Merging With Monsters
Joseph E. Green
With its explosive and disturbing first chapter, “Merging With Monsters” captures your attention with a brutal scene that lays the foundation of Anita Powers, one of the main charters of the story. As she endures her attack, the reader is swept into her life and the framework of a captivating story is laid. Joseph Green, the author of “Merging With Monsters” has written a revealing story that deal with issues of race in the workplace, and general attitudes around race and sex. Each of the characters has some personal demon that they are grappling with, and these experiences mold how they interact with each other. The emotions and feeling of the characters leap off the page into your subconscious as you slowly begin to learn more about them.
From the ambitious African American executives Grayson Malone and Anita Powers, who find themselves pitted against each other, to the lovable character of Phoebe Jackson, a young woman whose life is tragically altered and is left dealing with bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts. All the central players in this drama add to the compelling and relentless story, helping make “Merging with Monsters” a very engaging novel. The story of work achievement married with personal and inter-office conflicts is the backbone of “Merging with Monsters”, solidifying the book as a must read.
Joseph E. Green, the self published author of “Merging“, recently took the time to answer a few questions for me regarding the book and his life. Read on for the full interview below.
Cue: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. First off, why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself? How did you start writing?
Green: I was born in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. My dad served in the Army for 20 years; and as the oldest of three brothers, I was accustomed to assuming a leadership role within the family. Now that my father has passed away from bone cancer, I work even harder at appreciating the gift of each new day; and creating and maintaining productive and beneficial relationships.
My love of writing was born out of a childhood habit of escaping into the fantasy worlds offered by books. I always enjoyed reading and recognized very early in my life the power of the written word. As a freshman at Stanford University, I became pretty much obsessed with writing and getting my first novel, PSEUDO COOL, published. And this proved a very exciting and rewarding endeavor since the book was sold by Stanford University’s bookstore and I had the pleasure of witnessing strangers actually spend money on something that I wrote.
Cue: This book covers some sensitive subject matter, like race in the work place, sex, and various attitudes towards minorities. What motivated you to write on these subjects?
Green: I grew up in a situation in which I was always a “minority” — especially, when it came to my education. For several years, I was the only African-American male in my high school. And living here in Denver, Colorado, my corporate working environment is no different than high school experience.
People often tend to associate with those who look like themselves and share similar backgrounds and cultural commonalities. However, the impact of this reality continues to have serious repercussions when it comes to earning a pay check. I became very much inspired to write MERGING WITH MONSTERS (originally entitled “Invisible Niggers“) when on a daily basis I witnessed the unfair treatment (often very subtle) of someone who “didn’t look the part” – so they did not “get the part.”
Example: Years ago, I heard a former boss state that she would not hire someone for a receptionist position if the person was overweight – or had served in the military. So bias and unfair treatment in the workplace is very prevalent and often happens in the most seemingly bizarre and unexpected circumstances. It is indeed an environment primed for drama.
Cue: Did you have any personal experiences that mirror some of those found in the book? Are you the inspiration of Grayson Malone?
Green: Like Grayson, I was taunted with the N-word and shouts of “Kunta Kinte” after the premier of Alex Haley’s Roots. And like Julian, I have often been in a situation in which the decision whether to be true to oneself doesn’t always come so easily.
As for the inspiration of Grayson Malone, I cannot take full credit for this character. Grayson is inspired by the rage over injustice that boils within most of us.
Cue: How has the book been received thus far? Any positive or negative comments or reviews about it?
Green: The positive response to my novel continues to motivate me to go on to promote. I am especially pleased with how well the book has been received by black women given the horrifying incident described in the opening scene. However, the message of MERGING WITH MONSTERS is one designed to inspire and maintain hope that regardless of any hardship, the situation can improve.
So far, I have received only one negative review, and this is from a book review who wanted to burn the book because she just could not get beyond the disturbing opening scene.
Cue: You went the route of self publishing to get this book out. Was that a difficult process or was it a better avenue for you to self publish?
Green: Publishing houses rarely take a chance on developing new talent – particularly, when this new talent is an African American without a track record or movie deal already in place. (lol).
I will work to place my next novel with a major publishing house – but ultimately, the hardest part of being a writer is the work required to promote your work – regardless of how it gets published. However, I do appreciate the freedom that self-publishing offers. There is no one telling you how to present your art.
Cue: In a review of the book, you are quoted as saying that the book is not a “minority novel”. Can you expand on that a bit and explain why this book appeals to everyone, regardless of their race?
Green: The human experience is a shared experience. And I believe I’ve done an amazing job of presenting this reality within the dramatic scenes portrayed in MERGING WITH MONSTERS.
Regardless of race, sex, sexuality, socio-economic background, etc., all of us bring a different perspective and power, so-to-speak, to the table. And our individual choices remain key to determining whether American society will ultimately positively embrace are growing diversity.
Cue: You also have a interesting MySpace promotion going on with the Book, where you created pages based on the book’s characters. How has that been working out for you and where did the idea to do that come from?
Green: My efforts on MySpace are proving a valuable tool for reaching people who might otherwise never bother to examine a novel like MERGING WITH MONSTERS. By creating pages based on the diverse characters in my novel, I am able to target for example, young mothers who can relate to Sherry Malone – Grayson’s Malone white wife who struggles to keep her marriage together amidst the turmoil created by Grayson’s anger.
I was slow to jump on the MySpace bandwagon, but finally got on board after hearing from several friends and strangers that it would be a great way to market my book. And they were right!
Cue: OK, here are some easy ones for you. What is your favorite author and why?
Green: I don’t have a favorite – as there are so many authors with amazing stories to relate. I just wish I had more time to read. This is one of the reasons I think I’m receiving such great feedback regarding MERGING WITH MONSTERS — it was very important to me that I wrote a book that would keep people turning the pages to find out what would happen next. People are busier than ever these days and a book has to keep you engaged from the first word to the last.
Cue: Whats the last book that you read, and your thought about it?
Green: Jim Crace’s “Being Dead.” Crace details a gruesome and brutal murder of a couple using words that leap off the page like a very intense and soulful song. It’s a novel that really makes you think about the importance of life and the seemingly random occurence of evil.
Cue: What’s the strangest thing that has happened to you lately regarding the book?
Green: Walking into a book store and being very SURPRISED to see my self-published novel on their shelf. I felt like a singer who had just heard his song played on the radio for the first time.
Cue: Describe the most rewarding experience of your career thus far.
Green: I was told recently that my current boss at General Electric is recommending my book to his co-workers. So I continue to be rewarding by giving others the opportunity to view their world from a different, yet very familiar vantage point.
Cue: Any last words, or anything you want plug, shout out, or say?
Green: I urge everyone to read the first few chapters of MERGING WITH MONSTERS at www.monsterspot.com – and to leave me a comment with their thoughts. While the opening scene is very disturbing – please recognize that Anita Powers is just one of my HEROES offering a valuable hope for the future and the struggle for equal opportunity in America.
Cue: Thanks again for everything!
Green: THANK YOU!