Finalist Spotlight

Kevin W. Bates

Kevin W. Bates was born in Berkeley, California and, with the exception of a couple year stint in Sydney Australia and a study abroad program in Japan, was raised there. In his Martin Luther King Jr. High and Berkeley High School years, Kevin developed a life-long fascination with science fiction (and, oddly, nuclear weapons) and a tendency to day dream. He discovered early that among the greatest joys in life is the thrill of losing yourself in a gripping space adventure soaring across the galaxy. Raised on classic science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury, Kevin took up writing science fiction to provide the same mind expanding thrills he enjoyed from those authors and more contemporary ones like Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks, David Brin and Neal Stephenson.

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Kevin W. Bates on his novel,

Dawn’s Reach

What was the inspiration for your Whitney Awards finalist novel?

I have loved science fiction as long as I can remember. After completing my first novel which was speculative fiction with a few sci fi elements, I was determined to write a straight up science fiction. As I noodled the prospect, I recalled elements of sci fi tales that particularly intrigued me. So I decided to gather those elements and weave a story around them. Thus in Dawn’s Reach you see a mysterious catastrophe leaving ancient advanced human tech behind, hints of a super alien race and mysterious alien artifacts. In addition, I was interested in exploring loyalty, betrayal and how ideas can become fixed in our minds and twist our view of reality such that we are led to act in ways someone from the outside looking in would describe as completely irrational.

What was the tipping point that turned this novel from “just an idea” to a project you HAD to complete?

This is the second book in a trilogy. When I finished Prospector’s Run and had the other two books roughed out, I had to write Dawn’s Reach.

 How did this book evolve into the final story? Did it end up the way you thought it would, or did the plot or characters change along the way?

Dawn’s Reach ended as I had planned. I had the ending in mind from the beginning and in many ways I constructed the story to arrive at that conclusion. That said, because of comments from a friend and beta reader and my editor I ended up completely re writing the first third of the book.

Who is your favorite secondary character, and why?

Ector Lorz because he is everything I envy and would like to be but am not. Supremely confident and unflappable, with a carefree sunny disposition, he enjoys life no matter its twists and turns and setbacks.

If your book was made into a movie, which scene would you want to be a background extra in?

I would love to be a waiter at the meal where Captain Genia Calliot negotiates with Domenica Fylan for the Rapt purchase. Two people with indomitable wills going head to head, the tension would be epic.