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Interview With Kirk Outerbridge

Marcher Lord Press is a new publisher that has only been around for a year, but is taking the speculative fiction genre by storm. They have had three sets of titles release so far and with each set they release three books. This most recent set included Eternity Falls by Kirk Outerbridge.

Eternity Falls sets us in the future where a new genetic formula is being used by the public called "Miracle Treatment" which alters the dna back to a younger you, so an 85 might look 25. This is very popular among the rich and famous but then one of their spokespeople, actress Greta Darling dies, of natural causes…except of course that is not possible because she is a Miracle Treatment user. One of the heads of Gentec, Sheila Dunn, hires Rick Macey to figure out what happened since she is sure that the treatment itself could not have failed.

We set out on a trip to the truth with Macey and Sheila as they try to determine whether it is a religious conspiracy, espionage, or murder and who is behind trying to ruin Sheila. People start dying and the past comes back to haunt Macey, his secrets start rearing their ugly heads and in the midst of everything, can he remember Who has been there for him all along?

Eternity Falls is a Cyberthiller...say what? Hmm, Cyberthriller. Well, if Eternity Falls is an example of a Cyberthriller than I think I have a new favorite genre. So Kirk, explain to our audience what exactly a Cyberthriller is.

Thanks for that great intro Janna.

A cyberthriller is my own coining of a cross genre mixing a traditional techno thriller with the cyberpunk genre. Cyberpunk is a subgenre of Science Fiction, which focuses on a technology that allows direct man-machine interfacing.

Normally in these stories the protagonists are the underdogs in a future society where the balance of power has been shifted unfairly due to this new technology—hence the punk.

I love having the cyber element in my stories, but I’m not an anarchist at heart, so I dropped the punk and tell a more traditional thriller/suspense story and hence the term cyberthriller. Hope it catches on!

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?

I think it would have to be my discovery of Marcher Lord Press (MLP), or MLP founder Jeff Gerke to be more exact. I had finished my manuscript for Eternity Falls I had a few rejections in the CBA realm.

Editors told me my story had potential, but that Sci-fi and especially a hybrid genre like my Christian Cyberthriller had little chance of seeing publication in either the CBA or ABA markets.

That’s when I came across Jeff’s Where the Map Ends site, and found an oasis for people who loved to both read and write exactly what I wrote. I stuck with the site for encouragement and kept writing and honing my skills. Later, when Jeff announced his launching of Marcher Lord Press, I knew the Lord had opened a door for me. And indeed many others who write Christian Speculative fiction.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?

I think it has to be becoming more disciplined with my writing time and making better use of it when it becomes available. As I’m now working on the sequel to Eternity Falls, I know I have somewhat of a deadline to keep. With my first novel I would pick it up and write only when both inspiration and free time converged.

Now I have to press myself to write whenever the free time is available (which isn’t often with a 2 year old in the house!) even if the inspiration isn’t there. I think all professional writers eventually master this skill, but it’s very hard switching from treating writing as merely a hobby or pastime to actually treating it like a profession.

And how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?

My faith plays a big role. Some might say too big as I tend to use Christianity more overtly in my stories. Basically I write to answer religious question that I come across in my own Christian walk.

By creating a story based around the religious question or theme I get to research and understand it thoroughly and come to a better understanding of God’s will for us as Christians. And hopefully I can translate that experience for my readers and bring the message across in an entertaining and informative way.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?

I think it would have to be getting to meet my publisher Jeff Gerke, my cover Artist Kirk Douponce and fellow MLP author Stuart Vaughn Stockton while on a business trip to Colorado Springs.

I live in Bermuda so a trip to the Springs is no easy venture, but God worked it out so that I had a conference there right after the launch of my novel last October. Getting to meet those guys was like meeting long lost brothers I’d known my entire life. It was a truly great experience to celebrate the launch of my first novel with them.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?

I think God placed the desire to write in my heart, but learning the craft of storytelling actually came from years of playing table top roleplaying games in my youth.

Often times I was the Game Master so it was my job to come up with a story arc for the game, all the bit characters the players would encounter and then I would have to roleplay their various personalities on the fly. It was a lot of fun, but looking back those are all the skills required to tell a good story. So I think I owe a lot of my storytelling ability to that childhood hobby.

As for inspiration and ideas, a lot come from the classic cyberpunk authors like William Gibson, Philip K. Dick and more recently Masamune Shiro creator of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. You’ll see a lot of influence from Shiro in my writing.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

I believe in keeping it real. I like to think my stories offer a layer of gritty realism despite the fantastic futuristic elements, both in terms of characterization and plot as well as the Christian elements.

In a recent review, Eric Wilson, likened my novel to the movie District 9 which I was very appreciative of, because that’s the level of realism I aim for—real people with real problems, who just happen to have access to some very unreal technology.

Finish this question. My goal with writing for an audience is to...

Keep them guessing.

Underneath all the cyberthriller slickness, I love to keep people intrigued with the elements of a good old fashioned mystery/suspense novel. And after all is revealed I will have hopefully entertained them as well as given them some deep philosophical and Biblical meat to chew on, on the way home.

Any parting words?

Thanks for having me! If you’ve read Eternity Falls please leave me a review on Amazon or drop me a line on my author website

And please keep supporting small publishers like Marcher Lord Press. A lot of effort is going into making some really great books and we need your support to keep the fires burning.

Thanks for sharing with us, Kirk!

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