M.T. Bass is the author of Murder by Munchausen; here is a link to his website:
Q: What is Murder by Munchausen about?
A: Technology run amuck—but what’s new about that, right? Well, in the near future, artificial intelligence and robotics have converged. Siri, Alexa and Cortana are not just voices in pods that sit on the coffee table eavesdropping on your life and fetching stuff from the Internet. They have extremely human like bodies – in fact, they are called synthetic humanoids, synthoids for short – and act as “Personal Services Assistants” to free us from dirty jobs and menial chores out in “meatspace.” Of course, mankind being mankind, there are those among us who hijack that technology for ill intent and profit, turning synthoids into contract killers. The police unit that tracks down the hackers and repos the murderous ‘bots is the Artificial Crimes Unit.
Q: What inspired you to write the book?
A: It’s never just one thing with me. Zombie stories being done to death – so to speak – gave me pause to ponder what other incarnate form evil could take. At the same time, guys like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are warning us that artificial intelligence will be the end of life as we know it. Suddenly, I had a vision in my head of the police take down of an android assassin which opens the book. And from there the story started writing itself. The first two installments of the opening trilogy are done. Murder by Munchausen came out in April of this year and number two, The Darknet, will be released February 2, 2018. I’m working on the “compelling conclusion” now.
Q: There have been a lot of novels based on Jack the Ripper; what makes your book different?
A: I’m not trying to retell the story of Jack the Ripper so much as I am using it to tell my story. Spoiler alert – Jack might not be the only serial killer involved in the series.
Q: What makes Jake worth reading about?
A: Jake is a good cop, but not a do-gooder. His willingness to bend the rules to save his partner Maddie’s career got him reassigned—in his mind, exiled—to the Artificial Crimes Unit. So he’s not a techno-wiz, but just a regular guy stuck in a strange new world and trying to make the best of it.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?
A: I’m a self-employed sales rep for electro-mechanical component manufacturers who sell into the aerospace, medical and industrial automation markets. It doesn’t so much influence my writing as it feeds the beast by getting me out from behind my desk and into the real world with lots of impressions of people, places and (yawn) corporate drama. At one point, I managed twenty-five states and five Canadian provinces. I got a lot of writing done sitting in a United Airlines aluminum tube at thirty-five thousand feet on my way from here to there and back again.
Q: What is the biggest difference between your books and those of Philip K. Dick?
A: I might be admitting blasphemy, but I’ve not read Philip K. Dick. I may have seen the original Blade Runner when it came out, but it’s a far faded memory. Once I got into writing the Munchausen series, I didn’t want to bring similar stories into my head. There’s probably more Elmore Leonard or Michael Connelly in the books than the usual Sci-Fi suspects.
Q: What kind of formal training have you had?
A: I was an English major and a Philosophy major at Ohio Wesleyan University. My focus of study in the English Department was creative writing under novelist and poet Robert Flanagan (http://www.robertflanagan.com). My senior thesis for my Philosophy major was on the metaphysical aspects of language – like why Eskimos have so many more words for snow than anybody else. After I got out of school, I just wrote and wrote and wrote and kept writing to this day.
With regards to self-publishing, though, my first job out of college was supervising the Text Editing Center at the phone company where we prepared all of the internal manuals and technical documentation for publication. It was a lot of typesetting and formatting, which has definitely come in handy in pushing my books out into the world.
Q: What have you done to promote your book?
A: The second installment of the opening trilogy for the series, The Darknet, is being released February 2, 2018. I’ve discounted the eBook fifty percent for pre-orders and I’ve priced Murder by Munchausen at $.99 for readers. I’m promoting those deals in as many places as I can. If the Bookbubbas smile kindly on me, the first book will be free for a limited time in January.
Q: What is the worst advice anyone has given you about writing?
A: “Write what people want to read.” Every time I tried that, it was crap and I hated what I wrote. So, how could I expect a reader to like it?
Q: If you could program an android to kill someone, who would it be and why?
A: “I hereby invoke and refuse to waive all of the following rights and privileges afforded to me by the United States Constitution. I invoke and refuse to waive my 5th Amendment right to Remain Silent. I invoke and refuse to waive my 6th Amendment right to an attorney of my choice. I invoke and refuse to waive my 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If I am not presently under arrest, or under investigatory detention, please allow me to leave.”
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.