Some Thoughts with ... James Mordechai

The Author/s

James Mordechai

James Mordechai

James Mordechai writes New Weird books and enjoys the placid seas of anonymity. There is no biography other than his books.

Although not quite known in this world, James Mordechai's work has been extensively read, studied and acclaimed in other realities.  

The Interview

1.- What made you choose self-publishing?
There were several reasons that led me to choose self-publishing. Firstly, I wanted to have full creative control over my work, including the cover design, formatting, and marketing. Self-publishing allowed me to retain complete ownership and decision-making power, which was important to me as an author.
Secondly, I wanted to have the flexibility to release my book on my own schedule, without being bound by the timelines and requirements of a traditional publishing house. With self-publishing, I was able to set my own deadlines and release dates, and make changes to the book as needed based on reader feedback.
Overall, self-publishing gave me the freedom and control I was looking for as an author, and allowed me to share my work with readers on my own terms.

2.- What inspired you to write your debut novel A Crack in the World
In the early 1990s, there was a noticeable surge of occult-related content in popular media. From The X-Files to Twin Peaks, from the rise of the Black Metal genre to the Goth and New Age subcultures, a peak was finally reached in 1994. Then, it disappeared almost without any traces. So I thought, what if something supernatural happened between 1990 and 1994? What if the reason for this explosion was due to the opening of a gate from another plane of existence where demonic entities dwelled?

3.- You wrote another novella, The Gottingen Accident, could you tell us more about it?
The Gottingen Accident is an experimental New Weird novella. It follows the adventure of a group of famous scientists (Darwin, Curie, and Schroedinger, and his cat) that acquired superpowers linked to their lines of research after an accident (the Gottingen Accident). So, Darwin can mutate animals at will, Curie can see through walls thanks to X-ray vision, and the Schroedinger’s cat… well, it’s dead and alive at the same time and this creates quite a lot of clever situations throughout the novella. They fight against a villain that wants to subvert the space-time continuum using Non-Euclidean geometry. It’s a divertissement play of pure escapism, and as such should not be taken too seriously. It should have been adapted straight away into a graphic novel, but it took the form of a novella.

4.- Why did you decide to choose horror as the genre for this new novel?
Horror was a natural choice for a novel centered around Black Metal and occultism.

5.- Occultism is a big part of this novel, why did you decide to make it part of your novel?
Similarly, occultism is an integral part of the Black Metal music genre, so it felt natural to incorporate it into the novel.

6.- Which of your characters would you say is your favourite? Why?
In A Crack in the World we meet Gino Marcotti, the gran maestro occultist, and Carter Williams, a former policeman who now serves as a sort of bodyguard for Gino. While Gino is the brains, Carter is the brawn. I usually prefer the brains in a story, but in this particular case, I think Carter is the most likable of the two. He is completely ignorant of what’s happening around him, but trusts Gino in (almost) all his choices. Despite not understanding the occult, he accepts its existence. I found he was a very difficult character to portray, but I think I’ve managed to do it well. 
Carter's character is a complex one. He's physically imposing, but also quite vulnerable. He's struggling to find a sense of purpose in his new role as Gino's bodyguard. Despite these challenges, he's fiercely loyal to Gino and is willing to risk his own life to protect him. Carter's journey throughout the novel involves finding a balance between the real world challenges and coming to terms with the existence of the occult. His character provides an excellent contrast to Gino's, and the two of them make for a dynamic and engaging duo. Like Holmes and Watson, Mulder and Scully.

7.- As music is another part of this novel, would you make some recommendations for people who liked this book?
If you are not familiar with Black Metal I recommend listening to some of the bands I listed at the end of the book. There are thousands of videos to choose from on Youtube. This will give you an idea of what type of subculture Gino and Carter discover throughout the book. And, as I mentioned at the beginning of the novel I’d recommend listening to that music during some of the most action-packed scenes. 

8.- Cover certainly fits the book. Who designed it?
Matt Barnes ( ). I gave him a few indications on how I wanted the cover to be and he managed to capture the vibe, tones, and mood I had in mind. Brilliant work!

9.- Which other art pieces/publication would you say inspired you to write A Crack in the World?
Mostly heavy Metal album covers and lyrics served as inspiration while writing the novel. I also delved into the study of occultism and magic, including works like ‘The Occult’ by Colin Wilson and Aleister Crowley. The Tarot was also a significant source of inspiration. As for literary influences, I’m still trying to understand where my inspiration for A Crack in the World came from. My ARC reviewers have mentioned Jim Butcher’s ‘Dresden Files’, Brian Lumley’s ‘Titus Crow’ and Brian Hodges, but the only one I have read is Titus Crow, which I read after completing A Crack in the World. So, I’m sorry to disappoint many people, but I don’t have a prestigious lineage of literature influence for this specific book. I’ve read tons of sci-fi, weird lit, and cosmic horror in my younger years, though.

10.- Writing horror is sometimes difficult. Which challenges would you say have risen from this novel?
Avoiding clichés: Horror as a genre can be prone to clichés and tropes, and it's important for writers to find fresh and original ways to scare readers. In addition, horror often relies on a sense of dread and unease, and it can be challenging to maintain that tension throughout a novel.
Another challenging point is creating a believable and immersive world: For horror to be effective, it must be set in a believable and immersive world that readers can imagine themselves in. Creating such a world can be a significant challenge for writers. In my case, I had to find a good balance between our real world and the other one behind the veil.

11.- What can we expect from James Mordechai in the future?
I’m writing a sequel to the story to further explore the characters and environments that were only hinted at in the first book. Additionally, I’m working on a collection of short stories, but this is a project for the future.