Sci-Festival Interview 8 with Timothy Callahan

We’re gearing up for the last interview with Sci-Festival with the awesome Hugh Howey, but before we get there, we have some fantastic authors over the next few days. You also have me, but I won’t mind if people skip that one. You all hear from me enough.

Today, we have Timothy Callahan.


How did you get into writing Sci-Fi/Fantasy?
Growing up as a kid in the 70’s I was exposed to some of the greatest Science Fiction movies and TV shows ever made. Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Star Blazers, they ignited my imagination in ways that still inspired me today. I had a hard time turning off all the amazing images in my mind and the only way to quell them was the write. I quickly discovered how much I loved writing and I can’t image not doing it.

Which is the first aspect of a story you usually plan? The plot, the setting, or the characters?
The first thing I normally come up with first is the plot. But, it’s normally a very lose plot where I map out three of four things that must happen in the story, I then drive the characters to those points, deal with the aftermath, then move them onto the next plot point.

If you had to say that your stories were Sci-Fi/Fantasy crossed with something, what would it be?
Sci-Fi/Military for the most part. Choosing it was pretty easy, most of my stories take place on military spaceships so, it makes the most sense for the setting.

What, or who, would you say is your greatest influence in your writing?
When I first started writing there was an author I loved, W. Michael Gear, I tried my best to emulate his style. It’s still there in my writing but, as I got exposed to more writers, my style has become an amalgam of pretty much anything I read. But, I do seek out the writing of T.A. Pratt, John Scalzi, Robert Heinlein, Author C. Clark, and I like to read a lot of classic science fiction, mostly stuff from the 40’s and 50’s.

How did you come up with the idea for the book you’ve listed here?
I always wanted to write a Star Trek novel but I always hated fan fiction (I’ve come around to it now, but when I wrote it 8 years ago I had a different point of view.) so I thought, well, let me create my own Star Trek type universe. The idea for the comet came from watching a show on the Science Channel about what would happen if a comet hit the Earth and I wondered what they would do in the future when we had starships, and the two ideas sort of merged into the first novella, Regal. The second came to me as I was finishing the first and just wanting to continue the series because I had a lot of fun writing it. The third novella came from another what if. What if the Earth was attacked by a superior foe, how would they defeat the bad guys? Also, I wanted to write a pure action story, and Armada is basically wall to wall space battles. That was a lot of fun to write.

What was your proudest moment in the creation of this book?
The reveal of the bad guy in the novella Ulliam. When I started writing the story I didn’t know who the bad guy was going to be, then I had a flash of inspiration and, once I realized what was going on, the story wrote itself.

Have there been any points that had you doubting yourself? How did you get past them?
I doubt myself all the time and the only way to get past them is to keep writing, keep putting your stuff out there, keep trying to improve. The key is to become better at your art, to always strive to be the best artist you can be, if you don’t have that drive then you don’t have the passion to become a writer. Knowing the stuff I write tomorrow is going to be better than the stuff I wrote today encourages me to keep going because I’m curious to see what will happen.

What is your favourite aspect of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres?
The amazing, the idea that makes me go ‘whoa, that’s cool.’ The thrill of a good battle scene and the emotion of the aftermath. I love big ideas brought forward with intelligence.

What is the element you like the least about the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genres?
The idea that you need three, four, or five books to tell a simple story. I’ve read a lot of book series where, when I’m done, I think ‘this could have easily been told in one or two books, not five.” And it drives me nuts that I have to read page after page of filler to get to the interesting parts. The entire book should be the interesting parts.

Discounting ‘because I’d have made a lot of money’ (if that is the case,) which Sci-Fi or Fantasy book/tv series/film do you wish you’d written, and why?
I wished I had written the new Battlestar Galagtica. They took a great concept and explored it to a very logical conclusion.


Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, Timothy has been writing since the early age of 11.
He’s a computer technician by day, doggie daddy at night and writer on the weekends and at lunch.

See more of Timothy


Defender combines three novella’s set on the space battleship Arwen.

Regal: A large comet threatens the planet of Regal and the Arwen must stop it. Unbeknownst to the crew the comet is more than it seems.

Ulliam: The Arwen returns to the Ulliam system to find the Earth fleet defending it destroyed. Alone and out of contact with the United Corp, they investigate the mystery and find a surprising answer.

Armada: The Arwen defends Earth and her allies from certain destruction from a new and powerful enemy.

Regal won the 2007 Parsec award for best Novella



About chelecooke

Self-Published author of the Out of Orbit series and the Teeth series. UCL Residence Assistant, obsessive cross stitcher, avid reader and TV show watcher.
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