Friday, October 3, 2014

BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: Twinkle by S. J. Parkinson


Publisher: SJ Parkinson (July 14, 2014)
Category: Science Fiction, Thriller
Tour Date: October, 2014
Available in: Print & ebook, 600 Pages

In the newest book from award winning author, SJ Parkinson, The richest man in the world wants to celebrate the July 4th holiday as never before. In a bid to get into the record books, a global fireworks show is staged from orbit. Satellites drop pyrotechnics into the atmosphere, thrilling everyone from the Arctic to the Antarctic with their rich colors and massive explosions in every time zone.

The next day, people around the globe begin to lose their sight. Governments crumble, society degenerates, and infrastructure falls into chaos. Humanity finds itself stumbling in the dark and losing all hope.

A few fortunate individuals retain their vision. Attempting to deal with the growing despair around them, they come together to discover the true purpose and origin of the affliction. They race to find a cure before the world is subjugated under an invading power.



There were many, many surprises in Twinkle that I did not see coming, which made it very exciting to read.  The display of fireworks from space sounded spectacular and I probably would have been upset to have missed it.  Until the next day, of course, when people all over the world started going blind.

The way the world discovers the blindness epidemic is a little gruesome, really.  Pilots from military and commercial aircraft are the first we hear about, meaning that their planes are going to crash.  Then there are the commuter trains.

People in the US are some of the last ones to lose their sight, but they had the advantage of knowing it was coming.  Unfortunately, it also reduced the manpower available to the military to about 5 pct of its regular strength.  Then, the real intent of the fireworks display rears its ugly head.  The country that produced them wants to basically take over the world, and that was the way for weakening other countries' ability to defend themselves.

Mr. Parkinson's time in the military gave him an excellent background to write a book such as Twinkle.  And a civilian, such as myself, appreciated the footnotes that explained some of the alphabet soup of military and political acronyms.  It saved me from having to go and ask my young sons what the terms meant!

It also showed some of the best and the worst of human nature.  When a fortunate (?) few that still have their sight and have escaped the invaders begin to plan how to take back the country, they helped each other and had each other's backs.  When a doctor and a researcher find a possible cure and they try to distribute it, people want to take it from them to save their relatives and friends.

Twinkle with get you thinking about exactly what you would do when your country, your family, a pet, etc is attacked or in danger.  Every once in a while I had to stop and think.  And it could apply to anyone, anywhere in the world.  The book happened to be set mostly in the US, but the situation could happen anywhere.

This is a rather lengthy book, but worth every minute.  Twinkle is well written, thoroughly researched and will have you on the edge of your seat.



Mr. Parkinson was an Air Force avionics technician, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, and several United Nations peacekeeping missions. He has lived overseas in numerous countries and travels extensively. His novels have been praised for their realism and sold in fourteen countries, winning multiple international awards.

Awards: Three “Outstanding in Genre” Gold Seal awards from Red Adept Publishing and Kindle Book of the Month award Oct 2013 by the People’s Choice Book Awards.



1. 18th century or Renaissance man?

Renaissance man definitely. I do feel I was born at the wrong time. I love travel and exploring the world so I would have felt quite at home in the Renaissance. At that time entire continents were undiscovered and mankind was just setting foot on the path to discovery. It would have been an exciting time to be a part of it.

2. Artillery, Air Force, scuba diving, ballroom dancing, now writing. What's next?

One of my goals is to explore every country on the face of Earth, then try to get up into space. It's inevitable that man will travel to the stars and while it's doubtful that I'll never get to another star system, it is quite possible I can walk on the moon at some point in my lifetime.

3. How did you develop your writing philosophy?

As a reader myself, there is nothing I hate more that seeing something in a book and knowing it’s false. I once read a story where the hero carried a revolver. Then several pages later he is described as changing magazines. Revolvers don’t have magazines and from that point on I was unable to believe what I read. More glaring errors followed and I stopped reading at that point. Even though I write fiction, I strive to ensure that what I write is accurate so that my readers don’t end up being similarly disappointed.

A portion of one of my earlier novels, The Legionnaire: Origins takes place in Algeria. A good friend of mine is French-Algerian and after reading Origins he asked me when I’d been there. He refused to believe me when I told him I’d never visited Algeria. His response was, “You must have been there. Your description of the Tuareg nomads is perfect.”

