Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview with Terry Persun - Author of Cathedral of Dreams

Below is my interview with Terry Persun, author of Cathedral of Dreams, a dystopian science fiction novel that was recently named a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award in the Science Fiction category at the American Library Association Conference.


Why did you become a writer?

I don’t believe that people become something. I believe they are something, but have to be willing to continually follow what they are before it is realized by others. Too many people have settled for a job that really doesn’t suit them. Or they continually look for something they can do where they can make money. Often, that is something that looks easy (the easy million). But we all know that if it were that easy to make a million everyone would do it. So, to get to your point: I am a writer. I’ve always been one, since I was in grade school. I started writing short stories in fifth grade, but had already made up super heroes and drawn comics by then. I just needed to learn how to write, which I started seriously while in the Air Force.

What is your favorite genre/type of story to write?

I don’t really have a favorite. Like my kids, each has its own plusses and minuses. I write essays and articles (technical and literary), poetry, short stories, novels, nonfiction books, and in about every genre there is except western and romance (well, not like most romance novel at least). I love research, so technical articles can be really fun, and they can lead to ideas for sci-fi novels. My general life, my family, my neighbors all feed my literary work with emotional challenges. I’ve written about a young man who doesn’t know who his father is, a man dying of cancer, someone who goes on a vision quest… I also use magical realism in some novels (stories, poems) and not in others. I write. And now that I’ve said I don’t write westerns or romances, watch them show up.

What is your least favorite?

So far, having said that I write almost anything that comes to me, I’d have to say that westerns (until now) have not come to me. The same with legal thrillers. I wouldn’t tackle one of those until I knew more about law. So, maybe the answer to these two questions about genre has more to do with where my knowledge base lies combined with where my interest and research is headed. That’s a round-about answer, but I think it explains how I write what I write.

Where do you do your writing? Do you have a favorite place to write?

I have a potting shed that I turned into an office. I work there. That includes my day job (as a public relations agency), and my writing. Sometimes I’ll work on a poem while sitting in the living room with my coffee in the morning. And sometimes I edit while sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table, but mostly I’m in the potting shed.

What are your favorite book(s)?

I actually answered the next question first, because it’s about authors not books for me. Nonetheless, I’ll try to pull a few books out of my hat: A Sport and a Pastime (literary), The Shadow of Sirius (poetry), Alphanauts (science fiction), and many more.

Who is your favorite author?

Favorite authors: Robert Penn Warren, Steve Yarbrough, James Salter for literary works, but I’ve read a lot of other great books in that genre. I like the older science fiction authors like Robert Silverberg and Phillip K. Dick. Lately I’ve enjoyed Lily Tuck, James Rollins, Rick Mofina, Bharti Kirchner. Favorite poets would include James Wright, William Stafford, and Ted Kooser, W.S. Merwin. I love to read, so I could go on for pages.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I keep a small box of ideas in my office. After burning some incense and chanting for a few minutes, I shake a Cherokee rattle over the box. Magic happens. Or, as my friend C.C. Humphreys says, “Magic happens to those who believe in magic.”

Tell us about your new novel.

My latest published novel is Cathedral of Dreams, which is about a utopian city that uses electrochemical devices to control peak emotions so that crime is eliminated. The device also muddles thinking somewhat and makes it difficult to dream. Keith, the protagonist, escapes from the utopian city and finds that not only is he able to think more clearly, but all his physical senses are enhanced. The struggle for him is that a group of dissidents want to destroy the city, but with his newfound self, he sees both sides and only wishes for people to be able to make their own choices—something he was not allowed to do.

My upcoming novel, Revision 7: DNA, is another science fiction novel. Neil was the result of an experiment his parents did (and went to jail for) where his brain was split. He has full functionality from both sides of his brain. As a detective, this really helps him to stay on task. When three robots steal a time machine, Neil is called in to help find it. But he doesn’t believe in time machines or the robots…until his wife is taken hostage. His emotional connection to the case means that he’s pulled from the job, but that doesn’t stop him from searching on his own.

About Cathedral of Dreams:

In Newcity, everyone is content. Bad feelings are not allowed, because your monitoring chip will alert the police to bring you in for treatment. Getting better is mandatory. Unchecked emotions made the world outside Newcity dangerous, unruly, and violent. At least that’s the official story in Newcity.

Keith knows something is wrong. Strange visions lead him to become one of the few who escapes Newcity. He fi nds freedom and companionship outside, but pressure building to revolt against the city’s insidious regime of social control. Leadership is thrust upon him, with only his visions for guidance, only a small band of friends for support—and the fates of both Newcity and the outside world at stake.

Cathedral of Dreams is a compelling tale of a dystopian future and personal heroism.  

About the Author:

Terry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. His latest novel, Cathedral of Dreams is a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist in the Science Fiction category. His novel Sweet Song just won a Silver IPPY Award, too. Terry’s website is: or you can find him on Amazon at: Email Terry directly if you’d like to be alerted when Revision 7: DNA comes out.

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