Sunday, June 27, 2010

Author Interview - Walter Knight

Recently Apex Reviews reviewed Walter Knight's AMERICA'S GALACTIC FOREIGN LEGION - BOOK 2: REENLISTMENT. The reviewer was also gracious enough to interview Walter about his humorous military science-fiction series...

Interview with Apex Reviews
RE: America’s Galactic Foreign Legion

APEX: Walter, thanks for joining us for this interview. We’re looking forward to sharing more about your book and efforts with our readers.

WK: Thank you, I appreciate it.

APEX: What was the inspiration for this quite imaginative military fantasy thriller?

WK: I wanted a vehicle for my humor. I love science fiction, my favorite authors being Harry Turtledove, L. Ron Hubbard, and Piers Anthony. Combine that with my passion for military history and casino gambling, and America’s Galactic Foreign Legion was born.

APEX: Is Joey based on someone you know or have known in real life?

WK: Joey R. Czerinski is of course a work of fiction. Nobody could be that cool. I suppose I can identify with the compulsive gambling part. Gambling is not a problem unless you lose. I give Joey a lot of flaws, and he is not all that honest of a person. But, like most heroes, he did not start out trying to be a hero. Joey just wanted to survive the day, and not be killed by loan sharks or spider-like aliens. Promotions and the responsibility of command wear on Joey, but he has a lot of other flawed legionnaires to help him out. My intent was to be humorous, and that starts with interesting characters.

APEX: What inspired you to feature such a creative menagerie of characters - including talking ATMs?

WK: The beauty of writing a military science fiction parody is that you can get away with writing a lot of absurd stuff. My psychotic talking ATM will do anything to meet its Foreign Legion recruitment quota, including pressure tactics, changing identifications, calling the police on potential recruits, signing bonuses, and lowering standards.

The most fun I had with characters was the aliens. My aliens change as they come into contact with American culture and Joey R. Czerinski. It is funny stuff for my aliens to become addicted to Starbucks coffee, bet on sports events, abuse alcohol, smoke cigarettes, get in bar fights, eat fast food at McDonald’s, wear Nike sportswear, watch American TV, join the Legion, and shop at WalMart. I was very proud when later in the series when my aliens rioted, rushing the front doors at WalMart on Black Friday. It’s a fine American tradition, and the aliens become more American every day.

APEX: What kinds of responses have you gotten to the book so far?

WK: The most common response is that America’s Galactic Foreign Legion made them laugh out loud. If a book can do that, you’ve got your money’s worth. I have been pleasantly surprised at the wide range of response of readers. A friend who hates lawyers thought it was hilarious when Joey dropped a rock from space on a lawyer’s house to get even. Another reader was amused when an alien secret police general tried to disguise himself as the Director of Social and Health Services to avoid being shot for war crimes. Another said he was a librarian, even though we wore a Nazi type uniform that gave him away. My favorite part was when legionnaires try to hide a nuke in a dumpster, and a spider bum objects, threatening to call the aliens’ Habitat Protection Agency. Later the legionnaires sell the nuke, accepting a check. There is some discussion about whether aliens can be trusted to not bounce a check in a war zone. It’s absurd, as I said before. These are examples for the first book, AGFL - Feeling Lucky. The second book is only just now out.

The only poor response I got was the alien human sex scene (yuk). It was quick (only one page) and not graphic. I was trying to be funny. Humor can be a difficult thing.

APEX: Please share more with us about your publisher Penumbra Publishing.

WK: Penumbra Publishing is a small but honest publisher. The thing that impressed me about Penumbra during the query process was that when they answered, they did not respond with the usual form letter. Instead, before committing to AGFL, Penumbra did a free quick edit for content and grammar. WOW. In an age where a first time author is lucky to even get an answer from a publisher, that is quite a response. I understand Penumbra is busier now, and might not be so free with their time, but I was impressed.

Patricia Morrison is a talented editor, and she cleans up my grammar and sentence structure. I am truly amazed at the final product. She can be kind of tough. Patricia thought my alien lawyer wearing glasses and carrying a brief case to be absurd and unrealistic. I agreed. When she realized I was not writing serious drama, she found AGFL amusing, and Penumbra committed to a three year project. Nobody had ever queried with a dozen books at one time before. It took me two years to write that many books. After my first query rejection, I just kept writing until my large body of work could no longer be ignored.

APEX: Reenlistment is actually the second installment in the America’s Galactic Foreign Legion series. Please share more with our readers about Book 1, Feeling Lucky.

WK: America’s Galactic Foreign Legion - Feeling Lucky is the first of a thirteen-book humorous science fiction series. It starts our with Corporal Czerinski and a handful of inexperienced legionnaires sent out to fight the aliens on a distant colony. Some will steal anything that is not nailed down. Others want fun, travel, and adventure. Joey just wants to survive, get rich, and get even. He shoots and bombs the ATM several times, but it just won’t die.

APEX: What are your long term writing / publishing aspirations?

WK: America’s Galactic Foreign Legion will be a three year project. The thirteen books are already written. Book 3, AGFL - Silent Invasion, is being edited as I speak. These books will be coming out every few months. I do not know if I will write a book 14, but I have started page 1.

APEX: In addition to being an author, you’re also a traveler. Please share more with our readers about your pursuits.

WK: I love cross country road trips and exploring casinos. Fortunately there is no shortage of roads and casinos in our great country. I love to explore ghosts towns. My favorite ghost town is Belmont, Nevada, located in the exact geographic center of Nevada. It is the only ghost town I have ever seen that has a domed courthouse.

APEX: How can our readers learn more about you and your ongoing efforts?

WK: I am continuously posting sample chapters and updates for just-published books on my website: Check out the alien and the chapter about “The Frunk.”

APEX: How can readers contact you directly?

WK: My website has my E-mail address on it: I also like to frequent writer blogs, such as W.M. Morrell’s Musings From Down Under.

APEX: Any final thoughts you would like to share?

WK: I hate it when science fiction novels portray a future America that has failed. I also do not like it when authors try to beat me over the head with their politics. I tried to create a future where America conquers the galaxy. I tried to make it funny. Humor can be a difficult thing. I truly believe that if humanity is to ever cross the Galaxy, it will be in American starships. Is that politically incorrect? I think world famous science fiction author Piers Anthony was most accurate when he graciously described America’s Galactic Foreign Legion in the January 2010 issue of his online newsletter, “It’s wild, improbable, but great adventure.” I had a lot of fun writing the series, and hope readers have fun reading America’s Galactic Foreign Legion.

APEX: Thanks again, Walter, and best of continued success in all your endeavors!


  1. Book 3, America's Galactic Foreign Legion - Silent Invasion will probably be out in late Juy. I am very proud of Book 3, it's funny stuff.

    Featured in a couple chapters is a Dachshund with smart bumps on his forehead. But, maybe this obvious sign of intelligence is negated by the dents on top. Could he be bi-polar?

    It's a fun read.

  2. Apologies to everyone who read the unedited version of this blog. Walter Knight's second book in the GALACTIC FOREIGN LEGION series is titled 'REENLISTMENT' - not 'SILENT INVASION,' which is the third book in the series.


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