Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Interview With M.D. Kaczkowski, Author Of The Seers
1. Michael, what inspired you to create The Seers? The initial inspiration was simply the desire to write an exciting supernatural thriller. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with science, spirituality, and the invisible energies that exist around us. As a child I learned about the electromagnetic spectrum from my uncle who is a brilliant electromagnetic engineer (he actually went to the magnetic North Pole on a (recently declassified) scientific expedition to record the earth’s magnetic field). I thought it was incredible that visible-light, the only part of the EM spectrum we can see, was only a very small part of this energy. To me this begged the question: are there other energies we can’t see that science has yet to discover? I felt that perhaps spirituality was humanity’s way of describing these unquantified invisible energies - and perhaps, this whole debate between science and religion was just a passing phase in humanity’s quest forward out of ignorance. This personal spiritual quest of mine became an obsession. I wanted to harmonize the demystifying discoveries of science with the enlightened virtues of religion. The Seers is my way of sharing this quest with everyone.
2. The story line involves an aging NYPD detective who is called in to investigate the mysterious serial murders of dozens of homeless people, each found with their eyes missing. Is it a coincidence that you are a leading designer and fitter of ocular and facial prosthetic reconstructions? No, it’s no coincidence. When I saw my first prosthetic eye at age 12, I was fascinated. I’ve been making lifelike anatomical reconstructions ever since. So certainly, my profession has been brought into the story. But the use of eyes and the concept of sight in the story is primarily metaphorical with many levels of meaning that I hope the readers will both ponder and enjoy.
3. A piece of the story involves a man questioning his belief in God after he loses his wife. Do we all battle inner conflicts when it comes to what we truly believe in? I know I have, and in times of loss and pain, I think we all do. Sometimes these valleys can help motivate us to build better paths back up the mountain, deepening and maturing our beliefs. Other times, we may chose despair and get lost in the shadows. Certainly the former is the challenge the book encourages.
4. What types of challenges did you have to overcome to pen an entire new world? Well, certainly making the time to write and research, not to mention the technical and literary learning curve, were all tremendous hurdles for me. Also, as the story developed I realized that my own personal studies of science, philosophy and spirituality started to fill dozens of “invisible pages” of backstory. Basically I created a world of universal laws and scientific explanations for the spiritual energies that were in the story, but I couldn’t add them to the story without changing the genre and tempo of the narrative. So what I thought was going to be a six-month project went on for over a decade as I realized that I couldn’t just write the story without also developing the intricate fictional platform that went with it.
5. How did you construct the book? It’s not just a novel, but the introduction to a fictional platform called Scilestial Fiction (the combination of words: Science and Celestial). The book offers not only the proposition that science and spirituality coexist on opposite ends of the same spectrum, but also quantifies historical-religious terminology into its scientific counterpart with trans-dimensional law explanations. This is accomplished without interfering with the fast-paced story by dividing the book into three parts: the main story, the inter-chapter letters by an educated immortal that is sharing the story, and The Seers’ Handbook, which is the reference material for the story and the fictional platform. Then there’s the QR code links that take you to more material on the web (which is continually growing). Together these elements will enable the reader to choose their depth of submersion, whether they just want to enjoy a thriller, ponder the messages layered within the rich metaphors and typology, or spend months delving and studying the laws and teachings found within The Seers’ Handbook and the ever-growing online interactive content.
6. The book is partly an apocalyptic thriller and partly a good old fashioned crime drama. Was it your intention to write as if it were a movie? Yes, in fact it was originally written as a screenplay. After I realized I was world-building and needed to transform the story into a novel with a fictional-platform introduction, I spent several years experimenting and rewriting large sections of it in different literary styles to figure out how to transfer the vision into literary prose. Ultimately, the story worked best both stylistically and in tempo with the limited-omniscient style of the classic detective novel genre. But you are correct that the highly visual content of the book demands a cinematic outlet. This is why I spent a couple years designing the visual elements and directed them into several dozen original illustrations and a few 3D animation videos. Also, an original musical score is in the works and will be presented in the web material and future ebook versions.
