Author Interview: T.C. Rasch

T.C. Rasch is an author of spec fiction. His work is predominately sci fi, with diverse casts, military themes, and many of his stories feature strong LGBTQIA+ and female leads.

I’ve known him for quite a few years. We first met in Elementary school, and though we didn’t have much to do with each other then, we reconnected years later through a shared passion for writing. I got to know his work by beta reading for some of his projects. It never ceases to amaze me how fucking unrelenting and prolific he is in his writing, so he seemed like the perfect first sacrificial lamb for this series.

Now behold! My first author interview! Hopefully the first of many, because all my friends are authors so I might as well make use of them for content!

The Interview

Hi TC! How are you doing? To start off, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and who you are as a writer.

I’m mid-30s, graduate of University (Bachelor of Arts, Major in English), nerdy, shy, and a bizarre mix of tea and ideas. I grew up on sci-fi and that has maintained into my writing. I work what is essentially a dead-end position to pay the bills, but my major passion is reading and writing. Thankfully, the job is mind-numbing enough that I can continue to think of the WIPs and work out the ideas from there.

I am a Science Fiction author. Well, I guess more the umbrella of speculative fiction, as I have written some dystopian, ‘horror’, and the mainstay of my work, futuristic sci-fi. There’s a lot of the military subgenre in my works and I tend to be character focused in terms of style approach.

What is it that draws you to sci fi?

I think it’s a case that, having grown up with sci-fi, it was simply something that I felt comfortable with. It does also have a nostalgic value inherent in it as well, as it was my grandfather who initially started me on the sci-fi track. We’d watch Star Trek together when I was young. When it came to reading, my tastes were in the same vein: Star Trek, Star Wars, et cetera. As time progressed, though the reading variety has expanded, the main portion is still sci-fi. Robert Heinlein, David Weber, Elizabeth Moon. Even took a science fiction literatures course in University. That was interesting to see the evolution.

I see the inherent homage to Star Trek in some of your works, but others, such as Hunted, are vastly different. Where do you get your inspiration for those?

Hunted was actually you. Well, both direct and indirect. When you asked to do the short for your voice reading, that spawned the start of it. From there, it just took off. I guess, though, other inspirations for Hunted would be some of the older vampire films and some novels out there, too.

Other inspirations come from a wide variety of sources. The Target (finished, unpublished) has inspiration from films (and some games) like Hitman, the Bond series, et cetera. Heaven’s Fall (finished, also unpublished) has its start from playing Resident Evil 2/3 Remakes combined with Star Wars Death Troopers. What Price Honor (editing) started off as an idea twenty years ago, with things changed over time. So long, I don’t remember where the idea came from.

My current WIP, tentatively called Renegades, just popped in one day. And, as I developed the idea for it, I took contemporary things and science fictioned them around. Sprinkled a little Firefly in there, some Mass Effect for good measure, a small pinch of the song Intergalactic Space Crusaders, and possibly a little of David Weber’s Honor Harrington series and voila… Epic masterpiece! (Results may vary. Epic masterpiece not guaranteed following these instructions.)

Speaking of David Weber, and the two other authors you mentioned earlier (Elizabeth Moon and Robert Heinlein), is that what you primarily read?

I wouldn’t say primarily. Series wise, Honor Harrington (Weber) and Vatta’s War/Peace (Moon) are up there. But Star Wars and Star Trek have a variety of authors writing for the series’. I also read the Deathlands series, also a wide variety. Clive Cussler, a little Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton.

What is your favourite book of all time?

Honestly, I don’t really have one. Hypothetically speaking, if someone was forcing an answer at gunpoint, probably say Frankenstein. When looking deep into it, there are a great many messages that should be seen. And the parallels between Frankenstein and the creature, leaving the question of what truly makes a monster, are so often left out. (Frankenstein literally hauls ass when he creates the creature, leaving the creature to learn on his own, experiencing both kindness and discrimination from the same family, whereas Victor tries to forget and discard the creature in favour of a happy life, only to have it destroyed by the creature as a result of his actions (which, again, creature experiences benevolence and hatred from the same, which, considering the creature’s actions, some might find understandable).)

You and I started writing around the same time. We were in elementary school together and I think we were both pretty oblivious to each other’s interests, but I remember you always had your nose buried in a binder. Tell us about that: about mini TC, and what kinds of writerly adventures he was taking back in the late 90s.

Lol. Jeez, that’s a while back… Let’s see if I can remember. At one point, there was some time travelling dinosaurs randomly jumping into cities and rampaging with a group of people out to stop it. A sci-fi revolving around two agents stopping a major arms manufacturer from taking over the world (I think it was the world… Lol). And a couple of Titanic shorts… Yes, I had a fascination with Titanic, the ship, not the movie.

A little into the 00s, I started on a secret government organization set up to defend against villains (think James Bond, but with four person teams). Got a couple written but lost them. I kind of stopped for a bit during the first university tenure, then began writing what became the first finished novel, The Brave and the Bold.

You feature a lot of women and LGBTQIA+ leads in your books. When did that start, and what do you think initially took you in that direction?

Most of mine had female leads. Looking back, I guess that was a result of my mother. And, to a degree, to have representation there. From there, that want for representation expanded outwards. The previous question’s answer regarding the secret organization stopping villains, I think that was the first. The main cast featured two lesbian characters and two gay characters. This expanded to include several other LGBTQ+ characters.

