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Posted September 9, 2014 by in Interviews
 
 

Author Interview with Geoffrey Morrison


Several months ago I read and reviewed a great post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel called Undersea. Author Geoffrey Morrison has managed to create a world of believably advanced technology cobbled together from decades-old decaying parts, set in the depths of ocean water where natural sunlight and radiation never reach. Ingenuity and innovation are the keys to life. Undersea is an action-packed adventure for sci-fi fans who don’t care for the mutant/zombie direction most post-apocalyptic fiction is taking right now.

(You can find my full review here.)

I recently had the opportunity to ask Geoffrey a few questions.

 

RS: Geoffrey, thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Life as a freelance writer must keep you pretty busy. You typically write technical articles for CNET, Forbes, and NBCnews.com, among others. The release of your dystopian  novel Undersea marks your first step into the sci-fi realm. Now that you have had a taste, will we be seeing more from you?

GM: Definitely! I’m finishing up the sequel now, and hope to have it out soon. I’ve got extensive notes for two other books. Still sci-fi, but not related to Undersea. Just need to make the time to write them.

 

RS: Undersea is a vividly detailed world that is falling apart one bolt at a time. How long had this story been developing and bouncing around inside your head before you had enough and decided to write it up?

GM: Thank you for saying so. A single scene was the start of Undersea, actually. No spoilers, but it was part of the big finale. I liked the scene a lot, and realized I hadn’t seen (or read) anything like it. Over the following weeks I started putting together what kind of world would lead to a scene like that, and what type of characters inhabit such a place. Once I had a rough plot and characters, I started writing. A lot of the fine details came about during the writing, then it was all about going back and editing it all into a cohesive whole. Not sure I’d recommend that method to someone trying to start their own novel, but in this case it worked for me. I forced myself to write at least 1,500 words a day, otherwise I knew it would never get done. At that rate, the first draft was done in about three months.

 

RS: With your foot already in the door of the writing world, how did the publication of your novel come about?

GM: After I finished Undersea, I shopped it around to a few agents. The consensus was, if you’re not already published, you’re not getting an agent. I figured I could either let it sit on a shelf, or publish it myself. This was where my day job helped. I know lots of editors, so I hired people I knew and worked with to do the editing. Self-publishing is great, self-editing is not. After releasing it, it did quite well, enough to attract the attention of Booktrope. I signed with them, and we republished with this version. The benefit of a real publisher is better marketing. Sales have been great recently, and I was even an Amazon and B&N bestseller.

 

RS: When you write your technical articles, you have to put in a lot of research to discuss the product or topic. You must have had to do research for your novel, too, because there are such technical aspects to it. Was it a completely different writing vibe when you were working on your novel?

GM: Generally, yes. I have to be careful, though, as I tend to get sucked down Wikipedia holes. One moment I’ll be researching pressure effects on humans, then suddenly it’s two hours later and I’m reading about Wankel rotary engines with no words written. Often what I’ll do is put in placeholder text, and come back later, especially if I’m in a good writing rhythm. I’ve been into submarines since I was a kid, and have been on quite a few, so there were some aspects I knew already. 

 

RS: Many post-apocalyptic novels depict survivors banding together in one of two ways: either to help themselves, and others they come across, to not only survive life as they have come to know it, but to thrive; or to seize control of survivors and resources with militant violence. Undersea does the same. A small percentage of the human population survived the cataclysm in two city-sized submarines that eventually come to war. What is it about humanity that drives us to see others as competition instead of a larger society to support each other?

GM: Very interesting question. Though I don’t feel this way myself, it’s pretty clear that many people have a very us/them attitude. Whether it’s something mundane like “hating” fans of an opposing sports team, or something more serious, like nations or race. I honestly don’t understand it, but history (and sadly, the present) is rife with it. Perhaps it’s that we still have vestiges of our ancient tribal selves, fearing those not in our family or village. Made sense then; not so much now.

If I were writing Undersea strictly to how I see the world, everyone would just be banding together like shinyhappypeople and everyone would live forever. A true Roddenberrian utopia. That would be pretty hard to make interesting. I mean I enjoy Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for example, but wow it is slow…

RS: Who would you list as your top three favorite authors to read for pleasure?

GM: Just three? Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, and Kurt Vonnegut.

 


Rachel Storey

 
Software engineer by day, bookworm by night. I love reading. I love writing about reading. I love talking about writing about reading. I joined Bookkaholic to have great conversations about literature, so please feel free to leave comments and discussions.