Author Spotlight With Gordon Bowman

Gordon G. Bowman lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He is a physics grad, a software developer, and a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy. Telepath: Fractured is his first novel.



 




Gordon! Hello!, I have been so excited to interview you, talking all aspects of your debut novel, I was lucky enough to get my hands on! Can you tell us more about what 'Telepath' entails?


Hi Aimee! Thank you for this opportunity! "Telepath" is the name of this series, of which I think there will be at least 3 books, the first being "Fractured." It's a story of a teenaged girl with literally no memory of her life, who is on the run from people trying to kill her. These people have extraordinary mental abilities--telekinesis, telepathy, mind control--abilities that she soon discovers she has as well. She also discovers that she has martial arts skills far beyond what any child her age should have. While searching for clues to her identity, she learns that people like her have existed for millennia, in secret. They find her and give her refuge at a school for children like her, where she learns to use her abilities while trying to regain her lost memories. As memories slowly return, she begins to worry that she may not like who she once was, and that if all her memories return, her current self might essentially cease to exist. This book was unique, incredibly unique, I haven't seen anything like this before, it was a cross between Harry Potter and Avatar (Airbender) but with more martial arts, and a huge dose of Telekinesis. What brought you the inspiration for this book?


I wanted to write a book for my daughters, Breana and Belinda, full of everything that they love. They were fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Jackie Chan movies and my oldest had read all of the Harry Potter books. I wanted the main character to be a girl who they could relate to and be inspired by. What kid hasn't daydreamed that they have powers or amazing fighting skills that would just appear one day? I always like the idea of the Jason Bourne series, where the main character has no memory but incredible skills that are instinctive. I also was a fan of the movie Highlander when I was a kid and loved the idea of immortals living among us and still engaging in sword fights. Plus, I've always had dreams where I have telekinetic powers that seem so real that when I wake up, I actually try to move objects with my mind, just in case. So, I guess I bundled together a whole lot of separate ideas into one story that, in my mind, seemed to all fit together nicely into a single cohesive narrative.

Telekinesis is a claimed psychic ability allowing a person to influence a physical system without any physical interactions, do you think this is the next step in human evolution? If you had this ability what would you do with it first?


As much as I wish telekinesis were real, I'm afraid there isn't scientific evidence to back it up. So no, I don't think it is the next step in human evolution, as incredible as that would be. It's a fantastic idea for science fiction, though! It recently occurred to me, however, that while parapsychology is dismissed as pseudoscience by scientists, some respected scientists publicly speculate that we might all be living in a simulation. If we live in a simulation, though, then anything is possible, right? Abilities like telepathy and telekinesis would be possible not via the laws of physics but via a bug in the simulation code--just like in The Matrix. If I had this ability myself, I imagine I'd use it all the time to just be lazy and avoid reaching for the TV remote or getting up and walking across the room to get my coffee mug. Fighting crime as a real-life superhero would be awesome but how often have you ever witnessed a crime you could have prevented if only you had superpowers? I would most likely just go public and allow university scientists to test me and hope that the military never took any particular interest in me.

I loved the way you had Zoe have no memory at the start of the book, so it slowly unravelled the events to follow surrounding why she was in certain places, she also undertook a journey of self discovery fighting her demons between her old life and her new life. Was Zoe based on anyone that you know?


She wasn't based on anyone in real life, no. But I loved the idea of memory loss as a way for her and the reader to be on a level playing field, both tossed into the same boat to figure things out at the same time. I'm essentially a pantser (I just write, and let the characters take the story wherever it goes), so when I described Zoe's thought processes as she tried to figure out a problem, a lot of the times I was really just describing my own thought processes at that exact moment. I saw an interview once with Penn Jillette (of the magician duo Penn & Teller) in which he said something that stuck with me--always assume your audience is at least as smart as you. I think that applies to writing too. Few things ruin a story for me as much as a writer who talks down to me by writing a character who doesn't understand things as quickly as me. So, I made sure that Zoe was very smart and able to figure out a lot of things for herself.


