Good Morning Everyone! Please join me in welcoming Jacques Pye to Other Worlds! I’m very happy to be interviewing Jacques today and hope you will enjoy learning more about his books!
Welcome Jacques! First, tell us a little bit about your books. What makes your novel unique for readers?
The Alliance Chronicles are three science fiction stories, Tellerand Encounter, Deception, and Redemption, written with an earnest Christian worldview. I wanted to write a story about a future in which there are still people who know God and who take a relationship with Him seriously. I have always been perplexed that most science fiction I have encountered has left God back in the 19th century. Also, The Alliance Chronicles present a non-dystopian future.
Your books sound absolutely fascinating! What inspired you to choose this particular genre?
One Easter, our pastor asked us to imagine what it would have been like to witness Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. I thought about that idea and realized that time travel would be necessary for that to happen. I grew up a science nerd (built a 3 ft tall model of the Apollo rocket and could explain a trip to the moon and back using the model to illustrate before I was 12). That led to conjecturing a mechanism to accomplish the time travel. Tellerand Encounter focuses on a person in the future who travels back in time to witness the crucifixion and resurrection. The rest of the story blossomed from that germinal idea. The two books that followed have carried the story and characters to different worlds, while continuing the faith encounters and lessons of the first book.
Tell us a bit about how you choose the names of your characters!
Sterling Newman, one of the two main characters, has the most intentionally meaningful name. “Newman” is what he becomes after his encounter with Christ. As a new man, he can be “Sterling,” of highest quality. The other main character, a woman from the planet Creon named Armena Sandal, I named simply because I liked the sound of it. I tried to pick names for the villains that sounded dastardly: Draktal So and Pragsmon are the primary nemeses in Tellerand Encounter. Many of the characters have names that are familiar to English-speaking people, though several have names that are sounds combined for their effect. I also drew upon Swahili, Hindi, Chinese, and Finnish for place names. The villain of Redemption is a Nephilim named Ankhamen, which is “ankh”—life—and “hamen”—the invisible or ever-changing one in Egyptian. Read the story and you will see how his name fits him well.
What was your hardest scene to write?
In Tellerand Encounter, all of the scenes involving Jesus, especially when He speaks, were difficult because I wanted to present a Jesus true to the Gospel accounts (as true as could be when introducing a person from the future into the story). The crucifixion was also difficult because I wanted to present it through Sterling’s eyes, someone who knows nothing about God or Christianity.
I understand you’ve created a galaxy in which Jesus Christ has visited each world, as He did ours. Tell us a little bit about what it was like to write this aspect into your story!
All of the people on all of the worlds in the galaxy have fallen into sin, as Adam and Eve did on Earth. In conceptualizing the story, I had to stay true to the Bible’s statement that Christ died once for all people. For that to happen, Christ comes to each world at exactly the same time in history and dies at exactly the same time on each planet. Christ, present on all planets simultaneously, is still only one Christ, but lives a life particular to each planet. Thus, in Tellerand Encounter, Christ dies one time (at the same time on each planet) for all people. I am firmly convinced that if there are people on other planets this is how God could send Christ to die only once for all people on all planets.
Do you try more to be original or to give readers what they want?
Writing a science fiction story with a Christian worldview is the original aspect of my stories. In Deception and Redemption, I have a synthetic, an “android,” Maxine Gobel, who realizes she is developing human characteristics and who explores the idea of faith in God as a synthetic, which I believe is an original idea. I also do strive to give readers what they want—interesting and well-written plots, exciting space battle scenes, really evil villains, some romance, intriguing science in the fiction, good endings, and an examination of how people deal with real-life issues such as deception, the unexpected death of a loved one, and overwhelming calamity.
Do you like your books to stand on their own, or do you prefer connecting them?
Tellerand Encounter was written in 1991-1992 as a stand-alone. I wrote Deception and Redemption in the past couple of years to follow immediately after Tellerand Encounter in the timeline. Although the three books form one story, each can be appreciated individually.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors and was there a particular author who inspired you on your writing journey?
First, discern what the Lord would have you to write and write it! Second, enjoy the journey of the unfolding story coming from your heart and mind. No one is going to love the characters and the story more than you, so revel in the time spent with your characters. Third, being financially profitable is difficult, so write first for the joy of writing, second for the money. My cousin, R. J. Patterson, who has several successful series as an indie author, rekindled my interest in writing and so made possible Deception and Redemption. C.S. Lewis showed me that combining faith and science fiction into great stories is possible.
Finally, tell us about the world/setting you’ve created for your novel!
The Alliance Chronicles are set in our galaxy, four hundred years in the future, but Tellerand Encounter travels back to the time of Christ on Earth. The primary worlds are Aries, home of the Galactic Alliance Council; Creon, one of the two dominant planets in the galaxy; and Borela, the other dominant planet in the galaxy. Earth is still around but not the center of galactic activity. Creon and Borela orbit the same star, exactly opposite from one another, such that they were each unaware of the other’s existence until light-speed ships had been developed. As they are opposite each other in space, their inhabitants are completely opposite each other in physical and temperamental characteristics, which has lead to several wars between the two planets and their allies. Kirill, a remote world ruled by the evil emperor, Pragsmon, is important in all three stories. Alesandra, introduced in Deception, is another remote world with an intriguing history in which deception has been a dominant, though undetected, force, and in which redemption comes in an unexpected manner.
