Beginning with my debut novel, VanOps: The Lost Power, I’ve included an author’s note at the end of each story where I parse fact from fiction, drawing the line between reality and imagination. There are three standalone novels in the VanOps series, and each combines intrigue, history, science, and mystery into a pulse-pounding action thriller. As you can imagine, including history and science into a work of fiction involves a fair amount of research, and can make it exciting for the reader to guess how much of the novel is true.
The Lost Power is about an aikido black belt, a deadly Russian sniper, and their race to find Alexander the Great’s mysterious Egyptian weapon.
I’ll admit up front that Alexander may not have had a mysterious weapon from Egypt. His grand accomplishments, however, led me to speculate on whether he may have had some sort of help in conquering the known world. I decided that a superconductive meteorite that could be utilized to throw ball lightning would certainly give him an unfair advantage, and featured shards of the meteorite as the dangerous object the protagonist and antagonist seek.
Like the superconductive meteorite in The Lost Power, I often have one large speculative leap in my novels. In my latest, The Doomsday Medallion, the prophet Nostradamus encodes his forecasting formula on a bronze medallion and then hides the pendant. It’s a powerful hook. How far would a country go to learn the future?
To counter my outlandish hooks, I like to utilize facts for the remainder of a story to build credibility. Usually, I keep locations true to form and render the science and history as accurately as possible. Even the more bizarre elements of my stories are rooted in truth. Readers often tell me they were surprised to learn how much of the story was based in reality.
Returning to The Lost Power for some examples of facts that lend credibility to the outlandish Egyptian-weapon premise, scientists have found two meteorites that actually do contain superconductive bits. The Mundrabilla meteorite, found in the Australian Outback in 1911, and Graves Nunataks, a meteorite discovered in Antarctica in 1995, both have superconductive properties. Also, most researchers today agree that ball lightning is real, yet its nature remains controversial. It often appears as a glowing sphere which moves or drifts horizontally through the air. Typically, it’s the size of a softball or grapefruit but sometimes appears as small as a dime, or as large as a bus. It can hover or bounce and lasts for only a few seconds, but can linger for longer. Sometimes it disappears quietly, and other times, explodes violently. Perfect for an action-packed thriller.
An author’s job is to spin a convincing tale that readers can escape into. Creating suspended belief involves working like a mason…an author must apply layer after layer of information so that even the more imaginative elements rest on a factual basis. It’s tricky, but a lot of fun when done well. Readers who enjoy a blend of real history and science with their action thrillers can download the first six chapters of The Lost Power free from my website at www.avanticentrae.com.