Interview with Marc Corwin, author of The Optical Lasso

6:53 AM


The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune's Dark Side

by Marc Corwin

Publication Date: February 11th 2019 
Published by: Page Publishing, Inc. 
Page count: 350

In the year 2140 CE, Planet 9, more commonly known as Vixus, has resurfaced on the edge of the Milky Way... the only known planet that periodically reverses its rotation.

Last seen in the middle of the Kuiper Belt in 2066 CE, it mysteriously disappeared after being discovered by a Galactic Corps scout ship. The unknown energy source enabling Vixus to spin in opposite directions represented great power which could help turn the tide in a war Earth was losing. The Fighting Fury, the Corps' finest platoon, has been called in to conduct a search and rescue operation for several missing landing parties. Following a fierce battle on the planet surface, Lieutenant Janet "Cat" Miles, leader of this elite group of combat women, was captured. She soon found herself imprisoned with the Corps' most fabled leader, Commander Jason Cody. His name would forever be linked to the infamous wormhole hidden on Neptune's dark side; an area of space now cautiously avoided by all due to the menace which lurks within. Paranoia raced through both leaders' minds. Could he trust a woman who seemingly had no imperfections? Could she trust a man who had vanished from sight years ago? Earth's future laid in the balance as they struggled to overcome their mutual distrust and acknowledge what those before them understood: "If you live long enough, the wisdom will come."

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About the author

Marc Corwin is a retired entrepreneur and chief financial officer whose imagination has been broadened by a childhood immersed in comic books.

A glimpse of where the unique strands of The Optical Lasso originated:
The story depicts a creature lying dormant beneath the Earth's crust for over 35,000 years, waiting patiently to transform a dying young boy into a world leader at a time of great need. In a similar fashion, it required a freak accident to release the tale of The Optical Lasso from the deep recesses of Marc Corwin's mind, whose imagination has silently run amok since childhood, inside the Golden Age of comic books.

Carl Sagan, the great astronomer/philosopher stated, "One glance at (a book) and you hear the voice of another person - perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you."

In 2015, such a voice spoke to a wide-eyed Marc Corwin, as he awoke uninsured, after his car hydroplaned off a rain-soaked highway, plummeting 25 feet straight into the desert floor outside Las Vegas, Nevada... compelling him to write this narrative of science fiction fantasy.

A story aided in part by the renowned Hollywood producers, the Mirisch brothers, close friends of Marc's father, whose careers crossed paths in the theater business in Chicago. Classic hits such as the Pink Panther, West Side Story, In The Heat Of The Night, and Some Like It Hot, were introduced to the author at an early age, helping to broaden his midwestern outlook on life.

The unrestricted boundaries of rhythm and sound also were impactful. For Marc worked within his family's chain of music stores as a teenager, which allowed the grand story telling of The Moody Blues, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, and The Temptations, amongst many others, play an influential role in his creative development which continues to this day.

Half the royalties earned from the sale of The Optical Lasso will be donated to the Grace Science Foundation to aid in the development of cost-effective cures for the over 7000 known rare diseases currently afflicting an estimated 350 million people worldwide.

Marc wishes to thank all who have provided support for this cause.

We congratulate author Marc Corwin on his  book, The Optical Lasso! Let's welcome him on the blog for an interview with us today. Read on!

1. How did you decide to write The Optical Lasso series? What kind of research went behind the planning and writing of this sci-fi/fantasy?

The Optical Lasso is a space opera whose setting takes place on the far edge of the Milky Way Galaxy in the year 2140. It was totally unplanned and began as a simple email sent to relatives to let them know my wife and I had arrived home safely from a cross country flight. I was feeling creative and wrote an imaginary scene about being imprisoned by aliens but miraculously arriving home safely. They loved it and told me they wanted to see more of the story; so I kept sending emails expanding on the original premise. It gained momentum and took off organically ending up as a full length novel! Once the plot became clear to me, I began watching the Science Channel for more in depth information on the planet Neptune and visited the San Diego Air & Space Museum to improve my visualization of space travel.

Now here’s the rest of the story...
My wife and I were driving from San Diego to Las Vegas in 2012 during a terrible rainstorm and hydroplaned off the highway at 70 miles per hour.
The car took off into the air where there was a 25 foot drop off; we plowed into the ground and flipped end over end. The car finally come to a rest so far off the road, the ambulance that had been dispatched by highway patrol on the scene drove by and never saw us! We should not have survived but miraculously escaped with no serious injuries. A life changing moment where you step back and reassess the time you have left on this world and reprioritize what do you want to really do with your life. It was at that moment where writing became a priority and I extricated myself from the small business I owned.

I have no idea where the story came from other than the deepest recesses of my mind. In general, it was derived from reading hundreds of wonderful Marvel and DC comic books as a child which warped my imagination in a good way. My hope in writing this story was to construct the type of futuristic plot that I enjoy reading: one full of action, mystery, science, fantasy, surprises, romanticism, comedy and music. If a few people finish reading The Optical Lasso in a better mood than when they started, I will have considered it to be a rousing success!

2. Who's your favorite character from the story and why?

I actually have two favorite characters who play off of each others’ strengths, representing the yin and yang of life. Their natural combativeness toward each other slowly evolves into a relationship of playful romanticism, not often found in the world of science fiction.

