Daniel Gibbs is a recovering computer engineer that spent fifteen years supporting various US Navy and Marine Corps information technology programs, worldwide. His love of sci-fi and military fiction sparked an overactive imagination and fueled a growing ambition to bring his unique vision of the future to readers.
In Conversation With: Daniel Gibbs
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with author, Daniel Gibbs. Thanks for entertaining us with a visit. Can I offer you anything to drink?
Bring on the coffee, well, maybe decaf. I’ve already had two cups today. You don’t want me spinning out of here like a top.
Let’s go way back. What was the spark that ignited your writing?
I actually came up with the storyline behind the Terran Diaspora universe (in which all of my novels inhabit) when I was thirteen or fourteen. In my old age, I’m getting a bit hazy on exactly which year it was, hah! About five years ago, I decided I’d take a stab at writing it after I realized the indie author scene if you will, was taking off, and quite serious. And here we are… five years later.
Were you active in the military or civilian personnel?
Contractor. Information Technology to be more specific. I can’t really go into detail as to what projects I’ve supported over the years, except to say that a few times, after seeing something we’d (always a team) had put together, get out into the field and function as it should – those moments were the highlight of my career.
Let’s talk about worldbuilding. You have quite an extensive one happening. Was it the plan to develop one from the start?
Absolutely. Not only that, I’ve worked on it for decades. There’s entire series bible in my head, and most of its written down. I have dozens of starship models, interior set models (all in 3DSMAX, a type of 3D modeling program), you name it. One of my side projects is a encyclopedia on my author website – its not there yet, but pages dedicated to the hero ships are, along with a timeline, map of the galaxy, etc.
Do you think that it may turn away readers who don’t want to make an investment into this new world?
You know, I don’t think so. I think seeing the care that goes into the universe, the characters and the tech, is something that draws readers in. I’ve got consistent “rules” for my universe, and I take great care to ensure things are plausible on the science side of the house.
In your bio you wrote, “ . . . you’re probably wondering where I got the idea to incorporate religion into military science fiction.” and, “I’ve always wondered what would happen if Christians, Jews, and Muslims could set aside our differences, focus on the things that we have in common, and forge a better world.” Does religion feature predominantly in your stories? I ask because some writers can come across as “preachy” which can dissuade readers.
I’m not sure if predominantly is the right word, but it certainly factors in. I’m on board with how B5 presented religion in the future – human religion isn’t going away because we figure out how to fly between the stars. I might love Trek, but the whole “everyone will automatically become an atheist once aliens are discovered” concept never made sense to me.
And… I’m sure some readers feel my take on religion is preachy. I don’t, and that’s not the point. The point is to show faithful people trying to survive in the face of a multi-decade war, against an enemy that just won’t stop coming. This is something real soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines struggle with. How do you keep from losing yourself in the crucible of combat, when horrific things are happening all around you? As Marcus Aurelius put it: “The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.”
So, to close out the thought – is Terran Diaspora for everyone? No – but I think if you go into it with an open mind, there’s a great number of character studies of people with faith, people without faith, and people who aren’t sure what they believe, as they try to survive and do good.
Your new boxset contains the first three books of the Battlegroup series. What not bundle them all?
It’s getting into minutia, but the way Amazon does royalty pay outs, I’d lose a significant amount of royalties by bundling all six. So, 1-3 it is!
I looked through the timeline you created. Realistically, when do you think long duration space flight will happen?
I think that’s entirely dependent on Elon Musk staying healthy. Seriously – he’s going to advance the art of the possible so much in the next two decades, I doubt we can even conceive of what he’ll pull off. We’re only a few discoveries away from seeing long duration, advanced space flight. Imagine a fusion reactor, or a miniaturized fission reactor, powering a huge version of Starship (Musk’s latest invention) – if he can figure out the radiation/gravity issues… there you go. Its an exciting time to be alive.
Would you go into space?
In a heartbeat. If I’m ever blessed enough to have the money for a sub-orbital flight, and everything else is taken care of… I would do it in an instant, no matter what my age was.
What are you doing when you are not writing?
When am I not writing? Haha. Life’s never boring. I still work for the DoD, though in a reduced role these days. Writing is only a small part of being a successful indie author. I’m always editing at least one book, even as I write the next one. Marketing tasks such as preparing my newsletter, planning promotions, ads, launches, you name it… all in a day’s work.
Outside of work, I like to exercise, hang out at the beach, go to movies, and take my wife out to dinner at least once a week.
Let’s pivot. I write lyrics and compose for guitar, and I usually have music playing. What are your musical tastes?
I was a classical pianist for a number of years as a child, so I default to classical. Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, etc. Especially Chopin. I love movie soundtracks, too. I’m listening to the soundtrack to “King Solomon’s Mine” as I answer these questions, in fact.
Are you ready for the lightning round?
Bring it on!
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Oh man. I guess Trek, but I love them both. (Seriously. I own every SW movie on DVD or Blueray, every Trek series/movie (Excepting the new stuff) on DVD or Blueray… etc. And watch them every few years as I cycle through a series while I exercise in the morning.)
O’Fallon Illinois (Right outside of Scott AFB)
What’s the first thing on your bucket list?
Going to space camp
Mac or PC?
Last binged show?
Well, it looked like we are out of our allotted time. This has been a pleasure. Thanks for chatting. Any links you want to share?
The story behind Free Book Friday:
I’ve met many authors and readers during my time marketing, cross-promoting, and blogging. I think writers have a responsibility to inform readers about all the indie authors out there in the very crowded world of book publishing. You can’t do it alone, and why would you when you have a supportive group available?
Readers don’t just read one author – they stick with their favorite genres. There lies the power in cross-promotion. If one of my readers buys a book from an author I promote, then chances are there will be a reciprocal effect, or so is the hope. Do I want to boost sales? Of course I do. Do I want to boost other’s sales? Why not. It’s called karma.
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Featured Author: James Murdo
James Murdo was born and raised in London, where he still lives. He graduated from university with a Masters degree in Physics, which added fuel to his early love of science fiction.
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Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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