Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interview with T.M. Hunter

Tami: The next contestant on the Champagne Books Blog is Todd Hunter, no, T.M. Hunter, no was it Todd Hunter? Well whomever you are come on doooowwwwnnnn...............

Todd: Me??? Really??? (and I go by T. M. Hunter for my writing, but as long as you're not calling me late for dinner, it's all good)

I can't believe I was chosen. I never get picked for anything, not even kickball in grade school. Have you ever seen a middle-ager play kickball with grade schoolers? It's not pretty, especially when they bawl a lot after I slam one over the fence. It would probably go a lot better if I didn't do a victory dance and talk smack while I run the bases.

Tami: Well smack talk isn't necessary you know, and you could have helped that poor kid over the fence you know. But really it's, great to have you here man! Welcome! So, how have things been for you lately?

Todd: Things have been good. Busy, but good. I've been hard at work on several concurrent writing projects. Two magazines have just picked up a pair of my Aston West short stories (no date yet on when they'll be available), and another pair of stories are already in the pipeline with magazines and should be publicly available soon. My second Aston West novel is through the first round of publisher edits on its way to a January 2010 release, and a third is in works, along with a non-Aston novel (currently in self-edits) and the constant stream of several other stories.

And while I'm juggling all of that (plus the day job), I'm still getting the word out there on my first novel, HEROES DIE YOUNG. It's a busy time, as I mentioned, but it's always exciting. If it wasn't fun, I'd spend all of my free time working on my bass guitar technique instead. :-)

Tami: Bass? Would ya mind playing some Eagles for me man? **sits back and sips some sweet tea and breathes in the incense that's burning** Well back to reality, or at least work, I heard that something really cool happened for you in April! Want to give us the skinny on it? (

Todd: April was a blast! It seemed like every time I turned around, I was getting great news. This particular tidbit you're referring to was HEROES DIE YOUNG picking up the Best-Selling Book of 2008 Award from Champagne Books. It was a huge achievement, and I only have the fans to thank for their tremendous support. Obviously, it can't get there without fun and exciting writing, and I have the main hand in that. And of course, there's the fabulous cover art and other support from Champagne, but in the end, the fans are the ones who make these types of dreams come true. They're the ones who buy my books, so any best-selling award is obviously going to be their doing.

Unfortunately, I can't rest on my laurels. There are tons of great books coming out from Champagne Books every month (including my second Aston West novel in January 2010), and it's going to take a lot to keep our fans happy. I'm up to the challenge, and hope every one of them continues to enjoy my stories and novels. I know there are a lot of folks out there who tell me "...but I never liked sci-fi." I recently had a review ( that said the same thing, then realized how wrong she was (and she isn't alone, trust me). I have a feeling the more people who try out HEROES DIE YOUNG, the more who'll discover there are entire worlds out there they've been missing out on.

That's why I always offer up free samples, whether it be an excerpt from the novel, or links to where my short stories are published and available to read for free. Free is always good, and I'm glad to offer up what I can to the masses.

Tami: Mmmmmm, free. OK, I've waited as long as I could, can you please tell me about Heroes Die Young. You have got to give me the skinny on Ashton, oops I mean Aston a hero, intentional or not.

Todd: Aston (who really doesn't like it when people confuse him with Ashton Kucher, by the way :-D ) West is a stubborn guy and doesn't like his inner hero to come out until it really has to. In one of my in-work stories, a young psychic actually gets down below the surface into the nitty-gritty details of Aston's life, and without giving away too much from that story, I'll paraphrase her comments to Aston below:


You have all the classic traits of someone with a criminal past, and a
criminal mind to carry out devious plans. But unlike most of the
others, you have something far deeper. You have a conscience, which is
a rarity in your profession.


And that, in a nutshell, is Aston. He's a space pirate-come-cargo
hauler-come-hero who has this deeply-ingrained sense of right and
wrong that only comes out to play in the most dire of circumstances.
Does he always do the right and moral thing? Does he always do what's
expected of him? No, but that's what makes him so lovable to all of
his adoring fans. He's a personification that everyone can relate to,
and that's exactly what my readers have done.

