Usually stories about people being frozen for a long time are firmly in the science fiction genre. Or the comic book section.
But in the following email interview about his new technothriller mystery novel Deep Freeze (hardcover, Kindle, audiobook), writer Michael C. Grumley explains how this story about a people-sicle is less of an “what if” and more of a “when.”
To start, what is Deep Freeze about, and when and where is it set?
Deep Freeze is set in the American Southwest just outside of Flagstaff Arizona, and the story revolves around a small team of researchers who are working on pretty extraordinary idea. A project that changes dramatically when an innocent person by the name of John Reiff enters the picture, and both sides find they’re being lied to, and have been for years. The question is why, and the answer is not pleasant.
Where did you get the idea for Deep Freeze?
You know it’s funny, I get ideas from everywhere, which I suspect is the same for a lot of writers. And some of my ideas sit in my head for a long time, percolating. The idea of Deep Freeze is really the culmination of several interesting ideas that have been percolating for years, and they eventually started to gel together into a larger, singular story. At a certain point, a story like that becomes so big and so interesting that you just have to write it down and share it.
So, is there a reason you made John Reiff an Army veteran as opposed to a former Naval officer or a Marine? Or someone similar, like a cop?
Very much so. For me, I tend to gravitate to more original stories and settings, and especially character backgrounds. I also feel like some character backgrounds are a bit overused, almost to the point be sounding a little cliché. John Reiff’s background is more unique, and ties into a certain aspect of the Army that I don’t think a lot of people are familiar with, but they would be if they knew how fascinating it was.
Also, the press materials mention “cryonic sleep.” Is cryonic sleep different from cryogenic sleep?
Yeah, that’s actually a good question. The term “cryogenics” tends to revolve more around freezing things in general. Cryonics is focused on the science behind freezing humans themselves. There is some overlap, which is why in general conversation the two terms are often used interchangeably. Deep Freeze is much more of a cryonic related story, which has far more interesting implications for me.
It sounds like Deep Freeze is a sci-fi novel, but with a bit of mystery to it…
That’s a pretty safe description. I would probably describe it as a mix between mystery and technothriller. There is some science involved but not overwhelmingly so, which is where more of the mystery comes in.
But I’m not sure if I would call it science fiction because it’s all based on real stuff. Real science that’s taking place today, right now. In my opinion, technothrillers, or even sci-fi stories, are much more interesting when they’re based on real world possibilities. In fact, not just “possibilities” but something more akin to inevitability. A lot of what’s involved in Deep Freezeare things we’re already on the path towards. So it’s much more about “when” something like this happens than “if.” And to me, that’s the exciting part; getting a glimpse into what’s actually coming.
Deep Freeze is your twelfth novel. Are there any writers, or specific stories, that had a big influence on Deep Freeze but not on anything else you’ve written?
The different stories I’ve written are somewhat diverse. I would probably say the strongest thread connecting them is that same idea, that a lot of my books are based more on reality than fantasies. Don’t get me wrong, those kinds of stories are great, but I have a hard time getting behind an idea that just doesn’t have much chance of ever happening. It feels much more interesting and exciting to me when what I’m reading is “truly” possible. Even likely. Maybe not in every single detail but the majority of it. My Breakthrough series is also very much like this, so of all my other books, those probably lent to most to Deep Freeze.
What about non-literary influences; was Deep Freeze influenced by any movies, TV shows, or games? Because it kind of reminds me of the end of Captain America: The First Avenger.
No. At least to the Captain America part. I loved that movie, and the scene that you’re talking about, but the explanation about how it was all possible was too fantastical for me, which limited how excited I could get about it. Again, most stories tend to skip over details that can truly help the reader, or viewer, believe in it. Deep Freeze doesn’t do that. The story is real because it can eventually be real.
Now, you’ve already said that Deep Freeze is A Revival Series Novel, which is a new series you’re doing. What can you tell us about this series?
Deep Freeze is the first book in a duology, possibly a trilogy if people really dig it, which I think they will. The books are connected, but can also be read as stand-alone novels, though you will get a much richer storyline if you read them in order. Not unlike the Jack Reacher books, but with more of a technothriller slant. There are also multiple overarching plotlines that run through the series, all against a very interesting backdrop.
Earlier I asked if Deep Freeze had been influenced by any movies, TV shows, or games. But to flip things around, do you think Deep Freeze could work as a movie, or a TV show, or a game?
I think it could easily be either a movie or TV series. It’s funny, several early readers told me what a great movie it would make. I suspect that’s because several aspects of the story are very relatable to a lot of people. Like I said earlier, there is a lot of reality in the science involved so a lot of people can easily see some of this happening.
To be honest, I haven’t thought about how it would translate to a game but as I think through it, I bet it could be pretty cool.
And if someone wanted to adapt Deep Freeze into a movie or TV show, who would you want them to cast as John and the other main characters?
That’s a really good question. I’m not super up to date on current actors and actresses, but I could see someone like [the Bourne series’] Matt Damon playing John Reiff. He has a certain quiet strength in some of the characters he’s played, which is very much like Reiff.
So, is there anything else people need to know about Deep Freeze?
Again, I try to write stories that people haven’t really seen (or read) before. Of course, all stories have similarities, but I think a lot of aspects in Deep Freeze are a bit fresher and more unique. You also won’t find a lot of obligatory sex scenes or car chases in my books unless they’re integral to the story. Deep Freeze also moves pretty quickly, so you’ll definitely want to make sure you’ve cleared your schedule.
Finally, if someone enjoys Deep Freeze, which of your other books would you suggest people check out while waiting for what I assume will be called Deep Freeze II: Electric Boogaloo?
Ha! Sounds like an old kids show on TV.
The title of Deep Freeze‘s sequel is still being fleshed with Cold Storage as a possibility. Until it’s all finalized and released, though, I think people would really enjoy my Breakthrough series — the first book of which is also called Breakthrough. I can honestly tell you that’s a story you’ve never read before either. And one you will not soon forget.