From writing this book, to publishing it, how long did it take you overall?


I've joked that I should write an article entitled, "How to Write a Novel in Only 17 Years." I looked back recently to discover that the first draft I have of this book is from 2005! My oldest daughter was an early reader and was reading Harry Potter at 5. The YA field was a lot less crowded back then. I had always wanted to be a science fiction novelist and I remember thinking that my first novel could be a YA novel for her and her younger sister, except instead of a male protagonist like Harry Potter, the main character would be a girl. She loved it and encouraged me to finish it, but I had a full-time job as a software developer and I wrote in spurts. Months turned into years and at some point, I just abandoned it. Then, when my youngest daughter was old enough to read it, I loaded it onto a BlackBerry PlayBook and handed it to her as we drove back from my Mom's house after visiting for Christmas. She read it non-stop for the entire six-hour drive and absolutely loved it. That encouraged me that it was worth finishing and I began writing again. But like before, the writing eventually stopped. Finally, several years ago, I had a few months off between jobs. I had never been out of work before and after a week, I was bored. I decided that I may never have this opportunity again, so I wrote non-stop and finished the book. I discovered that I'm never happier than when I'm writing full-time, without distractions. It still took a few years to actually publish it afterwards. I tried the traditional route at first but lacked the patience and just wanted to "get it out there", so decided to hire my own editor and cover designer and self-publish. Your cover was the most beautiful aspect of this book without even opening it, can you tell the readers or any upcoming authors how you got your cover designed?


It's great, isn't it? I couldn't be happier. I knew that I didn't want a cover with a face on it, and I thought for a while that I wanted the cover to feature Yggdrasil, the Viking Tree of Life, which is somewhat integral to the story. At some point it dawned on me that the Tree of Life, with its branches above and roots below, resembles a human brain, with neurons extending into the brain above and into the spinal cord below. The book is called Fractured because of the state of Zoe's mind. So, I thought that the cover could feature the Tree of Life but split in two at the top, representing her mind's fractured state, where one side was neurons instead of branches. I searched the internet for book cover artists until I found someone who I thought could pull off my idea--Stefanie Saw of Seventhstar Art Services. She liked the idea but recommended we not split the tree but instead just have silver/metallic branches on one side, neurons on the other, and that their duality should still portray the fractured element of the story. The result was absolutely incredible.

In an ideal world, I would love to see this played out as a TV Series, especially as it is suitable for ANY age. Who would you have to play your characters? I agree wholeheartedly. As I wrote this book, I saw it vividly and cinematically in my mind. I discovered that I really enjoyed writing dialogue and writing fight scenes, both of which lend themselves well to the screen. I've always been a fan of Michelle Yeoh and I had her in my head when writing Professor Yeoh's character, so I called her Yeoh and eventually decided to just leave it that way. Whoever plays Professor Chao should be very skilled in martial arts (preferably in Aikido). For the other professors, I don't have anyone particular in mind, I only know that I hope the actors would reflect the actual diversity of the characters in the book. There is a particular Scandanavian character who I had a particular actor in mind as I wrote it--but I can't say who without giving away part of the story! All the teenagers in the story are probably unknown little kids at the moment, so we'll have to wait on their casting, I'm afraid. As a writer, do you ever suffer from imposter syndrome? I feel as though many upcoming authors struggle with this, feeling they aren't good enough. You have no reason to worry as your book was absolutely unreal. If you are one to suffer, what do you do to help you to overcome this?