And of course, we have HEROES DIE YOUNG, where Aston is drawn into the
intrigue surrounding a derelict freighter and its beautiful,
mysterious Captain. From the moment he meets her, Aston is trying to
get away, and just can't seem to do so. Every time he turns around,
more questions arise about what's he gotten himself into. In the end,
he has to make a decision on whether he's going to tuck tail and run
or get in there and do the right thing.

Tami: **Man, this guy just doesn't catch a hint!** Sounds great, what else have you got up your sleeves for us? **Elbows TM and coughsexcerptcough!!**

Todd: Sexcerpt? Odd, I don't recall signing a contract with (Champagne's sister company) Carnal Passions, but there are some gaps in the old memory logs that Aston doesn't seem to want to explain to me. Hmmm...

Oh, you want another excerpt?

Readers of the Champagne Books blog should have seen the excerpt from the first chapter of HEROES DIE YOUNG posted just the other day. <<Check it out here!>>

But for those who just can't get enough Aston West, here's another tidbit for them to chew on:


I needed to get out of this mess. The trick was going to be in doing so without getting myself caught. Not that you could get in much more trouble than a death sentence, of course. I could have spared my life by giving up the cargo, but this was a matter of principle now.

I turned to the guard. “You’re going to sit there and watch my every move, aren’t you?”

His face told me what his voice didn’t.

“Well, would you at least get me something to eat? I’m starving.”

He folded his arms across his chest.

“Come on. Surely you feed your prisoners.”

“I’ll be right back,” he mumbled.

As he stepped out of the room, I held up my arm and whispered into my transmitter. “Jeanie, can you hear me?”

“Aston, are you okay?”

“I’ve been better.”

“According to the station’s records, you’ve been incarcerated on weapons charges.”

Jeanie had a tendency to be a bit nosy. I heaved a sigh. “Yes. Our guest informed them of our cargo.”

“There had to be some explanation. I know they haven’t defeated my efforts at concealing our cargo.”

“I’m in a bit of a hurry here, Jeanie.”

“I apologize.”

“I’m in a holding cell.”

“The station contains only one security area. What cell number are you in?”

I shifted myself on the cot to get a better look at the nameplates on the other doorways. “Looks like number three. Drop the energy field and keep it secret if you can.”

“It doesn’t appear they have very tight safeguards in place. It should only take a moment.”

I jumped to my feet. “I’ll be there in a little bit. Prepare us for a departure whether the station lets us or not.”


I walked up to the field and tried to get a better look past the doorway. Just then, the energy beams flickered and died off.

I smiled. “Thanks, Jeanie. See you soon.”

I grabbed my case of Vladirian liquor, scurried over to the doorway, and eased my head out to look. Two guards sat at their desks with their backs to me, typing out information into terminals. The guard who’d kept watch over me was nowhere to be seen, which suited me fine. I tiptoed into the booking area, walked around the small counter, then bent down below the countertop, just in case one of the two guards happened to turn around.


I looked up and saw my guard with a tray of food as he entered through the front door.

“Prisoner escaped!” He yelled to the others.

I rushed the guard and nailed his midsection with my shoulder. The tray slammed into his chest as he fell to the floor. I jumped over him and ran out.

As I rushed into the commons area, I had to stop and get my bearings. A few curious onlookers gave me odd glances, while others gave me a wide berth. I found the corridor I needed and sprinted for it. Voices called out behind me, but I paid them no heed as I rushed for my ship.

I raised my arm as I neared the second docking ring. “Jeanie, are you ready?”


A guard I didn’t recognize stepped out from around the corner with his weapon drawn. I didn’t have time to react as a green blast struck me square in the chest. I stumbled and fell to the floor, then slid to a stop against his feet. The case hit the floor beside me and thankfully stayed intact.