That continues today. For example, What Price Honor has a trans woman main character who begins a relationship with a Lebanese cis woman, befriending a chaotic pansexual man. Eventually meeting an enby crewman. In the second book, another enby Marine and a pair of lesbians fighting against the enemy government.

In Renegades, of 12 characters, only three are hetero. Lesbian Captain, lesbian queen, pansexual princess, bisexual security agent, enby pan engineer, pan pilot, (technically) ace AI, and a “not sure, don’t care” stowaway.

Writing diverse casts seems to come quite naturally to you. What advice would you give other writers who want to have more diverse casts, but are hesitant to try?

Honestly, best advice is to write them as people. Research. Look up personal stories online (especially if writing in our universe and contemporary time period). If writing in a different time period, remember to do the research for that time. But, whether different culture, race, or identity, if you know someone who shares it with your character and is willing to, talk and listen. They know, they’ve lived it.

Sci-fi has a history of holding a mirror to society. A lot of sci-fi books make bold statements about humanity and politics and so forth. What messages do you intentionally (or maybe accidentally) write into your books?

What Price Honor, I wrote with a message against transphobia and confronting it. Sometimes hammering it hard through the minor antagonist and her hatred for the main character. Also, the idea of progressive versus weaponized religion is brought up, among a few other themes.

In Renegades, there’s a progression of found family and how they can be more important than actual family. It also addresses elements of alcoholism and PTSD and confronting some stigma I’ve heard.

Hunted was themed as confronting bigotry. One reader actually brought up a second idea, in that, to them, it felt like a message against the hardliners of the church in the religion versus “outsiders” (those not conforming to religion and its stances), so that was interesting.

Come Hell or High Water was supposed to convey the idea that blindly following orders isn’t a good thing.

Come Hell or High Water was your debut book, I believe? What are you most proud of when it comes to that story? What do you like best about it?

Debut, according to Twitter, is debatable, as the stigma around self published still exists. But you’re correct, it is the first published work.

As for the most proud… I’m not sure. Not because I’m not proud, but because I love it just by virtue of being that first. Like best about it? That, too, is a toss up, but I’d probably say writing Turing, the Relentless’ AI. A little of that personality comes through in Renegades’ own AI, so I guess I influenced myself?

Tell us about your second published book, Hunted.

Vampires as protagonists. Tearing apart those that hunt them. Not enough? Okay.

The main character is Lucretia Valerius, a vampire from ancient Rome. While trying to be peaceful, she ends up being found by the Varangian Guard, an order of vampire hunters that has been around since Byzantium times and modernized into PMCs throughout the world. Avoiding them, she causes the death of one of them, who she turns, and kills the rest, though causes injury to Cheyenne, a homeless woman. They’re eventually found and attacked, with Cheyenne, who Lucretia and Idun (the nearly killed, recently turned vampire) both have feelings for, being captured. Lucretia and Idun, along with a group of vampires, assault the Guard’s Pacific Northwest HQ in a get Cheyenne or die trying offensive!

You mentioned a couple completed books that have yet to be published. Could you tell us a little more about them?

The Target is about a genderfluid “problem solver” (as ze calls zirself), basically a sniper for hire, who takes contract, then decides not to fill it. Because of that, the original contractor sends out more to kill zir.

Heaven’s Fall is quickly described as zombies on a starship. But when a colony goes dark, the 316th Marines are sent in to investigate, finding the colony turned into zombies. One Marine brings it back aboard ship, causing an outbreak on the destroyer, leaving the survivors to fight through to escape.

Okay! Awesome, so to wrap this up, do you have anything you’d like to add? Or you could just leave us with an excerpt from one of your books!

The communications channel died. “Anders, how well do you think you could handle the belt?”

     “Considering the circumstances?  I could fly around it no problem.”

     “How about through it?” Cynthia asked.

     “Through?” Anders asked incredulously. “I…  Yeah, sure, no problem.” He entered commands into his console. He muttered under his breath, “Let me just somehow increase my piloting from second time to lifetime trained through the power of magic.”

     “Tamia, Smith, fire everything we have at that ship. Make damned sure to drag their attention to us. We have a better chance surviving the belt than they do,” Cynthia stated. “Smaller ship, less target.”

     “Weapons locked on,” Tamia reported. “On your command.”

     “I’ve got what remains of the PDs ready,” Darnell reported.

     “Do it!” Cynthia ordered.

     On screen, Ceres shifted. Anders pushed the Peleliu forward, flying towards the God’s Spear in what seemed to be a suicidal endeavour. Cynthia was sure that deRuyter was smiling at the idea that the thorn in her side was about to be turned to debris and dust, but Cynthia had faith in her people. It wasn’t going to end as quickly as deRuyter thought it would.

     The panels of the God’s Spear opened, revealing the devastating firepower that had crippled the Peleliu during their first encounter. The Peleliu dived down, avoiding the destructive power of the Spear and a fate all too similar to Makemake and the First Fleet. Anders brought the destroyer up behind the Spear, allowing Tamia to fire at it. But nothing happened.

~ From “What Price Honor” by T.C. Rasch

T.C. Rasch’s Books and Links

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