It's Mention Monday!
Today we have with us
Today we have with us
David Berger who is the author of
Task Force: Gaea- Finding Balance
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Do you work another job when you are not writing?
I'm a high school English teacher with AP English and IB English classes, all with seniors, as well as an online Latin teacher. I also teach a college course in College Success Strategies.
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
Reading. I know, that sounds like such a "geek" thing to say, but it's true. As a teacher, though, I don't get to read from my own list much since I'm either reading books I teach or grading papers. I was the kid under the blanket with the flashlight reading the Encyclopedia Britannica, and ever since then, reading has been one of my favorite pastimes.
Cobalt blue is my favorite color, mostly because I love the rich jewel tones, but also because it reminds me of the night sky under which I find my peace of mind. Ever since I can remember, I have had this affinity for blue things. The color's pacifying effect can't be matched; it brings me to a special mental place.
What is your favorite season? Why?
Unfair question :) As a teacher, I adore summer. We have this tempestuous love affair for a few short months, and then it’s over. However, I would have to say autumn is my favorite. Having grown up in New York, where seasons actually change (unlike Florida where we have two seasons it seems), I remember brisk air carrying the heady, intoxicating scent of leaves on the ground; the trees with their motley foliage of orange, red, yellow, and brown; the times when I’d go apple picking with the sweet smell of apples perfuming the air. It’s also the beginning of school for me, and I’m exhilarated to know what my classes will be like and how my students will be. I guess you could say I cheat on summer with autumn, and I’m okay being promiscuous with the seasons (since I’m monogamous everywhere else).
If you could live any place on earth, where would it be? Why?
Ireland. When I was in college, I worked my summer and winter breaks for Academy Broadway, a company that developed camping equipment mostly (and dog clothes—go figure). While there, I met a guy my age named John who was from Dublin. He was staying with his family in New York for the summer, but he wanted to work to make some spending money while he was there. We became good friends, and when I went back to school, he suggested I visit Ireland at some point, and he’d show me around. Well, I graduated the following spring and went there has a graduation gift. John and I traveled the countryside by train and bus, and he showed me everything from Dublin to Cork to Castlebar and many places in between. I kissed the Blarney Stone and climbed Croagh Patrick; I had my first Guinness and my first Irish breakfast. My first trip to Europe, and I had found my second home. I’ve been there a few times since, some for tours with students, but one where I was in Galway for an NEH grant to study the works of W. B. Yeats for a month. I’m of Lithuanian/Latvian descent, but I feel connected to the Emerald Isle. I’d love to live in Galway, on the west coast, and live like Yeats, in “a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made,” to write and read.
If you could have any car, what would it be?
I used to think it was a Jaguar XJ-6, largely because I saw a movie once where a college professor, who wore sport coats with elbow patches, drove one. But, now, I’m not so sure. Being more practical than fanciful when it comes to cars, I’m just happy with my Hyundai. I’ve never been a sports car kind of guy, and I have no desire to drive a car with a manual transmission. Now, as a fantasy writer, I’d love to drive a chariot, simply because of the horsepower. ;)
Tell us about your writing:
How long have your been writing? Was it a dream, a goal or is it just a hobby?
I remember writing stories when I was in junior high, but it wasn’t until I was a in high school when I found my first voice (I’ve matured much since then, so my voice has had many incarnations). I wrote poetry, too, and I hadn’t given much thought to longer pieces until later in high school. I’d say it was a hobby, but a serious one. Back then, I was artistic, too, so aside from writing, I sketched, painted, sculpted, etc. Writing seemed to stick, though, and one specific class assignment had us writing short stories in our favorite genre—I chose sci-fi/fantasy. A comic book fan since I was 10, I had fallen in love with characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, so this story was not only easy to write, but so much fun. That story, “The Olympus Corps.,” written back in 1984, became the inspiration for my first, recently published, novel—Task Force: Gaea. What was once a hobby has evolved into a passion.
How many hours a day do you devote to writing?
I’d say, when I’m focused on a specific story, I spend upwards of six hours a day writing, although not always in one lump of time. Sometimes, I scribble ideas down all day long, especially when I’m at school. Sometimes, I’d use my planning period to plan a story more than to grade papers.
Do you have a set routine, or do you write when the mood strikes?
Mostly when the mood strikes, but it strikes more often than I can allow time for it. There’s no routine, either. I just fall into it and see where the Muses take me. It’d be difficult to pin down a routine since I write wherever I am: a bookstore, at home, at school, on a plane, etc.
Is there some place special you like to be when you write?
Not really. I can write in public, like a café or bookstore, or at home in my office. When I’m in my zone, nothing really disturbs me. Summer, though, tends to be the time when I am the most productive.
Do you listen to music or do you need a quiet place to write?
Music would distract me during, but I do listen to music when I take breaks. Mostly classical music, too. I like the “white noise” of a public place, too. I recently found a website called rainymood.com that just plays the sound of a thunderstorm. That’s been helpful as background noise when the house is too quiet.
Tell us about your book:
What is the name of it and is it part of a series or a stand alone novel?
The novel is Task Force: Gaea—Finding Balance, and it’s going to be part of a series, probably three books.
Comic books entered my life when I was about ten, back when I rode my bike to the stationery store since comic shops as we know them today weren’t around. I had also found, and couldn't get enough of, Greek mythology (now an insatiable addiction). I discovered Saturday morning cartoons then, too, and then the Fates had me ensnared: I learned about Wonder Woman. All of these things together motivated me to write stories, and I found myself writing superhero stories. When I learned that Wonder Woman had ties to Greek mythology, that was it—I was hooked. My original idea for the story, “The Olympus Corps.,” was more Star Trek than fantasy, but it had my heroes traveling from planet to planet, encountering monsters of myth and the gods. About fifteen years ago, I changed the premise of the story and the title, but kept the heroes. I had matured as a writer, too, so some of the original ideas wouldn’t work as well for me now. I finished the manuscript five years ago and began the editing process. That's how Task Force: Gaea came to be.
What is it about?
The story twists the ancient myths we grow up with where what the reader knows about the Olympian gods, or thinks he knows, is challenged in fresh and curious ways. One god’s journey and actions unimaginably affect the entire universe. Basically, the book opens after Zeus and the gods have defeated the Titans, and Zeus is setting up Olympos with the gods. He makes some judgment errors, shall we say, that mess with the cosmos. Prophecies come about that tell of four mortals who will set right that which Zeus has done, but that won't happen right away. Amidst this chaos, Apollo is cast out of Olympos, punished, and his journey feeds into what eventually happens to fulfill the prophecy. Four mortals do indeed rise to the challenge in the modern era, and they have a tremendous job to find the balance once again between order and chaos.
Your other work:
Do you have any upcoming projects in the works or other books that have been published?
I’m currently working on the sequel with an expected finish date of December 2012. I’m trying to put together a collaboration with other writers of short stories and poetry where the proceeds would benefit cancer research.
Where can readers connect with you?
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, AuthorsDen, and Authors.com.
Website: Blog: www.taskforce-gaea.com
Where can we buy your books?
Fantasy and myth-lovers can find Task Force: Gaea on Amazon as paperback and Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
Kindle owners can get a free “Kindlegraph” at kindlegraph.com.
Barnes & Noble:
http://bit.ly/zj5w0X, Smashwords: http://bit.ly/xJtGVQ
http://bit.ly/zj5w0X, Smashwords: http://bit.ly/xJtGVQ