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Fairlight Novels by Paul M. Carhart


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What if there were no creativity in the world? What if, through some strange set of circumstances, all of the arts -- painting, writing, music, singing, acting -- everything creative was made illegal?

In this futuristic world where creativity has been banned in favor of "more useful" social and economic endeavors, Mancy Fairlight secretly paints pictures in her run-down apartment. Despite her illegal activities, Mancy really only desires one thing: to be left alone to raise her six-year-old son Rembrandt.

However, Mancy lives in constant fear that one day the same government that had executed her husband will discover her secret and come for her family. When Remy begins to exhibit extraordinary musical talent, Mancy's secret becomes even harder to keep and her worst fears become reality. Unwittingly, she catches the attention of both General Starrk, the man who had engineered her husband's public execution, as well as a dark stranger who has links to her family's past and, if he has his way, their future as well...

Excerpt from Chance for the Future

"Mom, they're getting closer," Remy yelped.

Mancy looked at the rifle in her hands distastefully. She hadn't wanted to use it, especially after she had taken out that Enforcer with Chance's laser pistol. However, as it was then, it was now a matter of survival.

Her son's survival.

Time to put those lessons back to work, she thought as she hefted the rifle up against her shoulder, flipped the safety off, and began to pick her targets through the scope.

Two laser blasts rocked the car. Mancy aimed at the closest Enforcer and calmly squeezed off a shot. A small explosion enveloped the man's head, reflecting briefly in his shiny helmet. He flew back three or four feet before crumpling lifelessly on the ground.

Remy stared at his mother in shock.

* * *

The car jolted twice as the Enforcers' fire began to finally find their target through the smoke screen the hover car had produced. Chance knew that he only had a minute or so to get the hover car operational again. He smiled, however, as he heard additional, closer, laser blast fire in response to the Enforcers' shots. Mancy was returning fire. She might actually gain him another minute, he thought.

Keeping the two live wires apart, Chance began to search for a severed connection. Unfortunately, there were several severed connections. Chance was glad, however, that the geniuses who had designed these vehicles had color-coded their wiring. It wasn't hard for him to be able to tell which wire needed to connect to which.

Within a minute, Chance had connected all of the severed connections together and there was no sign of an outbreak of electrical fire.

* * *

Mancy had a second Enforcer in her sights. Just as she was about to squeeze off the shot, someone banging on the rear of the hover car interrupted her attention. Her finger tightened on the trigger but the shot missed the approaching Enforcer.

She turned around to find out what the new noise was. Through the rear window of the hover car, she saw Chance's face.

"Try it now!" he said, his voice barely audible through the window and laser fire.

She reached over and flipped on the hover field generator switch. A laser blast splashed against the passenger window frame, rocking the car. The generator thrummed to life, again lifting the car to float unevenly above the pavement.

"Go!" Chance's muffled voice ordered.

Although she was still sitting in the passenger seat, Mancy hit the forward motion accelerator without even thinking.

The car lurched forward, heading straight for the side of a building. Mancy yanked on the steering yolk and straightened the car out so that it veered left, down the open street she had noticed before.

Realizing that her chances of getting out of control were still pretty good without anyone actually in the driver's seat, Mancy climbed over Remy and seated herself in front of the steering yolk. She glanced quickly at the rear view screen and could see the forms of the Enforcers diminishing behind them. She could not suppress her smile as she fed the accelerator more power. It had been a long time since she had been in the driver's seat. Besides, the further they were away from the Enforcers, the safer they would be, she figured.

"Mom, what about Chance?" Remy asked.

Chance for the Future Characters

Mancy Fairlight:
After losing her husband, Mancy goes into hiding to give birth to her son. Six years later, events conspire to force her back out into the open. Can she escape her husband's killer while protecting her son?

Rembrandt Fairlight:
Being six years old is hard enough. Having a driving need to create music in a world that has banned creativity is even worse. What's a young boy with talent to do?

Chance:
Who is this dark stranger who has come to Mancy's rescue and what are his ties to her past?

Marc Fairlight:
He's been dead for six years, yet Mancy Fairlight cannot forget him. Nor does she want to.

Nik Tavarone:
This older British actor is second in command of the Resistance but first when it comes to cracking a smile.

Faith:
Although she is only twenty-four years old, this young Resistance leader seems to know more than she is letting on.

Major Tannk:
This career officer is being groomed for the highest position in the Enforcement Corps. But what is his connection to the Fairlight family?

General Starrk:
Cold, calculating and resourceful; General Starrk's secret practices are about to come to light if he cannot close the six year old Fairlight case once and for all.



