Phew! After a long battle with my internet and website FTP, I have conquered it and won! Of course, not without getting backloaded with these wonderful author interviews. So, lucky you, you get to see a group of uber talented authors this weekend. I’m excited – and you should be too!
Anyhow, here’s an author who had me at his book cover. I try not to judge books by their book covers, but I couldn’t help it with David’s – it’s just so freaking awesome looking! And, and, and…. his story is in one of my favorite genres. Winning! So, without further ado, here is the wonderful fantasy/sci-fi talent, David Berger.
Meet David Berger
High school AP/IB English teacher of 20 years. Hibernophile. Avid reader of fantasy fiction and comic books, especially Wonder Woman. Writer. Poet. Traveler. Student of life. Lover of mythology, mostly Greek. Inspired by the Muses. Boston born, grew up on Long Island, NY, and living the dream. Sushi lover. Thunderstorms comfort him. Running brings him balance. He loves life, and hopes life loves him in return.
When did you first tell a story?
The first story I really remember telling was about Smurfs when my sister and I would plan out the stories together, but I would write them. That would be when I was about 12 years old or so.
What was it about?
Oh, you’re asking a lot, haha. I think they were about the adventures of various Smurfs, usually sparked by looking at her collection of plastic ones. I wrote these over 30 years ago, so details escape me. I do remember enjoying writing them, though. Loved Papa Smurf, though!
Did you ever make up imaginary friends or beings for the sake of boredom or general mischievousness?
Oh, probably. Either that, or I was talking to myself and just needed a scapegoat when someone asked. I spent a lot of time talking to “people” I wanted to or needed to talk to, so I worked out possibilities out loud. I do believe that marks me as a tad bit insane.
Who influenced you the most as a writer?
So many people. Authors had a greater influence on me than other people, so I would have to say Tolkien, Eddings, Goodkind, Anthony, Bradley… so many fantasy writers who wreaked havoc with my imagination. I think I prefer the world of fantasy to the real one, thanks to these writers.
Favorite book, ever. Yes, I am limiting you to one.
Hmm. Since you didn’t specify a genre, I’m going to say a comic book, Wonder Woman. That character has had more sway over me than any other.
Easiest part of writing for you would be….?
Note taking. That’s the part when I get to play with ideas like clay. I feel the most open then. I can’t make any mistakes in that part.
What is your most dreaded, please-don’t-make-me part of writing?
Changing what I love. When a beta reader tells me, “You don’t need this part,” I want to weep. It’s like extricating a limb.
If you could have dinner (and dessert) with any fictional character who would it be and why?
Wonder Woman. She is the ideal heroine to me, embodying compassion, love, strength, femininity, and wisdom. As a gay man, she helped me get through the tough, awkward years before I came out.
Any sage advice you can pass on to fellow writers that you wish someone had told you sooner?
Start as soon as you get the idea! My first novel started as a short story in 1985, but it didn’t see the light of day as a published novel until 2012. Had I even thought about being an independent author sooner, I could have published much sooner.
Do you have any weird or necessary writing habits or rituals? How do you write?
I burn a scented candle near me. The light keeps me focused, strangely enough. For my first novel, I wrote more sequentially (chapter 1, 2, etc.). For the sequel, I wrote out scenes I wanted and then I worked them together, so I could be writing in chapter 1 or 12 at any given time. It just worked out better for this book.
What is the color of your editing pen? Yes, I’m serious.
Black or blue. As a teacher, red ink frightens me. I don’t even grade with it. Maybe it’s the flashbacks to high school English (a class I adored, but the red pen was traumatizing, I think).
Of the senses (all six), what is your favorite sense to write?
Sight, but I think it ties in with the others. Just because it’s a visual detail, it doesn’t mean it can’t become a sound or a taste, too.
Do you believe in Writer’s Block? If so, how do you break through it?
Heh. Yup. I just write and write and write nonsense, or I watch animated superhero movies or TV shows. They tend to loosen up the mental blockage.
There’s all the hoopla over being a Pantser or a Plotter – which team are you a part of or are you somewhere in between?
