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Red Moon's New Cover

The new cover for
Red Moon

    Start: Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and they graciously invited me to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the second of the three I contributed, an interview by Craig Alexander, author of The Nineveh Project, with yours truly.

Author on Author – Craig Alexander on Daniel Brenton

Here it is fans, the last week of “Author on Author.” I know, a round of awwws followed by boos and hisses. Don’t worry, another fun author-involved project will be coming your way soon, but let’s not detract from our project at hand where Craig Alexander pokes and prods into Daniel Brenton’s thoughts, life, and career.

Craig Alexander: Some of my favorite novels, like Red Moon, are collaborations. I’ve always wanted to know how that works. Can you give us any insight into the collaboration process?

Daniel Brenton: Craig, thank you for the kind words regarding Red Moon. I don’t think my experience is representative of all collaborations, of course, but I can certainly share it.

There was a long process with Red Moon. The first spark was in fact was a short story I wrote in junior high (and long since lost … probably for the best). In the early 1990s the memory of this story sparked in Dave the idea of a writing a screenplay, in part motivated by the success by the then-recent film Apollo 13. For those not familiar with Red Moon, a portion of the novel is set in 1968-1969 on the Russian side of the Moon race, and follows the story of Grigor Belinsky, the only Soviet cosmonaut to (secretly) make it to the Moon.

Dave and I wrote a screen treatment which, unfortunately, went nowhere. The best input he received on it was that, with the ’60s and the Cold War so far behind us, no one would care about Belinsky and his journey.

Dave didn’t want to give up on the story, and he revisited the idea after about a year with the intent of making it a novel, and devised two storylines set in 2019, involving a “return to the Moon” mission and the international intrigue behind it

So, to answer your question, mostly due to my circumstances I took a back seat to the effort. I did actually write about 20,000 words to the novel, of about 12,000 actually wound up in it, smoothed over a little to better fit with Dave’s style. (If you’ve read the story, my chapters follow Belinsky through his lift-off, his flight to the Moon, and his long vigil there.) Beyond this, I helped develop the character of Mirya, Belinksy’s dissident wife, focusing on her religious and “mystical” side: I hit upon the idea of her experiencing an apparition of (what is now) the Russian Orthodox Saint, Xenia of St. Petersburg, an event that colors much of the 1960s narrative.

From my experience, our collaboration — which I certainly consider successful — was based on an agreement on who has final say on the vision of the book. Dave did, and I accepted that, partly because he had in fact picked up the ball and run with it, and partly because I trusted his instincts. I have a hard time picturing an effort to write a novel using a different paradigm.

CA: What’s next? Can we expect any more great reads from you in the future?

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Red Moon's New Cover

The new cover for
Red Moon

    Start: As the co-author of the Moon Race thriller Red Moon, I’m naturally pleased that the novel has continued to reach a sizable audience, driven mostly by word of mouth.
    Some of you may have run across the new cover for Red Moon shown here. For reasons that escape me you won’t see this on the Amazon site, but you will see it on the Barnes and Noble site. I am holding off on updating the cover image here (and on the Luna 15 site where you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about it) because this may be changing yet again soon, and for a reason that I can’t talk about yet … though hopefully soon.
    Over the last few months, Variance Publishing has hosted on their blog a number of posts featuring their offerings and commentary by their authors, and I was invited to contribute. Stanley Tremblay of Variance gave me permission to repost these here, and today’s post is the first of the three I contributed, a question and answer from the publisher about the book, and yours truly.

Authors Are People Too! – Daniel Brenton

Tidings Variance fans!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are excited for this, the last, Authors Are People Too! Our final guest is Daniel Brenton, co-author of RED MOON.

Q. What questions have you always wished people would ask you?
A. We managed to finagle a few interviews, a couple of them being by podcasters, which turned into interviews by phone or by Skype. One interviewer asked a question that I felt was really pretty thoughtful, to the point of being innovative: “Is there anything I didn’t ask that you wished I had?”

I think we both drew a blank at that point.

I didn’t realize interviews could lead to moments of hair-raising astonishment, but this one in particular did. I’ll need to set this up a little.

In the book, Dave Michaels used the historical character of S.P. Korolev, the father of (and driving force behind) the Soviet space program, to make the point that the space program was a way to divert attention (and some funding) away from the nuclear weapons race. On the other side of the ocean, he had a collaborator in spirit: most of you probably remember John Kennedy’s words that provoked America to throw the gauntlet down before the Soviet Union and challenge it to a duel in the heavens:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

With this, Kennedy did in fact turn the Cold War into a symbolic war in the heavens, which almost certainly distracted us from our seemingly hell-bent drive for Mutual Assured Destruction.

In the interview I made reference to this theme and specifically to Kennedy’s challenge, and managed to get out the sentence: “by doing this, he may in fact have saved the human race.” In the final podcast, the interviewer closed the episode by seizing on this sentence and repeating it staccato with several enhancing effects, which, frankly, gave me chills when I heard it.

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