9:36 AM

In the Author Spotlight & Contest


CONTEST: Two random commenters will each win a signed paperback copy of Hunter's latest book, Friends in Deed. Please make sure to leave your email addy so T. M. Hunter can contact you if your name is drawn. Best wishes!

AL: Hi T.M. Thanks for being in the “Author Spotlight” this week.

T.M.: Thanks for having me! It’s great being here…

AL: So, tell us what’s happening with you.

T.M.: Just trying to keep my head above water in this economy that seems to be collapsing or recovering depending on the day of the week. Have to keep the day job so that I have something to support this nasty writing habit, you know.

AL: Tell us about Aston West?

T.M.: The best way to describe my favorite space pirate actually came from a reader, when they said that Aston West truly is everyman. He puts off a good front of being self-absorbed, but when the chips are down, he does the right thing, even if it’s not what he wants to do. As to his origins, he actually came from a starship pilot I came up with for a different novel (which never went farther than a few chapters). I resurrected the main construct of that character when the role came up for my first book Heroes Die Young and Aston took it from there.

AL: What other works are you deep into?

T.M.: I currently have both an Aston West novella out there (where he meets a psychic mind-reader) as well as another novel (not featuring Aston), both with beta readers. While I wait for those comments to get back, I’ve been penning the first draft of my third Aston West novel and am nearing the end on that. And of course, I’m neck-deep in several short stories and other projects related to my universe.

AL: When did you know you wanted to write Sci-Fi?

T.M.: It’s funny, because I didn’t even begin writing science fiction until I was halfway through college. Before that, I penned some mysteries, thrillers and a few others. None of that was working for me, and then on the way back from a cross-country road trip a friend and I were taking, I started getting thoughts about writing stories based in space. It just grew from there, and now I hardly write anything else.

AL: What is one glaringly/specific personality trait that Aston West that is all you? One that a family member or friend stops and says, “Hey, this is so you.”

T.M.: I imagine that a lot of family or friends probably try to read Aston as indicative of my personality traits, but I’d like to think he’s completely separate. If I had to think about it, we probably share some familiar ground on pessimism (though he has a whole lot more), and in our feelings on politicians and politics in general. As long as people don’t think I’m alcoholic like he is.

AL: Out of all your stories do you have one that is more near and dear your heart? Why?

T.M.: It’s always been a toss-up between several of my stories, and for different reasons. My story “Little White Truths” gets a lot of my love because it was my first published story. Then “Ever Dark” which makes me smile when Aston turns to his dark side and exacts revenge for those who can’t themselves. And then one of my most recent ones “Lifeline” which went a heck of a lot darker than anything I’ve written to this point. I don’t imagine I could pick one in particular.

AL: Time to settle in and dig deep – Who is a great example to you and how you live your life?

T.M.: I’d say my grandparents on my mother’s side have always been an example to me, especially after my mother’s death when I was in high school. They definitely have their opinions on just about everything, but have always been great models of how to handle life, love, finances and about any other circumstance you could think of. Sadly, my grandfather passed away a few years back, but I still keep in contact with my grandmother on a regular basis.

AL: Do you remember the first guilty pleasure you purchased with your first check?

T.M.: I learned a lot about finances from my grandparents, who went through the Great Depression. As such, I do a lot of saving and not a lot of spending unless it’s necessary. So, honestly, there aren’t a lot of guilty pleasures I’ve ever purchased. From time to time, maybe, but I honestly don’t remember them.

AL: Where would you like to travel if you had the chance?

T.M.: I think it would be fun to travel to Europe, as that’s where my ancestors originated. Of course, in this day and age where there’s a huge target on Americans all over the world, I think I’d be content just sticking to places in-country. Hawaii, maybe?

AL: Can you share some of your plans for 2010 and beyond?

T.M.: Well, as I mentioned, I have a novel and a novella which are in the final stages of preparation, and will be heading out on submission before long. Then, there’s the next Aston novel. In the meantime, I have a short story collection coming out in the next few weeks with ResAliens Press, which is going to be awesome. I also have another plan that was just proposed to me days ago, which I can’t go into details about, but if it happens, it’s going to be a huge hit (I really want to say, but am afraid it will jinx the outcome).