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In the midst of a creative draught, seventeen-year-old musical prodigy, Rembrandt Fairlight, finds himself at a crossroads in a time of renaissance. Despite his creative accomplishments, Remy feels that his life leans only toward the creative and he believes that finding out about the father he never knew will provide the key to who he really is.

However, the world is also at a crossroads and is in danger of being consumed by an even worse tyranny than his mother and stepfather had helped to overturn eleven years before. At the threshold of this secret insurrection is young Hope Anstace, who will do anything to defend her family's estate against the mysterious raiders who have been pillaging her homeland. When they are thrown together, Remy discovers that Hope needs his help in her fight as much as he needs her to find his destiny. However, Hope has already started down a dangerous path of her own.

The sequel to Chance for the Future, Hope for Tomorrow is a coming of age tale of adventure and romance illustrating that clarity can sometimes be best found in chaos and that love can survive whatever may come.

Excerpt from Hope for Tomorrow

As they emerged from the rows of olive trees that lined the hillside, Hope Anstace could see that her worst fears were coming true. Energy flashes were erupting in the clearing below. Utilizing the intermittent light of the explosions, Hope was able to take in the details of her home, her imagination and first-hand knowledge of the property filling in the gaps that the flashes did not illuminate. She could barely make out her father in front of the main house, firing his rifle at the enemy. She could also see plainly that there were too many raiders for her father to withstand.

He needs my help!

"Onward, Cira!" she yelled at the top of her lungs as she slung her rifle from her shoulder. She thumbed on the power switch and was rewarded with the satisfying thrum of the energy pack engaging with the firing mechanism. The rifle wasn't state of the art, she knew, but it would do the job.

Through the flashes, Hope was able to make out certain details concerning the raiders. Most of the men were on the ground, running to and from the two buildings. They seemed to be just as interested in the house as the rest of the compound. There also seemed to be several black hover cars parked near the stable: the raider's obvious means of transportation. The men all wore black uniforms...yes uniforms. They were all the same, each one sporting the same reflective helmets and the same red pin striping. Hope recognized the pattern too. Although the coloration was different from the pictures she had seen, she realized that the raiders were Enforcers!

I thought Enforcers were no more!

It had been years since she had even heard tell of them.

One of the soldiers stepped out of the main house and Ander, who was still leading the way into the compound, pounced on him. The man went down, his head bouncing against the wall and his laser rifle falling out of reach.

Hope pulled her rifle up so the stock rested against her shoulder.

These are not people, she thought, they are night wolves... scavengers. They deserve what they get.

The laser scope targeted an enemy uniform. Hope gritted her teeth and squeezed off a shot. The man cried out as he fell to the ground.

Delicately balancing the rifle in her right hand, she touched her left knee to Cira's side, urging the light brown stallion around to face another direction. She had lost track of Ander but she was certain he would be fighting for their land just as she was.

Aiming with one arm, the scope of her rifle selected another enemy. With her knees, she gripped her steed. She steadied her shot with her other hand.

Ring true, she thought as she fired again, this time punching a hole through the back of her target's shiny black helmet.

Two for two.

Still, there were more soldiers swarming about than she could easily count and she realized she would have to change her tact in order to be rid of them.

"Come on, Cira," she said as she pulled her steed around, pointing him in yet a different direction. She touched her heels to him again and they galloped north along the outskirts of the property. If she could make the attackers believe there were more defenders than just herself and her father, she might be able to run them off, at least for the time being. Next time, she would be in the compound to help her father fight them off. For now, all she could hope for was a reprieve from the attack.

Hope had gone perhaps fifty feet when she brought Cira to a halt again. She turned him toward the main house once more and selected a target in the rifle's laser scope. She took a breath before firing. The shot easily took down another Enforcer.

"They don't know who they're messing with," she said under her breath. "Anstace blood always flows last."

She swung the rifle around to bear on another black-clad soldier. There were so many of them, she realized, that it would be hard for her to miss.

Again, she squeezed off a shot. The man fell to the ground.

"Time to hit them where it hurts," she said to Cira. "Let's get those hover cars."

Cira snorted in affirmation.

She directed Cira further around the property so she could come up behind the stable. Within moments, she was in position.

Hope had little experience or interaction with the high-tech baubles that were popular and common in the city. However, she was certain that she recognized the fuel caps on the rear of each of the five hover cars. It would only take two or three well placed shots to disable them all.

But she didn't want to destroy them all.

I want them gone, not stranded here.

