14 12 2011

‘Shadow of a Dead Star’

Interview with author Michael Shean

Ready for a personalized science fiction experience? If so, join me in exploring one of the most eye catching SciFi crime thrillers of 2011. Released by Curiosity Quills Press, Michael Shean’s very dynamic novel captures the story of Thomas Walken, a detective who finds himself in the middle of a well concealed mystery. While doing his job, he has to take a plunge into the world that challenges his understanding of life and the order of things, and his own moral code. Will he remain steadfast and keep digging for the sake of the truth? There’s only one way to find out.

The novel takes the reader into a very finely detailed world of the near future – a pure unadulterated science fiction – yet with a subtle aroma of the 1950s US in its very fabric.

Today, Michael Shean makes an appearance on CSReview, talking about writing ‘Shadow of a Dead Star’ and his own interest in futuristic fiction.

CS: Welcome to CSReview, Michael. Let’s start with the basics. Why SciFi? Who and what in science fiction has been your greatest influence and why?

Michael Shean: Thanks for having me, Camilla. Science fiction allows you to talk about all manner of topics, however sensitive or profound, in a framework that is both accessible and fantastic enough to allow your message to be comfortably consumed.  It’s hard to be subversive with anything too realistic, after all. My greatest influences in science fiction are William Gibson, George Orwell and Philip K. Dick.

CS: Your book, ‘Shadow of a Dead Star’, is a futuristic crime thriller, reflective, full of action and passion. Where is your seppuku in the novel?

Michael Shean: You find me most in the isolation that my protagonist feels.  I’ve felt distanced from many people since I was growing up, thanks to things that happened in my childhood; the mood of Shadow reflects this.  Writing that certainly brings a lot of these feelings to light, and it’s never easy to do so.

CS: Your characters are recognizable, tangible. Are you Thomas Walken? Bobbi? Are you an observer, a commentator or a participant?

Michael Shean: I’m all over the place in this one.  I’d already talked about Walken’s sense of isolation and how that pertains to me, but I do show up in Bobbi somewhat and in other characters.  Mostly it’s the other parts of my personality telling my isolated half to cheer up and get over itself, but that’s clearly not always what needs to happen!

CS: Every reader will draw their own conclusions and messages from your novel, but perhaps you, the writer, could share your own perspective – what is it you are telling the world in ‘Shadow of a Dead Star’? In your opinion, has the end product succeeded in letting your original message across?

Michael Shean: I think the biggest message I wanted to send when writing this first book is that we are all corrupted creatures to some degree or another, and how simple it is to jump off the proverbial cliff where that’s concerned.  Taking its futuristic elements away, the world of the Wonderland Cycle isn’t at all outrageous or impossible; we see it coming day by day.  I know that this sort of message comes up time and time again in stories, but I don’t think it can be told enough.  It’s universal, the same as the problems which it tries to address.

CS: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on writing in the genre of science fiction with us, Michael! Much luck to you with your current and upcoming books!

Shadow of the Dead Star for Kindle on Curiosity Quills

Shadow of a Dead Star for EPUB/PDF on Smashwords

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

Camilla Stein’s series SPACE SCRAPERS now on Amazon Kindle

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28 09 2011


Interview with Monique Yamaguchi, Producer

CS: Welcome to CSReview, Monique. Let’s talk about NYPDM, a web series that you and Nick Rossier have worked on. First of all, what attracted you in the script that you decided to produce the series?

Monique Yamaguchi: I thought the mix of genres would be great to see on screen and was excited when Hal Jordan brought up the prospect of writing the script.

CS: Events in the series take place in New York, a city with a social climate of its own, a very unique and recognizable atmosphere. What would you say was most challenging during the filming and production of the series in terms of modeling the setting for NYPDM and re-creating the feel of the city?

Monique Yamaguchi: We were definitely concerned about re-creating such a well known environment, but as luck would have it, meteorologists in the Los Angeles area announced a few days before us starting principal photography that we would be hit by “The Storm of the Century,” which was a rarity since it generally does not rain in Los Angeles and especially with that kind of intensity or for that length of time. We thought the rain was going to be a setback for production, but it turned out to be quite the contrary if anything-the rain that we met with that first day of shooting became the establishing look for the show.

CS: Talk about a lucky accident… How would you describe the cast and crew of NYPDM and the cooperation on the set?

Monique Yamaguchi: Just amazing. We had to overcome all kinds of obstacles with the weather, but there was never a moment when the cast and the crew did not come together to make sure everyone was safe and comfortable. We truly had an amazing cast. Actress Jamie Bernadette got into a pool towards the end of principal photography that was about thirty degrees, actress Grace Bannon laid down in an abandoned pool in the pouring rain where umbrellas barely provided shelter for the actors standing around her, and leads Janelle Giumarra and Jilon VanOver spent every shoot day in either rain or cold and sometimes both.

NYPDM: Shooting during "The Storm of the Century"

CS: The horror genre, supernatural elements, crime, mystery to solve and an evolving drama…What is essential for putting all these components together into a well paced and engaging product, designed specifically for the web television?

Monique Yamaguchi: This is not possible without a good story. Director Hal Jordan was able to hold on to his vision from pre-production all the way to post-production. Director of Photography, AJ Raitano who incidentally happens to be a transplant out of New York, was then able to take Hal’s script and bring it to life. All in all, Hal did an amazing job of adapting the traditional episodic television structure to the three minute episodic format of the web.

CS: The trailer alone is a testimony of all your collective hard work-I can’t wait to see the first episode! Monique, what appeals to you as producer in making content for web television, this new medium that is becoming quite popular quite quickly?

Monique Yamaguchi: I think it’s filmmakers’ second nature to explore and utilize mediums that become available to them so they can share their stories and ideas with the world, and web television certainly allows that. It’s exciting to work with these up-and-coming directors to see their visions come to life with immediacy as they are able to create original content, and distribute their work shortly thereafter.

NYPDM: Director of Photography AJ Raitano (left), Director Hal Jordan (right)

CS: Speaking of technology, what innovations have been used for NYPDM?

Monique Yamaguchi: Technology has allowed our production to utilize members of our crew that are not based in Los Angeles. Our sound designer Adam Hawk for example is now based in Texas, our titles and graphics designer Anthony Hahn works out of Hawaii and Kyle Walling, our second unit director of photography/camera operator, was out of New York.

CS: Last but not least, what can we expect of NYPDM when the show goes on air?

Monique Yamaguchi: An amazing quality show that delivers every episode that we hope will leave viewers wanting to see a Season Two.

CS: Wonderful! Thank you for sharing NYPDM’s behind-the-scenes story with CSReview.

NYPDM: Lt. Spiller (Natalie Turpin), Grimm (Jilon VanOver) and Det. Andersen (Janelle Giumarra)

Monique Yamaguchi, graduate of USC School of Cinematic Arts, produced over three dozens films, shows, web series and music videos.

More about Monique’s work on

Copyright Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved.

View NYPDM Official Trailer:

NYPDstarts airing October 11, 2011. Follow the series on their site:

Camilla Stein’s series SPACE SCRAPERS now on Amazon Kindle

 C A M I L L A  S T E I N  S C I E N C E  F I C T I O N

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