how the anti-grav vest came about.

It really is a throw away piece of tech, a vest which is worn day to day, but when you need to work on your back, you press a button and voilà! Human hoverboard; your kids are going to love this.

What did you include that you wish was real today?

My ducks, named very affectionately after Scrooge McDuck’s nephews: Huey, Dewey and Louie. As well as the robots from the film: Silent Running.

The ducks serve as the Jian Seng’s tug boats and are one man spheres without windows/ports. Around them is a thruster ring which moves whichever which way by means of magnetic clamps. It’s got a harpoon with a winch.

When sitting inside you use the holographic viewing screen which is the top hemisphere so you it appears like you’re sat in a bowl looking out at space.

What technology or science do you think will most affect the world of tomorrow?

I have my fingers crossed for a clean, renewable energy source. It will affect us in the future whether or not we are able to figure it out.

Anything else  you would like to share with our readers?

I’d like to say that Save Our Souls is not a children’s story. It’s dealing with survival and faith, there’s little swearing in it, but there is graphic violence and I wouldn’t want to recommend it to anyone under the age of 18.