Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Author Interview: T. Michael Martin previews The End Games

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interview authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2013. These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works. Enjoy!

Today I have Debut Author Mike Martin here to talk about THE END GAMES, coming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) in Summer 2013.

The official "jacket copy" for THE END GAMES:

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life. 
Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks. 
In the rural mountains of West Virginia—armed with only their rifle and their love for one another—the brothers follow the Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of "Bellows"—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good. 
But The Game is changing. 
The Bellows are evolving. 
The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don't play by the rules. 
And the brothers will never be the same. 
T. Michael Martin's debut novel is a transcendent thriller filled with electrifying action, searing emotional insight, and unexpected romance.

And the interview:

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
Well, I do think that there's something to the old "rollercoaster theory": Many people love the transcendent emotional rush that they experience while being simultaneously petrified and safe.

But for me, there's another way to answer the question.

I think that, at their best, "dark" or scary stories don't just make us feel fear; I believe that they invite us to encounter wonder. Our modern technologies have improved our lives in countless ways, it goes without saying. But I can't help but feel that they have also robbed our world of much of its mystery. The ability to instantaneously dial up the answer to almost any question often makes me feel like there are no more lands to discover, no places remaining to sail toward and chart.

So tales of the extraordinary offer us a very precious thing: the re-enchantment of the world around us. They don't even have to be strictly supernatural! Any well-rendered story dealing with life lived at the extremes offers us an enriched sense of meaning in our own human struggles.

If your book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
 E.T. Escape / Chase / Saying Goodbye, by John Williams. I strived to make The End Games a novel that has at least as much wonder, human tenderness, and warmth as it does scary-slash-crazy action (and it's got a lot of scary-slash-crazy action, ha-ha). This E.T. track makes me feel All The Feelings: fear, joy, sadness, awe, and a sense of being seated firmly in the center of adventure.

(Also, Nerd Confession: Whenever I listen to this song, I cannot not cry.)

What fictional character from another book would your main character chose as his/her best friend and why?
 Wow, what a neat question! I think probably Nick Andros, the deaf and mute character from Stephen King's TheStand. Like Nick, the main character in The End Games is flawed but tries earnestly for decency. For reasons that I'll hold back for plot-secret-y reasons, my main character would also relate to Nick's sense of never quite being able to live in the same world as others. Finally, my MC grapples, as Nick does, with questions about the spiritual explanations of a world tossed into chaos.

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?

The Stand, by Stephen King. It's my favorite novel, and a work of incredible breadth and depth. (King somehow makes the storytelling feel both panoramic and intimate.) I love, too, how the book deals with questions about God and destiny without ever being overly prescriptive or reductionistic. Also: Daaaang, it's entertaining!

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. No one else writes like Cormac McCarthy. His sentences can often be so beautiful and precise that I get this physiological feeling of expansion in my chest. The relationship between the man and son is so achingly tender, which helps make this (along with No Country for Old Men) McCarthy's most accessible book.

I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson. Alongside perhaps Day of the Triffids, Matheson's masterpiece probably did the most to create the modern post-apocalyptic novel. I Am Legend deals primary with vampire-like creatures, but it was also a primary influence in the creation of Night of the Living Dead. I do love NotLD director George Romero's early work, but I Am Legend transcends any "apocalyptic" film I've ever seen (including the 2007 Will Smith adaptation, which was only so-so).

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. I don't read a lot of sci-fi, but this is one of the most exciting books I've ever come across. Ender—the reluctant warfare prodigy—is such a memorable character, and Card's prose in this book is fatless.

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three, by Stephen King. Apologies for the double-inclusion of the King, but I just love this book! It introduces some of King's best characters—including my personal favorite, Eddie Dean—and illustrates the connection between our world and the mystical "Mid-World" in magical-but-totally-"believable" ways. Also: Daaaang, that scene on the airplane is entertaining!

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends?

Oh, boy—lots! The top few, though:

- see the aurora borealis

- & visit Europe with my wife

- & publish a novel

- & start a family.

How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?
One of the things that I worked hard to achieve—and one thing that early readers have particularly loved about the book—is the unique sense of human warmth in the midst of the action-packed apocalyptic plot, particularly illustrated through the relationship between the two brothers.

Finally, the folks at Balzer+Bray have created literally one of my favorite book covers ever. :]

Thanks Mike - sounds very, very exciting!

Check out the official website: tmichaelmartin.com
Follow on twitter: @tmikemartin
Add THE END GAMES to your TBR on Goodreads

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