Paul is here today to talk about his new book, ‘Mole Hunt’, the first in his series featuring anti-hero, Maximus Black.

Mole Hunt is chock-a-block full of the most amazing gadgets. There are some seriously sneaky weapons, but there are also devices to enhance human senses, expedite healing and provide information. Can you talk a little bit about some of these ‘evolutions’?

Rejuvenation, worm holes, augments, and others in Mole Hunt are basically tropes of science fiction. Generally speaking, technology is restricted only to the imagination. Who would have imagined submarines and planes, for example, could actually work back the 1400/1500s? Yet that’s when Leonardo de Vinci drew diagrams for both. There are stacks of similar examples of the imagination coming to reality. Remember Maxwell Smart using his shoe phone? Pure, unadulterated fiction in the 60s (how could a phone work without wires?! we thought), and yet here we are with mobile phones. So really, I’ve just let my imagination run wild with Mole Hunt. I suspect there’s nothing impossible in the technology I use.

Mole Hunt is set quite some time in the future when many other planets have been colonised. Anneke Longshadow, the nemesis of your main character, Maximus Black, has greater speed and strength than many others, having grown up on a planet with stronger gravity. Why did you give this feature to your antagonist rather than the protagonist?

You’ll have noted that poor Anneke is set upon by multiple opponents, aliens and superior fire power. Logically speaking, I doubt a “normal” person would survive such opposition. You see, every character must suspend disbelief. Even Superman has flaws: Kryptonite, can’t see through lead, magic, and something less tangible, his matchless morals are used against him — shall he save a population of 20 million, or shall he save Lois Lane. Which one?! is the proposal put to him by the villain. Of course, he manages to save both at the same time …

Although other worlds feature strongly in Mole Hunt, there are very few visible ‘aliens’ (with notable exceptions). Why?

I guess I could have come out with all guns blazing in the first book, but remember, The Maximus Black Files is a trilogy. And this series is more about two characters, Maximus Black and Anneke Longshadow. When you look at Mole Hunt, you’ll see there are enough aliens to balance out the “humans”: the Sentinels and of course the Envoy. I don’t believe in having tokenistic aliens — such as the bar scene in Star Wars that seemed to be there just to add colour.

RIM as an organisation seems to allow a certain latitude to their bright young members, a flexibility in their duties. Do all RIM members have this same freedom? Can you elaborate on the structure of this organisation?

There has to be some suspension of disbelief. One might well ask how come Artemis Fowl can travel anywhere he likes when surely most countries wouldn’t allow him visas because of his criminal history (come to that, we never see main characters applying for visas — they just pop up all over the world). It’s implied that Maximus gets himself relocated; at other times, he could either be on leave or is using jump-gates to circumnavigate time. Other characters within RIM also have a certain flexibility, too.

The journey from planet to planet can be a long one. How do the travellers entertain themselves?

In Mole Hunt they use jump-gates. Anneke actually uses her craft’s cryogenic facility to put her to sleep. This can often explain why people’s looks change (or not!) over periods of time. “She programmed the course computer then warmed up her suspension tube. Might as well sleep through the next fourteen days. It would be less painful, and the ship’s medkit could do a few repairs. Fact is, she realised, looking at herself in a mirror, I need a renovator. What a mess”.

I’m sure you’ll reveal what you need to, when you need to, of the childhoods of Maximus and Anneke, but what would a typical childhood for children be like in your world?

Dog-eat-dog, I’d say. We glimpse Max and Deema’s lives as slaves. Human commodity has been a flourishing business throughout time. As recent as colonial United States and penal transportation from England to Australia in the 1700/1800s, we’ll see humans used as work fodder. Imagine colonising mineral-rich worlds. Developers will stop at nothing to get their labour, and I can easily see slavery being part of their strategy, much as press-ganging innocent people from the streets of London to man ships bound for the horizon.

If there were one gadget from the future you could have now, what would it be?

I somehow doubt a wish-machine will ever be invented. But that would be it. Why have one gadget wish when a particular gadget will get you countless more gadget?!

Are you a gadget-man here on earth?

Not at all. I’m a bit of a Luddite, really. A typical digital immigrant. I suspect if I had time on my hands, I’d get more into stuff like games — I like the look of virtual reality games, for example. Maybe when I “retire”, but I can’t see that happening till I can no longer operate a keyboard, in which case ….

Thanks for visiting Paul, and sharing a bit of the story behind the story. Mole Hunt is a wild ride of a novel, published by Ford St Publishing. To learn more about Paul visit his website. View Mole Hunt trailer here. My review will shortly be posted on Sally Murphy’s Aussie Reviews.