Hope pulled the rifle up to her eye and let the laser sight rest on the rightmost car's fuel cap. Confidently, she pulled the trigger. The shot found its mark and the hover car exploded in a brilliant ball, splaying shrapnel around itself like the rings of Saturn.

With her knees, she directed Cira to back up so they would be hidden behind the stable. Already, the soldiers' attention had turned toward the decimated vehicle. She didn't need to bring them all down on her.

Once behind the cover of the stable, she whipped Cira around and headed back out into the dark countryside. If her logic was correct, these soldiers would be leaving soon.

As she rode away from the compound, Hope watched behind her, trusting Cira to take her safely from the raiders' view. The wind knocked her hair free from the knot she had put in it but she let it fly. As soon as she was a good distance out from the main compound, she lifted the rifle up. Quickly, she switched off the targeting mechanism so she could make use of the scope without landing a red dot on someone's black uniform. She certainly didn't want to give away her position now.

Through the scope, she could see the black-clad men scampering into their hover cars. By the time she brought Cira to a halt, the hover cars had twisted on their anti-grav fields and sped off into the dark countryside, leaving the main compound in a flickering, smoldering state.

They'll think twice before coming back to Anstace land, she decided.

"Come on, Cira," she said as the horse made a wide semi-circle, "let's go home."

Cira trotted back toward the compound. The stallion's uneasiness manifested itself beneath her as a new tightness in his muscles. She knew the old boy was hesitant to return to the source of such noise and violence.

As they got a little closer, Hope realized that she could sense no movement on the property. Fear gripped her. She nudged Cira into a gallop. They reached the main house a minute later and before Cira could come to a stop, Hope had vaulted herself over his side. Landing firmly, she sprinted with every ounce of energy she had toward the house, her sandled feet kicking up dust against the dirt path.

Her rifle fell from her shoulder onto the ground.

"Father! Ander! Where are you?"

She burst through the front door of the house. "Lights," she said. The house lit up as it was programmed to, except where a lamp had been shattered in the living room. She barely noticed that the house was a shambles. She darted from room to room, searching for a living being.

There were none.

No dead ones either, thank God.

Hope launched herself out of the house and into the compound, bounding over the porch's three steps in one leap. She passed a still skittish Cira but paid him little mind. Where was her father? Her fear was now getting the best of her imagination.

"Father?"

She came upon the stable, which was illuminated by the blossoming fire of the hover car she had taken out.

There was a sound from within the stable. Hope's spirit rose as she rushed inside.

"Father?"

A horse snorted from inside the stall to her left.

"Luna..." Hope didn't try to hide her disappointment.

She glanced around to take in the rest of the stable. Other than the scattering of tools and disarray of the harvested olives that had been stored in one of the extra stalls, nothing really seemed out of the ordinary.

From outside the stable, she could hear the distant sound of a familiar bark.

"Ander?" Instantly, she was back outside. "Ander, come here boy!"

Ander charged from the darkness as if he had come through a curtain.

Hope got down on her knees to catch and embrace him. However, Ander stopped just short of her and barked urgently.

"Something's wrong," she muttered.

Ander turned and headed back the way he had come.

Hope stood back up, putting her hands on her hips. The dog turned back around and barked at her again. Then he wheeled about and disappeared back into the darkness.

"Father..." Hope sprinted after Ander, a crazy, agonizing fear squeezing her heart. "Father?"

Within minutes, she had left the light of the flaming hover car and re-entered the darkness of the early morning landscape. Even though dawn was quickly approaching, Hope knew that she would never have been able stay with the dog if it were not for Ander's whimpering and barking.

However, when she reached her destination, Hope almost wished she had lost her way.

"Father!" she cried, recognizing his crumpled shape on the ground next to Ander. The dog was nudging the man with his muzzle, attempting to wake him.

From the look of him, however, Hope knew her father would never get up again.

She turned her head away for a moment, unable to look. Her long black hair fell over her face, hiding the gruesome sight from her.

Ander continued to whine.

Hope lifted her head, her hair falling obediently back into place. She took a deep breath, strengthening and hardening herself to the situation, fighting back the pain... the emotions... the tears. She stepped closer. The sun was just beginning to peek over the countryside for what promised to be a perfectly beautiful autumn day. Hope took in the scent but now all she smelled was death.

She had made it to another day. Her father had not.

"I'm sorry, Father," she said under her breath. "I should have been here."

In the half-light, she could see her father's face, the lines in it making him seem older than she had known him to be. Protruding from his chest was a black pike with red pin striping.