Definitely. I've never been able to properly explain why I kept stopping writing this book when I've always wanted to be a novelist. I'm certainly a procrastinator when it comes to things I don't want to do, but I "love" writing. Nothing beats the feeling of sitting down at the laptop with no idea what you're going to write and then it all just comes streaming out of you, as though the characters are writing the story for you. The only reason I can think of is a lack of confidence that people would actually like my writing. I mean, my daughters loved it, but would a stranger? If you don't finish a book and put it out there, you can't fail, right? I think I'm at a point now where I'm more confident in my writing. I've put a book out there that I can be proud of and I can't wait to finish writing its sequel. In your book there is some hidden places, from mortals and those who do not have the abilities. Do you think that there is some hidden schools out there for the ones that are powerful haha?!


Gosh, I don't know! I don't think there are superhumans out there, but maybe there are still hidden schools to train spies? Or a school hidden away in the mountains where monks train in martial arts? Who has been your biggest support in terms of writing?


My daughters have always been my biggest fans, reading new chapters as I wrote them over the years, and always encouraging me to keep writing and finish this novel. My wife Jennifer has been a huge support to me as I finished this novel and published it and now try to market it. She was really my first editor after I finished the first draft, working tirelessly to proofread revision after revision, giving both praise and criticisms, never pulling any punches, and helping to improve some of the scenes. She loves me and genuinely "believes" in me, which makes all the difference in the world. This book was unique, incredibly unique, I haven't seen anything like this before, it was a cross between Harry Potter and Avatar (Airbender) but with more martial arts, and a huge dose of Telekinesis. What brought you the inspiration for this book? I wanted to write a book for my daughters, Breana and Belinda, full of everything that they love. They were fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Jackie Chan movies and my oldest had read all of the Harry Potter books. I wanted the main character to be a girl who they could relate to and be inspired by. What kid hasn't daydreamed that they have powers or amazing fighting skills that would just appear one day? I always like the idea of the Jason Bourne series, where the main character has no memory but incredible skills that are instinctive. I also was a fan of the movie Highlander when I was a kid and loved the idea of immortals living among us and still engaging in sword fights. Plus, I've always had dreams where I have telekinetic powers that seem so real that when I wake up, I actually try to move objects with my mind, just in case. So, I guess I bundled together a whole lot of separate ideas into one story that, in my mind, seemed to all fit together nicely into a single cohesive narrative. Telekinesis is a claimed psychic ability allowing a person to influence a physical system without any physical interactions, do you think this is the next step in human evolution? If you had this ability what would you do with it first? As much as I wish telekinesis were real, I'm afraid there isn't scientific evidence to back it up. So no, I don't think it is the next step in human evolution, as incredible as that would be. It's a fantastic idea for science fiction, though! It recently occurred to me, however, that while parapsychology is dismissed as pseudoscience by scientists, some respected scientists publicly speculate that we might all be living in a simulation. If we live in a simulation, though, then anything is possible, right? Abilities like telepathy and telekinesis would be possible not via the laws of physics but via a bug in the simulation code--just like in The Matrix. If I had this ability myself, I imagine I'd use it all the time to just be lazy and avoid reaching for the TV remote or getting up and walking across the room to get my coffee mug. Fighting crime as a real-life superhero would be awesome but how often have you ever witnessed a crime you could have prevented if only you had superpowers? I would most likely just go public and allow university scientists to test me and hope that the military never took any particular interest in me. I loved the way you had Zoe have no memory at the start of the book, so it slowly unravelled the events to follow surrounding why she was in certain places, she also undertook a journey of self discovery fighting her demons between her old life and her new life. Was Zoe based on anyone that you know? She wasn't based on anyone in real life, no. But I loved the idea of memory loss as a way for her and the reader to be on a level playing field, both tossed into the same boat to figure things out at the same time. I'm essentially a pantser (I just write, and let the characters take the story wherever it goes), so when I described Zoe's thought processes as she tried to figure out a problem, a lot of the times I was really just describing my own thought processes at that exact moment. I saw an interview once with Penn Jillette (of the magician duo Penn & Teller) in which he said something that stuck with me--always assume your audience is at least as smart as you. I think that applies to writing too. Few things ruin a story for me as much as a writer who talks down to me by writing a character who doesn't understand things as quickly as me. So, I made sure that Zoe was very smart and able to figure out a lot of things for herself. From writing this book, to publishing it, how long did it take you overall? I've joked that I should write an article entitled, "How to Write a Novel in Only 17 Years." I looked back recently to discover that the first draft I have of this book is from 2005! My oldest daughter was an early reader and was reading Harry Potter at 5. The YA field was a lot less crowded back then. I had always wanted to be a science fiction novelist and I remember thinking that my first novel could be a YA novel for her and her younger sister, except instead of a male protagonist like Harry Potter, the main character would be a girl. She loved it and encouraged me to finish it, but I had a full-time job as a