Thank you for joining us today Jacques!
In the year 2410, after the devastation of the Creon-Borela wars, many systems in our galaxy put aside their differences to form the Galactic Alliance. Now, thirty-four years later, the old tension between Creon and Borela is rising, a result of Borelan raids on the Creon system. There is fear in the Alliance that the flames of war may soon be rekindled.
Armena Sandal, Councilor from Creon, confronts Chockdal Du, Councilor from Borela, unleashing a firestorm in the Alliance Council. In another part of the galaxy, Sterling Newman, officer in the Alliance Intelligence Service, is in the firefight of his life. Outgunned, he finds an uncharted tellerand, a folding of the fabric of space upon itself. He takes it to escape his enemy, not knowing where it will send him. The tellerand opens in an unfamiliar place, where he meets Someone who could change his life. And in a dark corner of the galaxy, Galen leads resistance fighters against the evil Emperor Pragsmon, who rules Kirill with an iron hand and who is bent on conquering the galaxy.
Three separate lives, each in a struggle for survival, but all guided by Someone unseen, yet ever-present.
About the Author:
Jacques R. Pye is an emergency physician by day and an author by night. He grew up watching the original Star Trek and Lost in Space TV shows and reading Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, and building models of the Apollo rockets. Later, he discovered C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. When Jacques decided to write a book, he naturally gravitated toward science fiction as the medium to tell his first story. He wrote The Alliance Chronicles from a faith perspective because he believes that good science fiction can and should include a reasonable examination of God and His interaction with people.
Jacques lives in Appling, GA with his wife, Leslie. When not working or writing, he spends his time taking photographs, growing roses, reading, and studying God’s Word. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/storiesbyjrpye/ and visit his website at https://www.storiesbyjrpye.com.
Tellerand Encounter: https://www.amazon.com/Alliance-Chronicles-Tellerand-Encounter/dp/1980992622
Kobo links are:
Tellerand Encounter: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tellerand-encounter
Redemption is now available through August 5, 2019 for pre-order at just $0.99.
Check out this excerpt from the first book of The Alliance Chronicles, Tellerand Encounter!
Galactic Alliance Council Chamber
“Order, order!” shouted Councilor-General Krindon over the cacophony and stamping of the assembly. “Order, order in this hall!” he shouted again as he stood, pounding his large gavel against the old wooden dais. The roar and tromping increased, accompanied by papers flung skyward. “We must maintain order! Quiet yourselves, or I shall invoke Restraining Order 2 at once!” As word of this spread through the councilors, the din began slowly to subside and a silence interrupted by papers falling to desks then tumbling to the carpeted floor settled upon the hall. The councilors resumed their seats, displaying a modicum of civility; one did not trifle with Restraining Order 2 nor with Councilor-General Krindon.
Armena Sandal had stood firm behind the speaker’s podium during the outburst she had generated. Her slender, olive-colored fingers gripped the rostrum’s top firmly as she viewed the pandemonium. The feel of her thick, cascading black hair against her face and neck invigorated her as she surveyed the circular Council chamber, now transformed into a boiling cauldron by her last remark about the Council’s fortitude.
Armena had weathered heated debates before and knew that she must remain resolute: to waiver was to invite challenge. She allowed the growing silence to envelop the councilors.
From his position above Armena, Councilor-General Krindon growled, “If I hear one word out of order, I shall invoke Restraining Order 2 on the guilty party. Do not test me in this. And now, Councilor Sandal,” he noted, slowly resuming his chair, “you have caused quite a stir by your accusation.”
Turning to look up at the Councilor-General, Armena replied, “It is fact, sir, not accusation. And I have proof!”
“Councilor Sandal, these are serious charges you have levied against the Borela and their Councilor,” Councilor-General Krindon said. Resuming his seat, he commanded, “Show us your proof.”
“Thank you, sir.” Returning her attention to the assembly, she said, “Councilors, I have not come today to intentionally spread strife or discord. You know that is not the way of Creons nor of myself; however, you are aware that Grea, a sister planet in our system, has been plagued during the past several months by raids from a hostile interplanetary force. We have suspected the Borela for several weeks but have not had proof until recently. I have a recording of the most recent attack provided by Intelligence Service surveillance vessels that have been monitoring activity in the vicinity of Grea at our request. After you have seen the evidence, you will understand my charge concerning Councilor Chockdal Du. Please direct your attention to your monitors.”
The recessed ceiling lights dimmed and a hidden technician began the playback. Didactic information appeared first: “This is a recording made by the Alliance Intelligence Service on 34.220.” A small planet appeared. Soon many vessels streaked from space into the planet’s outer atmosphere. The camera followed them down. A scene of mass destruction appeared. Anything that moved was targeted, along with all the buildings: houses, schools, stores.
