Date Published: 2015
“Fate hunts us down in our sleep.” Clay Conover, retired Marine officer turned corporate trainer has successfully re-careered and has a long-term plan. A plan grounded in a sense of duty, loyalty, and tempered by clear-eyed realism. Unfortunately, Clay’s plan doesn’t account for the hiring of Sheera Prasad. Young, hungry and ambitious, Sheera has an agenda of her own.
In the collision of wills that follows, Clay is confronted with a choice that will define him, not simply professionally but personally. Will he take the ethical high road, or opt for self-serving rathionalization? West of Tomorrow is an intelligent romance, laced with corporate intrigue, betrayal and the undiscovered phoenix living in all of us.
the hardest part of writing your books?
For me, it’s what I call the muddy middle. I’m a plantser, which means I map out my story, or “plan” them, before I start. But usually nine or ten chapters into the story, I get this “brilliant” hair fire of an idea I think will make the story better. So I wander off somewhere, often writing myself into a corner. I always find my way back out and the book is usually better for the side trip, but it’s always time-consuming.
A close second to the muddy middle is getting the opening right. I often struggle with figuring out where the story actually begins. And once I do figure it out, I’ve been known to puzzle over the opening line or paragraph for days.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I don’t have an Ipod. But when I listen to music, it’s usually smooth jazz, like the Rippingtons. There’s also a fair amount of Fusion, New Age and Flamenco guitar along with classical music in my collection.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I have both. I facilitate an author’s critique group locally here in Orange County (California) and have several beta readers who sample my work after I think I’m finished refining it. It’s amazing how wrong we can be, sometimes, about the book being ready for the world. With regard to beta readers, I’m always looking for more, so any interested readers in New Adult, Science Fiction, or Contemporary Fiction can visit dirksayers.com, Author Unredacted and get in on the action through my “Contact Me” page.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading several, not including professional. I just finished the Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein and Wool by Hugh Howey. I’m currently reading Hoax by Brian Stelter, Life in the Transitions, by Bruce Feiler & The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson. Fiction works include Craving, by Helen Hardt and Curse and Whisper by A.J. Gala.
How did you start your writing career?
I think I wrote my first short story in first grade. It continued into high school with more short stories for school anthologies and poetry. The ideas and visions ricocheting around in my noggin just seemed to come spilling out. Looking back, most of it was drivel, but I kept at it and improved little by little.
I took a creative writing series in college as part of my English minor. When I graduated, my first career as a Marine officer interrupted my creative writing. It wound up being a 22-year interregnum, in which literally all the writing I did was technical or professional. A lot of it got published in journals and manuals, but it was a far cry from what I really wanted to write.
My writing career as a novelist started in corporate America as a training manager. My first novel, West of Tomorrow, was begun while I was still working in corporate America and draws on my experiences there. It’s a tale of corporate intrigue, betrayal, misplaced love, and the phoenix living in all of us. Since then, I’ve written four more books and am working on two more.
I actually have two in the works, both slated for publication in 2021. The first is Eryinath-5, Vol. II of the Knolan Cycle. It continues the story of first contact between the Knolan Concordant and Earth, that began with Tier Zero. In the first volume, the Knolans’ first seed, Marty Tellus awakens and is recruited for training by Lysia. He becomes a Knolan citizen and warrior. Eryinath-5 continues his story and sets up the coming titanic conflict between the Knolan Concordant and the Valdrōsian Empire, in which Earth is one of the chips in the game. I just finished Eryinath-5 and it’s currently in the hands of my science fiction editor.
I’m also 21 chapters into The Year of Maybe. Vol II of Nyra’s Journey. It’s the second book I’m working on and continues Nyra’s journey begun in Best-Case Scenario. In it, Nyra continues to mature and copes with a changing world and her own growing sophistication. The Year of Maybe should be out in 2021, as well.
About the Author
Dirk came within a cat’s whisker of never publishing. Through two frenetic professional careers first as a Marine officer and then as a corporate trainer, he started way more stories than he finished, until full retirement left him with the focused attention he needed. West of Tomorrow, his first novel draws on his experience with the military, corporate America and the unpredictable nature of life.
Since then, he has published Best-Case Scenario, Act I of Nyra’s Journey a New Adult romance, Through the Windshield, Drive-by Lives an anthology of short stories and Tier Zero, Vol. I of The Knolan Cycle. He currently lives in Laguna Niguel where he surfs, snow skis in the winter and facilitates an author’s critique group.
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