Today I’m happy to have Sam Mortimer here with me as he tours the internet with his newest release Screams The Machine. Welcome Sam, why don’t you tell everyone a little about yourself?
One of my first completed stories was called Complete Havoc, which was about a serial killer cyborg. I was about eleven years old. Gravitating toward horror, science fiction, and fantasy happened rather helplessly. I was smitten and wanted to consume everything possible about the genres. That doesn’t mean I’m any sort of lexicon, but it does mean checking out a plethora of related material is a happy goal.
Once upon a time I worked as a jailer. I garnered some hefty experience at dealing with odd situations. The bright side is that the job proved beneficial to writing, but the real-life situations could be violent, heartbreaking, and depressing. It was perpetually saddening to witness some of the circumstances.
In the end, I’m just a citizen of the cosmos who loves reading and writing in the English language.
What is your writing process?
When an idea wraps around me, I make sure writing that idea will massages a part of my brain. It’s like a requirement for a story to feel imperative. I’ll happily dedicate to a story that’s meaningful. Screams The Machine was like that for me.
First drafts are usually completed in silence, because I want the world I’m writing about to be as pure and raw as possible. The story feels like it’s actually happening and full of sound anyway. I’m just reporting to you about it. Listening to good music occurs in following drafts, which is an important part the process.
Otherwise, I just write until the story is finished and my muse and cats are satisfied.
Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
I’d love to write badass, steamy romance novels. I mean they would be seriously hot, like ‘hawt’ hot.
What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty, because it’s extremely well written, manages to be meaningful, interesting and entertaining. It’s a visceral tale that deserves its success.
Nueromancer, by William Gibson, have you read it? That’s the first science fiction book that blew my mind and introduced me to cyberpunk. Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is great as well (also a favorite), but the sheer rawness, imagery and prose of Neuromancer is stunning.
The Art of Peace, by Aikido Master Morihei Ueshiba is a work of beauty. The book feels rather cosmic, suggesting we can work in unison with the universe. It promotes solving problems peacefully, truly making it the most tranquil book I’ve ever read. The Art of Peace is good for the soul and expands the mind.
Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a 1000 Faces blew my mind. It’s an intelligent look at the hero archetype throughout various mythologies. The knowledge is presented with depth, and at the time I had no idea anything that smart existed. Plus, it’s the same book George Lucas read that helped inspire Star Wars.
Reading All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, was a watershed moment in my life. Its language was clear, and for the first time outside of G.I. Joe cartoons, it showed me the reality of war.
If you could cast Screams The Machine, who would you choose to play your main characters
I’d love to see new talent play the characters, but I’d want an experienced production team. That said I wouldn’t be opposed to Jenson Ackles playing Randal.
What is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
I’d be enjoying a freshly brewed cup of black coffee while processing the news. I’d be very thankful to the readers and anyone involved that made it happen. I’d call my mom and tell her. She’d be proud.
Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
Indeed. Coffee and chain-smoking are always vices during writing. For example, even if I had actually stopped smoking at one point, when it comes time to dedicate to longer works, cigarettes happen. Coffee intake is increased by 50%. Sleep is a rare gem.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I usually create and record electronic rock music with a bandmate. I’m currently in a two-man piece called Anifail. We have some music on Spotify. Years back I produced a project called Universal Thought Process, and one of my songs was picked up in a horror movie, The Slaughter. I’ll read, watch movies, and play select video games during downtime. My day-job requires much driving, so I do that too.
How do you define success in the realm of writing?
I’m going to paraphrase what I’ve said in a different interview. Seems like there’s personal, critical, and monetary success. Finishing the story is huge, and I’d say that’s the first step in writing success. Then, I suggest sending stories out to people you don’t know. That’s an ultimate testament to your belief in the story. If writing covers a bill that month, I’d deem that a success too. In the end, being happy is about the most success anyone can achieve. Happiness is most important.
In 10 words or less, describe Screams The Machine to me.
It’s bionic horror in a self-aware universe. Don’t play.
Thank you Sam for taking the time to answer my questions! Now let’s take a look at Screams The Machine…
Cash carries a disease; one that’s already killed a large majority of the population and something needs to be done. To stop the crisis from escalating, The Solution (a worldwide organization) is formed and rises to great power. They monitor people’s dreams and shape reality to fit their own wants and needs. In an effort to control existence itself, The Solution is searching for what they believe to be the ultimate tool; a person with the ability to master a deep connection with the mysterious, pervasive energy known only as The Ultimate Reality.
Watching her neighborhood decay, her friends and family perish, Elizabeth Reznik needs to find meaning in her life. She discovers her existence is more meaningful than she could ever have imagined. Operatives of The Solution seek her out, take her from her home and perform brutal experiments on her. Their conclusion? Elizabeth is the one they have been searching for; she is the key to gaining complete power.
The stratagem of The Solution is single minded – own the resources and you own the people. And the last resource available is free will. They will own your thoughts, they will orchestrate your dreams; they will dine on your fears. But there is always a cog in the machine… or in this case, a scream.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Sam Mortimer has worked the graveyard shift in law enforcement, attended film school, and has been writing strange stories since age eleven. He loves reading, music, and strives to meet the demands of his five cats.