software developer and I wrote in spurts. Months turned into years and at some point, I just abandoned it. Then, when my youngest daughter was old enough to read it, I loaded it onto a BlackBerry PlayBook and handed it to her as we drove back from my Mom's house after visiting for Christmas. She read it non-stop for the entire six-hour drive and absolutely loved it. That encouraged me that it was worth finishing and I began writing again. But like before, the writing eventually stopped. Finally, several years ago, I had a few months off between jobs. I had never been out of work before and after a week, I was bored. I decided that I may never have this opportunity again, so I wrote non-stop and finished the book. I discovered that I'm never happier than when I'm writing full-time, without distractions. It still took a few years to actually publish it afterwards. I tried the traditional route at first but lacked the patience and just wanted to "get it out there", so decided to hire my own editor and cover designer and self-publish. Your cover was the most beautiful aspect of this book without even opening it, can you tell the readers or any upcoming authors how you got your cover designed? It's great, isn't it? I couldn't be happier. I knew that I didn't want a cover with a face on it, and I thought for a while that I wanted the cover to feature Yggdrasil, the Viking Tree of Life, which is somewhat integral to the story. At some point it dawned on me that the Tree of Life, with its branches above and roots below, resembles a human brain, with neurons extending into the brain above and into the spinal cord below. The book is called Fractured because of the state of Zoe's mind. So, I thought that the cover could feature the Tree of Life but split in two at the top, representing her mind's fractured state, where one side was neurons instead of branches. I searched the internet for book cover artists until I found someone who I thought could pull off my idea--Stefanie Saw of Seventhstar Art Services. She liked the idea but recommended we not split the tree but instead just have silver/metallic branches on one side, neurons on the other, and that their duality should still portray the fractured element of the story. The result was absolutely incredible. In an ideal world, I would love to see this played out as a TV Series, especially as it is suitable for ANY age. Who would you have to play your characters? I agree wholeheartedly. As I wrote this book, I saw it vividly and cinematically in my mind. I discovered that I really enjoyed writing dialogue and writing fight scenes, both of which lend themselves well to the screen. I've always been a fan of Michelle Yeoh and I had her in my head when writing Professor Yeoh's character, so I called her Yeoh and eventually decided to just leave it that way. Whoever plays Professor Chao should be very skilled in martial arts (preferably in Aikido). For the other professors, I don't have anyone particular in mind, I only know that I hope the actors would reflect the actual diversity of the characters in the book. There is a particular Scandanavian character who I had a particular actor in mind as I wrote it--but I can't say who without giving away part of the story! All the teenagers in the story are probably unknown little kids at the moment, so we'll have to wait on their casting, I'm afraid. As a writer, do you ever suffer from imposter syndrome? I feel as though many upcoming authors struggle with this, feeling they aren't good enough. You have no reason to worry as your book was absolutely unreal. If you are one to suffer, what do you do to help you to overcome this? Definitely. I've never been able to properly explain why I kept stopping writing this book when I've always wanted to be a novelist. I'm certainly a procrastinator when it comes to things I don't want to do, but I "love" writing. Nothing beats the feeling of sitting down at the laptop with no idea what you're going to write and then it all just comes streaming out of you, as though the characters are writing the story for you. The only reason I can think of is a lack of confidence that people would actually like my writing. I mean, my daughters loved it, but would a stranger? If you don't finish a book and put it out there, you can't fail, right? I think I'm at a point now where I'm more confident in my writing. I've put a book out there that I can be proud of and I can't wait to finish writing its sequel. In your book there is some hidden places, from mortals and those who do not have the abilities. Do you think that there is some hidden schools out there for the ones that are powerful haha?! Gosh, I don't know! I don't think there are superhumans out there, but maybe there are still hidden schools to train spies? Or a school hidden away in the mountains where monks train in martial arts? Who has been your biggest support in terms of writing? My daughters have always been my biggest fans, reading new chapters as I wrote them over the years, and always encouraging me to keep writing and finish this novel. My wife Jennifer has been a huge support to me as I finished this novel and published it and now try to market it. She was really my first editor after I finished the first draft, working tirelessly to proofread revision after revision, giving both praise and criticisms, never pulling any punches, and helping to improve some of the scenes. She loves me and genuinely "believes" in me, which makes all the difference in the world. Can you tell us something that nobody knows about you? Hmm. I went vegan six years ago when I decided to align my actions with my principles. For a time, I volunteered at an animal sanctuary west of Ottawa called Sweet Sanctuary. I even sponsor a goat named Austin Powers! It was definitely the inspiration for the animal sanctuary in the book. I started thinking about how easy it would be for people with mental abilities--telepathy, telekinesis, mind control--to feel superior to the rest of us, to let that power go to their head. The best way I could think of for a school to try to prevent that was to have the children care for animals, in the hope that by learning compassion and empathy for animals, they would also learn compassion and empathy for people. If you wanted one aspect/feeling that readers can take away from reading your debut novel, what do you think the most important thing is that you'd like them to take away?


