Please welcome Alan Gold to The Qwillery. Bat Out of Hell was published on September 1, 2015 by Yucca Publishing.
The Qwillery (TQ): Welcome to The Qwillery. When and why did you start writing?
Alan Gold (AG): I started writing as a journalist a million years ago. My first book was about my wife's pregnancy, from a man's perspective. Then I wrote an academic book about marketing. So I really have been dealing in fiction much of my life. I've now written 25 novels published and translated throughout the world, avidly read by me and my family.
TQ: Are you a plotter, pantser or hybrid?
AG: I'm a plotter. I devise the overall story at the very beginning, often based on reading or watching the Simpsons on TV, and then I go into detail about the plotline and the subplots. But these always change and evolve as I'm writing, or as I'm doing my research after I've written the first draft.
TQ: You are a literary critic. How does this affect or not your own writing?
AG: Yes, I'm a critic, but I never let it affect my writing. I put on one of my de Bono hats and become another person entirely when I read a book for review. Then, when I've written my review, I put on my novelist's hat and become a different person (my psychiatrist says that there are probably many literary critics, as well as potential girlfriends for Donald Trump, inside my brain.
TQ: Describe Bat out of Hell in 140 characters or less.
AG: Mammalian bats have been living apart from other fauna for 50 million years. They've developed viruses in their blood which are unknown to modern primates. Now they're living in city centre botanical gardens spreading their filth. Bram Stoker was prescient.
TQ: Tell us something about Bat out of Hell that is not found in the book description.
AG: It's author is breath-takingly beautiful
TQ: What inspired you to write Bat out of Hell?
AG: One of Australia's television presenters, Richard Morecroft, used to read the news with a distressed bat underneath his jacket, giving it warmth. I wondered whether it could cause Richard harm, so I looked up bat diseases, and kerpow....a book was born.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Bat out of Hell? Why did you choose bats as the disease vector?
AG: I spent hours with Professor Google, as well as talking by email around the world to zoologists, mammalian specialists and those who study the order Chiroptera. But I didn't want to confuse a good story with too many specialist's facts, so I kept it as general as possible, while trying to be true to the research. But this is a novel, not a scientific text, and makes no pretense at scientific veracity....but I don't think too many scientists would have problems with much of it, except the last page. However, I don't expect to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate for contributions to science.
TQ: Which question about Bat out of Hell do you wish someone would ask? Please ask it and answer it!
Q. If bats are as dangerous as you claim in your book, Alan, why are they allowed in botanical gardens?
A. What a brilliant question! Well, they're being frightened off by grounds keepers because of their filth and the damage they do to flora. But the truth is that I....only I....truly know how deadly bats are. They're thought to be the original source of AIDS, SARS, Hendra, rabies and many other viruses which affect humanity. Yet only I know the truth. Only I can save the world from these harbingers of death. But I'm a lone voice in the wilderness. Nobody takes me seriously. But one day.....one day....
TQ: What's next?
AG: A book about the Holocaust called The Mechanic. Then a book called Lady of the Night about a wannabe professor of literature who is constantly rejected by the New York publishing cabal, so he writes a pseudonymous book as a woman, but it becomes an overnight success, and he has to hire a lady to masquerade as the writer, and then....and then...don't worry, I'll send you a copy when it's published.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
AG: Thank you for having me, Sally, and my apologies for me being a scientific charlatan (though interestingly, my wife thinks I'm a literary charlatan as well....hmmmm)
Bat out of Hell: An Eco-Thriller
Yucca Publishing, September 1, 2015
Hardcover and eBook,284 pages
From the jungles of Indonesia to the very heart of New York City comes a plague that kills 100 percent of its victims. Medicine’s greatest nightmare, this modern black death is caused by the most virulent and uncontrollable mutant virus humanity has ever witnessed. And medicine can do nothing to stop its merciless spread.
Scientist Debra Hart and her team of experts are tasked by the United Nations to stop the disease. Racing against time, they must find the cause and the cure and figure out why this deadly disease—spread by bats—is killing thousands in cities across the globe. Debra and her team will struggle to stop the disease from spreading to millions more, even if it means killing off every bat alive. But fighting to prevent her are manic animal rights’ activists who rail against species genocide, even if it means risking the deaths of human beings. And hidden behind a cloak of secrecy is a crazed academic who’ll even kill top American government officials to save one living creature.
This is the nightmare scenario that Debra faces as the public becomes so terrified of bats that entire communities become vigilantes.
Alan Gold continues as an influential columnist for The Spectator, The Australian and other highly regarded magazines and related media. He appears regularly in the media as a commentator on human rights and international politics. Several of his twenty-plus books have been optioned for movies. Alan lives with his wife and three children.