This is part one of the interview with Matthew J Pallamary. Part two will show on Friday.
Tell us a little about yourself for the readers.
Matthew J. Pallamary’s historical novel Land Without Evil, received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award for mainstream fiction and was adapted into a stage and sky show by Agent Red, directed by Agent Red, and was the subject of an EMMY nominated episode of a PBS series, Arts in Context.
He has taught a Phantastic Fiction workshop at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for twenty five years, and is presently Editor in Chief of Muse Harbor Publishing.
His memoir Spirit Matters took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the National Best Book Awards. He frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.
What is (your book) about?
CyberChrist launched in December 2014
Ashley Butler, a prize winning journalist at the San Diego Times receives an email from a man who claims to have discovered immortality by turning off the aging gene in a 15 year old boy with an aging disorder. The email has pictures showing a reversal of the aging process and the names of a scientist and a company to investigate. Thinking it a hoax, she forwards the email to friends.
Though skeptical, she calls to investigate and gets a no longer in service message. When she leaves her office she overhears a news story about the death of the scientist mentioned in the email.
Ashley checks out the company mentioned in the email and discovers a gutted building. At the deceased scientist’s address she has a confrontation with an unfriendly federal investigator. Returning to her office she finds him, subpoena in hand, confiscating her computer. He tells her that the scientist who sent the email is a killer that they need help catching. When her own investigators do more checking, none of them return.
The forwarded email becomes the basis for an online church built around the boy, calling him the CyberChrist. The church claims that the Internet is the physical manifestation of the group mind of humanity and the boy is the second coming of Christ online.
The federal government tries to shut down the church, but its website replicates faster than they can stop it. While church and state battle over religious freedom online, the media and the state battle over freedom of speech.
Ashley battles to stay alive.
What was the inspiration for (book)?
For CyberChrist it was a fascination with immortality as well as the legal, religious, and sociological implications of it.
What genre do you like to write?
I have published and won awards for historical fiction, a memoir, non-fiction, as well as short stories in the horror/science fiction genres.
What genre do you like to read?
Anything that comprises a well written story.
Who are some authors who have inspired you?
I was blessed to be taken in and more or less adopted by the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference where I had the tremendous good fortune to be mentored by Ray Bradbury, Charles Schulz, leading L.A. Times film critic Charles Champlin, and Barnaby Conrad as well as learning from Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, Gore Vidal, and many others. In San Diego, I have had an awesome friendship with science fiction writer David Brin.
If you could dine with a famous author alive or dead who would it be? Why?
Leo Tolstoy. He was an amazing writer whose work still holds up today.
What do you do to combat writer’s block?
Getting out of my intellectual and emotional bodies and into my moving body. I go into great detail about these dynamics in my upcoming book Phantastic Fiction – A Shamanic Approach to Story.
What advice to you have to aspiring authors?
Writing = Ass in chair.
Just because it is easy to publish does not mean that you are ready. Writing is far more of a complex art and craft than people realize. One well known quote says, “There is no such thing as writing, there is only rewriting.”
If you are not doing it because you love it and have fantasies of being rich and famous, then you are in for a world of disappointment.
What is your next project?
Phantastic Fiction is due out in 2015
Matthew J. Pallamary’s popular Phantastic Fiction Workshop has been a staple of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and the Southern California Writer’s Conference for over twenty five years. He has also lectured at numerous other venues and led his own weekend intensive workshops.
Matt has spent extended time in the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures. Through his research into both the written word and the ancient beliefs of shamanism, he has uncovered the heart of what a story really is and integrated it into core dramatic concepts that also have their basis in shamanism.