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What is your reading comfort zone? How often do you read out of your comfort zone
Mysteries are my La-Z-Boy. Give me a good Bosch or Longmire story and I’m reclining back in comfort and ease. At the same time, I do push myself into trying out new authors. When I dig into a new series I always go to the very first novel to see how they start their stories out. I guess that’s the writer in me. If I like them, the rest go on the list.
I read a lot of history stuff, too. I went through American history books from the Revolutionary War through the Eighties. After that, I spent a couple of years plowing through each and every Presidential biography in chronological order. That was pretty interesting because we’ve always been a nation divided 50/50—and politics has always been a blood sport through the years. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Then, of course, there is a ton of research done for my books. For Jungleland, I read everything I could find on the Sixties Civil War in Congo I could find—from the CIA Station Chief, to a Navy SEAL who served there, to Cuban Bay-of-Pigs pilots who went to fly fighters, to mercenary Mike Hoare, to Che Guevara who went to export communism.
So, I get outside my “comfort zone” quite a bit.
What makes you love a book?
I like a boat load of books, but the ones I really love are those that I want to pick up and read again. There is a depth in them that continues to reveal itself on second and, even, third readings. Catch-22, Slaughterhouse-Five, Little Big Man, and Huckleberry Finn are four that come to mind. It leads me to load up my books with symbols, images, and themes—sometimes overtly and sometimes subvertly—to add depth to my stories.
How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I’ve made a concerted effort to review all of the books I read on my blog website (www.owl-works.com), Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Facebook. It’s only fair if I want to get reviews on my novels. I really do not like giving out bad reviews and I rarely give out one or two-star ratings. If the book is really that bad, why should I bother to even finish it? When I do, I usually don’t post a review.
Name a book that you could/would not finish.
Recently, I gave up on White Heat by Don Delillo about a third of the way through. I am a sucker for satire and Amazon described it as “a brilliant satire of mass culture and the numbing effects of technology. It won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction, so I was psyched about it. But I just couldn’t go on. It was, well, boring. Perhaps a Hitler Studies college program was funnier in the Eighties, but I didn’t even have a chuckle along the way. Maybe I missed out, but life is short.
Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
I am actually quite blessed because most of my five favorite books have been made into great movies: Little Big Man, Slaughterhouse-Five, To Kill a Mockingbird. But the one that really takes the cake for me is Mike Nichol’s adaptation of Catch-22 (and not the 2019 George Clooney production). It had Alan Arkin as Yossarian, Jon Voight as Milo Minderbinder, Bob Newhart as Major Major, Martin Sheen as Dobbs, Orsen Wells as General Dreedle—man, there are so many crazy good stars in it: Check it out on IMDb. But somehow—and I don’t know how—Nichol’s actually captured the sense and nonsense of Joseph Heller’s incredible story.
So what I want to know is: Which characters do you like better? The good guys or the villains?
~Doyle ‘Wahoo’ Nicholson, USMC
Sweating it out in the former Belgian Congo as a civil war mercenary, with Sparks turning wrenches on his T-6 Texan, Hawk splits his time flying combat missions and, back on the ground, sparring with Ella, an attractive young missionary doctor, in the sequel to My Brother’s Keeper.
I slid back the canopy. The woman wriggled out from around the mechanic’s blocking move and headed towards me.
Sparks shrugged his shoulders at my hand motion query. He folded his arms over his chest to watch the show.
The woman didn’t even walk around the wing but stooped to cut underneath to take a more direct line towards me. She disappeared under the leading edge and appeared at the aileron, then followed the trailing edge back to the fuselage, looking for the handhold to get herself up on the wing.
I turned in the cockpit and watched her step up onto the wing and climb the incline up to me. I started to slide myself up to get out, getting my butt up on the back of the seat, but she got to me and blocked my way out.
“Just who do you think you are, mister?” she barked with the authoritative voice of a medical professional at the very top of the heap. I had heard that tone in my brother’s voice more than a few times.
I just pulled off my helmet but left my mirrored Ray-Bans on. From safely behind the lenses, I carefully surveyed her gorgeously animated face—even in anger, her lips wrinkled in a bit of a smile as if this was half-show, half-genuine indignation. Her red hair was neatly pulled back in a ponytail, showing a freckled, fair complexion that had not yet been weathered and tanned by the sun, so she was new in country. Most of us outsiders knew each other well, but I didn’t recognize who this was. I had heard about a new doctor at the mission, though never imagined it might have been female.
“You’re not from around here, are you?” I asked.
“I mean originally—not born and raised.”
She scowled and punched my arm with her fist…hard.
“Ow!” I guessed she had at least one brother.
“Was that you—of course it was. Who else would it have been.”
I unscrewed the plugs from my ears, and the volume level on her voice got louder. Over her shoulder, I saw Sparks shake his head and smile.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa there,” I finally interrupted, holding up my hand, palm out like a cop stopping traffic.
She stopped talking and stared hard at me. She punched my arm again…
Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass
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