Posted on 10/19/2018 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
H. Peter Alesso has the type of résumé that almost requires a science degree to understand.
He spent more than twenty years leading a team of computer scientists, engineers, and physicists in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks.
No wonder he writes science fiction, right?
It becomes even more perfect when you look outside the laboratory. You see, Alesso’s novels have strong military themes, which makes sense for someone who received his undergrad degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and then served with the Navy on a submarine.
Learn more about his shift to working with words in his Q&A with us.
SADYE: What spurred your interest in writing fiction or made you decide to act on it?
PETER: I love words, though that wasn’t always the case.
My first infatuation was with numbers, but eventually, I found that words could elucidate ideas and share experiences.
Science fiction provides a wonderful showcase for imaginative adventures. It offers unexpected places with unusual characters and strange circumstance.
I’ve enjoyed sci-fi all my life, including stories, such as Jack Campbell’s The Lost Fleet series, and C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series, which inspired a story that I wanted to share, the Henry Gallant saga.
SADYE: Do you think your background in technology innovation helps your writing in any way beyond providing scientific authenticity?
PETER: As a scientist, I feel that science fiction should be based on actual scientific principles.
I researched the technologies included in my stories and tried to project their development path into the next century.
Genetic engineering is currently an important topic in our society, and humanity faced difficult choices as it develops over the course of the next century.
In Midshipman Henry Gallant, genetic engineering plays an influential role in the background, but it is cast against another important innovation that also may prove a future threat: artificial intelligence.
SADYE: Which writer or writers have influenced or inspired your writing?
PETER: My favorite sci-fi author is Robert Heinlein. He was able to span the emotional range from rage to laughter in developing his characters.
He used humor and romance as intrinsic elements of the human spirit. Each displays a vital aspect of a character.
A strong writer should be able to engage these human characteristics within the context of his story.
SADYE: What’s one thing you wish you had known about being a writer before you started?
PETER: A book has a life of its own — a life that may offer; hope or despair, peace or war, love or hate. A life you might admire, loathe, or envy.
It may not be your life, yet you may wish it were. A life you might come back to, again and again, to find some missing element in your own existence.
You may find a solution to your own human puzzle or find concerns you never considered; nevertheless, a book has more to offer than you first imagine.
SADYE: What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of being an author?
PETER: Understanding the craft of writing itself.
I am a voracious reader. I have habitually read several books a week in a wide variety of subjects since I first obtained a library card.
I found that science fiction novels provided wonderful adventures. Stories are all about relationships.
Whether your characters face big or small problems, their relationships drive the action, conflict, and, eventually, the crises in their lives.
While some characters aid the protagonist toward his goals, the antagonist and his allies are dangerous opposition.
In constructing the plot to a compelling story, the author must explore each character and his relationship with the protagonist.
But rather than a simple, direct, one-to-one model for these relationships, there are more interacting complexities to relationships.
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Categories: Author Interview