AL: Silly question… You have to ask a fictional character out on a date—who would you ask and what would you do together?

T.M.: I think it would be fun to have a date with Kinsey Millhone (I’m a big fan of the 80s), as long as we could stick to heading out for a Quarter Pounder, and avoid the long runs. I’m not an athletic person by any means. Who knows, maybe we could bring along Stephanie Plum for some extra excitement on the date? Think those two would go for it? Ha ha.

And of course, I might have to ask my wife for permission…heh.

AL: Please share a favorite quote(s) with us.

T.M.: Midwest Book Review: “This book was great fun to read, exciting and believable. Aston West is an appealing character, and the plot engaging. Author T. M. Hunter is a name to remember for you sci fi fans out there.”

AL: Thanks so much for sharing with us this week, T.M.

T.M.: Thanks again for having me. It’s been a blast!

AL: If you’d like to find out more about T.M. please visit:




Aston West was condemned to life on the prison planet Lycus IV for spitting in a man’s face. Being forced to reside with the likes of murderers and thieves, he owes his freedom to Lars and Elijah Cassus, who orchestrated an escape. Now the twin brothers call in the favour and force him to return with their team to Lycus IV to rescue crewmate Leah Jordan.

Aston discovers Leah’s desire to leave the twins forever, but Lars and Elijah use fear and intimidation to control their group and no one leaves alive. It’s a case of kill or be killed and Aston will need to become more like the brothers than he ever wanted.


Even in the depth of my nightmares, Lycus IV was a formidable hell. The scenery misled one to think of mighty grandeur. Lush green trees lined the banks. Sporadic cloud cover offered broken views of a pale blue mountain range.

This prison planet’s terror was not found in its natural surroundings, but from its unwilling inhabitants.

A wide, slow-moving river flowed in front of me over a deep bed of rocks. My filthy clothing was ripped and shredded, and exposed bloody skin. I gazed back across the clear, inviting water.

A bellow filled the air and I turned. A pale, naked giant rumbled through the brush, still yelling at the top of his lungs. High above his head, he gripped his makeshift mallet, a boulder strapped into the fork of a tree branch. I jumped aside as the weapon crashed down.

He stared with one wide eye and the other glazed over. Saliva dribbled from his lips.

“I am King of the wooded realm! You dare invade my territory?”

This wasn’t a fight I planned to stick around for. Psychotics were the worst type of violent.

He hoisted his club and swung it at me. I stumbled back and it came so close I felt the breeze. I turned toward the opposite bank and sprinted across the riverbed.

“Your punishment is death! Vengeance is demanded!”

I high-stepped through calf-deep water while the beast screamed bloody murder. I dared not look back, because there was no doubt he gained on me with every step.

My foot caught a cluster of rocks under the surface and I splashed down, drenched by the cool, clear water. I flipped over and faced my attacker as he left me in a cold, dark shadow. Milky-white foam oozed over his lower lip.

"Prepare to meet your maker!”

He raised the mallet high above his head. At least death would be quick, but I couldn’t say much for painless. I closed my eyes and waited for the crushing blow.

A whistle filled the air and the giant beast gasped and choked. My eyes flashed open as the beast dropped his weapon into the river behind him.

Only one object stood between me and oblivion, a homemade arrow buried in his neck. He couldn’t pull it from the front, so reached back. His mind gave up hope as soon as his fingers probed the stone tip. The monster’s eyes rolled up out of the way, then his body fell backward.

The corpse splashed down and huge waves rolled past me. I scrambled around and gazed at the opposite bank. There, a bow in his left hand and more arrows strapped to his back, stood the man who’d just saved my life.

Elijah Cassus.

REMEMBER: Two random commenters will each win a signed paperback copy of Hunter's latest book, Friends in Deed. Please make sure to leave your email addy so T. M. Hunter can contact you if your name is drawn. Best wishes!


steph beck said...