She glanced around and saw that his rifle was a good twenty feet away. He had been unarmed and defenseless when the Enforcers had killed him.

When they had run him through from behind...

Anger welled up inside of her.

"They will not get this place, Father," Hope vowed. "I will never leave this land."

Her father did not respond.

Hope for Tomorrow Characters

Rembrandt Fairlight:
He's seventeen years old and already written symphonies, invented musical instruments and is the darling of the World Creative Alliance. What else is there left to do? Bored with his accomplishments, Remy sets off to find out, seeking those who knew his late father to help him discover who he is and who he is to become.

Hope Anstace:
Growing up on a vineyard didn't prepared Hope for defending the countryside from the mysterious raiders who attack her home and kill her father. But hunting night wolves did. Together with her loyal dog, Ander, and Cira, her stalwart steed, Hope vows to rid her homeland of the encroaching enemy, no matter who they are or what the cost.

Enforcer Recruit Maak Anaba:
Wherever she went as a child, Corps Brat Maak Anaba never really fit in. Tagging along after her father, an Enforcement Corps officer, didn't help matters. As a teen, she rejected the Corps and struck out on her own. But when things on the street turned out badly for eighteen-year-old Maak, she returned to the Corps, where she found familiarity, security and a sense of belonging... But that was before she fell head over heels for Rembrandt Fairlight.

World Creative Alliance President, Mancy Reed:
For eleven years, Mancy has been the president of the World Creative Alliance. Indeed, things have turned around significantly for creatives since she helped overturn General Starrk's reign eleven years earlier. Unfortunately, Mancy is about to find out the measure of sacrifice required to make such progress.

First Gentleman, Chance Reed:
What isa man of action to do when he's relegated to escorting the president to fancy dinners, opulent fundraisers and exquisite parties? Get plain bored, that's what! But Chance would have rather remained bored than to face the trials that are to come.

Nik Tavarone:
Bad blood between Nik and Chance in the past is not enough to keep the good-natured actor away when Remy goes missing.

General Fredrik Tannk:
Betraying his commanding officer placed a heavy burden on the conscience of then Major Fredrik Tannk. But that didn't stop him from accepting command of the Enforcement Corps after Starrk's fall and molding the institution into what he always thought it should be. Little did he know that his late friend's wayward son would be the harbinger of his toughest test.

Faith Tannk:
An unlikely pairing, perhaps. Still, she's the silent strength that General Tannk relies on, even when he has to keep Government secrets from her. So how come she always seems to know what is going on?

Lieutenent Shaw:
Shaw was delighted to receive the promotion to leiutenent when he accepted the position of Aide to General Tannk. However, he had no idea what he was getting himself into.

High General Kraatos:
Dissatisfied with the World Creative Alliance, this neo-Starrk fanatic leads a secret Enforcer splinter group intent on restoring the Government to it's "glory." And if he can rid the world of those who participated in the Government's downfall in the process, all the better.

Enforcer Captain Marc Fairlight:
Although he died valiently before Remy was born, it is the character of his father that Remy longs to know and emulate.



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In times of turmoil, not everyone can be a hero.

Not everyone gets a choice.

According to her Uncle Chaser, Faith Fairlight's life is just beginning. But life on the vineyard isn't as exciting as she'd like it to be. So when Chance offers her the job of a lifetime, Faith jumps at the opportunity. There was no way for her to know that she was opening the door to the greatest adventure she could ever imagine and to a love that would stand the test of time.

Featuring a cast of familiar characters, this third Fairlight novel brings the series full circle, filling in gaps and expanding Carhart's original "world without creativity" without sacrificing any of the adventure, surprises, romance and passion readers have come to expect.

Excerpt from Faith in the Past

"Princess, don't do it!" Chance cried as he charged toward her.

Young Faith Fairlight turned around and saw him coming.

"I've figured it out, Grandpa!" she called over the throbbing universe.

Chance didn't care. The only thing he was concerned about was stopping her from getting any closer to the six-foot tall stripe of brilliant white light. Every fiber of his being screamed out against the machine and he cursed himself for being so old and slow.

"Get away from it!"

"I have to show you. I was the right one..."

With that, Faith stepped into the light and winked out.

Chance skidded to a halt and stared into the tirelessly undulating ribbon of light. He could barely believe his eyes, blinking two or three times in denial.

She's gone...

A sob escaped his mouth.

Did it fry her? Or is it some sort of passageway... or portal? Damn it Princess, what in the hell were you thinking?

