PJ McDermott

Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Author Profile

PJ  McDermott

PJ McDermott lived in Ferguslie Park, a suburb of the town of Paisley, Scotland, and the setting for the novel Small Fish Big Fish until he was fifteen. At twenty-one he went back to study full-time at college and from there to Glasgow University, graduating Bachelor of Science. A few years later, he met and married Sue who convinced him to return with her to Australia - a move he has never regretted. Small Fish Big Fish is PJ's first published work.After writing this historical coming of age novel, PJ turned his hand to Science Fiction. The first two books in The Prosperine Trilogy are available in paperback and eBook. The Third instalment, "The Scarf will be published later this year. PJ lives with Sue in Melbourne. They have two beautiful daughters and two seriously cheeky grandchildren.

Books

The Alien Corps

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Earth’s Intragalactic Agency is negotiating with the government of the planet Prosperine for exclusive mining rights to the rare metal Crynidium, needed to power their faster-than-light Surfboard® technology. Intelligence suggests a radical element is plotting to overthrow the government, while a mystic known as the Teacher has been seen performing miracles. They approach the Alien Corps to assist with their investigation. More is at stake than Earth’s trading supremacy. If this Teacher turns out to be the one the Alien Corps have been looking for so long, it could signal the end of all life in the galaxy. Commander Hickory Lace and her team are sent to investigate. If you enjoy tales of future dystopias packed with action and adventure, you'll love The Alien Corps. Mystery, adventure, psi abilities, an alien who could be the incarnation of Jesus, and a classic writing style that evokes Simak, Heinlein, and Anderson. ® Registered Trade Mark of the Intragalactic Agency Also available in paperback and Audiobook format.

Book Bubbles from The Alien Corps

News Flash! Son of God found on distant planet?

The premise for the story lies is the discovery of an ancient manuscript in which Jesus says, "In the last days, the Son of God will return to all the worlds of the universe. He will gather up the true believers, and lead them to this Earth where they will be united with the righteous..." So, I ask the question: If a Jesus figure is found on another planet, does that signal the end of all life in the galaxy? Answer: Perhaps! And so, the Alien Corps is set up to look for evidence of another "Jesus" in different parts of the universe. The Alien Corps begins with reports of a miracle worker on the planet Prosperine, 20 light years from Earth. He is the most likely prospect in sixty years of searching. Interested? Buy The Alien Corps to find out more! (P.S. In writing this account of the first meeting between Kar and Hickory, I admit I was influenced by the biblical accounts of Jesus. I hope to be forgiven for the heresy!)

Descriptions

One of the most difficult tasks in fantasy or Sci-Fi writing is world building - i.e. creating believable and compelling descriptions of places and alien beings. As an author, I am tempted to use hyperbole and (especially in a first draft) find myself throwing in lots of very meaningful adverbs. But a much better idea is to incorporate similes or metaphors, but sparingly, please! I know my writing is far better when I can find a few interesting, active verbs (Tip: Use a thesaurus.) Challenge: How many similes, metaphors, exaggerations etc can you spot in this excerpt?

Creating Illustrations for the Novel

I'm delighted to acknowledge the very talented Lauren MacGregor who created the maps for the novel. Illustrations add such a lot to the enjoyment of the reader by adding atmosphere and depth to a journey. In this map of Western Avanaux, I love the 3D effect Lauren has created for the Pharlaxian base camp, and the ice mountains of Erlach. Fantastic job, Lauren.

The Dark Suns

Jakah and Saurab play a cameo role in the novel, but I've had feedback suggesting they need a bigger part. I think this is because Saurab is a bit of a larrikin - a likeable rogue with a disregard for authority - a sort of Ned Kelly, if you will. You'll need to buy the book to find out - maybe these two could appear in Book 2 of the Trilogy. I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to write spin-off stories! Let me know what you think.

Hard Science Fiction

Very hard to do, but ultimately very satisfying - to invent, to create something from scratch. Of course, you can't claim anything as original. Even Star Trek and Star Wars depended on what had gone before (Think of Flash Gordon). There is nothing new in writing. To quote Abraham Lincoln "Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new after all.' The trick is to write the piece so that it sounds new and fresh to the reader. Chapter 3 of Avanaux is my opportunity to be 'creative'.

World Building

I'm fascinated by world building, whether on Earth or distant planets. It's the perfect vehicle for expressing my creativity as a writer. I like to see things through the eyes and actions of my characters. Part 2, chapter 1 takes place in Earth's post apocalyptic future. As well as describing the 'new age', I was able to blend in a lot of detail about the background of my heroine, which helps build atmosphere.

Genesis

The idea for the novel came from a news report on the discovery of an ancient tomb in Jerusalem that some thought to contain the remains of Jesus Christ and his family (later discredited). I began to speculate on the contents of the tomb, and the story came alive. Although it starts with a history-changing discovery, and has a quasi-religious premise, this is a classic science fiction piece complete with explanations for faster-than-light travel, strange aliens, mysterious characters and gigantic battle scenes. I'm aiming for the manuscript to be completed around March/April 2015. If you enjoy this rough book bubble, please let me know!

