Today, I am pleased to sit down with an extremely talented Speculative Fiction author and radio host. William Hayashi has three highly acclaimed novels: Discovery, Conception, and Confrontation, comprising the Darkside Trilogy. Welcome, Mr. Hayashi, and thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with me.
- Have you always wanted to be an author?
No, I came to writing fairly recently, beginning my first novel in 2001 and my first screenplay in 2009.
- What inspired you to write your first book?
The realization that no matter how many great stories I could come up with, none of them were real until they were written down and vetted by the reading public. The first thing I thought of was a great, ironic ending, knowing that readers and moviegoers remember the endings most, and most often judge the quality of the work by how the writer concludes the story. Therefore, I sat down, and being an IT nerd since 1970, I started up my technical drawing software and created a flowchart of what I thought a fun, interesting plot would be.
Also something Isaac Asimov said effected be greatly, and I quote, “Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.”
- What genre(s) do you write?
Speculative fiction, either science fiction or drama. I like playing with “what ifs” surrounding themes that no one else has written about. The premise in my first literary trilogy was something nobody had ever addressed.
- What is the name of your latest novel?
It’s Quarantine, the first installment of the second trilogy in the Darkside Universe which should be out by the holidays. The entire series will be seven books, two trilogies and a final volume that concludes the saga. In between writing those Darkside installments I have a handful of short stories published and a book or two outside of Darkside. I’ve also guest written in other authors’ universes, most recently Milton Davis’ Dark Universe and H Wolfgang Porter’s The Dark God’s Gift series.
- How did you come up with the concept for your novel?
I thought about all the reading I’ve done since my preteen days and came up with a plot that no one else had done, then applied myself to produce a story in the same vein as The Golden Age of Science Fiction authors. At first, it was going to be a single novel, but when I approached the middle of writing Discovery, I realized that more had to be told to complete the story.
- Who is your favorite character and why?
Actually I have several, for different reasons. And if what conventional wisdom says about every character in an author’s story is really the author in some way, shape or form, then modesty prohibits me really choosing just one!
- Who is your least favorite character and why?
There are different characters I could name, but most of the people in my stories who fit that description are those who maintain a status quo existence that perpetuates the perspective or cultural antagonist within the story. For example, the Darkside Trilogy tells the story of what happens in the United States when it is discovered that African Americans are discovered having lived in secret on the backside of the moon long before Neil Armstrong set foot there. In Darkside, my least favorite characters are those who perpetuate America’s racist status quo and force others into situations that are patently unnecessary.
- Which character do you relate to the most and why?
I think Christopher Wright or Lucius Walker for various complicated reasons.
- Is there a certain message (s) that you desire your readers to grasp?
That not everyone in this country has the same experience in life as everyone else and that those differences are not necessarily benign. One of the best examples of this is in a one star review someone posted on Amazon.com about Discovery. The review was from a white man who simply couldn’t understand why anyone Black would prefer to live on the moon with just other Blacks instead of remaining in the United States if given the choice. At first, I was angry about the review because the reader said that Discovery was like a Saturday Night Live skit because it wasn’t believable to him, but a few hours later I realized his response was perfect in illustrating why I wrote Darkside in the first place.
- What books have influenced you the most? Why?
In terms of the genre, again it’s the “what ifs” that intrigue me. I’m working on a short story that is based on an idea I discussed with a few writers I do a weekly Google Hangout with, often for six or more hours in the evening. Those stories are influenced by the thousands of books written by science fiction authors from the Golden Age I mentioned before. I have my favorites, but they really are too numerous to begin listing I also like writing stories with a social justice theme, and two of the books that greatly influenced me were Sam Greenlee’s The Spook Who Sat By The Door and Edwin Corley’s Siege, both of which I read quite a while back.
- Who are a few of your favorite authors?
Many of the Golden Age authors are among my favorites; Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Piers Anthony. I tend to like those who create interesting characters and then write multiple stories about their journeys through life.
- With what author would you love to have a conversation?
I have questions that I would love to ask Octavia Butler about being a Black woman writing speculative fiction in her day. She flourished in a time when self publishing was largely unheard of.
- Any future projects you would like to talk about?
I have two feature movies I would like to get made. Both scripts are much more mainstream than my writing. I have been exceptionally fortunate in that my first four scripts were actually filmed. They’re shorts that are on my YouTube channel. There’s also a 3D animated movie in production at BlackScienceFictionSociety.com I wrote the script for entitled Earth Squadron.
- If you could start again, is there anything you would change in your latest book?
I don’t think so. Since it’s in a series that I thought out fairly well, it strikes a good balance between science fiction adventure and the needs of the few outweighing the needs of the many—diametrically opposing the underlying theme of the Star Trek universe.
- Is there a short excerpt of your current book that you would like to share?
Not as of yet. When it appears on Amazon there will be an excerpt anyone can read. For a deeper look at the first trilogy, the first four chapters of all three of the Darkside Trilogy volumes are available in the Darkside Group at blacksciencefictionsociety.com.
- Do you have a favorite quote from one of your novels?
This is a great question for which I have no answer. I guess if pushed I would say, “There goes the neighborhood,” in Conception. When you read the book, you’ll get the joke.
- Do you have any advice for up and coming authors?
Like anything, one learns, and you do have to do a good deal of research and study to become a good author, be sure to learn the fundamentals first before you decide to branch out into your own personal style. Also, decouple your self worth from your work. Criticism of your work is NOT a repudiation of you as a person. If you stick with it you will become better and better. I honestly admit that each of my books is better than the last.
- Are there any future events you would like to announce?
Not at this time.
If you would like to learn more about Mr. Hayashi or his speculative fiction series, you can find more information on his Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Page, YouTube, TalkCast, and the Earth Squadron website.
Thank you for sitting down with me tonight, Mr. Hayashi. I thoroughly enjoyed Discovery and look forward to reading Conception.