He impatiently danced from one foot to the other. What can I do? Maybe she'll come back through. What if she doesn't? What in the world am I going to tell Remy? My God, how can I live with myself if she doesn't come back through?

Come back, Princess! Oh Lord, let her come back! Please!

Another second or two passed.

Damn. She's not coming back. Guess I'm going to have to go after her. He took a deep breath. I thought my days of rescuing damsels was over...

He rushed for the brilliant light, hoping it wouldn't just disintegrate him and unceremoniously end his life.

Then, in an explosive array of sparks, the machine erupted into a fireball, blasting shards of metallic debris in every direction. It was all Chance could do to change direction and dive back behind the rubble-crowded hole that led back toward the computer room.

After the raining shrapnel subsided, Chance blinked the dust out of his eyes and climbed back through the hole. The machine was no more... only a smoking pile of slag remained in its place.

Kicking through the machine's destroyed pieces was the first lady herself, Faith Tannk.

Fury overtook Chance. What had she engineered here?

Without saying a word, he leapt through the hole and fell upon her, wrapping his huge hands around her neck.

"Damn you all to hell! You killed my granddaughter!"

Faith in the Past Characters

Faith Fairlight:
Despite her creative heritage as Rembrandt Fairlight's daughter and the fact that she was named after the First Lady, Faith doesn't consider herself creative at all and longs instead for romance and adventure.

First Lady, Faith Tannk:
She's always known a little bit more than she's let on and now her true motives are revealed.

Chance Reed:
Chance isn't the kind of guy who lets anything get in his way, even if it's his own age.

Mancy Fairlight-Reed:
Despite being married at one time or another to two of the resistance's greatest heroes, Mancy has a destiny of her own to fulfill.

Nik Tavarone:
Always armed with a quick wit and a sideways grin, in times of turmoil, Nik Tavarone is just the guy to have along for the ride.

Marc Fairlight:
Executed for betraying the Enforcement Corps, what secret did Marc Fairlight take with him to the other side?

World Creative Alliance President, Fredrik Tannk:
He's known to Faith Fairlight's generation as a fair and righteous President. But what did Fredrik Tannk have to endure to attain such position? And at what cost?

General Starrk:
Decades after the General's death, what secret remained hidden beneath his seat of command? And how can it endanger everything Faith Fairlight has ever known and everyone she has ever loved?

Kraatos:
He's ruthless and merciless and he's had it out for anyone named Fairlight or Tannk for as long as he can remember.

Rembrandt Fairlight:
Early retirement on the vineyard suited him just fine but his oldest daughter had other plans.

Hope Fairlight:
Bringing up a brood of Fairlight children hasn't made Hope forget that it's a dangerous world beyond the vineyard.

Harmony Fairlight:
Faith's younger sister has a beautiful voice and is destined for adventures of her own.

Fisher Fairlight:
He's the youngest of the Fairlight family and none too happy with his name.

Ambrose:
One of Ander's offspring, Ambrose is just as loyal if not a little more tolerant than his ancestor.

Chaser Reed:
He's all grown up and an Enforcer Lieutenant who's just been assigned to the Space Program. So why's he still single at twenty-nine years old?

Zaak Anaba:
Loyalty is sometimes not deserved and always comes at a price.

Franklin:
Through all of the Fairlight's adventures, Franklin seems to be the only one outside of the family who always makes it back home alive.

Jaric Fairlight:
Faith Fairlight is surprised to discover a new branch in the Fairlight family tree.

 

 

   
 


Fairlight Series Q&A with
Author, Paul M. Carhart

What is Chance for the Future about?

On the surface, it's about a single mom who has to come to grips with her past and her fears while putting her son above her own safety. But, really it's about freedom and the right to express yourself and the need to do so. A world without creativity, although boring as heck, isn't the worst thing in the world. The fact that there are people who NEED to create and prohibited from doing so... that is the travesty that is taking place when the story opens.

Why did you choose to write about a female lead?

There were a lot of possibilities with a female lead. I could make her vulnerable, yet strong in certain ways, especially regarding the protection of her son... like a lioness. The whole protective mother thing appealed to me and the dynamic of that verses the confident guy who wants to get closer also gave me what I wanted to propel the story forward. When I set all of that against a guerilla-like civil war, there were infinite opportunities for conflict, which is what fuels character-driven drama.

Although I do get feedback from women, I seem to be pretty good about nailing down the female point of view on my own. I like female leads. As a writer, its nice to get out of my own shell. I think women are far stronger than they are given credit for on TV and in the movies and I think that strength of character shines through in Mancy Fairlight.

