Hello from beautiful Bonville, Ontario! Like so many writers this time of year, I’m neck deep in a brand new work for NaNoWriMo 2016. For those not in the know, NaNo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Believe it or not, a 50K manuscript can be hashed out in a month if a writer dedicates about 1,600 new words to the page every day. But I digress…
The blog needs to be fed, and so it is my great pleasure to welcome multi-talented author David Mannes. Spiritual and curious, David plumbs a fascination with the paranormal while exploring relationships at their most personal. With TWO releases out this year, his energy and creativity is an inspiration to us all.
Welcome to the blog, David.
As a Cantor-Educator you are a spiritual man who is also interested in the paranormal and the unexplained. How do you reconcile dogma with secular interests?
Judaism’s belief about what happens after you die is a gray spectrum with an evolution of beliefs over the millennium looking at biblical and Talmudic views. We do believe that the soul is eternal. But I certainly don’t believe in demons, possessed souls, or Satan- at least in terms of the Christian view, which has its origins with Egyptian, Greek, and Roman theology. In Judaism Satan-pronounced Sah-tahn in Hebrew- or the Accuser, is sort of like a prosecuting attorney. (Satan is mentioned briefly by a couple of the prophets and predominantly in the book of Job (an allegory piece of literature about faith). However, I did live briefly in a haunted house for awhile in my teens. (See May, 1976 issue of Fate Magazine-‘The Spite House’) and I have friends who are psychic. I tend to keep an open mind as to what happens to our spirit after death and in terms of Jewish belief.
Re: the unexplained or extraterrestrial: In Jewish tradition God created and destroyed many worlds before creating this one, and then God continues to create. God is a creative force. It’s what God does. Also, it’s pretty egotistical of us to think we’re the only intelligent life form in the universe, and really, looking at our world and the history of humankind, there’s got to be something out there smarter than us. The universe is billions or trillions of years old.Humankind is still in it’s relative infancy. We may have become more sophisticated, but we haven’t matured much. We don’t know everything. The world and the universe will continue to surprise us.
Is that how you became involved in the arts? Or did the arts come first?
I was always interested in fine art (especially cartooning) and writing. I majored in Art initially in High school and my first year of college, then switched it to a minor and majored in English. I’ve been writing since upper elementary school and got a lot of encouragement from teachers and in creative writing classes. I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I knew I wanted to be a writer since fifth grade.
Your character Jeff Reimer in THE CANTOR’S SON reminisces about the year of his Bar Mitzvah, which took place in the 1960s. I’ve been listening to a lot of Beatles lately and find it very reassuring. What is it about the 60’s that keeps us coming back?
We are the baby boomer generation. We had great music, great causes and its generational influence is still present. While The Cantor’s Son has a Jewish slant, it also speaks to baby boomers and any kid whose father was clergy. I think it was a great era to grow up in, despite all the war and social problems.
Jeff “comes home” after forty-six years. What is his take on ‘home’ in the year 2016 CE?
The book is about Jeff’s journey not only as a young adult but as an adult. Getting older gives us a different perspective on life and what’s important. There’s a lot of people (adults) that are still figuring it out. Overall change happens. Growth happens. Life is a continual journey and Jeff is entering a new stage but experience has given him a new outlook too, one that I think the character is happy with.
You have also authored THE REPTILIAN ENCOUNTER and SCARLET JUSTICE. Do these works support common themes, or are other agendas at work?
Well Scarlet Justice started out as a screenplay that I was going to produce with a couple of buddies, but there was a recession on in the early 90’s and we couldn’t find interest or financing so I did a novelization of it. I grew up watching old B westerns and the Clint Eastwood and John Wayne movies. While doing research for the Writing-on-Stone documentary I read a lot about the early years of the Mounted Police and it gave me a lot of story ideas that I’ve incorporated in this series. The second book, Scarlet Vengeance will be out this fall, and I’m working on a third book in the series.
The Reptilian Encounter is actually the third part of a trilogy (I published the first two volumes independently on Amazon kindle) but it’s also a spin-off for a continuing series. I’ve been interested in UFOs since I was a kid. I use to read Frank Edward’s column in the newspaper and have been doing reading and research on UFO’s for probably about 50 years. As well, having grown up in the 60’s, The Man from U.N.C.L.E was one of my favorite shows, as was X-Files in the ’90’s. Both influenced the creation of my character Damien Wynter. According to some of my research, after the Roswell crash of 1947 President Truman set up Majestic 12, a group of military, industrial, and private organizations and individuals who investigate and obtain alien technology, and understand extraterrestrials, but at the same time keeping it secret to prevent public panic. My novels are based on actual or alleged incidents but with fictional license and conclusions. The series is sort of a Man from U.N.C.L.E meets the X-Files. The second book, The Tunguska Encounter is coming out this fall. I’m hoping this series takes off and I think it’d be great to see The Reptillian Encounter made into a movie.
