John E. Siers was born in Saginaw, Michigan in September of 1945, just a month after the end of World War II. He grew up in Saginaw and Detroit and spent a year at University of Michigan before moving to Buffalo, New York in 1964.
John enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1966. Trained as a fighter aircraft weapons and munitions specialist, he served at several bases in the U.S. and the Far East over the next four years. At one point, he was stationed in the Republic of Korea, where he met his wife-to-be in 1969.
Honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1970, John worked for several major insurance companies as a Safety Engineer and Loss Control specialist. Over the years that followed he earned a college degree in Business Administration while commuting to work in New York City from his home in New Jersey. From 1975 to 1985, John traveled extensively, conducting field training and audit reviews for his employer.
In the early 1980s, with the advent of Personal Computers, John redirected his career into the field of Information Technology. 1985, he went to work for the Information Systems Division of a major insurance brokerage. Twelve years later in 1997 the brokerage moved the Information Systems Division to Memphis, Tennessee where its data center was located. John accepted the company’s relocation offer and moved to his current residence in Oakland, Tennessee. Two years later, the brokerage sold off the Information Systems Division to a privately-held company. From that point, John worked from his home in Tennessee while reporting to the new company’s headquarters in New York. He retired from that job in 2015.
Returning to a passion developed during his early years in the Air Force, John opened his own part-time retirement business as a gunsmith in 2015. He still operates that business, and information can be found at www.gunsmithjack.com
John is also an amateur astronomer and a member of the Memphis Astronomical Society.
Career as an Author...
John’s writing career started in the late 1970s when he decided to try his hand at writing in his spare time. This was during his extensive business travel years, and “spare time” often meant time in a hotel room in a distant city. For his writing, he acquired a small portable typewriter that he carried with him on business trips. As technology improved, he did his writing on a computer, working his way through most of the early word processing software before finally settling on Microsoft Word as his primary tool.
When the 21st century arrived, John had written three complete novels but had not published any of them. John’s first two novels were published in late 2012 and the middle of 2013, making both eligible for the 2014 Darrell Awards. The Moon and Beyond made the finals of the competition, but it was Someday the Stars that won the 2014 Darrell Award for Best Fantasy or SF Novel by a Midsouth Author.
At the Author’s Panel for the competition, John was asked by one of the Darrell Awards Jurors what inspired him to write the Lunar Free State series. In reply, John told the following story:
“In 1969, I was a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, serving in the Far East; but I stopped and watched in wonder – as did the rest of the world – when Neil Armstrong put the first footprints on the Moon. I have always been fascinated by the concept and technology of space travel. I remember thinking at the time that we had finally made it. We would soon be exploring the solar system and beyond. I believed there would be cities on the Moon and people would soon be living on Mars. I was 24 years old at the time and could only imagine the wonderful progress that would be made in the decades to come.”
“Of course, none of that happened. Just three years later in 1972, Apollo 17 made the last landing on the Moon, and no one has ever gone back. Society turned away from space and got lost in the problems of Earth. When it became obvious that we had lost the dream, I started writing. The Lunar Free State series tells the story of a group of people who didn’t lose that dream, who kept it alive into the 21st century and made it come true.”
To date, John has published four novels in the Lunar Free State series, with Valkyrie’s Daughter published in 2014 (First Runner-Up for the 2015 Darrell Award for Best Novel) and In the Service of Luna published in 2018. What readers may not know is that there is another novel in the series, written over 20 years ago, that has not yet been published. John explains:
“When I realized I was writing a generational series it was apparent that the third novel jumped too far ahead of the first two. I needed to fill in the gap before the third one could be released. Valkyrie’s Daughter and In the Service of Luna have almost done that but there will need to be one more before we get there. The good news is that readers won’t have long to wait after the next novel, since the one that follows is already written.”