Tom Dell’Aringa

Tom Dell’Aringa is a science fiction writer who loves good characters. Rick Deckard. Dirk Gently. Ellen Ripley. Roland Deschain. You know who these people are, right?

His stories have believable worlds populated with people you’ll learn to love – and possibly hate. He’s incredibly interested in where the future of artificial intelligence is going and how such intelligences might coexist with humanity. Yeah, robots ARE neat, aren’t they?

HIs books will make you care about the story and the characters. You’ll find yourself easily transported to simple yet believable worlds. In the end, you’ll become part of someone’s meaningful journey.

Why don’t you start by sharing a little about yourself?

Although I’ve been writing stories since I was a teenager, I didn’t get serious about writing until later in life, I’m releasing my first novel at 56 years old. I spent a good ten years in the indie graphic novel scene, where I kickstarted two graphic novels and had an agent for a third that didn’t sell. (Blanchland Blues also had an agent, but ultimately we didn’t sell the book). In my professional life, I’ve been working in the graphic design/user experience field for 25 years, and I currently manage a large design team at Allstate. I was an avid athlete in my younger years and in my 40s I used to skate inline marathons. I have been married for 29 years and have two grown daughters, 21 and 23 – the older one is married.

Could you tell us about your latest book?

The book is inspired by some older work I did in comics, an idea that I wanted to expand on in a meaningful and fun way. The theme of the book is redemption and change, which I think are important today. I can’t write anything without injecting a little humor though, and I am very inspired by the sort of humor in the Dirk Gently books by Douglas Adams.

In Blanchland Blues, John MacAlister is a down and out character who has lost almost everything – and then things get worse. As he’s being forced to do something that he can’t square morally, he has to take a stand.

The book also explores the relationship between a human and what a general artificially intelligent autonomous robot might be. There’s humor there, but I’m truly thinking about how the AI might “feel” in the story. This is a top that interests me quite a bit. The idea of GAI fits into my next book.

Who is your intended readership?

This is really hard for me to figure out, to be honest. But I seem to resonate with people closer to my generation (generation X and older) and it skews male a little bit. However, when younger folks give my work a try, they generally like it.

I think of my work in the Star Wars vein in that it’s really closer to science fantasy vs. hard science fiction – although it not presenting the scope of a space opera (even though larger things are implied).

I think that anyone who likes stories that have strong characters that evolve will like my story.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Tolkien, man. He did it to me when I was very young. Probably in my tweens. My first writings were just fantasy genre ripoffs of the LOTR. It’s been a long road since then.

Do you have a favorite author or writing inspiration?

Tolkien, as I mentioned, is primary (which seems awful cliche). But there are many – a short list would be the following. In science fiction: C.J. Cherryh, who is the queen of writing believable space travel and great scifi characters. James Hogan and Philip K. Dick. On the fantasy side other than Tolkien, Stephen R. Donaldson and Tad Williams are two. I also love mostly non-horror Stephen King, he writes amazing characters, and his book “On Writing” got me through my draft when I thought I was stuck forever. It’s an amazing tool for writers.

What advice would you give to beginning writers?

You have to write a LONG time before you can become a good writer. It takes experience and knowledge to blow out a good idea. And you can’t ignore grammar or you’ll fail. I’m okay at it – I better understand it intrinsically/mechanically vs. knowing the rules – but I’m lucky in that my wife is an English major and journalist.

But to be a good writer you must be a rabid reader. I learned to write by reading for 50 years, and I really mean that. And reading widely – not just fantasy and scifi.

Then write and write and write and understand that at first you will stink. But learn from each thing, improve and you’ll begin to develop a style and learn what works – and then people will begin to like what you do.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

A large part of doing graphic novels is the writing. It’s easy to focus on the art, but there has to be a story there – and writing for a graphic novel taught me a LOT. How to be spare with words while still saying something important for one. That was a good lesson, because when you write you overwrite as you develop ideas – and then it’s time to cut. So if you can refine as you write a bit, you save yourself some editing later.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I love to go for long walks while listening to favorite podcasts or books, and of course I read a lot. I also still love to exercise/strength train. I love games, and I have a fun card game in development that has been going well (but for now is set aside to focus on the book). When I take breaks, I play the card game Dominion online. I also like decorating our house with my wife and cooking.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you can reveal?

There’s two things. The first is that there is a second book in the works for John, Alvis and Ril. It’s hinted at in the epilogue. I’d say that’s about 30,000 words in. I have to decide if it’s worth doing – I guess we’ll see what the response to the book is.

The second book is called Neuromorph and is about 100,000 words in, sort of half done. It’s sort of cyberpunk in a way, where a race of clones with AI-enhanced brains have been developed to help extend humanity into the galaxy. Of course, the politics of this are complicated and there’s opposition to their existence. Due to this, they’re basically indentured servants until they earn their release, where they have some limited freedom. When one of these neuromorphs escapes the company that makes them – killing two others – a detective with a history with them must take on the case. It’s complicated!

Where can you find Tom Dell’Aringa online?


Checkout These Posts To Learn More!

This post appears as part of a series leading up to the release of this amazing book. Check out the links below (and the dates each post goes live) to learn more about the book and it’s author. Then be sure to check out the Story Time episode on the day of release.

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