Also, I wanted to appeal to a broad audience. Most science fiction seems to appeal only to guys. Strong female leads can be found in the Terminator or Aliens films, but the lead isn't exactly feminine in those cases. I wanted to show a woman who is real... someone who is almost paradoxical in her strengths and weaknesses. I wanted a real woman who is also feminine. This story also says something important about the creative spirit so I didn't want to limit my readers to the regular science fiction audience, although I think they will enjoy it. The message is really for everyone. Giving the story a female lead opened that up for me. Mancy is someone that women can identify with but the action and adventure aspects are the kind of stuff I like to see in movies and read about. I think the whole thing works because the girls seem to like the story as much as the guys do.

The fact is that all my stories are character driven. They could pretty much take place in any setting. The relationships between the characters and the needs and desires of the leads are what moves the whole thing forward. The fact is that I have always liked science fiction and in a world created by the author, you retain a lot of freedom. This story would have worked fine in the Civil War or even during Roman times. But putting Mancy and Chance in a world without creativity ups the ante. It gives the whole thing a twist that the reader might not be expecting.

Although it will sit firmly on the sci-fi shelf at the bookstore, Chance for the Future really doesn't belong squarely in any genre, infusing elements of sci-fi, speculative, action/adventure and romance into its fiber. My hope is that the series will break out of the genre.

How far in the future is Chance for the Future set?

In Chance for the Future, I wanted to maintain a feeling of timelessness so I kept the year... even the planet it takes place on vague. However, based on my backstory, the book takes place somewhere around two hundred years in the future. The idea is that the world got a lot worse and then got a little bit better... if you want to call the military state they are in when the story opens better. So, in the cases of laser guns and hover cars, the technology moved forward and in other ways it stagnated and appears more like what we have currently. Most of this overall backstory probably won't reveal itself until the fourth or fifth book in the series.

Can we find out more about the characters in Chance for the Future?

As I stated previously, Chance for the Future is the first book in a series. I'm not sure I would call the other books sequels because each one stands on its own, like a Lethal Weapon or Indiana Jones movie. There are currently three more books in various stages of being written and I have the rough outlines for a total of eight or nine that follow the Fairlight family from generation to generation.

I like these characters and this family because I can write about things that I care about... music, art, literature... and couch it all in fast paced action and adventure that takes place in a world that I can unfold as I see fit. It's a very liberating experience and, although I certainly have no shortage of other story ideas, I plan to keep writing about the Fairlight family.

In addition to the novels, I have completed three short stories featuring some of these characters and others are in the works. Once I've written enough of them, the plan is to publish a short story anthology as a companion to the series of novels. Not only will these stories be meaningful, adventurous and fun but they will also fill in some gaps in the lives of your favorite characters from the novels.

Any chance we'll see Chance and Mancy on the big screen?

I'd love it. So many of my readers have told me that Chance for the Future feels like a movie. I've also been told that my short stories feel like a television series and some readers have even shared casting speculation with me. I take all of this as the highest of compliments. With a background in graphics and illustration, I write "cinematically," or visually, so it seems like a natural extension for the story to take. I am pursuing Hollywood representation for my literary properties. So who knows?

How do you accomplish your research?

Well, I start by writing about things I know. Being a musician, artist and writer covers many of the bases for my creatively centered novels like Chance for the Future and the others in the Fairlight series.

For the most part, my research falls under the category of locale or setting. For the second novel, which takes place on a vineyard and olive orchard estate, I vacationed on a working vineyard in Tuscany, Italy. The third story required some scientific research as well as covert ops research, which I studied the old fashioned way... by reading about it. A future book will involve an archeological dig. I traveled to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Cyprus in October of 2000 to help me set the stage. For military accuracy, where required in any of my books, I consult my good friend and oftentimes collaborator, Chris Weil, who is an ex-marine. The Internet also offers a world of information in researching just about any given subject.

How long after Chance for the Future does Hope for Tomorrow take place?

Eleven years. In Chance for the Future, Rembrandt Fairlight was a six year old kid. In Hope for Tomorrow, Remy has his seventeenth birthday.

Who is the main character in Hope for Tomorrow?

Unlike the last book, which pretty much focussed on Mancy and Chance, Hope for Tomorrow revolves around three characters: Rembrandt Fairlight is the lead. You may remember from the first book; Hope Anstace is a young woman who faces tragedy and must discover her own way out of grief; and there's also Maak Anaba, a tough young Enforcer girl who has her own set of troubles.

