I am so excited to bring you another Author Spotlight! My first since I returned from UtopYA in Nashville!
I’ve decided that I want to feature many more authors, indie to debut to everyone in between, because when I like someone and/or something that some does, then I want to share it with the world.
So, with that being said, allow me to introduce you to today’s guest — E.J. Fisch!
E.J. is the author of the awesome Sci-Fi/Fantasy Ziva Payvan series! While I’ve only read the first book, I can tell that this series is quite the treat. It’s unlike anything that I’ve ever read and I really cannot wait to read the other books. BUT I also couldn’t wait to bring you this fabulous lady and her series, so check out E.J.’s interview below!
A Virtual Sit Down with E.J. Fisch
1.What was the inspiration behind Dakiti?
Wow. It has been so long since I wrote it (I actually finished it in the fall of 2010) that I honestly don’t remember a lot of about the inspiration and planning process. I had already been playing with all the characters for a few years and Dakiti was just kind of the continuation of their story. When I began writing it, I had no idea how it would end! I really went through a phase of “just winging it” in my writing, and the thought of doing that now completely terrifies me! Without giving anything away to those who haven’t read the book, it seems to me like a lot of the things going on at Dakiti were inspired by a combination of the movie The Island and one of my favorite books, Monster by Frank Peretti. I was also watching a lot of 24 at the time, so naturally a mole within the agency was a requirement! 😉 For the most part, the characters themselves had been around for a long time already, and the book started out as a mere continuation of their story. This was Aroska’s first major role; he was actually never meant to appear in anything afterwards, but by the time I finished the story, I liked him so much I decided to keep him around. That was back before I had really nailed down his history with Ziva, and obviously that’s a huge part of the storyline now.
2. How did you come up with the concept of Ziva’s character? She’s one of the most badass female protagonists that I’ve come across.
Believe it or not, when I first created her, Ziva was only meant to be a minor character who appeared in a few scenes of a story some friends and I were collaborating on in junior high. This was right around the time Ziva David’s character was introduced on NCIS. I really liked her, so for the purposes of that old story, I took NCIS Ziva and mixed her with a little Jack Bauer, and my Ziva was the result (and yes, that’s where I got the name as well). She was just kind of a cookie cutter character because I had no intention of ever using her for anything else. Eventually though, I recognized the full potential of this new Ziva Payvan character and started writing stories where she was the star. I also began to realize that there needed to be a little more rhyme and reason behind the things she did. She couldn’t just be badass for the sake of being badass – she needed to be an actual person. Over time, I’ve been slowly renovating her character, and I’ve only felt like I’ve really had her nailed down for the past couple of years. She’s still this tough, strong female character, but I feel like she’s become much more relatable. Or, if not relatable, at least understandable. She’s a very broken character with a million things wrong with her, but she’s my baby 🙂
3. How did you find yourself interested in the genre of Science Fiction?
It all began the summer between 4th and 5th grade when I was introduced to Star Wars. I actually just wrote a blog post reminiscing about this, because Star Wars is what got me writing in the first place. Most of my early writing (including the story in which Ziva first appeared) was actually SW fanfiction. I’ve always been fascinated by space, and the idea of being able to expand my imagination to other worlds where you’re not necessarily bound by “Earth rules” was irresistible. Over the years, Star Wars has of course inspired me to try other sci fi in the space opera genre, such as Battlestar Galactica, Firefly/Serenity, and Mass Effect. Since I began publishing, I’ve been trying to start reading more sci fi as well, including other sub-genres besides space opera. I find it really interesting to see other authors’ interpretations of the future or alternate universes; everyone has slightly different ideas about what the technology and culture will be like, and it’s especially fun to create entirely new worlds like what I’ve done in my own stories.
4. Tell us about your writing background. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
NEVER in my life did I imagine I’d ever publish. Writing is always something I’ve enjoyed doing, but that was it. I wrote purely for fun. It was kind of a private thing I could apply creative energy to, and I was very picky about letting people read my stuff. Most people knew I wrote, but nobody ever really pestered me with the old “Oh, can I read it? Can you make me a character in your next book?” That was kind of a blessing. But then one day last March, I was just sitting there and realized I’d written Dakiti, its sequel Nexus, and had already made lots of progress outlining Ronan, the third installment in the series. I’d thrown years of character development, planning, and countless hours of actual writing (I used to be hell-bent on hand-writing my novels!) into these projects, and I really had nothing to show for it. I decided then and there that I wanted to share my characters and their stories with everyone. I was confident in my writing abilities but I’ve always hated calling attention to myself, so putting it out there where everyone could see it was definitely a drastic change. It may sound clichéd, but it kind of felt like I was throwing myself into the deep end of the pool and hoping I’d learn to swim. It was (and still is) kind of terrifying, putting myself out there at the mercy of literally the entire world like that. But I’ve had a lot of fun with the publishing process and I’ve met some really awesome people and I don’t regret it for one second. And for the record, I do know how to swim 😉
5. If you could cast ANYONE to play your characters from Dakiti in a film or TV show, who would play Ziva? Aroska? Any of the other characters?
