Jun 26, 2012

Interview and Review : Depth of Deception by Alexander Galant

Posted by Emily at Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Thanks to Alexander Galant for allowing me to interview him and review his book, Depth of Deception, as part of the Virtual Cafe Blog Tours!



Has Titanic always interested you?

Yes. It started when I was a kid. We had this book about 'strange stories and amazing facts' which had things like documented events in the Bermuda Triangle, the true-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and the one that caught my eye: The book Futility by Morgan Robertson.  The story of it revolved around an 'unsinkable' ocean liner that struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank. Because there weren't enough lifeboats there was a great loss of life. And the ship was called...Titan.  The strange fact was that Futility was published 14 years BEFORE Titanic set sail.

This story spurred me to read up on the real event and over the years I've collected many books on Titanic.  I even have a computer simulation of Titanic that allows me to 'virtually walk' around the decks and rooms of the ship. I was already familiar with the ship's layout when James Cameron first released Titanic in 1997. At one point when Jack pulls Rose into a door off the deck, I leaned to my fiancĂ©e (now my wife) and whispered that should be the gymnasium — and it was! She elbowed me to shut up.

I even did a woodburning of Titanic without using a photo for reference.  A photo of it and of a collector's copy of the book Futility are on the bonus feature page of depthofdeception.com.

Ironically, the book Futility is not only featured in Depth of Deception, but Myra the mysterious woman in my novel, is named after a little girl in Futility.  Also, in my novel the new ship Titanic II is renamed Titan.

How did you get the idea for Depth of Deception?

The idea was first sparked while I was standing in the checkout at a grocery store.  I saw the tabloid headline:

Titanic Survivor Found On Iceberg
Trawler Picks Up Young Woman Dressed In 1900s Clothes!
She Thinks It's April 15, 1912 - And Her Dress Is Still Wet!

I was so broke I couldn`t afford to buy it but I thought it would make for a great film premise.  So I wrote the headline down in a spiral bound notepad that I carried around.  It was a good idea but I couldn`t figure out `why` a person would come forward in time.  How could that be believable? I recall reading stories of similar cases in the Bermuda Triangle but the location of the Titanic sinking was nowhere near there. There had to be strong reason in order to get the audience to suspend their disbelief in time travel. So I put it in a file folder and locked the idea away. Sixteen years later, I took part in the 3-Day Novel writing contest. While looking for story ideas, I found the headline in my files and suddenly had it. Now that I was a father of a 1-year-old girl, I had the reason for the 'possibility' of time travel.

What is your favorite book/who is your favorite author?

There are so many books that I enjoy for different reasons. But if I had to choose one it would be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I've read it many times over the years. It's a great story with a supernatural twist. As a writer and a historical researcher I love the back story goes with it.

He wrote it in six weeks, but because he had had a fight with his publisher, he decided to pay for the publication costs himself (and therefore get a percentage of the profits instead of getting a lump sum). This was not cheap since the first edition was bound in a red-brown cloth cover with gold embossed cartouche of the title on the front and spine. I received a replica of this first edition last Christmas. He priced it at 5 shillings so everyone could afford it and sold six thousand copies. He printed more and continued to collect a percentage of the profits, which he needed with a new baby on the way. It was well received and aside from it being a Christmas ghost story (as Dickens called it) but it brought attention to the growing poverty and working conditions for children. It also rekindled some forgotten Christmas traditions. All this information brought together in an entertaining way. It has never been out of print. The terms "Bah! Humbug!", "Christmas Spirit", and calling someone a "Scrooge" is a result of his book, the power of the written word and the determination of an author who decided to self-publish.

How did you come up with the title for Depth of Deception?

When I first wrote it for the 3-Day Novel Contest, it was called The Unthinkable as a play on Titanic's alias 'unsinkable'. When my agent suggested I expand it to a full-length novel she insisted that the title should change to something more mysterious and not sound like a lisp.

I agonized for months and went through several working titles, trying to encompass both storylines. Most of them were cheesy and my wife referred to them as B-movie titles. Then one day, while I was writing a chapter, I wrote the line: "There is no depth to which she would sink with her lies and deception for her own personal gain."

I stopped. Looked at the line and then texted my wife with the message: 'Depth of Deception'  I didn't add anything else to the message. She replied "Perfect! THAT'S your title!!!" My agent concurred. When I published it as an e-book I discovered that there was futuristic submarine book with a similar title so I added '(A Titanic Murder Mystery)' as a sub-title to differentiate mine from it.