Armena spoke as the recording continued, “As you can see, these are Borela attack vessels, though they lack insignia. The firing and approach patterns are typical of Borela military strategy. If you will disable your translators, you can hear the intership communication, clearly in the Borela tongue. This was an unarmed farming settlement, not a military target. All three hundred people were brutally killed.”
Her voice broke, “These were my people. You have seen my evidence; I can bear to see no more of this carnage.” She turned away from her monitor.
The vessels finished their destruction on the tiny monitor microcosms. The technician terminated the link, and the screens became blank, leaving no trace of the slaughter they had so vividly depicted.
Regaining her composure, Armena again faced the councilors, seated in evenly spaced arcing rows amid a litter of crumpled papers. The arrangement of successively inclining rows afforded her a clear view of each councilor as she scanned the seats. Some councilors stared at the blank screens; some stared at particular spots in the chamber, perhaps noticing the dark staining of the wainscot, perhaps noticing nothing at all.
The platform on which Armena stood was anchored at the lowest level of the floor but rose majestically toward the ceiling. She was positioned higher than the councilors on the chamber’s back row, but lower than Councilor-General Krindon, who sat above and behind her. She felt his eyes piercing her back.
Leaning forward slightly, Armena continued passionately, “Now you understand the basis for the charges against the Borela and Councilor Chockdal. The evidence is plain.”
Looking directly at the Borela Councilor, Chockdal Du, she continued, “How can the Councilor have the audacity to deny it? It is well documented that the Unified Borela System has used its forces covertly before, and it would appear that they have chosen to repeat this behavior on Grea. Thirty-five years ago, we ceded Cloea to Borela and relocated millions of people to end our war with them and help usher in the Alliance. They now want Grea and have embarked on a plan of terror to gain the objective. I ask this Council to issue an Order of Censure against the Unified Borela System, placing an embargo against them and initiating an inquiry of Councilor Chockdal on the charge of lying to the Council. We seek cessation of hostility, reparation for damages, and return of Cloea to our jurisdiction.”
Silence like the inside of a tomb engulfed the hall. A seemingly interminable creak emanated from the Councilor-General’s chair as he shifted his weight, considering Armena’s argument. Then stillness reigned again.
The silence was broken by the thick voice of Councilor Chockdal, his tall, large frame rising from his seat, his long robe flowing regally. “Permission to reply, Councilor-General.”
Councilor Chockdal had been a member of the Council since the inception of the Alliance thirty-four years ago, and he adhered to the old formality. All eyes, including Armena’s, focused on him.
“Granted,” came the reply from the dais.
“The Borela are honorable, and I do not lie,” began Councilor Chockdal. He stiffened, leaned back his head, and drew in a long, slow, deep breath. Looking over the assembly, he slowly exhaled, his nostrils flaring slightly, and continued, “My government knows nothing of these raids; we have no designs on Grea, and though a fierce people, we do not kill unarmed farmers. I do not know why the Creons have fabricated this ruse, and I do not know how they have cajoled the Intelligence Service into manufacturing this recording, but I have had enough of this sham.”
His intensity increased as he glared at Armena, perspiration popping onto his dark, deeply ridged brow. “I have no recording to repudiate what we have just seen, but I can assure this Council that the Borela are innocent of this blood.”
He returned his gaze to the assembly.
“One could conjecture that the Creons have staged the entire affair, sacrificing their own people in an attempt to steal Cloea from us.”
He paused to wipe his brow and resumed more fervently, his right arm and upturned palm grandly sweeping over the assembly, “If this Council grants the Creon request for censure, I promise you the consequences will be grave. We will not stand idly by while we are unjustly punished. We will go to war with the Alliance itself if need be.”
“And as for you, Councilor Sandal, you treacherous witch,” Chockdal raged, pointing at Armena, “no matter the decision of this Council, you will rue the day you called me a liar!” His eyes wild with fury, he stood for a long minute, still pointing at Armena. He then abruptly withdrew his hand and turned to the assembly. “I am leaving this chamber. You can vote as you like!”
He turned and marched up the right aisle to the rear door. A third of the councilors followed Chockdal in his exit. The door bumped open again and again as the disgruntled councilors pushed it aside; it closed silently after the last one had passed. Armena stood behind the podium unmoving, her clear, olive complexion now paled, her thick black hair now motionless upon her shoulders. She had never seen Chockdal so incensed. The remaining councilors looked about in disbelief: no debate or dispute had ever caused such a walk out.
Councilor-General Krindon surveyed the room and then rapped the dais with the gavel. “This Council will be unable to vote on the question before it, as there is no longer a quorum present. We are adjourned for a fourteen-day period and will reconvene on Alliance Date 34.245. The clerk will transmit standard notification to all councilors and governments.”
The final rap of the gavel echoed through the hall.
The councilors slowly began to leave, talking among themselves. Armena stood quietly, considering the threat of Chockdal Du. The Councilor-General paused to look at Armena and retreated to his office. Soon Armena was alone in the chamber, now so deathly still.
In a Borela warship communication room, First Commander Draktal So smiled.