Great interview. Stephanie Plum is one of my favorites too :)

Chrissy Munder said...

Good luck with the economy. I have to say I'm glad the other story didn't go. I would have hated to miss Aston in this one and the ones to follow.


Karin said...

You would probably enjoy the girls - as long as you didn't get in their way :>)
My husband and I enjoy our National Parks. When I look at some of them I wonder if someone from outer space made them. Could you check with Aston for me? Thanks.

Karin said...

Sorry, I forgot.

AstonWest said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

I'm a big fan of female leads. Besides the two I mentioned, Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell) is also a good one, as well as Jack Daniels (via Joe Konrath). I wouldn't be surprised in the least if one day a female lead appears in one of my Aston novels (hint hint), and I can only hope to follow in the footsteps of these fine ladies.

Had Aston missed this one, he would have missed out on all the short stories he's appeared in, too. That would have been a major loss, I agree.

As for National Parks, I think our government treats people of this planet as if they themselves were alien overlords, but sadly, the parks were all created by mere humans such as ourselves. ;-)

Mousey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mousey said...

Another great interview. I'm liking the idea more and more of having several books and stories with Aston in them and while they are all part of his tale you don't have to read them in any certain order, contrary to my 5th grade english teacher's opinion that a series sharing the same character should have a 'time flow'. Which I'm very happy about, I'm a firm believer that no one can tell someone how to write because no one is the same in what they do.

We know there are all guide lines to plot, climax etc but thinking outside the box never hurt anyone. ;)

Also, if I could go on a date with any one of your characters ( and get away with it seeing as how I'm married...) I'd pick Juniper every time. WHAT!? girls can go on dates too... >.>

Mousey said...

I'm not sure why that decided to post twice....

AstonWest said...

I think Blogger just got really excited about the idea of you having a date with Juniper... ;-)

Time flow has its advantages, and though my third (in-work) Aston novel happens after the second in a timing standpoint, I'm hoping to pull it off such that a person reading it first wouldn't be completely lost.

Of course, I'd be up a creek if I had to write the stories (and get them published) in a timeline consistent with the novels (or with each other). As an example, I recently had two stories come out last month. The first was actually accepted the month prior to that, while the second was accepted about 18 months before. That would make for a real nightmare from a timing standpoint.

Karin said...

I really enjoy Jack Daniels (all of JA's book's no matter who he says writes them!). How about Aston and Jack in a story?

AstonWest said...

They'd probably get along, yup... ;-)

As far as in a story together, that might be tricky to pull off...heh.

Karin said...

At least one of them would be out of their element. But as characters...

AstonWest said...

Well, not to mention that Joe's a big celebrity author now... ;-)

joder said...

This sounds super good! I love reading sci-fi and finding such an exciting character. And good to know there's more Aston out there to read.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

AstonWest said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AstonWest said...

And a lot of it is free to read, including most of my short stories:

Thanks for stopping by!

Linda Henderson said...

I haven't read any science fiction in a while, I think I would really enjoy this one. I enjoyed your interview very much and look forward to getting acquainted with your work.

seriousreader at live dot com

AstonWest said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Yes, I have a lot of people who read my books, and tell me "I don't normally read sci-fi, but I loved this" and other similar statements. I think the trick is that my stories (and novels) are more character-based than science-based. Definitely more fun for me to write... ;-)

Sherry said...

I really enjoyed your interview it was very interesting. I've only read a few science fiction books and that's been a while. Your book sounds like a great read.


Ann Lory said...

Thanks to all of you for stopping by to check out T.M. Hunter's Aston West series.


AstonWest said...

I ditto that...thanks everyone for stopping by!

AstonWest said...

Well, today's the day...so congratulations Karin and Joder for being my winners in the book giveaway! I'll be contacting you shortly for additional shipping information.

And if you didn't win, be sure to head over to my Friends in Deed page where you can get a copy of your very own, too.

Thanks again to Ann for having me, and thanks to everyone for stopping by!