And you have also worked in film as a producer/director and scriptwriter. How do these experiences compare to writing in solitude, if you, indeed, write in solitude?
Definitely there are parts of media production that are creatively collaborative; but both involve storytelling. I think visually no matter what the media. I always have. The difference for me is in the pacing. Working in media is a very intense and frantic pace a lot of the time, given budgets, deadlines, etc. Writing is more relaxed. The only deadline we have (other than from our illustrious publisher during the editing phase) is one that we set. There are times I enjoy being in my ‘Batcave’ with music in the background and letting the story take me in new places. Solitude is essential when writing. I find myself quite comfortable when I’m in ‘the zone’.
What is the glue that holds society together currently?
Relationships and common goals. To have a society means that there has to be rules that everyone agrees to and abides by. That’s the main purpose of the Ten Commandments (though in Judaism according to the rabbis, there’s 613). It’s the minimal rules to have a safe and just society.
Many of us imagine life before the digital age. Others of us have lived it. Which category do you fall into? Can you share a pre Instagram anecdote with the readers? (Mine involves chasing my younger brother with a manual egg beater *lol*)
I definitely lived life before the digital age and was very thankful when computers came out. Made writing a lot easier..lol. I remember as a kid we’d play army. Our next door neighbors were an older couple. They had a retaining wall on one side of their property. We kids used to go around through another yard and take a running leap off the retaining wall and do a tuck and roll to pretend we were parachuting. The problem was the cement walk that separated the wall and the grass. You had to jump far enough so you didn’t splat on the walk. We didn’t understand liability issues, but the old guy was always chasing us away when he caught us doing that.
What words of wisdom would you impart to our first extraterrestrials when they arrive?
Don’t judge us by the stupidity you see. We are worthy and capable of better. We are also tenacious and unpredictable. Don’t piss us off.
Any last words?
Follow your dreams. You only live once. Appreciate the people in your life because that’s the most important.
Thanks, David. Now let’s check out the novels…
THE CANTOR’S SON
Rabbi-Cantor Jeff Reimer returns to River City, Iowa after forty-six years, as spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom. As Jeff connects with the congregation on a variety of issues, he also connects with his past. It leads him to reminisce about the year of his Bar Mitzvah, and the pivotal events and personal relationships that have led him back to River City again, and that makes Jeff the man he has become. This is a humorous coming-of-age story set in the turbulent 1960’s where Jeff fights off the stigma of being a clergyman’s son, contends with Junior High shop classes, stumbles through B’nai Mitzvah party dances and a semi-reluctant romance with April Blackman.
Released October 14, 2016
Ride with Northwest Mounted Police Constable Alfred Kingsley and ex-gunfighter turned scout Charlie Buck in two new adventures: Scarlet Vengeance– Hatred is a powerful motivator. When rancher Amos Pike spots ex- runaway slave and black rancher, Elijah Samuels, a man he blames for his family’s downfall, Pike plots a merciless revenge to take away everything Samuel’s holds dear. But he doesn’t count on NWMP Constable Alfred Kingsley and Charlie Buck, who head out on the trail to track the kidnappers and murderers down. In the second novella, Scarlet Gold, Kingsley and Buck, while on their way escorting a prisoner to Fort Benton, aid the U.S. cavalry and Marshal Ben Tucker track down a ruthless band of gold thieves in Montana.
THE TUNGUSKA ENCOUNTER
Released September 30, 2016
The cold war is back on but with a twist…a remnant, a computer chip, exists from a UFO that exploded over Russia in 1908. Now Damien Wynter, special agent for the clandestine Majic-12, is on a race to get it before SETKA, his Russian counterparts. From the canals of Venice to old city of Dubrovnik, to the pyramids of Bosnia, Wynter and Michelle Martin run a gauntlet of anarchy, destruction and death in an all out battle to obtain technology that could be the greatest boon to humankind or launch its destruction in THE TUNGUSKA ENCOUNTER!
The Majic-12 series explores the clandestine side of UFOs and the covert organizations that investigate them. This is an espionage-action-adventure sci-fi series that takes place in present day.
About the Author
David M. Mannes is a Cantor-Educator and a member of the American Conference of Cantors. He has served congregations in the United States and Canada. He is also a former educational film producer/director and scriptwriter. He was nominated in 1990 for best non-dramatic script in the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association (A.M.P.I.A.) awards for “Writing-on-Stone” that he wrote and produced for Alberta Parks. David is the author of The Cantor’s Son, The Reptilian Encounter (Damien Wynter –Majic-12 series), Scarlet Justice (Constable Alfred Kingsley and Charlie Buck series), among others. He has had a long time interest in history, as well as UFOs, paranormal and unexplained phenomena. David is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Alberta and the International Thrillers Writers. David Mannes is married and lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/David-M.-Mannes/e/B004RQNWNA