An In-Depth Interview with Charles Kern, Author of the Epic ‘Haldane Fall’

About the author: An avid reader, gamer, and historian (read the old encyclopedia Britannica from A-Z), Charles lives in South Jersey, not to be confused with the rest of New Jersey. Downsizing in transportation management during the Pandemic led him to pursuing his life-long dream of telling stories.

An In-Depth Interview with Charles Kern, Author of the Epic 'Haldane Fall'

1. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Dreamer, goal-setter, Father

2. Living in South Jersey, you’re in a unique region compared to the rest of New Jersey. How has your location influenced your perspective and perhaps even your writing?

South Jersey is the poor cousin to north Jersey, its smaller population and rural lifestyle has caused it to lag behind the North in terms of development and even commitment from the State government. If there was ever funding left over…. It went to the Northern counties. I would say that many living in South have the Underdog mentality, and the has played out in Haldane Fall as well.

3. As a writer, do you draw inspiration from any specific authors, historical events, or video games that have left a lasting impact on you?

Every night before bedtime, my father would read stories from Pilgrims Progress. The stories of giants, knights and adversaries ignited my love for fiction and fantasy. The first novel I was able to read was the Hobbit by Tolkien when I was 8 years old, which led me to Lord Of the Rings, and the Shannara novels by Terry Brooks. There is an old video game called Emperor of the Fading Suns that inspired some of the content in Haldane Fall. 

4. As the author, how do you approach the development of complex characters and intricate world-building in your writing process? Are there any particular challenges you faced in crafting the world of “Haldane Fall”?

I start small and build as the story progresses. I have an initial idea of the main characters, and traits that are primary, but as the story progressed, I was able to develop them and tack on additional traits as well. For instance, I knew I wanted Kertis to have a lot of empathy and sense of responsibility, but as the story developed I was able to include his love for entomology, his stubbornness, as well as his deep sense of appreciation for the sacrifices of others.

As for world building, every writer does background work and study for their novels. I wanted to make the future world of humanity to be as accurate and believable as I could. I did extensive research on planet development, space travel theories, genetics, and the advanced sciences that I believed would be present in the 29th century.

5. “Haldane Fall” appears to explore the themes of leadership, the decline of empires, and the chaos that can follow. What inspired you to delve into these complex themes, and what message or commentary do you hope to convey through the story?

The only message or commentary that I wish to promote is entertainment. There is no underlining agenda, or hidden influences. I just want people to enjoy a good read, and maybe to feel something about what they read.

The Babylonian Empire, Macedonian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Mongol Empire, the British Empire, and now the American Empire. All empires collapse eventually under their own weight. I believe most people would agree that the United State has seen its best days and is on the decline. This is a fact in history. The Dark Ages followed the fall of Rome. But occasionally, before the Empire completely collapses, there can be a resurge. That is the point humanity is at in Haldane Fall.

6. In the face of a grim and uncertain future, courage and sacrifice are highlighted as essential. How do these themes manifest in the characters and the narrative, and what role do they play in preventing the descent into darkness?

Kertis Haldane is the primary character, with Nadia being the close second. Kertis loses his parents, loses his childhood, loses his close friends, and is condemned to a life of authority and power that he really doesn’t want. He is destined for sorrow and defeat. Nadia is intended to be his anchor, his support, the metal in his spine. Maybe, just maybe, through their future sacrifices, and working together, they can bring peace and stability to the Imperium.

7. “Haldane Fall” explores the idea of leadership and the burdens it carries. What qualities or values do you believe are essential for a leader in the face of crisis, and how do these ideals play out in the characters within your story?

The death of Donna, Kertis’ close friend had a tremendous impact on his life, possibly negatively, we will have to see in the next novel Haldane Endures. A leader must be able to accept the sacrifices of others in the name of a cause, currently, Kertis is unable to do so. A leader must also have empathy. If he cannot feel or understand the situation of the people, how can he effectively govern.

8. Many authors use their work to shed light on contemporary issues or engage in social commentary. Are there specific societal or political issues that you intended to address or draw parallels to in “Haldane Fall”?

Yes, especially in the next volume of the series, I delve into political corruption and influence peddling. I believe in the US that our legislature has legalized corruption in politics through campaign donations, lobbyist, and lax enforcement of monetary contributions. There is also correlation between the actions of the Camarda Hold in the book and the Russian Federation with its attack on Ukraine.

9. Friendship is a central theme in the story. Can you delve deeper into the dynamics of the childhood friendship and how it influences the characters’ choices and the overall plot?

Kertis and Nadia are the childhood friends, and through the use of her special abilities she saves Kertis’ life. Through her actions she has unknowingly bound the two of them together in ways that they have not yet realized, and will be further explored in Haldane Endures.

10. Do you have other writers in the family and friends?

I have met a very supportive list of writers in South Jersey, in fact I am shocked with how many published authors there are. My closest associates are Stephen Goldhahn, the author of Below the Maize and Nora Weirich the author of Cliff House. Their support and friendship as been tremendous.

11. For aspiring authors, facing the decision to pursue their dream of storytelling can be daunting. What advice would you offer to others who are looking to take the leap into writing?

Writers, and those looking to write, are dreamers. We are creative individuals with vivid imaginations. As would-be writers we must make the transition from a Dreamer to a Doer. If all we ever do is dream about being a writer it will never happen. I was 15 years old when I first had the desire to write, and I knew that was what I wanted to do more than anything. I am now 58, 43 years passed before I made my dream come true. I want to tell all the would-be writers out there that it is never too late to transition. It is never too late to become a Doer.

12. “Haldane Fall” is the first novel in a series. Can you share any hints about the broader science fiction universe you are building through this series and what readers can anticipate in terms of futuristic exploration and discovery?

Haldane Endures, and then Haldane Triumphant will explore parts of the universe only hinted at in Haldane Fall. They will introduce additional villains and alien races. also the origin and secrets of the special abilities called Talents will be revealed.

13. Finally, as a writer who has followed a unique path to authorship, how would you describe the role of storytelling in your life, and what are your goals and aspirations as a writer moving forward?

I want to write in multiple genre, my next series will be fantasy, but historical fiction, and action/adventure fiction are also avenues I will pursue. I want people to have stories that they enjoy, andhelps to relieve their everyday stress. Of course, every writer has the dream of their novels becoming movies and TV shows some day. I plan on working diligently and faithfully to bring joy to my readers. Thank you

Step into the gripping world of ‘Haldane Fall,’ a thrilling tale of power, loyalty, and the struggle for survival. Will Kertis rise to protect the Imperium, or will it fall into darkness? Dive into this epic adventure and find out! Don’t miss your chance to experience the intrigue and suspense—get your copy on Amazon today

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