Small Fish Big Fish

Literature & Fiction

One little lie, a moment of weakness, a life on a knife-edge. It began simply enough. Picking up the ten-pound note was a no-brainer. Spending it at the fairground seemed a good idea at the time. Lying about it to Archie? Not so clever. Seventeen-year-old Stephen is struggling to come to terms with his place in life. He only wants three things—a girlfriend, a better life for him and his family, and to stay off Archie’s hate list. So far, he’s batting zero. Following a vicious set to, Archie manipulates Stephen along a path of lies, betrayal, and petty crime. Stephen is in way over his head. His dreams are turning into nightmares. He must escape Archie’s net, but can he find the way out before it’s too late? Set in Scotland during the nineteen-sixties, Small Fish Big Fish is a coming-of-age novel where love, courage, and friendship are tested to the limit. The tension, suspense, and twists and turns will keep you guessing until the last page. If you enjoy true to life settings filled with real characters, suspenseful mystery and a touch of young romance, then you will love PJ McDermott’s twist on the traditional coming of age tale.

Book Bubbles from Small Fish Big Fish

Tianyi's story

Not many migrants from China, or elsewhere, settled in Scotland during the sixties. (I remember my surprise and delight when, on my last visit, in 2010, the proprietor of a Glasgow Indian restaurant spoke to us in broad Glaswegian!) Although attitudes are slowly changing, Scots tend to want to keep Scotland to themselves, guarding their customs fiercely. And why not? Imagine, then, the desperation of a fifteen-year-old orphan girl from a small farming village in Jilin Province China, who finds herself alone (except for one uncle) in the bustling town of Paisley, Scotland. Some things would be familiar to her - the poverty, the cleaving to tradition, the love of music and storytelling but I feel sure she would have some difficulty finding her place in this new world. Tianyi is a small fish from a provincial pond who now finds herself swimming in the much bigger sea of Ferguslie Park with all the excitement and danger that a first world country can bring.

Creating Vivid Narrative

When I wrote these scenes, I wanted to create a setting and an atmosphere that would grow in the reader's mind. I used all the senses to describe the contrasting range of emotions and feelings that the character experiences. In his small world, Stephen might feel trapped and powerless (like the juvenile magpie) but he is still able to imagine the joy and wonder of far away places (far away from where he is forced to live, that is) and the excitement and fascination of the fair. (Lets hope he doesn't turn out like Pinocchio)

Daniel's story

Stephen is finding it hard to admit his betrayal and is sending out all those signals that things are "not o.k." He denies it, of course, but Julie is wise and knows he is not being entirely truthful. To encourage him to tell her what's wrong, she relates the story of Daniel, her brother. Probably, one of the most tender moments in the book is at the beginning of this chapter.

A different place to live

Even when you write fiction, your story is inevitably colored by past experience. Not every detail in this passage is historical fact, but the imagery and sense of desperation you see here is real. This is how I remember my youth - growing up in a troubled council housing scheme in Scotland during the sixties. Others will have a different view of Ferguslie Park, but hey, it's my story!

PJ  McDermott

Rise of the Erlachi

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Six months after defeating the Pharlaxian rebels, Commander Hickory Lace has been seconded to the Intergalactic Agency. The fabled Sword of Connat-sèra-Haagar has been stolen and Hickory and her team have been ordered to find it. Their search takes them deep into the high mountains of Erlach, where they discover that their arch-enemy, Sequana, is rallying the northern tribes to war. As well as overcoming the dangers in this hostile environment, Hickory and her team must restore the rightful king to his throne, and rescue the mysterious Teacher if they are to retrieve the Sword and stop Sequana. Fail in their mission, and Prosperine will be plunged into a new Dark Age that will threaten the very existence of the aligned planets. Rise of the Erlachi is the second part of the popular Prosperine Trilogy

Book Bubbles from Rise of the Erlachi

Writing a sequel is tough

Tougher than writing the first book in a series, is penning the sequel. As an author, it's not as easy to maintain the same level of motivation you had for the first part of the story. That book is your first baby - born of the joining of inspiration and creativity. The second birth is more difficult. There are things you have to do in the second one that are neither inspired nor necessarily creative, but need heaps of persistence, and dare I say, labour. For example, you need to decide how much of volume 1 you want to re-tell to make the story satisfying for new readers, without making it boring for those who read part 1. I hope I am succeeding. As always, the readers will be the judge.

The Scarf: A Hickory Lace scifi-adventure

Science Fiction & Fantasy

SWAMP JUNGLE AND A SECRET QUEST Hickory Lace and her team return to the planet Prosperine, this time to the Scarf - a six hundred miles band of swamp and jungle encircling the planet's equator. There's been a report that a Bikashi jet has crash-landed and the Agency is concerned that someone is searching for the mystical sword of Connat-sèra-Haagar. In the third and final episode of the Prosperine Trilogy, Hickory faces her greatest fears, discovers the secret to the planet's past, and unravels the mystery of the Teacher. An exciting conclusion to the Prosperine Trilogy that's guaranteed to keep you in suspense.

Book Bubbles from The Scarf: A Hickory Lace scifi-adventure

How much to repeat?

This is the last book in the series (I think!) It is available on pre-order now at the launch price of 99c, and for general sale on 27th September at the normal retail of $3.99. It's been an interesting challenge to decide how much of the first two books to include in this third volume. On the one hand, you don't want to be repetitive and bore the pants off your fans, but you do want to put in enough background so that a new reader won't feel lost. I think I probably failed in book 2, Rise of the Erlachi, in that it's "not quite a stand alone book" as one of my reviewers said. However, this time, I think I've nailed it! I'd love to know what you think!

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