I’m a Pantser with Plotter tendencies or is it the other way around? I’m a Gemini, so it really depends on my mood. I lean more Pantser, I suppose, if I have to pick one.
About Mr. Berger’s Work
Tell me about your upcoming book.
Task Force: Gaea—Memory’s Curse is the sequel to my debut novel, Task Force: Gaea—Finding Balance. Where the first novel laid some groundwork for a world I have always been intrigued with (mythology with reality), the second one digs deeper into characters in the same world. In Memory’s Curse, for characters from the first novel, Aegis, Zodiak, Aether, and Talon, operatives in the United Nations Task Force: Gaea, life should have returned to normal after they restored the cosmic balance that a reckless elder goddess shattered (in Finding Balance), but because of the intervention of the Fates, they would never remember what life was like before. With history now unfolding the way it was supposed to, paranoia plagues this new time line, and tight-fisted governments mandate control through a pervasive military presence, DNA scans, and surveillance cameras.
Inexplicable occurrences all over the world give way to a new mission for Task Force: Gaea when an ancient cloudlike evil referred to in prophecy only as The Nebulous One emerges from Tartaros, with the intention of devouring the Olympeian gods. But, before she can find them, all of the gods but Apollo have disappeared. Leaving chaos and human corpses in her wake, she oozes her way across the globe to satisfy her hunger. Apollo will not face this threat alone, and it then becomes a race: will he and Task Force: Gaea find and vanquish this primordial goddess without falling prey to her power before she finds the gods?
Aegis and his teammates, perhaps as a side effect of their encounters with The Nebulous One, have to battle personal demons in the form of potent memories that could jeopardize their mission’s success, seemingly insurmountable obstacles that could indeed mean the end of their team.
Starting in antiquity and moving to the modern day, this epic battle between good and evil leaves both immortal and mortal alike wondering whether memory can be a blessing… or a curse.
What makes your book different from all the rest?? What genre would you put it in?
My novel takes standards of mythology and recreates them with depth and slight changes to the original. I’ve also created gods that no one has ever seen. I’d say this is a mythological fantasy (epic fantasy comes close).
Who was your favorite character to create?
Depends. The god Apollo has been a fascination of mine since I was a kid, so I spent a great deal of time with his character, especially in the sequel. We’re good friends at this point. The character of Brandon/Zodiak who appears in both novels is a new favorite. I grew to adore him in Memory’s Curse, and I had already loved him in Finding Balance, so that should tell you something. He has an interesting past, and it’s that part of him that dictates much of what he does throughout the novel.
What is the hardest part about writing this book?
Ending it. I found myself totally enrapt in this world, and I hated to leave it. I played with characters I hadn’t played with before, and I had to do different research, but it made the journey so much more worthwhile. But, there’s always book #3 <wink>.
What is the easiest part about writing this book?
Working with the characters. It’s less about writing and more about saying to them, “Tell me what you should be doing right now.” I truly think they wrote this book, not me.
Have you always loved and written in this genre or was another your first love?
Fantasy has been my love since I was a child, starting with reading mythology, then comic books, and then fantasy novels. Escaping reality through fiction like this just puts me at peace. While these worlds can never truly exist, they do for me. Sometimes, I think that someone has been writing my life, and that I’m just a part of a novel, or series of novels.
Do you have any genre-specific tips?
Read a lot of fantasy (or science fiction), including the classics: Tolkien, Eddings, Asimov, Bradbury, Bradley, Brooks, etc. Exposing yourself to other’s worlds can help frame your own. Sometimes, it can turn you on to things you’d never think about; other times, it prompts you to back away from other ideas.
Do you have any other projects that you’re working on?
Yes. I had recently published two short pieces in a queer anthology, and I’m working on developing two of the characters from those stories, Aaron and Jason, into a novel. It wouldn’t be fantasy, either. Not so much a romance, but a novel with romantic elements. The story would be more about their everyday lives, and their relationship would just be one facet of it. It’s in the pre-pre-planning stages at this point.
Find David Berger