Typically, I do at least a week or two of research for a novel before writing a word. Twinkle was so broad in scope that the research for that novel took me three months. At the end of that time, I know the places, settings, and descriptions of the various places intimately and as a result I can write a lot faster. Often the research will give me information to take a character in a completely different direction than what I had initially envisioned.

4. Where do you stand on the traditional vs. self-publishing issue?

The ability to self-publish on the Internet at the push of a button is a powerful tool. However, the biggest failing of self-publishing is quality. Many authors, some would argue the majority, publish ebooks with no proper formatting, spelling, grammar, etc. and that hurts the industry. I have a promise to my readers on my web page promising to put out the best quality novels I can. I employ editors, proof readers, and graphic artists to ensure my books are the best they can be. It is an expensive process, but with 2.2 million ebooks on Amazon I feel that is necessary to stand out from the pack.

I feel validated in my approach as my novels have sold in fourteen countries, won international awards, and are highly rated. I also have a dedicated group of readers who are incredibly supportive of my work.

5. If "Twinkle" were optioned for film, who would you like to see in key roles?

I played around with generating a "dream cast" for Twinkle while I was writing it. It made envisioning the plot a lot easier for me seeing these people in the roles.

Colonel Alvin Smith - Idris Elba
Captain Erica Tyler - Selita Ebanks
President James Calvin - Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Keith Hurst - Sam Neil
Sir Marcus Brandon - Viggo Mortensen
Garbo - Amber Heard
Technical Sergeant Folsom - Paul Dano
Doctor Linda Krause - Rebecca Hall
Oscar Blake - Tom Hardy
Captain Eric Reid - Blair Underwood
Doctor Edmund Wiater - David Morrissey
Vinson - Riz Ahmed
Noel - Josh Holloway

6. If you could invite any writer from history to supper, whom would you ask and what would you serve?

I had the privilege of corresponding with Arthur C. Clarke when he lived in Sri Lanka, but never met the man. I would love to have dinner with him and discuss anything he cared to talk about. I'd serve multiple courses of Tapas portions to not slow down the conversation.

7. Is there anywhere in the world you would like to see that you haven't yet?

I've explored the northern hemisphere fairly well, but the southern regions still beckon. New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, etc. all call to me. I'll get there eventually. I'd also like to get to Japan, Nepal, Russia, China, and Thailand at some point. I suspect I could generate another dozen writing projects from visiting new areas.

8. Do you have any writing traditions or rituals? (Food, locations, etc.)

When I sit down to write, I first try to eliminate as many distractions as possible. My desk faces a wall and I have no windows within view. I put on a wireless headset and listen to music to eliminate any background noise. My phone is muted and typically out of sight. On my desk, I have a widescreen 24 inch monitor. My word processing software is displayed on the left half of the screen with my research notes on the right. Not only does that put everything I need right in front of me, it also covers up my email and web browser windows which are huge distractions for me at times.

9. What's next for you as an author?

I just checked my pending projects list. I have twenty novels outlined and ready to go. I simply need to find the time to write them. i would love to get my books in shape for a movie, but I am not a screenwriter and am currently looking for someone to handle that conversion from novel to script.

10. What would you like readers to know about "Twinkle"?

Twinkle is not a traditional novel. It's told from the perspectives of many people and ranges literally around the world. Even though I cut sixty pages prior to edit, it is still a 547 page epic novel. A friend asked me to summarize the plot in a sentence and the best I could come up with was 'Day of the Triffids meets Red Storm Rising'. I'm very proud of Twinkle and feel it is my strongest novel yet.

Thank you for the opportunity to connect with your members. Have a great day.


(Disclosure:  I received a copy of "Twinkle" from the author and publisher via Virtual Author Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)


  1. Hi LuAnn,

    Thanks for your review. I'm glad you liked the twists and turns. Have a great weekend.

    1. You are welcome, SJ. I look forward to reading whichever of those 20 outlined books that rolls off the press next!

  2. Thanks for taking part in the tour and hosting SJ. I'm glad you enjoyed 'Twinkle' so much!

    1. It was fabulous, Teddy. Always happy to host a book tour with your company, because I know already it will be a quality read!

  3. This sounds like a book which is very realistic with going about things. It really shows what happens to the people and can be a bit gruesome. Six hundred pages IS long, but as long as it is worth it ^^