Today’s special guest is M.T. Bass to chat with me about his new adventure novel, Jungleland.
During his virtual book tour, M.T. will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.
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.
Welcome, M.T. Please tell us a little bit about Jungleland.
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.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I finished my first book, My Brother’s Keeper, I envisioned it developing into a series, based on the main character Hawk’s aviation adventures. The second book was going to be about Hawk going to Alaska to open a bush piloting operation that I set up at the end of the first book after he solves his brother’s murder. Before I got to it, though, I had a few other novels on my To-Do list, and by the time I got back to it, I had already done a book set in Alaska, called Somethin’ for Nothin’ and it featured Jimmy the Pilot, who flew supplies to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline camps and smuggled drugs in from Mexico. I felt like I had covered that ground when I came back to Hawk, here seven years later. So, I skipped to the next book, which was about him getting back into combat flying with mercenaries in the Congo civil war in the Sixties. What really made things click for me was listening to Harold Brown, a former Tuskegee Airman, talk about his service during World War II and how, as a black man, he would never be able to hide among the local population in Europe if he got shot down.
Excerpt from Jungleland:
He looked at me.
“What is wrong?”
“Do you know what they did?”
“Who is they?”
“The Simbas. Up north. In Stanleyville.”
I shook my head.
He nodded his head quickly up and down. “You would not think that—you know, the cruelty of it all.”
“What did they do?”
“Well, you know they have several hundred prisoners up there and they are threatening to kill them all if the government forces come.”
“And we’re going, right?”
“Oh, yes. Oh, yes. You will hear about it tomorrow.”
“But what did they do?” I asked.
“The Simbas? They are—“ He stood up.
“Eric.” I stood up and grabbed his shoulder. “What is going on?”
Eric slowly sat back down. “It was the mayor.”
“And the mayor there, Bond…Bondess…Bondekwe or something. I don’t know, but they stripped him down completely naked and stood him up in front of a mad, mad crowd of rebels.”
I waited. “And?”
Eric shook his head.
“And they carved his liver out—while he was still alive.”
I could feel my face squint in repulsion.
“Yes, while he was still alive.”
“Then they cut it up while it was still hot and—and—and they ate it in front of him as he died.”
I sat down at the end of my cot. “Jesus.”
“Yes, damn it—Jesus Christ, already. Yes, right in front of him. While he watched them and died…”
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m coming up on the halfway mark of the Motherless Children rough draft. The fourth in my Murder by Munchausen series has a couple of new characters and follows another cyberhacker who is programming robotic serial killers—and one of the victims is the son of a U.S. Senator. There are ties back to some of the plot lines in The Invisible Mind to keep things interesting…
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I studied “Creative Writing” at Ohio Wesleyan University under the tutelage of Robert Flanagan, who had a huge hit with a novel called Maggot. It went through twelve printings and sold over 250,000 copies. He also wrote verse and short stories. Anyway I fumbled along and on a fluke entered some of my poetry in writing contests sponsored by the English Department during my junior year and I won two prizes. Great. I entered again the next year and won again. I kind of had the feeling that I was really on my way to being an actual scribbler. After I graduated I started writing novels and collecting piles and piles of rejection slips. Not so great. But when I finally self-published my first novel in 2014, I really felt like I had made it.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am writing full-time now. The first thing I do in the morning is sit down and start piling up words with my iPad mini and a BlueTooth keyboard. I don’t check email or social media or the news or get distracted by shiny things—well, I do get coffee. But the main thing is to start working right away when I am fresh and my mind is uncluttered. It’s funny how getting up and always adding words to your story day after day really matters—before you know it you’ve got a book. Once I’ve gotten that out of my system, I take off my author hat and put on a publishing hat to check my sales, monitor my advertising, update my blog and my website, post information on social media sites, and put out promotions in Facebook reader groups. It’s kind of boring but it has to be done. Sometimes, before going to bed, I might go back over what I’ve written to allow my mind to ferment on some ideas overnight while I’m sleeping. Then, the next morning, I’m back at it.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
There’s not really much room for quirkiness when you are sitting at a keyboard typing away. I’d say the main thing is that I am never, ever finished with a book. Even years after they’ve been published, if I go back and read one of them again, I start making a list of changes. Art is never finished, it is only abandoned.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A racecar driver, a baseball player, a pilot, a soldier, a football player, a musician…almost anything but an author.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers
Thanks for being here today, M.T.