Saturday, December 31, 2016

Interview, David Lee Summers

Author David Lee Summers stops by for a short interview.

DBR: You have a new book out called The Astronomer’s Crypt.   Is this set at an  observatory or a planetarium?

The Astronomer's Crypt is set at a fictional observatory in the Sacramento Mountains of Southern New Mexico. 

DBR: Is this a ghost story?

Yes, in the sense that there are ghosts in the story.  However, the ghosts manifest and gain strength because an ancient, mystical monster has been unleashed, which proves to be the story's primary threat.

DBR: This story takes places at Carson Peak, is that a real location or a composite from the places you’ve visited?

Although the location is fictional, it takes inspiration from real observatories I've worked at or visited in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Not only is the observatory fictional, but so is Carson Peak itself.  Although fictional, the mountain resembles real peaks in the Sacramento range.  I also imagine a small mining town nearby called Toledo and an Apache casino beyond that.  The overall setting is not unlike Mt. Palomar in California.  The fictional town of Toledo is essentially an amalgam of the real New Mexico towns of Mogollon and Madrid.

DBR: You do a lot of vampire stuff. Is this a paradigm shift or just a one-time thing?

The long term goal is for The Astronomer's Crypt to be the first book in a trilogy set around the Carson Peak wilderness area.  So, yes, it stands separate from my vampire books, but if all goes well, it will be more than a one-time thing.

DBR:  So, can you tell us a little about the main character?

The novel's main character is Mike Teter.  He operates telescopes at Carson Peak Observatory. At the end of a night, during a terrible winter snow storm, he experiences a vision of horrific monster. Afterwards, on the drive home, the astronomer he has been working with hits an icy patch on the road and dies in the subsequent car crash.  Freaked out by this event, he quits to take on a life in town with his new wife.  Two years later, Mike is asked to return to the observatory during a staffing shortfall.     That's when his troubles really begin.
Mike is something of an introvert, but he loves his wife, an astronomer named Bethany.  They're expecting their first child.  He's a science fiction fan and loves superhero comics.  He doesn't believe in ghosts and he just wants to do his job and support his new family.

DBR: You actually work at a real observatory.  Have they been supportive?

 Yes, I work at Kitt Peak National Observatory outside of Tucson, Arizona.  My boss has admitted that she's a little nervous that I wrote a book entitled The Astronomer's Crypt, but in fact, she's been quite supportive of my writing.  A lot of the astronomers I work with have expressed an interest in this novel.

DBR You’ve also got a story coming up in a weird western anthology soon.  Can you tell us what that’s about?

My story "Fountains of Blood" will be appearing in the anthology Straight Outta Tombstone, edited by David Boop.  The story was inspired by the real life disappearance of Albert J. Fountain, a former Texas governor and Billy the Kid's defense attorney who was investigating participants in New Mexico's so-called Lincoln County War.  While traveling through White Sands, Fountain and his young son vanished, never to be seen again.  In the story, Fountain's body guard investigates the disappearance and discovers it may have been the work of vampires rather than hired guns.

The Astronomer's Crypt is available from Amazon at the link below.

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