Blog favorite Mark Iles is back with a new release ROAR OF LIONS that’s currently ranking in the top 10 on Amazon in several categories. As you would expect, he has a lot to say about that!
Congrats on the new release. Is it true that you’re already at work on something new?
A bit. I’m a firm believer in not giving away your story, as when you do so the train of thought tends to drain away with the words. I will say that the new book is a mixture of science fiction, fantasy and horror – done in a new way for me. I like to think about what really scares people, why, and how to put that into a tale.
Let’s talk DARKENING STARS
To what extent do you think your own military experiences influenced the series?
To be honest, a surprising amount. For instance, the bit where my character shoves her rifle towards a non-commissioned officer’s mouth and pulls the trigger. I was attached to the commandos for a while back in the early 80’s, and was training with them on Dartmoor one dark and snowy night. I was asleep, totally exhausted when, simulating an attack, this guy who’d been picking on me threw a thunder flash in my direction, quite deliberately I’m sure. Damned thing went off right next to my head. I leapt up, cocked my rifle, thrust it towards his face and before I realised what I’d done pulled the trigger. All I’ll say it went off exceptionally close. It pure reflex believe me and luckily my magazine was full of blanks.
That was a long time ago and luckily the guy concerned took it remarkedly well. He even bought me a pint the next time we were ashore but he never picked on me again. You don’t forget stuff like that and it makes kinda interesting reading. Guess you’d get in all sorts of trouble for that sort of thing now.
Armchair enthusiasts spend a lot of time musing over first contact with aliens. Personally, I think they’re already here and have been for eons. What do you think would happen if contact was made?
I think first contact with an alien species is open to misinterpretation on so many levels. I was told once that one of the first English people to talk to Bedouins was shown a sheep’s eyeball to show it was freshly killed. Thinking it was some kind of ritual or honour the chap ate it. Consequently, for many years we believed it was tradition while they thought it was something we did. Whether it’s true or not, it still gives an indication of how things can so easily be misconstrued.
In J. Michael Straczynski’s marvellous Babylon 5, the Minbari approach humans for the first time with their gun ports open as a sign of respect. The humans took it as a sign they were preparing to fire and engaged them, and so the first war began.
In answer to your question the answer is yes, first contact has the potential for disaster.
ROAR OF LIONS is the third book in the series. Is a fourth coming up next?
I would like to return to Selena’s journey, and have left openings for such. But in ‘Roar of Lions’ her story comes full circle. Due to illness it took me a long time to write, and I now have another project demanding to be written – one I’m truly excited about. The new book has already been started and there are so many avenues to explore. As Bilbo Baggins might say, I’m going on an adventure…
ROAR OF LIONS IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE AS A FREE DOWNLOAD THROUGH NOVEMBER 3
SELENA DILLON IS BACK AND HER CRACK TEAM OF COMMANDOS ARE BEHIND HER
The ForeRunners have destroyed one of Capulet’s cities, and the joint Lenar-Human search teams are needed to root out the enemy. But when the empathic Lenars refuse to work without Selena Dillon and her team of commandos, they soon find themselves back on Capulet in an uneasy alliance with the planetary administration and in a race against time to stop the enemy from destroying other cities.
Throughout the galaxy billions are dying as the war spreads. Despite her fear that the alien Manta and their allies will turn against them, Selena needs to truly unite the Alliance of Worlds and find a way to destroy the ForeRunners before it’s too late.
Selena knows there’s no more running, and that sooner or later there will be a final reckoning between herself and the queen. But even if they survive that long she needs to discover who will stand with her, and who against her, in this final confrontation with the tyrannical monarch.
Collecting Singh and Shadow, Selena found Baron waiting for them when they arrived. To her surprise, he was wearing the uniform of the Royal Bodyguard.
“Nice to meet you at last, Commander,” Baron said, saluting as he led the way. “A shame it’s under such circumstances. Like many here, I’ve followed your exploits. Tell me, is it true you once fed an enemy their own pets and didn’t tell them until they’d finished their meal?”
Selena gave him the once over. “No, but it’s an idea. Why, do you have any pets?”
He gave a half smile. “Ah, we’re far from enemies Commander, despite my uniform. I want this killer caught as much as you do. And no, I don’t have any pets, thankfully.”
Baron was a tall but slim man, his gray hair crewcut with a large balding area on his crown. He looked wrinkled and haggard, tired beyond belief. Yet his green eyes were kind and his voice soft.
She eyed his uniform. “You’re a member of the Royal Bodyguard. How come the colonel put you forward for this?”
“I believe that Her Majesty thought it a good idea and had a word. I can advise on protocol and other such matters.”
Putting her distrust to one side, they followed him, and passed through the military cordon and under the high white-stone arch into an alleyway that was so narrow daylight struggled against the gloom. The rough concrete buildings around them were obviously some of the first made by the colonists when they arrived, their ancient machines churning out concrete from native material to quickly provide the housing and protective walls needed for the settlers.
Shadowy doorways beckoned, boxes were piled against the walls, amidst occasional pools of water. Cats and rodents slipped through the gloom while rubbish scampered over the flagstones, driven by the soft breeze tainted with the stench of refuse.
“You look familiar somehow,” Selena said to Baron, after a while. “Do we know each other?”
His bottle-green eyes remained on hers. “No, but I was born on this world so we could easily have bumped into one another. We may even have mutual friends. You never know. I pop up in all kinds of places and work all hours, but when working exclusively for the queen I mostly do nights. I like the way the moons dance.”
Selena froze as he uttered the last phrase, recognising it as a rebel recognition code. Knowing the others will have noticed the phrase was slightly out of place, she just gave a slight nod of acknowledgement. At that moment, they stopped at a doorway and her eyes slid over the blood splattered wall and passageway. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“A citizen came through here late last night and found them. They’ve been eviscerated—gutted if you will. There’s not a single organ remaining, not even their brains or eyes.”
“There was just their bodies?”
“Aye Ma’am. They’ve been taken to the morgue. We’ve never had anything like this before, I think we’re a bit out of our depth.”
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS CLICK HERE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark’s short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Write to Fight, Escape Velocity, Auguries and Monk Punk. With over forty years’ experience in the martial arts and a 9th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, he’s written features for the magazines Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, profwritingacademy.com and calmzone.net. He also runs a writer’s group for the British Science Fiction Association, along with The Scribe for Veterans with the help of The Royal British Legion.
His first full length work ‘Kwak’s Competition Taekwondo’, was published in Hong Kong, while he was based there with the Royal Navy for three years in 1985. His debut novel ‘A Pride of Lions’, Book I in The Darkening Stars, was published by Solstice in September 2013. Book II, ‘The Cull of Lions’, was published a year later. ‘Roar of Lions’ is the third book in the series.
Solstice have also published four novellas: ‘A Connoisseur of the Bizarre’, ‘Sally Jane’, ‘Nightshade’ and ‘Santa Claws is Coming’ – along with the short story compilation ‘Falling From Grace & Others’.
A Pride of Lions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pride-Lions-Darkening-Stars/dp/149425445X/
The Cull of Lions: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cull-Lions-Darkening-Stars/dp/162526089X/
Roar of Lions:
Falling from Grace & Others: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Falling-Grace-Others-Mark-Iles-ebook/dp/B00OYV3CHE/
Amazon authors page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Iles/e/B004YZBP3I/