Would you rather be able to read or write, in order to have one giving up the other?

That's an interesting question. When I write I always need to research and thus need to read. However, I've also been a filmmaker so I could still be a storyteller without writing. My grandmother was the smartest person I ever knew and I credit the fact that she practically read a book per day to having her full faculties at an old age. When I was little, she used to tell me that books were magical. They had the power to take you to far away places or travel through time. It's so true.  So I would always want to be able to read.

What inspired you to start writing?

Originally out of necessity. I was trying to direct a couple of short films to showcase myself as a director but when I tried to get film rights to a play the writers wanted more than I could afford. Not that they didn't deserve it but I just couldn't afford it at the time. So I took some things I had come up with for a creative writing class, adapted and expanded them to scripts. So I became a screenwriter. Ironically, some of the screenplays I wrote were too expensive to produce, but it dawned on me that a novel didn't need a production budget, so I could tell me stories in their full glory after all.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Don't throw away an idea. Sometimes it feels like it's going nowhere and you know you can't force creativity. But invest in a notepad in which you can write it down. Don't rely on computers or electronic storage. I have some scripts on floppy disks. When was the last time you saw a computer with a floppy drive? Also, on my desk is a coaster for my coffee mug - it used to be a hard drive IN the computer. I keep it as a reminder that computers crash.

So make some notes because you never know when inspiration will hit. Technically, Depth of Deception was published 22 years after I first had the idea. The novel I'm writing now was an idea I had five years ago but it didn't fall into place. Suddenly the story came to me when I was struggling with something else (I go into more details about it on my own blog). Fortunately, I still had my notes and it all started to work.

Ideas are too valuable to be thrown away.



Alexander Galant was the historical researcher for the novel DRACULA THE UN-DEAD, which was on the New York Times Best Sellers list in October 2009. Alexander also co-wrote the screenplay adaptation that was optioned briefly by Jan de Bont and adapted the novel into a dramatic stage reading for the Toronto book launch of Dracula the Un-Dead, which brought out the highest turnout for any event on the book tour.
Alexander has also written and directed several short films including "The Jigsaw Puzzle", which won the Festival Buzz Award (most talked-about film) in the New York Independent Film Festival; "First Light", Winner Bronze Remi Award for Fantasy Horror at the WorldFest Houston, USA, Special Commendation Award at the Festival of Fantastic Films, UK, and Best Technical Achievement from the International Festival of Cinema and Technology; "The Missing Piece", Winner Silver Remi Award for Suspense Thriller at the WorldFest Houston, USA; and co-wrote and directed "Star Wars: Blasted Behavior", a finalist in the Atom Films/LucasFilm Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge (George Lucas was one of the judges), which also won the Best Foreign Sci-Fi Film Award at the New York International Film Festival and continues to make the festival circuit this year.
Alexander's love of historical details can also be seen in some of the stage productions he has directed, such as the silent film era of "Singin' in the Rain" (Act-Co Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement in Live Theatre), a 50-year span in "Love Letters" and the World War II Amsterdam annex for "The Diary of Anne Frank".

Now it's time for my review of Depth of Deception!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Review: I normally don't give adult books a chance, I find them too tedious, boring, and long-winded, but for Depth of Deception, when I saw it was a Titanic Murder Mystery, since Titanic has always interested me, I decided to read it, and i'm glad I did!
The writing itself is good, the plot is good, if not a little far fetched, making me a bit lost at times in the book, but I loved the characters.
The story revolves around the life of Callum Toughill, an investigator investigating a seventy-year-old murder mystery, his grandfather's last mystery, Edward Hoffman, a senior citizen who's always sensed something... missing in his life, Myra Sloan, who is found on an iceberg  seventy years after the titanic sunk, seemingly stuck in a fantasy where she was on the Titanic.
If you're a new fan of Historical Fiction, or if you, like me, where a Historical Fiction junkie for the first five years of your reading life, this is a good mix of Historical Fiction/Sci-Fi/Murder Mystery i'm sure you'll enjoy, so be sure to add it to your To Be Read list, and check it out, even if you're not normally a fan of adult books!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks again Emily.

    Anyone wishing to buy 'Depth of Deception', it's available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007O3IKTY

    Also in other ebook formats links & in softcover print visit: www.DepthOfDeception.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great interview & review. Thank you for hosting Alexander today :)

    ReplyDelete

I love all your comments, and it makes me so freakishly happy to get the alert that I have a new one, so thank you!

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