Lieutenant Janet “Cat” Miles is the fearless leader of the Fighting Fury, an all women platoon, the finest rescue unit in the Galactic Corps. She is an expert tactician / fighter, who is so beautiful, men find it difficult to trust her. Cat has a sarcastic wit which is on full display after being captured on the ghost planet, Vixus, during a rescue operation gone bad. This strange world vanished from the Kuiper Belt in the year 2066 only to reappear at the galaxy’s edge in 2140. She demonstrates her lethal skills as a variety of indigenous aliens attempt to prevent her escape.

The lieutenant’s counterpart is Supreme Commander Jason Cody of the Galactic Corps. He has a secret invention, the optical lasso, that is capable of traveling faster than light speed and retrieve any snippet of history its operator wishes to view. He finds himself sharing a cell with Cat and must overcome his distrust of the lieutenant, to have any hope of escaping and salvaging a war Earth was losing.

3. Do you decide the character traits before you sit down to write the book, or as you go along?

My character traits are developed as I am writing the story. I enjoy the spontaneity of spicing up the dialogue as the plot thickens without feeling like I’m boxed in to any particular stereotype. When your Earth based crew is far from home, a lot can happen and most of it is bad. Characters who serve on deep space missions tend to be quirky. Great tension is created as they struggle to reconcile their principled beliefs, grounded in science, against a reality which is far different; an unsettling development the reader gets to experience up close and personal.

4. How did you celebrate the first sale of book one?

The first book contest I ever entered was the International Readers’ Favorite contest which honored me with three 5 star reviews (see the Editorial Reviews posted on Amazon). My first book sale was driven off that performance. My wife and I went to our favorite local restaurant where we enjoyed a nice cabernet and some coffee flavored mud pie. I’m a foodie at heart and coincidentally so are the crew of the deep space state of the art Galactic Corps destroyer, Indiana! Three culinary chefs are amongst its crew to help minimize the occurrence of suicide which has proven prevalent on missions which cross the galactic border.

5. Tell us about some of the learning experiences or biggest challenges you faced throughout the writing and publishing process.

One of the hardest things to do upon completing the first draft of your manuscript is to lock it away for a reasonable period of time so you can read it with “fresh eyes.” Your end product will be much better for it. Don’t let other people talk you into having to write by using a particular formula. My plot outline was consistently described as “unique and unusual” which was universally applauded by Sci-fi enthusiasts everywhere.

There are a lot of shady people out there who try to take advantage of the hopes and dreams of new writers. Be very careful. There are good sources on the web that will help highlight the companies you should stay away from. Look before you leap.

Finally, your book should go through a minimum of two professional edits. You will end up with a much more polished product that will help its marketability. And watch the adjectives, too many will ruin a good line.

6. Do you get creative blocks or burnouts? How do you get out of those, if and when you do?

I honestly have not incurred a burnout / creative block yet. My best ideas occur while I’m on my daily walk with my dogs and my mind is relaxed and open. I always have ideas flowing through me and I write them down immediately. I must have at least fifty pages of “idea notes” for each of my books and each note can be multiple typed pages. I will review them after a period of time and resort them according to plot development and character. In this way, I stay on track and avoid going blank. I’m always surprised at how many good ideas I collect which I had forgotten about until I review my notes.

7. Tell us something personal about you that your readers may be surprised to know.

I love to make cakes, watch old movies, and read comic books from the Golden Age of 50’s & 60’s. On a rainy day, to watch a good old movie while baking a cake and licking the bowl... life doesn’t get much better! The 1962 classic tale of “The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm” always gets to me. At the end of the movie, one of the brothers is on his death bed, and all his favorite fairy tale characters surround him to say goodbye. What a proper send off that would be!

I must admit to enjoying peanut butter and jelly sandwiches stuffed with sliced salami and pickles! I know it sounds disgusting, but try it before you knock it! It reminds me of a classic I Love Lucy episode where Lucy is pregnant and expresses a desire for pistachio ice cream with hot fudge and sardines. Maybe there’s a bit of Lucy Ricardo inside me!

8. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing or reading?

My wife and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary this year. To find your true soul mate and share your life with that person is a wonderful thing. I truly enjoy the simple things in life: family, friends, pets, and desserts! I have had the good fortune to travel the world with my best friend and experience many different cultures. People universally are very friendly and travel has been an invaluable aid to my writing, for you write about what you experience. One of my dogs, Elvis, a basset hound, became a character in the book. He is always into mischief and has stolen half the socks I own.

9. What's next?

I’ve just completed the first draft of the second book in my Sci-fi fantasy series, The Optical Lasso. It’s marinating right now and I will have a few trusted beta readers take a look at it and share their feedback with me. Then I will work on getting it to market and pitch it for a possible movie script or television series. That would be the icing on top of this wonderful story that highlights how a dying young boy becomes one of Earth’s greatest leaders at a time of dire need.

10. Lastly, any special thoughts for the readers?

A good book can be transformative to one’s view of life. Few things are better than reading the first few pages of a book that excites you so much, your ecstatic to have the rest of the book to relax and enjoy as it transports you somewhere you’ve never been before. If you want to be a good writer you must write! Enjoy the experience of writing. If its more work than play, then perhaps you should find another endeavor for life is too short to spend your time working instead of enjoying. I love to receive feedback. Please share yours thoughts at: Thank you!

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