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Interview with Raymond F. Klein

He is a first-time author of the novel, The Interstellar Police Force, Book One: The Historic Mission. He lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida, which is thirty minutes north of Tampa and works for the ABC-TV affiliate, WFTS.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
There isn’t much to tell. I’m somewhat of a movie buff. I’ve always liked the process of how movies and TV shows are made. And when I am watching something, I’m usually on the IMDB website looking up the trivia and behind-the-scenes information.

Q.2 Tell us about The Interstellar Police Force, Book One: The Historic Mission?
Well, it’s considered light science fiction, which just means it’s not as elaborate as Star Wars or Star Trek. But it is a Science Fiction-Action-Comedy, set on present-day Earth. It begins in a far-off galaxy. Prodor Moffit and four other prisoners have escaped to Earth, and it's up to two IPF Agents to find them. But, right off, they are met with problems.

The first is that they have limited information on the human race that only goes up to the late 1950s. The second is that the Agents are alien in appearance, so to complete their covert mission, they must replicate themselves into humans. The commander's replication succeeds, but due to a computer glitch, his partner is replicated into a Doberman Pincher.

With mid-twentieth century information in hand, the agents successfully land. And with the help of a young Earth girl who unwittingly discovers their true identities, the mission to re-capture Prodor Moffit and the other prisoners is on.

Q.3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Yes, this is the first book of a trilogy. I am about 95% finished with my second novel, The Interstellar Police Force, Book Two: The Beauty of Violence. Which continues six months after where we left off with Book One.

Q.4 What inspired you to write The Interstellar Police Force series?
I was first inspired in 2006 to start writing when I was attempting to update an old Twilight Zone TV episode in the hopes of making it into an indie film. I wrote what I thought was a script treatment but found out later that they are supposed to be only two paragraphs long. What I wrote were 93 pages! To my surprise, I wrote a short novel. Being that I had no idea about copyright laws, I set it aside. About a month later, I was driving home, and a song came on the radio. It was from the English electronic punk band The Prodigy and the song was “Smack My Bitch Up,” and believe it or not, that sparked the original idea for The Interstellar Police Force. Funny how the brain works, huh?

Q.5 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I really didn’t have any difficulties writing the characters of Jennifer and her friend Monica. I found it easy to go back and forth from the male characters to them.

Q.6 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don’t really have a formula for developing plots and characters. But I did, on several occasions while writing the novel, that some of the plots developed on their own as I wrote. Like I was watching the events unfold in a movie in my head.

Q.7 Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
No, not really. But I do have music playing in the background as I write. And this can range from Rock, Blues, Classical to ’60s & ‘70’s rock.

Q.8 How do you see the future of science fiction literature? Will sci-fi maintains its independence or intertwines with other literary genres?
I would like to see science fiction maintain its independence. That way, it would give the authors the freedom to develop their worlds as they see fit.

Q.9 To what extent can science fiction effect or improve the developments in science and technology in human life? Is it right to say that science fiction can change what human life looks like in the future?
It already has! Life has imitated fiction. Take the 1960’s TV series Star Trek for instance. Lt. Uhura always used an earpiece to communicate with Star Fleet like we use earbuds today. And they always recorded information on small colored disks. We used to do the same thing with 3 ½ inch computer floppy discs. And let’s not forget the small handheld communicators.

Q.10 In many science fictions stories, the existence of God is denied. Could we call science fiction an atheist literary genre?
Not too sure about this one. But I have read some science fiction where they refer to deities or a spiritual creator. So, maybe not atheism per se but leaning more toward agnosticism.

Q.11 What do you think are the main reasons for the popularity of science fiction? To what extent has the film industry helped in popularizing the genre?
The film industry has contributed a lot to the science fiction genre. In the 1930s and ’40s, there were science fiction serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, which most likely influenced many of the early SF writers. And, of course, the movies of the 1950s as well. And you can’t forget about the space program of the late 1950s going into the 1970s, which most likely influenced the next generation of SF writes.

Q.12 Science fiction has a long history. Which era do you consider the most effective period in the whole history of the genre?
In my opinion, it would be the late 1950’s and 60’s when actual space travel was at the forefront of science and technology.

Q.13 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
My advice would be to hire a good editor. Then after the edit is done, let friends and family read it. Also, send it out to beta readers for non-bias (friends and family are supposed to like your work) critiquing. You can hire several on the website Fiverr. Now that doesn’t mean you have to change every single thing a beta reader suggests. But take it into consideration; it could help you in ways you never thought about.

Q.14 What are the three things a reader can expect from your book?
Well, it is a science fiction-action-comedy. So, there are three things my readers can expect.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select him/her?
A. Jody Taylor
is a graphics designer that use to work at WFTS. The same ABC TV station that I work for now. I got her name from a mutual friend. The concept was my idea, but she really hit it out of the park with what she put together for me.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
Well, for The IPF Agents, that’s part of the plot. They have limited information on the humans, which only consists of bad science fiction ‘B’ movies, so that’s where the names of the main characters come from, for the young Earth girl that they befriend. Her name is the name of a friend I had years ago. With the other humans that are introduced, the names just popped into my head as I wrote.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I have, and so far, I haven’t received any bad reviews yet. Which is a pretty good sign! Don’t you think?

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
A. Einstein
, I have so many questions to ask him. And besides, I hear he makes a mean strudel.

Q.19 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
There are a lot of authors I gravitate toward. Dennis Lehane and Jeffery Deaver for their great story-building and Dean Koontz for my Twilight Zone fix! As for a favorite, about three months ago, I finished Koontz’s five-book series, Frankenstein. Brilliantly written, and I highly recommend it. I’m planning on re-reading it again very soon.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
Well, being that I’m a first-time novelist and just started this journey. I’m having a fun time filling out interview forms such as this one and being interviewed via Zoom and Skype.

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