Do any other characters from Chance for the Future make appearances in this book?

They do. As previously mentioned, Remy is the central character this time around. Chance and Mancy are back. Tannk is back, and I think readers will be surprised to discover that he's married. Faith, a mysterious character I introduced in CFTF is also back and there's a cameo by Franklin. Oh, and Nik Tavarone plays a pivitol role in the plot of the story.

Enlighten us on some of the new characters in Hope for Tomorrow.

Well, the first one to come to mind is the leading lady, Hope Anstace. She's just loses her father to a band of mysterious raiders in the first chapter and she's charged herself with maintaining the land that her family has possessed for generations. She travels down a dark path from despair to a very hardened place. She's prejudiced and doesn't really care about anyone else's opinion.

Then there's Maak (pronounced Mac) Anaba. She's a Corps Brat. Her dad was an Enforcer officer and she hopes to follow suit. She's got sort of a mysterious, abusive past. She is smitten with Remy, even before she meets him, because she has always loved his music. She certainly has a different agenda than any of the other leads... well all three of them have different agendas, which makes for some great conflict.

We meet the product of Chance and Mancy's union, Chaser Reed, for the first time in HFT as well. He's ten here and sort of a miniature Chance, except that he's inherited Mancy's fear of heights, which will be dealt with in a future book.

Leiutenent Shaw is Tannk's private aide. He's not exceptionally good at any one thing, but he does a lot of things moderately well and is loyal to Tannk. He's eager and jumped at the chance to learn from the legendary veteran officer.

Then there's High General Kraatos, a title that this twisted ex-Enforcer invented for his own mercenary group, the True Enforcers. Kraatos is very different than Starrk (CFTF's villain). He was actually a lot of fun to write because he's just so unstable, which is pretty much his only advantage in a fight. He does things that no one would expect him to do because his decisions are absolutely insane. He's ruled by his temper, so it's tough to predict where he'll be psychologically from chapter to chapter.

What kinds of changes can we expect to see in the world that Remy lives in?

Well, the city isn't as dark a place as it was in Chance for the Future. Paintings and frescoes adorn the buildings along the streets. The world has really experienced a sort of renaissance over the past eleven years and Remy was at the forefront. Technology has improved a little in the sense of newer hover transports and repeating laser rifles but for the most part, it's the same city. We just see some different parts of it than we saw in CFTF. Really, the main difference this time around is that nobody's out there jumping off of rooftops. There aren't any firefights in the streets so you see the capitol city from a different vantage point. Most of the action takes place out in the country so the story for HFT unfolds on a larger canvas than CFTF.

In what ways are HFT different from CFTF?

Primairly in setting and the fact that the leads are a bit younger than the leads were in CFTF. Mancy was in her mid-twenties in the last book, and she was very much a mother -- more concerned with her child than herself. The leads in this book are seventeen and eighteen. They're a little more impetuous, and in some ways, selfish. But it's all balanced out by the older, wiser holdovers from the last book. I don't consider it a "young adult" book. The setting is a lot different thatn CFTF though. The beginning of the book starts out in familiar territory but then it moves to a vineyard in the country. Also, the villain is a lot more explosive than Starrk was. He's sort of the opposite in a lot of ways. Starrk was very cool and calm. Kraatos is bordering on insane.

What is the overall theme of Hope for Tomorrow?

Would you believe, "Love conquors all?" I know it sounds corny, but as I was writing it, that seemed to be the theme that screamed out at me the most. Hope for Tomorrow, in many ways, is a lot more about relationships than Chance for the Future is. There's a few other threads too. Responsibility, sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness... and that you can't really run from who you are.

What is it that you would like your readers to take from HFT?

Well, I hope anyone who reads it thinks it's a good read... That it's adventurous and enjoyable and that they come to care deeply for the characters. Both of the leads spend the first half of the book making mistakes. Everyone does, really. It's my prayer that readers will realize that, no matter how many mistakes one makes along his or her life path, it's never too late to turn it around and go the other way.

How many books are there in the Fairlight series?

Currently, there are three. In order, they are Chance for the Future, Hope for Tomorrow and Faith in the Past. There are also currently three short stories in that world: Taking Chances features Chance and is available as a Limited Edition story booklet. Riot Act features Nik Tavarone and debuted as an exclusive to Sci-Fi anthology called Prisoners of Time. Saint Nik also features Nik Tavarone. All three are now available in the short stories section of this site.

Is Faith in the Past a sequel to the other books or is it a prequel?

Yes.

