Interview with science-fiction author Dima Zales

November 07, 2013

I had the chance to sit down and think up some questions for Dima Zales - one of the authors of The Sorcery Code recently. I really love this cover and am looking forward to reading Dima's first novel. Keep on reading to find out more about the man behind The Sorcery Code... 

I was lucky enough to be involved in the cover reveal for your first solo novel called The Sorcery Code. What can you tell us about your novel?

First, I should say that I am not really doing it solo. I might have done a very detailed outline and written many of the scenes, but at this point we are working hand-in-hand with Anna – and when this book is finished, it will very much be ours.
I don’t want to give spoilers. Instead, I thought I might mention a few things no one might notice otherwise – certain modern-day topics that are in The Sorcery Code.

It is a story about a topic dear to my heart – artificial intelligence and technological innovation. You might ask, how can a story set in medieval society and without any technology be about those things? Well, the idea is that Blaise uses magic to create Gala, who is essentially what we would call an Artificial Intelligence. She was designed using some modern ideas (inspired by a book I read earlier this year by Ray Kurzweil called How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed), but of course, she is created using sorcery. 

With that theme in mind, the book talks about some issues that usually go along with the idea of intelligent non-human beings. For example, in the novel, some see Gala as somewhat of this world’s version of Frankenstein. Can she be a threat when she comes into her own? In the flip side of this, you have Blaise who starts to fall for her. Can that kind of pairing work – a human and his creation?

That brings us into another important aspect of the book – romantic elements. These are there to lure Anna to collaborate with me :). Seriously, though, there is a bigger meaning here. If Gala can love and is human enough in her behavior that Blaise falls for her, can she be an abomination?  Their love is the ultimate Turing Test.

Another related but equally strange thing is that the magic system in The Sorcery Code is inspired by computer programming – something I used to do.

That is also another “sci-fi”-inspired aspect to the book. The Life Capture magical object turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the book. It is a magic experience inspired by virtual reality. It allows a person to experience everything another person saw, thought, or tasted for a period of time.

Finally, the Spell Realm, an alternate dimension that is used to create spells, is very cool and really the only thing about the magic in the book that requires suspension of disbelief. Once you believe in the Spell Realm, the magic makes sense. Other dimensions, of course, are supported by some interpretations of modern physics…

Have you always had a passion for writing, or did this develop along the way?

I have always been an avid reader, but writing is a more recent development. It began for me with the simple problem – I couldn’t find a good book to read that had certain elements that I like. So it made sense to write it myself.

What did you do before you became a full-time author?

I used to work as a computer programmer, then eventually managed teams of programmers. Before quitting to write full time, I had some executive roles in the financial and later media industries. Almost everything I did in the past comes in handy. There is actually a surprising overlap between crafting a complex computer program and a novel – and being a manager helps me run our publishing company, Mozaika Publications.

If you had to describe your approach to writing in one sentence, what would that sentence be?

Ask wife how to best phrase something.

Which authors have inspired you?

Ray Kurzweil is a futurist and an inventor, and his book The Singularity Is Near quite literally changed my life. It made me think about the fact that we live in an exciting time when the technology able to extend human life might turn up very soon, followed by crazy-cool stuff that is more exciting than anything in sci-fi. As a result, I started taking better care of my health by eating healthy and exercising, to make sure I live long enough to catch these awesome advances.

On your website, you have one other book listed on the work-in-progress list called Mind Awakening. Can you tell us about this and any other projects you have in the pipeline?

Mind Awakening is going to be a science fiction and fantasy genre mix that will appeal to folks who like movies like The Matrix and Inception. There will be what amounts to magic in it. I am not sure how much I want to reveal without spoilers at this time.
Another book Anna and I are planning to work on after The Sorcery Code and its sequel is an urban fantasy novel called The Thought Readers. As a mentalist, I pretend to read minds, and this novel will deal with people who truly have that power.

What advice can you offer to other indie authors, or people who have a book, but haven’t got the nerve to hit the “publish” button yet?

It might be a difficult advice to implement, but I think it’s important to have someone supportive to talk to. It could be a fellow author or a book lover in the family. But yes, my advice would be to get some feedback and work up to hitting that button. 

I’ve asked Anna this, too, but if you were a super hero, what would your name a super power be?

My super power would be mind-reading. I am actually a professional mentalist, so I can simulate that power rather well. The name would be the same as what I am considering making my ‘stage name’ in the near future: Damon Zale.

Here's a little sample of Dima's abilities; from his YouTube channel, this is the Close Liaisons Book experiment...


Want to know more about Dima? Connect with him via social media...

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Want a taste of The Sorcery Code? Here's an excerpt from Chapter 2...

Augusta slid out of bed and smiled seductively at her lover, enjoying the heated gleam in his eyes as she bent down to pick up her magenta-colored dress from the floor. The beautifully made garment had only one small rip in it – nothing that she wouldn’t be able to fix with a quick oral spell. Her clothes rarely survived her visits to Barson’s house intact; if there was one thing she enjoyed about the leader of the Sorcerers’ Guard, it was the rough, urgent hunger with which he always greeted her arrival.

“Is it already time to go?” he asked, propping himself up on one elbow to watch her get dressed.

“Aren’t your men waiting for you?” Augusta wriggled into the dress and reached up to gather her long brown hair into a slick knot at the back of her neck.

“Let them wait.” He sounded arrogant, as usual. Augusta liked that about Barson – the unshakable confidence that permeated everything he did. He might not be a sorcerer, but he wielded quite a bit of power as the leader of the elite military force that kept law and order in their society.

“The rebels won’t wait, though,” Augusta reminded him. “We need to intercept them before they get any closer to Turingrad.”

“We?” His thick eyebrows arched in surprise.

“Oh yes,” Augusta said nonchalantly. “Did I forget to mention that I’m coming with you?”

He sat up in bed, the muscles in his large frame flexing and rippling with each movement. “You know you did,” he growled, but Augusta could tell he was pleased with this development. He had been trying to get her to spend more time with him, to get their relationship out in the open, and Augusta thought it might be time to start giving in a little.

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