Author Interview

Purchase Genesis

NAME or PEN NAME:  Jeff Ackenback

BOOK TITLE : Genesis – The Endgame Trilogy, Book 1

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always loved creating new characters and worlds. When I was a kid, I used to make little comic books, which no one will ever see, because they’re awful and hopefully long since burned in the trash. As a senior in high school, Mr. Blythe, my A.P. English teacher, assigned everyone in the class to write “anything,” with the only rule being that it began with the words “I went back.” I wrote a two page story about Dante and the aftermath of an alien invasion. A few years later, I expanded it into a short story, but I always felt like there was more to it. Eventually, I found a good friend that was willing to yell at me and impose deadlines, and I was able to finally live my dream of getting the story out there. So there you have a couple of people who inspired me, but I give God the credit for my desire to always create.

Summarize your book in one to three sentences.

A young man struggles to learn the truth behind a conspiracy threatening to tear his world apart. As he learns more about the truth, and in turn himself, he has to decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in order to attempt to fix things and hopefully “save the day.”

What is the overall theme of your book?

Sometimes, an individual has to sacrifice what they want in order to make the world a better place for the people they love.

Where does this book take place?

Most of the book takes place in Miami, Chicago, and a military base in New Mexico, although there are a few scenes seemingly set in space.

Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story?

Dante Smith – He is the main character, the hero of the story.  He lost his father at a young age, then spent the rest of his life trying to live up to his dad’s memory.  Dante wants nothing more than to have a family and a normal life, but when he’s called upon to do more, he always puts the needs of others over his own wants.

John Dawson – At one point, John was friends with Conner (Dante’s father), so he’s known of Dante for a long time.  In some ways, he acts as Dante’s mentor and friend, but he always seems to have ulterior motives.

Gwen Smith – She is Dante’s wife, as well as John’s niece.  She is Dante’s support system, just as he is hers.

Ulysses – Without a better term, Ulysses is the “villain.”  He had an unusual birth and carries a lot of hatred, anger and vengeance with him in all his dealings.

Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers?

Although this book carries the “science fiction” label, at its heart it’s a story about relationships and expectations.  Amidst the overarching “battle,” each of the characters does their best to cope with their lives and the directions they are heading.  I believe the appeal of this book comes in the heart of the characters.  At the beginning, they are all, for the most part, normal people living normal lives and doing the best they can.  Then, as various circumstances pop up, we find out who they really are.  All of us can relate to that.  All of us secretly wish for something to pop up and define us, show everyone else who we really are.

How is your book relevant in today’s society?

I would say that “massive government conspiracies” are always somewhat relevant, but that’s beside the point.  For the most part, everyone spends some time daydreaming about being a hero, but few take the time to think about the weight of that task.  This is a book about the sacrifices that come from being a hero, as well as supporting or loving a hero. It seems like everything that’s popular today is either vulgar, really dark, or extremely sexual, so, in some ways, this book finds some relevance in what it isn’t as much as what it is.  Instead of focusing on “self” and “desire,” the focus here is on family, love, relationships, and sacrifice.

What makes your book different from other books like it?

I love science fiction, but a lot of times, especially recently, it’s more about how alien or weird something can be than anything else.  In those cases, the characters are basically meant to just move the story along to the next strange locale or encounter.  In my book, I tried to flip things.  It’s science fiction simply because that’s the world it exists in, but everything rises and falls on the characters.  Dante wants nothing more than to start a family with Gwen, but he realizes that he can’t always get what he wants.  The book is about sacrifice, love…relationship.  The battles and the technology are all there and important, but it’s more about how it all affects the characters’ lives and their relationships.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing?

The desire to buy the rest of the trilogy.  Seriously, though, I want them to care about the characters.  I want them to end the book wondering what they’d do in Dante’s situation, or how they’d cope if they ended up in Gwen’s position.

How did you learn about topic? (i.e. personal experience, education, etc.)

I’ve watched and read just about every science fiction work that’s available, so it’s always been something on my mind.  I did my best to read and research about the CIA and space technology, as well.  For the characters, I just drew from personal experience.

Is there a particular passage you’d like us to utilize? If so, please provide.

When Dante’s eyes opened, he was already running. He tried to stop, take stock of where he was, figure out why he felt so strange, but his body refused to cooperate. The heat of the bright lights flashing all around him was nearly blinding, but as Dante attempted to raise his hand to shield himself, nothing happened. Feeling a sense of panic begin to set in, Dante struggled to move his head, hoping to find anything with a reflective surface, but nothing would respond as it should. Dante was effectively a prisoner in his own body, and to make matters worse, he had no idea where he was or why it was happening.


Jeff Ackenback is a youth pastor who holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Ball State University. A former news reporter, he has published several short stories and articles. He is single and lives in West Chester, Ohio.

What other books have you written?

Sins of the Father:  Book two of the Endgame Trilogy (not published yet)

Revelation:  Book three of the Endgame Trilogy (not published yet)

Roanoke (not published yet) Currently working on something new and very different, which I think could be special.