Today I welcome author Michael Sussman to the blog to tell us more about his writing and his latest release, Crashing Eden.
I’ve always loved to write. As a teenager I wrote poetry, short stories, and song lyrics. In graduate school I wrote a dissertation that became the basis for my first book, A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy. I also edited a follow-up volume, A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice.
When my son was a little guy, I read piles of picture books to him. Although some were excellent, I felt many of the books were kind of boring or condescending toward children. I decided to write a book that challenged kids’ minds, and the result was Otto Grows Down, a story about a boy who becomes trapped in reverse time when he makes a birthday wish that his baby sister was never born.
2) Where did you get the idea for Crashing Eden?
When I was nineteen I lived in a commune in Paradise, Nova Scotia. One night, I suffered a concussion in a car crash in which I was a passenger. Like my protagonist in Crashing Eden, I spent the days following the concussion in what I can only call a state of grace, filled with deep feelings of gratitude and joy.
I’ve been interested in world mythology for many years, and especially intrigued by the widespread myths suggesting that humans have degenerated from an ancient state of grace, symbolized by Paradise or the Golden Age.
Stories often emerge when a writer asks what if? In this case, I wondered what might happen if we were somehow able to recapture the state of mind experienced by people before the Fall. What if we built a device that altered our brains in such a way that we felt like we were back in the Garden of Eden?
This led to speculating about how the God of the Old Testament might react to trespassers in his Garden. That’s where the story takes a controversial turn.
3) How do you go about the writing process? Do you plan or do you just go with the flow?
I start with an idea, or even a title, and let my mind work it over. Many writers like to work from an outline, but I find that too restrictive. I like to let my unconscious lead the way, trusting that a good story will emerge. With Crashing Eden, I often started a new chapter with little or no idea where the story was heading next. That keeps me interested, as if I’m the reader!
In the words of E.L. Doctorow, author of Ragtime and Billy Bathgate: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
4) Where do you usually draw your inspiration from?
Ideas just pop into my head. All I can do is make the conditions favorable, by walking in nature, daydreaming, or taking a nice hot bath.
5) What books/authors do you most like to read?
In terms of nonfiction, I especially like to read about astronomy, cosmology, and quantum physics. In fiction, I enjoy short stories and all types of novels, both literary and genres such as science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and YA. Some of my favorite authors are Dostoyevsky, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf, J.D. Salinger, Steinbeck, Nabokov, Vonnegut, Updike, Ann Patchett, Tom Robbins, Robert Parker, and Christopher Moore.
6) Tell us a random unknown fact about yourself.
I belonged to a cult called Divine Light Mission for a couple of years, living in an ashram and following the teachings of Guru Maharaj Ji.
7) What are you working on now? Any more new releases coming soon?
I am working with an amazing illustrator on an adventure story in verse, titled The Great Gogglemog.
8) Where can readers go to find out more about you and your writing?
Please visit my website and follow my blog: http://www.MichaelSussmanBooks.com
Title: Crashing Eden
Author: Michael Sussman
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Date of Publication: May 1st
Links: Buy from Solstice Publishing
For one boy and his friends, the path to Paradise comes at a cost—one they may not be prepared to pay.
When a biking accident leaves 17-year-old Joss Kazdan with the ability to hear things others can't, reality as he knows it begins to unravel.
A world of legends exists beyond the ordinary life he's always known, and he is transported to the same Paradise he's studying in World Mythology. But the strange gets even stranger when his new friends build a device that delivers people through the gates of the Garden of Eden.
Now Samael, the Creator God, is furious. As Samael rains down his apocalyptic devastation on the ecstasy-seeking teens, Joss and his companions must find a way to appease Samael—or the world will be destroyed forever.
Michael Sussman is the author of Crashing Eden, a YA fantasy/paranormal novel, and Otto Grows Down, a children’s picture book featuring illustrations by Scott Magoon.
Dr. Sussman is a clinical psychologist and has also published two books for mental health professionals. He’s the author of A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy and the editor of A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice.
Dr. Sussman resides in the Boston area with his son, Ollie.