Monday, September 3, 2012

Author Spotlight: Interview with Keith A. Ferstl

1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

Madman Dreams Book One: Reanimated. YA Science Fiction.

Thanks to the murderous act of a madman, Jonathan Chaulk discovers that his one chance to save McKenna Dupree, the girl of his dreams, will come only after her death.

2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Readers who enjoy fast-paced, character-driven science fiction with lots of unexpected twists and turns will find a book written just for them. Those who seek a thought-provoking, exciting page-turner should give Madman Dreams a read.

3. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

On the surface, the ideas explored in the series, are exciting and reasonable, but when they are filtered through the minds of madmen, they become distorted dreams. The title Madman Dreams is a result of tinkering with those themes, and finding a concise way of distilling them into the title. And it doesn’t hurt that during this decision-making process, my wife was a willing sounding board, too.

4. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Since the phoenix theme plays a predominant role in the story and throughout the series, I wanted it on the cover. Graphic designer Asfar Shah designed the cover. The colors, flames, and soaring phoenix captured the tone of the story.

5. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Picking a favorite character presents the same difficulty as choosing your favorite child. You love them all, and it’s difficult to pick one over the others. If someone put a gun to my head—and McKenna just might—I’d say she has a slight lead over Jonathan. As a strong female character, I like her intelligence, her inner strength, and I admire her spunk.

6. How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Although Dr. Sandor Serpa has villainous characteristics, and doesn’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to reach his ultimate goal, he’s operating from the position of doing what must be done for the greater good—at least in his mind. I find myself disliking Trace Connors even more. He wields his power with vicious, selfish intent.

7. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?

I regret taking so long writing it. I started working on it several years ago, but it took me a while to commit wholeheartedly to the project. Had I made the commitment earlier, I would’ve been on the path toward doing what I love that much sooner.

8. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

The wind sled that appears on the first page was inspired by wind sleds that operate between Bayfield and Madeline Island on Lake Superior. The nanobots described in Madman would likely be the size of about one micron. For comparison, a human hair is about one hundred microns wide; a red blood cell is about eight microns in diameter and three microns thick.

9. What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

The use of nanobots, although implemented for different reasons and effects, makes BZRK by Michael Grant similar and alike. Cryogenics also plays a significant role in both Madman and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

10. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I enjoy swimming and riding my recumbent bike on nearby paved trails…until I have to go uphill, then I’m not such a big fan.

11. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

To contact me or find out more about my books you can email:, visit my blog:, or website: I’m also on Facebook (, or Twitter, @KeithFerstl.

12. What can we expect from you in the future?

Madman Dreams Book One and Book Two are already available in e-book format at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’m working steadily on Book Three with high hopes for a September 2012 launch.

13. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Despite all the different marketing channels available, at the end of the day, the key to success is word of mouth. If readers enjoy the book, please let others know!

14. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

There’s an old axiom: Writers write. It still holds true today. I would add: Readers read. So many books, so little time!

15. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you for taking the time to read this interview. And thank you in advance for reading my books. It means the world to me. Please feel free to contact me. I’d love to hear from readers!

16. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Excerpt: Madman Dreams Book One: Reanimated by Keith A. Ferstl

The arctic air that churned down across the Canadian border bit into Jonathan’s face. The cold wind exhilarated him. McKenna, snuggled in the cockpit beside him, shouted with excitement as the Raven flew across the ice.

They’d been crisscrossing the lake for almost two hours when they spotted what appeared to be a naked man stumbling toward them.

Jonathan jerked his head up and yelled a warning, but the man didn’t hear or chose to ignore him. He swiftly steered the iceboat into the wind. The sail flapped like a sheet on a clothesline as the boat skidded to a stop. They scrambled to the crumpled figure and watched helplessly as he collapsed and curled into a fetal position.

Jonathan yanked off his parka and draped it over the man’s exposed body. He dropped to his knees beside him, pulled off his glove and pressed his fingertips to the man’s neck, searching for a pulse.

McKenna knelt next to them. “Is he alive?”

He pushed the panic down. “I can’t get a pulse!” He tried to roll the body over to begin CPR, but the man’s contorted muscles refused to relax.

McKenna pointed toward the island. “Someone’s coming.”

Looking up from the body, he saw a black Land Rover heading in their direction. Was it from the Institute? He didn’t have time to dwell on the questions that popped into his head. Were they watching us? Were we under surveillance? Is that why they were so quick to respond? Or had they been pursuing the man? Right now he didn’t care about the “why” surrounding the cavalry’s arrival. He only hoped the rescuers reached the man in time.

He forced himself to look at the man’s face, twisted upward, eyebrows and eyelashes coated with a thick layer of ice crystals, bloodshot eyes frozen open, lips a dark blue.

The vehicle’s wide tires crunched to a stop a few feet away from them. Two figures, wearing orange hazmat suits, exited the vehicle.

McKenna’s gasp mimicked his own.

The taller of the two orange suits handed each of them a black rubber mask. A clear plastic hose connected it to a stainless steel canister. “Put these on, and step away from the body! Do it now,” he ordered, “or you’re dead.”
Thank you Keith for taking part in my Author Spotlight interview! I hope your writing continues to flourish and we hope to see more of you in the future.
If you or an author/illustrator you know is interested in being interviewed, feel free to send me an email at

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