Who's the main character in Faith in the Past?

The story centers on the character of Faith, who is someone we first met briefly in CFTF. She was always sort of an enigma. In HFT, we discovered that she had married Fredrik Tannk and had previously known Marc Fairlight. But we never really knew her role. FITP is Faith and Tannk's love story. It will fill in a lot of gaps and expand the world first seen in CFTF in a unique and entertaining way.

Are there other characters from the first two books in FITP?

Yes. Chance and Mancy are there. Chaser, Marc, Franklin, Remy, Hope... even Nik. With the exception of Maak, just about everyone from the first two books make an appearance.

Readers will likely be happy to see Chance return once again. Still, you've never really touched on his backstory. What led him to the resistance? Why is it so important to him? What is his motivation?

Sorta in the vein of James Bond or Han Solo (or Darth Vader for that matter... at least from the standpoint of the original Star Wars trilogy), I opted to cut Chance's backstory from the original draft of Chance for the Future. Afterall, that was really Mancy's story and wasn't crucial to the tale I was trying to tell. Now, two books later, Chance's backstory is still a mystery to my readership. So, for the first time ever, I will now present the Chance's official backstory that was created when I was plotting CFTF.

Chance has a love of art and a love of beauty. He got the scar on his forehead when he was watching a particularly beautiful sunset and forgot he was sitting in a tree and subsequently fell. Both his parents loved art and had a substantial collection. After The Great Catastrophe, when the Government began with their "reforms," they started out by outlawing artists... basically saying "you deadbeats need to get a real job and help re-build our world." That didn't stop artists. New art would still "appear." So the Government took it a step further, outlawing the posession of artwork, music, etc. to better crack down on the artists. They decided if they could destroy the market for art, the artists would have to do something else (i.e. get a real job) rather than create their art. This is where Chance was caught in the middle. His family was directly affected by the seizure of "contraband" and would have been charged with what was deemed "creative piracy" had they not managed to destroy or hide their collection (one of the reasons their estate is in the country). Much of their money had been put in art and to have that stripped away limited their family fortune. Although they managed to hide most of it, they could never sell it and get any of their money back out of it. Thankfully, they were also in the computer hardware business, so they were able to recover. But Chance had grown up with art and music (thus the dancing to fake music scene in CFTF) and, as he watched the world around him grow cold and sterile, he vowed to do something to bring it back. So he joined the resistance. It's not only made up of artists, but also of people who believe in the need for humanity to have the freedom of expression.

Chance was not, however, the leader of the resistance when he started. He joined others and raised up through the ranks much as Faith has to do in FITP. The main difference was that, since Chance came from money and his family had contracts with the Government for computer hardware, Chance had unique opportunities to help the cause in ways that others could not. He eventually became the leader of the resistance, but not without some work and adventures of his own. In fact, when we first meet Chance in FITP, he is probably very new to his position as leader and there is even reference to other cells, which he is only loosely the leader of.

This is all backstory that was actually figured out well before I wrote "Chapter One" of CFTF. However, little of it was necessary to tell that story so it remained backstory. CFTF is really Mancy's tale of how a damaged woman who has lost everything manages to get back on her feet and regain her identity and dignity. Because that was my theme of the whole story, that's why she wound up as President (even though my initial outline had that honor going to Chance). It was Mancy's story, so her backstory was explored more.

Also, Chance's parents are dead. I haven't yet decided the exact method of their demise, but it will most certainly have to do with the Government in some way... and possibly even with Starrk directly.

I actually have a ton of Chance short stories that I still want to write that will shed further light on his backstory.

So basically, Chance's motivation is to see beauty restored to his sterile world. He also felt he had to choose sides... and he couldn't very well become an Enforcer, especially if the Government had something to do with the death of his parents. I guess the short answer would be: He wants to do what's right, which is the mantra of any great hero, flawed or not.

Who is the villain in FITP?

Both Starrk and Kraatos are present in FITP and they're both a menace.

What else is in store for the Fairlight family?

The next book, Faith Restored, will take place immediately after CFTF and will detail the final battles between the resistance and the Government. It will also further explore the Faith/Tannk and Chance/Mancy relationships. After that, we'll follow Chaser to the moon in Chaser of the Stars where we'll pick up Maak's story as well. I also expect to write a few more short stories between now and the time these books see print.

What will your current readers like about FITP?

Probably the fact that, for the most part, I've taken the story back to the era first seen in CFTF, where there's a world without creativity. We get to see more of that.

 


   
 
  © Paul M. Carhart, all rights reserved, all media.