“Aston West, you’re under arrest for attempted escape.”

Getting shot was always a strange experience. My chest felt like it was going to explode from the inside as I lost feeling in my extremities. His weapon was set on a much higher setting than mine normally was.

My world slowly faded to black.

Tami: Oh no, Aston......does he need some help? What are we going to do? What happens next? OMG! **breathe in, breathe out, read book** OK, back to the interview!

Todd: Now, where was I? Oh, yes...more stuff coming up, I have the second Aston West novel, FRIENDS IN DEED, coming out in January 2010. I'm really excited about this one, but scared at the same time, because this book goes a much darker direction than HEROES DIE YOUNG ever thought about going. In essence, Aston has been betrayed by former friends of his, so he must face his past, and keep himself alive long enough to escape. He's forced to do things that go against his sense of right and wrong, and that doesn't go over too well.

HEROES DIE YOUNG is not going quietly into that dark night, either.
I've been told that work is nearing completion on the audiobook
version of this novel. This is going to be a trial effort for
Champagne Books, and I'm honored they selected my book as one of the
five making the cut. Ultimately, it's going to be up to the fans out
there (once again) whether other books end up going the same path.
That's a lot of pressure on the five of us, but I for one am up to the
challenge, and plan to do all I can to make it a success. Either way,
it's going to be exciting to hear my words brought to life, and I'm
sure I'll feel like a little kid on Christmas when I hear it for the
first time.

As I mentioned earlier, the third Aston West novel is in work, along
with edits on yet another novel (which is technically still in Aston's
universe, even if he doesn't make an appearance).

Stories are still my biggest love, for the simple reason that they're
short and sweet, which is always a plus for the writer and the reader
both. I have an atrocious attention span, which is great for keeping
track of so many projects, but horrible for finishing them. My stories
are normally short enough that I can get them finished before my
attention shifts too far off kilter.

Tami: OK Todd, what if I can't get enough of you and/or Aston, and I want to keep in touch? And what if I want to follow you around and get a signed copy of your book? Tell me what I would I would need to do!

Todd: There are a few ways to follow my exploits or get in touch with me. My website,, is still the best source of current information on where I'm going to be and what's going on in my writing life. However, as I mentioned, I'm easily followed (unless your profile is advocating the handing out of personal favors, which is heavily enticing, but may get you lumped in with the spammers) on Twitter (astonwest), MySpace and Facebook (Aston West). I've often conducted giveaways on these pages, and tend to do so still from time to time. It drives my publisher nuts with the number of books I give away, but the fans certainly seem to enjoy it (and apparently, they react positively, if that Best-Selling Award is any indicator). I'm a sucker for happy fans.

I also have an e-mail account where you can ask questions and give me comments you'd rather keep private (similar comment about the handing out of personal favors), or a PO Box if you'd rather send things the old-fashioned way. Both of these can be found through the Contact page on

Aston has been a bit bummed that more people don't feel the need to send him swimsuit photos of themselves, but that's Aston for you.

Tami: I've been told my swimsuit photos were actually confused with beached whales from satellite and I've been told not to wear them anymore. So tell Aston that I am sorry, but according to the US Government I am prohibited from doing so. It's been great having you here Todd! I can't wait to see more from you in the future. Everyone make sure to come back next week when we get to bug.....I mean interview Kimber Chin!

Todd: Too bad about the US Government. If you ever want to run off to another planet with less prudish rules and regulations, Aston can think of quite a few he's been to. Just don't complain about the local cuisine...they tend to get a little trigger-happy about that sort of thing (don't ask him how he knows).

Thanks for having me! It's been a blast!


  1. Great book! Great Excerpt! Great interview! You have such a wonderful sense of humor, and you and Tami played off each other so nicely. As for Aston West... Angelica thinks he is real. Swears by it. Guess that is because of the genius behind the characterization.

  2. Aston is real...shhhhh! Don't tell anyone. :-)