In today’s interview, I have the pleasure to introduce you to Chris Wheat. He is the author of the science fiction book The Exodus Committee and he has agreed to talk about his book and his life as an author. Chris is a really nice guy that I have been talking with on twitter about his book and he was also a featured guest earlier this year. Now here is what he has to say.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself as an author?
I started my arts education with drawing and painting. But I loved creative writing in high-school, and by the time I had reached college I had the opportunity to study under some amazing professors. I discovered the great modernist writers and poets, and that was when I decided that writing was something I was going to take seriously.
What are your greatest inspirations regarding the creation of your book the Exodus Committee?
My single biggest inspiration would probably be Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation,” which is about predicting and preserving the future of the human race. I have always been a futurist, and I think we are all only alive for such a short time that it is our responsibility to try to give all that we can give to the future.
How would you categorize your book in the wide spectrum of the science fiction genre?
“The Exodus Committee” is a science-fiction drama/romance, and a grand, adventurous story, even if they never leave the French Riviera! The book will certainly resonate with those who identify with the counter-culture of the 1960’s. I hold the figures of the counter-culture up as shining examples of fighting for the future, maybe too much so for some, and the influence of the counter-culture is all over this book in the characters and in the story.
If you would have the opportunity to take a shuttle and travel to Mars would you go?
Yes I believe that if offered the chance, however unlikely, I would choose go to Mars. And I have no lack of love for the people of earth. But I believe that our human journey is hopefully in its infancy, and that it is much bigger than any of us. Leaving planet Earth is an offer that is simply impossible to refuse.
What was your greatest hardship in writing your book?
I had a number of setbacks as an African American author. After college I moved to Washington D.C., where I started my draft as a script. I worked most days in a nice Starbucks in a corner seat upstairs in Georgetown. It was an incredibly lovely, inspiring place to be. And then in the winter of 2019 I moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where I grew up.
I was harassed by the police constantly in Kansas City, including while I was writing my script in a Starbucks on the KC Plaza, one of the nicest parts of town. I was beaten up and thrown in jail. I lost my computer and the draft of my script with it. I had to start over. And so this time I decided to write “The Exodus Committee” as a book because I thought that even if it never got made into a movie I would still have a product. And I hope that it will still be made back into a movie!
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
All that separates the authors from the dreamers is one word on the page after another.
Do you have a preferred science fiction author?
I love Isaac Asimov. “Foundation” had a great impact on my life plans when I read it in high school. Earlier in life I loved reading Robert Heinlein. And I have come to love the short fiction of Judith Merrill, who was inspirationally uncompromising, and years ahead of her time.
Do you have more upcoming projects like future books or writing undertakings?
I do plan to have a sequel to the book. It is called, “The Pilgrims to Mars Series Book 2: The Cult of Mars City.” I am also working on a futurist western called “Cosmogony,” a term Salvador Dali was fixated on meaning: the branch of science dealing with the beginning of the universe. And I also hope to have “The Exodus Committee,” turned into a movie!
Is there some kind of writing ritual that you perform to help you write?
I have had to go without everything at one point or another, but I find that the only thing I would say that I “need” is coffee, and so I must be addicted to it!
What do you think about colonizing Mars, do you think we will get to see it in our lives?
I think this is a great question. And I do think that we as a human race will make it to Mars in most of our lifetimes. But I believe the first people that we must send, the astronauts, and the scientists, and the engineers, will have a much rougher time than what comes to mind when most people imagine “colonizing” Mars. I believe civilian life on Mars will take several generations of diligent work by scientists and engineers. And so the best thing I think we can do in our lifetimes to help ensure a prosperous civilian future on Mars is to make sure that the decisions made regarding colonization are made democratically. We must ensure that these decisions are made in the spirit of preserving that which is best about humanity. Otherwise I think it would not be important that we make the trip at all. And so I came to the conclusion that my contribution begins with writing “The Exodus Committee,” to inspire the policy-makers of tomorrow.