Ah yes, what author doesn’t waste hours upon hours fan-casting their characters when they should be writing? I’m certainly guilty of that, although I’m not sure if I’ve ever found anyone I’m 100% happy with. I look more at faces than height, build, or age (and since most of my characters are superhuman, it’s pretty much impossible to find anyone with the right build anyway!). Tricia Helfer has the perfect facial structure for Ziva; her features are kind of sharp and severe, so she often has a really intense look. I’ve had so much trouble trying to nail down Aroska’s appearance over the years; British model Adam Cowie is currently the top candidate, though his features are a little too sharp and severe. I’m much more confident in my choice of Ryan Reynolds for Skeet! I actually recently discovered a site called The Imagine Film List where people can propose actors for the theoretical film adaptations of popular books. Several authors I know use it for fun to fan-cast their own characters, so naturally I had to go try it out. I got carried away and made a cast list for the entire Ziva Payvan trilogy!
6. What are some of your favorite summertime reads? Or summertime genres?
Whatever’s on my TBR list! I have so many books piled up right now – I keep buying more before I’ve read the ones I already own, and it’s always hard to find time to read when you’re trying to write your own books. Last summer I began slogging my way through the monstrosity that is A Song of Ice and Fire, even though I’m already all caught up with Game of Thrones on TV. I’m hoping to maybe jump back into that, as well as check out some sequels to some other indie-published books I’ve enjoyed. I’ve got a little beta reading to do, and I should have plenty of my own editing to do…
7. What can we expect to see from you this year?
…because Ronan: Ziva Payvan Book 3 is slated for an early-to-mid-September release! I had hoped to finish sooner, but alas, life sometimes gets in the way. I’m incredibly excited to share this conclusion to the trilogy with everyone. The story has gone places I hadn’t anticipated when I first started writing it, and it has been so much fun to work on. Due to the popularity of one of Nexus’s characters among readers, I’m also considering a short story or even novella/novelette where she’s the main character. I’ve also got some ideas brewing for another sci fi novel set on a near-future Earth, but that’s probably a long way off. Regardless, I’m getting so close to completing Ronan’s first draft, and I can’t wait for others to have the opportunity to read it!
E.J. Fisch’s Books
The distant world of Haphez is located on the edge of populated space. The planet’s native superhuman race is feared and respected by neighboring civilizations. Their military and police forces are unmatched.
Lieutenant Aroska Tarbic is an agent with the revered Haphezian Special Police. He’s lost a lot in a short period of time; the other members of his squad were killed in a tragic accident, and his younger brother was wrongfully convicted and executed for a crime he didn’t commit. Just when Aroska thinks he’s starting to piece his life back together, he’s assigned to a joint task force with a special operations team. It seems like a unique opportunity, at least until he learns that his new commander is none other than Ziva Payvan, HSP’s finest operative… and the assassin who killed his brother.
Ziva is good at her job, a business that requires her to ignore her feelings and carry out her missions without question. She’s confident in her own abilities to complete the assignment, but Aroska is a wildcard. When their team stumbles across a young human during a routine investigation, they soon realize that the situation isn’t what it seems. The boy has unwittingly uncovered an age-old plot, one that could put the entire Haphezian race in jeopardy.
Now the lines between friend and foe have become blurred, and no one can be trusted. United by the imminent threat, Ziva and Aroska must set their differences aside in order to save their people… and maybe even each other.
All roads lead to… DAKITI!
It has been two months since the mission to Dakiti that brought Ziva Payvan and her special operations team face-to-face with death. But like any other mission, she has put it behind her and keeps her focus directed toward whatever comes next. Life for HSP’s Alpha spec ops team has essentially returned to normal.
But then a Haphezian dignitary is found murdered in his private residence, and Ziva is shocked to find herself at the center of the investigation. The mark of a professional killer. The irrefutable evidence. Even the motive. All of it seems to point directly to her. There’s just one problem: she didn’t do it.
Hunted by a ruthless HSP captain, Ziva must go on the run from the very people who taught her everything she knows. The agency that once had her back is now her biggest threat; those she considered allies have turned against her or have their hands tied. As a skilled assassin who has been trained to be invisible, evading her pursuers seems like an easy task, but her own skills can only take her so far. Desperate to clear her name and find the real killer, Ziva turns to an old acquaintance, a man who saved her life once… and the last person she ever expected to ask for help.
Nearly three months have passed since the assassination of Ikaro Tachi, but for some, the incident has had a lasting effect. Years of trust and reliance have been compromised. Betrayal and secrets have created wounds that may never fully heal.
Ziva Payvan is no stranger to the concept of keeping — and uncovering — secrets. But when she swore to fulfill the final wishes of a dying friend, she never expected that task to include exposing one of the biggest and longest-kept secrets in the galaxy.
A new threat has been looming on the horizon, one nobody ever saw coming. Strategic attacks by the mysterious entity known as Ronan are leaving the Haphezian military stunned and crippled, and a member of Ziva’s own squad has been captured. The rest of the team must join forces with old allies and enemies alike in order to reveal the endgame of this new adversary. But the closer Ziva gets to uncovering Ronan’s intentions, the closer she comes to jeopardizing a secret of her own, one she has killedto keep. Her choice becomes simple: protect herself as she has always done, or make a personal sacrifice to protect everything she holds dear.
Coming in September 2015!
Are those covers beautiful? Seriously some of the best I’ve ever seen!!!
A HUGE thank you to E.J. Fisch for allowing me to question her like a mad woman. And for writing such an awesome series!
If you’d like to keep up with E.J. on her social media, you can find her at —