Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gary Starta: The IAN Interview

Gary Starta is a former journalist who studied English and Journalism at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

His love for science fiction compelled him to write his first novel What Are You Made Of? published in 2006. Inspired by Isaac Asimov, the science fiction novel focuses on intelligent artificial life and whether sentient androids should possess the same rights as humans. The androids in Starta's novel are created as hybrids - part machine, part human - further blurring the line between human and machine. Starta foresees a near future where humans will be forced to decide if intelligent machinery is indeed a life form. Possibly, in this near future, some humans will possess computer enhancements to overcome disabilities becoming hybrids themselves. The line between biological life form and mechanical life form continues to be examined in 2010's Gods of the Machines.

Demon Inhibitions along with its preceding Caitlin Diggs (series) novels, Extreme Liquidation and Blood Web are reminiscent of the The X-Files television/movie series. Contemporary authors Laurell K. Hamilton, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher and Kelly Armstrong also fuel his aspiration to create paranormal suspense.

Starta's crime novella ' Murder By Association' blends mystery with forensic investigation. It is a departure from previous books because it contains no science fiction or paranormal elements. Its follow up is 2012's Kindred Killers. Additionally, Starta foresees his 2008 novella ' Alzabreah's Garden ' - a fantasy romance - as another out-of-the-box effort.

IAN. Please tell us about your latest book
GS. Demon Inhibitions continues a series of investigator Caitlin Diggs. I wrote it in a fashion where the reader does not need to read the previous books, Blood Web and Extreme Liquidation – although I would be quite pleased if one did! I changed the third person narrative to the first person, hoping to incorporate the investigator’s firsthand observations in a more immediate manner for the reader. I am always thinking of the reader and in fact, I think this is how I perceive the actual writing process. What would the reader want? I hope to have provided some twists and turns along the way. Agent Caitlin Diggs will leave her FBI position for Salem, MASS where she hopes to become a private eye. Her recent acquisition of paranormal abilities has stymied her with the Bureau. She cannot alert them of her supernatural abilities which makes field reports a challenge.
As Caitlin grows disturbed by the paranormal circumstances of murders in Salem, she comes to suspect a real estate broker who just happens to be an incubus according to her Wiccan neighbor Briana McFadden.

 Solving the case isn’t quite satisfying for Caitlin as the suspects flee via teleportation. Caitlin is then contacted by an old friend in the Boston PD who alerts her that a fugitive with ‘otherworldly’ abilities has escaped. It is code talk for Diggs and her friend, Stanford Carter. Carter is open-minded and considers a being capable of murdering via thought suggestion might be plausible.

Her ‘manhunt’ takes her through a wormhole where she finds a parallel universe. She not only has a double but her Wiccan friend is an FBI agent. When the fugitive kills the ‘other’ Diggs, Caitlin must assume her role as an FBI agent working for the preternatural division. This is strange in itself as demons are commonplace here. They are also the target of hate crimes by humans. It is this prejudice which leads Caitlin to consider if her fugitive demon may have been created for a sick purpose. When she meets a scientist who supposedly is the demon’s father, she learns science may have lent a twisted hand to this purpose. 

IAN. How long did it take to write Demon Inhibitions? 
GS. About six months. The beginning portion was written prior and I left it for a while before resuming.

IAN. What inspired you to write the book? 
GS.  I love the weird, especially when it involves unproved science. I wondered how I could incorporate science into a novel which might also be considered urban fantasy. I also incorporated an idea from one of my short stories about a girl whose singing could heal. Her talent is able to inhibit demon violence, at least temporarily. 

IAN. Do you write at night or in the morning?
GS. I prefer midday. I do some banal tasks then settle down at the computer for the afternoon. 

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft? 
GS. I write a loose outline. After that, I fly by the seat of my pants so to speak, or write. 

IAN. How is Demon Inhibitions different from others in your genre?
GS. I find it is a hybrid genre. I call it fiction on the fringe of genre. One can find suspense, romance and mystery in it in addition to fantasy/science fiction. 

IAN. Is Demon Inhibitions published in print, e-book or both?
GS.  It is currently ebook. Hopefully, a print book soon. 

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading Demon Inhibitions?
GS. I would like people to consider the fantastic might have plausibility. That science fiction might become science fact. I also like to leave them with some morality and/or a sense of the character’s inner struggle. No one is either black or white. We are all grey. 

IAN. Where can we go to buy Demon Inhibitions?
GS. Please find it here:

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
GS. If we skip past the unplaced books, my next book was just completed. It is a story of UFO and ghost hunters. I wanted characters who weren’t authority figures to have to deal with some strange circumstances. I also wanted characters who might be at odds with the other’s beliefs. 

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?
GS. Yes, please visit me on Facebook and see my book at Champagne Books.

Demon Inhibitions by Gary Starta
245 pages
Science Fiction 
Publisher: Champagne Books 

I knew this would quickly tire Mollini; eventually he would work some mojo to escape with his hostage in tow. At this instant, I saw Diggs from the corner of my eye. Perhaps, she knew this as well and had been only trying to stall the inevitable. That’s when I began to panic. I tried to stop her from doing the unthinkable. It’s what I should have done from the beginning.

She began to walk towards Mollini, heading straight for the creek. Her right hand dug into her jacket and retrieved a pistol. She promptly tossed it into the creek as my hand lunged for her. I caught the lapel of her jacket, but instead of impeding her progress, I came away with only her ID badge in my quivering hand.

“Agent Diggs, no!” Now would have been a good time to practice my telekinesis, I realized. I willed her to return to me, to rescind her foolish offer. How many demons had she dealt with before? Did she think Mollini would honor a trade—herself for the hostage? I didn’t have another second to ponder this because my eyes were too busy focusing on the river which had transformed from murky brown to obsidian black. Diggs’s body tilted, backwards. I pursued her, fearing the bastard would drown her, but I heard a stern no in my head. He warned me to back away. I railed at him in my mind. What makes you think I will? I remember our last meeting. It seems you had little or no hypnotic powers over me.

He countered in thought. Don’t test me. Not unless you want to witness my first kill in this world.

I stopped. Frozen with dread, I watched Diggs float horizontally across the creek.

Would Mollini play fair? I nearly shouted it in defiance, but stifled when I saw Mollini release his hostage, sending him on a similar course, floating him horizontally across the creek toward me. I could feel deception, despite his allegiance. Why would he relinquish this man so easily? What could he possibly want with Diggs? Bad feelings conspired in my stomach. I felt sick. My mind raced for options. Pull my gun as a last resort. Maybe it wouldn’t kill Mollini, but perhaps it might disrupt his magic. This had to be magic. No world operated as such.

Then I felt an eerie silence. A calm… before the storm.

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