7. Do you believe there is a battle between good and evil in society today? I believe there is a battle between good and evil in all of us. I believe there is virtue and there is vice. The path of virtue is the harder road that produces the most positive long-term outcome for our own lives and the lives that we touch. Vice is typically the easier choice, and while it may build oneself up and often bring immediate relief and/or pleasure, it is temporary and ultimately has a long-term negative impact. The wisdom to learn the difference is a never-ending inner disciple and personal journey that no human institution can compel.
8. Your book brings us into a universe where angels are battling demons for the world's soul. Is there a spiritual war being waged out there? Good question. Have you ever walked into a room and actually “felt” a specific, but intangible energy? Or found that certain people give off “vibes”? Or perhaps hear a news story that describes a plane crash where everyone dies except one person who walks away without a scratch? In the Handbook section of the book I propose, through the pen of one of the characters, possible scientific explanations for the invisible energies that every culture of humanity has explored since the first clay tablets.
9. Your story takes place in New York City. Why is that setting such a popular place for stories involving world-changing disasters and invasions? I can’t speak for other writers, but much of this decision was personal. I lived there for seven years and grew up not far north, receiving the city news on our television. But certainly New York City, with its rich history, international travelers, and the UN, is an ideal Petri dish to grow an invisible world where such conflict exists.
10. Another story angle involves how one man seeks to come to grips with who he really is. How challenging is it for someone to find out later in life what they suspected all along is true, but had suppressed? That’s gotta be tough. Honestly the only way I can answer this question is from my own life experiences. There were two circumstances where I spent years living and abiding under certain assumptions only later to find out that I had been both mislead as well as blinded by my own desires to believe differently. Those experiences were ones I’ll never forget. Ultimately we have to choice to learn from our past mistakes, otherwise we’ll either repeat them and/or live in a state of self-deceit (one of the many forms of ignorance). The book contains discussions on self-deceit and other forms of ignorance and vice through the characters Dr. Alderson and Dr. Jeremiah.
11. And when someone discovers he has special powers that could be used heroically for the good of all or selfishly for his own desires, how does one decide which way to go? Free will is a mystery. I could describe the many reasons why one must choose to use their talent for the benefit of others over pure selfish ambition, but ultimately “how” one decides for themselves is a mystery.
12. You have a special power in your real-life career. How does it feel to really help people in a way that alters how they look at themselves? You see, being in a profession where I literally rebuild the faces of patients every week with custom prosthetic technologies, I am continually reminded of the value of thankfulness. My patients have overcome so much by the time they arrive in my clinic. Without exaggeration, they are truly the bravest people in the world. And these patients that push forward and face life head on, all teach me about the value of thankfulness. Thus, I believe that cultivating the discipline of thankfulness (and it truly is a discipline) is the foundation for developing our strengths and overcoming obstacles.
13. The lead character, John, grew up feeling ashamed and fearful of his special talents because his dad mistreated him every time he spoke of such visions and powers. Do too many parents – out of fear or ignorance – not let their children develop their passions and skills? Sure, I think the instinct to project a future and specific expectations on our children is an inherent tendency in all parents. Having three children, I know I’ve been guilty of this. And as you pointed out in your question, fear and ignorance are usually to blame.
14. You make many philosophical insights about how some people live a life that leads to a diseased soul. Can you explain that a bit? My main focus here is on intent and virtue. I believe that our assets and abilities should be managed with focused awareness of pure intent based on virtue - doing the best we can with our abilities to serve not only ourselves, but our families and all the lives we influence. When we make choices that involve inner deceit, where we tell ourselves lies to rationalize choices that harm others or ourselves, I believe these choices change us into people that aren’t spiritually healthy, and perhaps even “diseased.”
15. What do you want your lasting message to be for this insightful and entertaining debut novel? Although I have many personal favorites, if I were to filter it all down, it would be this: The world is filled with all kinds of injustice: corrupt politicians, jaded and ignorant religious leaders, bribed judges, narcissistic university professors, dirty cops and common criminals that believe their needs justify crimes against you. Don’t lose heart. Resist the temptation of vengeance and being unforgiving, as this only puts you on their path. Instead, be the change you want to see in the world. In the end, it isn’t about how they lived, it’s about how you lived.
FYI, MD is a client of Media Connect, the PR firm I work for. Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©