Today I’m fortunate to present Gary Morgenstein, author of A MOUND OVER HELL, the first book in THE DARK DEPTHS series.
Hi Gary Morgenstein, thanks for agreeing to this interview.
What part of the world do you come from?
I’m from Brooklyn, the Center of the Known Universe, but I grew up in the Bronx in the shadow of my beloved Yankee Stadium.
What do you think makes a good story?
Ultimately it’s about the characters. In our world of science fiction and fantasy, we’ve become sadly conditioned to the big spectacle, entranced by CGI which all too often takes the place of plot and characters. But let’s never forget it’s all about the story. You don’t read Lord of the Rings because you think Orcs are cool, but because you’re moved and drawn by the courage of Frodo and Samwise. And on and on. Gimmicky plots are no substitute for caring about sympathetic and identifiable characters, which in the world of speculative fiction where the setting is often non-human or highly tekkie, is a challenge.
What inspired you to write your book?
Baseball and science fiction are my two loves, so this was the perfect literary vehicle for me, especially since as best as I can determine, there are few if any science fiction baseball novels. Writing speculative fiction is all about taking current events to that next terrifying level by asking “What if?”. So in my dystopian baseball novel A Mound Over Hell, what if the current conflict with Islam escalated to a World War which we lost? America is vanquished for the first time, surrounded. Then throw in the end of baseball forever. What would this look like and most importantly, who are the people?
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Writers always write because even when we’re just thinking, we’re writing, plotting, editing, pondering, so it’s kind of 24/7. At least I don’t dream about my novels. Yet. But I start just after breakfast, sitting with my pug on my laptop, breaking for yoga, and continuing until the end of the day or until I feel my brains are dripping out of my ears.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My wife has made the mistake of being in the room when I write, not something I encourage, and she’s been alarmed by my facial expressions, thinking I’m suicidal, murderous, sad, happy or just plain nuts. I’ve explained that is not Gary expressing emotions but Gary writing the characters and their emotions. Course, it must be pretty scary to observe, especially when I talk lines of dialogue aloud. My dog doesn’t mind at all, which is why she can stay and my wife is asked to leave.
Give us the title and genre of your latest work?
A Mound Over Hell, the first book in The Dark Depths series. It’s science fiction-baseball. Or dystopian baseball if you prefer. Twenty-five years after we lost World War Three to radical Islam, this new America is based on love and ethics, run by The Family, led by the elderly Grandma. It doesn’t matter what your race, gender, ethnicity or sexual preference is as long as you love someone. What a notion, huh? All acts of patriotism, from flying the flag to singing the National Anthem, are illegal. Social media has been banned under the Anti-Narcissism Laws. Religion, associated with Islam, is also illegal. In a nation where children are revered, abortion and the use of contraceptives are capital offenses along with pedophilia. Banks, lawyers, psychologists and the entertainment industry were banned by the Anti-Parasite Laws I and II. Robots with faces are also outlawed; during the 2030s the AIs caused havoc by posing as humans and blending into society.
As A Mound Over Hell opens, baseball, a sport now identified with treason, begins its final season ever, playing in battered Amazon Stadium (formerly Yankee Stadium), the only remaining ballpark. All of the nation’s stadiums were razed after the failed terrorist attack by the pro-war, pro-baseball Miners at the Seventh Game of the 2065 Yankees-Cubs World Series.
Holograms play for out-of-shape players and attendance barely averages 15 fans a game. Just as the sport is about dead, everything changes. Infused by the miraculous appearance of great players from the past such as Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle (and from the future, the greatest of them all, the female Mooshie Lopez), baseball regains its popularity, only to become a pawn between those who want peace — Grandma is reaching out to dissident Muslims chafing under the tyranny of the Caliphate — and those who want another war.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
How many characters there are running around in my head.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Book Two of The Dark Depths series, which picks up two hours after the end of A Mound Over Hell.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Buying my first electric typewriter.
How can we contact you or find out more about your books
Here’s the link to the website of the publisher BHC Press http://www.bhcpress.com/Books_Morgenstein_A_Mound_Over_Hell.html
You can also follow me on Twitter at @writergary and friend me on Facebook!