Friday, February 22, 2019

Interview with thriller author Gareth Frank

Novelist Gareth Frank is here today to chat with me about his new psychological thriller, The Moment Between.

During his virtual book tour,  Gareth will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Gareth Frank is a former union organizer and administrator. He received a Master's Degree at the University of Wisconsin and later studied at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Moment Between is his first published novel. His short stories have been published in various journals and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize as well as the Silver Pen Write Well Award.

Please tell us a little about your new release.
After four years of mourning, Doctor Hackett Metzger is determined to stop letting his wife's death control his life. He is finally beginning to live again, but his recovery leads to an unexpected fight for his own survival and startling revelations about what happens to all of us in The Moment Between.

Hackett, a brilliant neurologist, is a skeptic. He doesn't believe he will one day be reunited with Jean, or dwell with God in heaven. What he does believe is that he should have seen the warning signs of her heart attack; he should have saved her. He also cannot accept the possibility that his clinical study of near death experiences could prove the existence of a conscious afterlife. When Hackett falls for the mother of a patient, grief finally begins to fade. But he has no idea his new love is hiding her dangerous past. Will Hackett's damaged spirit endure another heartbreak?

What inspired you to write this book?
The oddest Christmas card ever. A few years back I received a Christmas card from a good friend. As she did every year, she included a long type written letter. You know the kind: "We had a great year in 20--. In the spring we got a new puppy. In June, our daughter graduated high school, etc. These cards seldom shock you, but I was about to be knocked off my feet. She announced that her brother in-law died, then came a cryptic line suggesting that he was murdered by his wife. Wow, I don't ever think I'll get a card like that again.

Excerpt from The Moment Between:
The gravelly voice scratched Hackett’s memory, banging, scraping and popping just as it had that snowy night outside the hospital. Once again, he felt the force of the man’s knee on his neck. His heart pounded. He looked around the garage, thought first of finding a hammer or wrench on the work bench, but his eyes registered nothing within easy reach. He briefly thought of taking the man down with a chainsaw, as if he were in a scene from a Quentin Tarantino movie. He felt the uncomfortable hiccup of a laugh bubble up inside of him. Without thinking, he grabbed and felt a cool, wooden handle among the garden tools.

Careful not to make a noise he lifted the pitchfork up and stared at it. In that moment, Hackett thought about all the times he had cut into human flesh. He had seen blood, he had seen death, but as a doctor, he had always strived to save life, not take it. Now, holding the pitchfork, he tried to convince himself this would be no different. He watched his hand shake, like a ninety-year-old patient holding a coffee cup. Could he do this? He wasn’t so sure. Noise within the house drew Hackett’s attention.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am almost finished with my third novel, though I am sure that I will still be editing and re-writing for months. Although it will be similar in style to The Moment Between, I have added a dollop of magic realism to give the story an extra kick.

Torn Skin (working title) is the story of Jonny Pirpal, a punkrockin, freight train hoppin loner with a history of ego and anger issues. Back in the nineties, he achieved rock and roll fame but his world fell apart and he lost everything in a single day. Syierra (pronounced sigh-ear-ah) is a mystic who quite literally saves the lives of strangers, but couldn't protect her own family. After years of dedicating herself to others, she, too, has become a lonely traveler. Their paths cross as Jonny's history is about to catch up with him.

One of the things that I have genuinely enjoyed about writing Torn Skin has been the opportunity to write lyrics for Jonny's songs, both as a young punk rocker and an older vagrant. The title, Torn Skin, comes from one of his punk rock songs and also relates to his problems with love and the scar above his right eye.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have a fairly high bar for that. I was writing full-time for about four years before I was comfortable referring to myself as a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My day has changed a lot in the months before the publication of The Moment Between.  It used to be that I'd write Monday through Friday, anywhere from two to eight hours a day. Now, I am sad to say that daily writing has fallen by the wayside, replaced by publishing and marketing chores. I still write, but not as much as I'd like.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can't write unless I am comfortable. I write on the couch. I write on my bed. I never write in a chair at a table or desk. My posture is terrible. I know I should change. Also, my son says that I like to write the word "ass". If you count, you will see, I wrote it four times in the excerpt above.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
To paraphrase Cyndi Lauper, boys just wanna have fun. I was active nearly every second of my childhood, riding my bike, playing sports, shooting sling shots, jumping off cliffs at a local quarry, even making homemade fireworks. I didn't care about being an adult. I dreamt  of the present and lived my dreams. Childhood was an incredible gift. Thanks Mom and Dad for making it possible.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
To write a good novel, I think you not only have to find an inspiring plot idea, you also need to build the story around an overarching theme that captures the reader's interest. I am fascinated with near death experiences and incorporated that into The Moment Between, a psychological thriller that brings death to life through the story of Doctor Hackett Metzger, a neurosurgeon still recovering from the passing of his wife when he becomes involved in a medical study of near-death experiences, and falls for a woman with a dangerous past. Hackett, a likable and brilliant doctor, is also a bit of an awkward nerd. He agrees to support the study even though his heart and mind tell him that death is final. Research and life are about to collide.

It is a story about the death of a spouse and the grief that follows. It is a story about recovery and finding your way. It's a story about the danger of falling in love with the absolutely wrong person, but most of all The Moment Between takes an authentic look at the mystery of life after death and the equally big mystery — what is consciousness?


Thank you for being a guest today.

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Victoria Alexander said...

Great interview, I enjoyed reading it :)

James Robert said...

My family and I all appreciate you bringing to our attention the book description of another great book to read. Thanks so much!

Unknown said...

Thanks Lisa for hosting! GARETH FRANK

Febie said...

Great interview!

Marisela Zuniga said...

Thank you for sharing, this sounds really great