Throughout the novel, Zoe suffers a crisis of identity. Who is she without her memories? And if her memories return, does she become a different person? Professor Chao tells her several times that she is who she chooses to be. Regardless of our past, we can always choose to be the type of person that we want to be and take actions that reflect that person. If readers take away anything from this novel, I hope this is it. Do you have any advice for any upcoming authors, or those who want to start writing but have no idea where to start?


I've always had lots of ideas for novels, and for a long time, I used to write them down and try to plot things out like many "how to write a novel" books said to do. But in the end, I never actually wrote any of them, and I was always disappointed in myself because of it. It wasn't until I read Stephen King's "On Writing" that things changed for me. He said that he just "starts writing." So, that's what I did too. I just started writing. Even if I had no idea what to write, I just started writing and before long, a story started to take shape. Sometimes I would go back and change things, but sometimes I'd sit down at the laptop with no clue what I was going to write and hours later, I stared dumbfounded at an entire scene that came out of nowhere. So, if you're having trouble knowing where to start, just literally start writing anything and see what comes out of you. Which was your favourite scene to write in your novel?


Honestly, it's a toss-up between the last scene and the first scene. In the last climactic scene, Zoe has a major decision to make and is balanced on a knife's edge as time runs out and she still isn't sure what she will do. As I wrote that scene, I wasn't sure what was going to happen either! When the book was done, I wound up rewriting the opening scene because I had an idea regarding how to make it much better. I love writing dialogue and I was inspired by the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino's film, Inglorious Basterds, in which Landa interrogates the French dairy farmer (which apparently is his favourite thing that he's ever written). I love the idea of a casual conversation between two people becoming increasingly uncomfortable and sinister. Hopefully, I pulled it off.

Thank you so much for taking part in this interview, your book was fantastic and I can't wait to read more from you, What's next for you in terms of writing? What can we look forward to seeing in the future from yourself?


Thank you so much for interviewing me! I'm currently writing the next book in the Telepath series, with a goal of writing a page a day. I'm committed to finishing this series before tackling anything else. After that, I'm not sure... but I've always wanted to write a great time travel story. :)


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