Author: Alan Felyk
Narrator: Noah Michael Levine
Length: 8 hours 45 minutes
Publisher: Alan Felyk⎮2018
Genre: Science Fiction, Humor
Series: Infinity's Trinity, Book One
Release date: Oct. 12, 2018
Paul Tomenko is no stranger to the improbable. He became a magazine sweepstakes winner and celebrated counterculture writer by age 19. Now, after reaching for a can of Chef Boy-ar-dee spaghetti and meatballs, he's traveling to and from God's library somewhere outside the Universe to prevent the end of eternity.
Because of a DNA flaw, humanity no longer can ascend through the Planes of Existence after they die. They can't access memories from countless past lives in previous versions of the Universe or acquire new recollections. That means no one will have the needed expertise to replace God when He dies. And, to complicate matters, Paul must enlist the help of his two lovers - Maggie Mae Monahan and Allie Briarsworth - because of their unique abilities. But the trio discovers the preservation of forevermore can turn someone's soul inside out. Literally.
The novel chronicles the life of an ordinary man under extraordinary circumstances. Paul is unwilling to accept a broken Afterlife that provides nothing more than eternal self-awareness. He is also reluctant to choose between Maggie Mae, a brilliant geneticist who has the uncanny ability to "connect the dots", and Allie, a novelist who inexplicably senses past and future events in the cosmos. The unexpected is to be expected from an unusual cast of supporting characters: Cher the Gatekeeper and Katharine Ross the Librarian, figments patterned after two celebrities for whom Paul has lusted; Gronk and Grita, two "resurrected" six-year-old neo-Neanderthals who are the most intelligent humans on Earth; Tsutomu Yamaguchi, an innovative bioengineer named after a Japanese man who survived nuclear bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and Dr. Peter Lexington Townshend, the head of a genetics laboratory that already has prevented the Russians from stripping politicians in Washington, D.C., of all their memories.
Be prepared for a book that examines our metaphysical questions with a mixture of mind-bending possibilities, laughter, and tears.
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The son of Ukrainian immigrants, Alan Felyk is a science fiction and humor author who has been involved in writing all his life. A University of Colorado graduate in news-editorial journalism, he has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and a technical publications manager in the space industry.
After retiring, he pursued his life-long dream of writing a book. In 2012, he published Damaged Right Out Of The Box, a sometimes hilarious, sometimes wistful memoir. Then, while trying to determine what he should write next, he started reading Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan. The comedic science fiction novel sparked inspiration, and Alan dusted off a short story about God that he had written in college. But the story started to expand in scope, and it became Damaged Beyond All Recognition, the first book in the Infinity’s Trinity series. Now, he’s working on the second book in the series—Damaged And No Longer Under Warranty.
In addition to Vonnegut, Alan is a disciple of Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, and Philip K. Dick. He calls himself a “what-if” writer who loves to keep expanding the storyline until the last page. And, just as importantly, he wants to blend a fair share of laughter through his words.
Alan is a sports fan, and he enjoys the mountains near his home in Lakewood, Colorado. He also loves music and has more than 27,000 songs on his iPod.
Noah Michael Levine is an Audie Award-Winning audiobook narrator and producer living in beautiful Nyack, NY. His over 180 titles include almost every genre. While he loves his work completely – and collaborating with all kinds of different authors, he does not love writing about himself in the third person.
1. Were there any real-life inspirations behind your writing?
My two main influences were television shows--The Twilight Zone and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. It was almost a decade between their premieres. So, between the ages of nine and seventeen, I wanted to write science fiction stories with twist endings. And, after that, I was drawn to writing humor. In 2016, I started reading Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan, and then it dawned on me—why not combine both genres as he did? And that was the spark for Damaged Beyond All Recognition.
2. Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
Yes, and the dream changed my novel in ways I couldn’t imagine. The book started as a love story between two main characters, Paul Tomenko and Maggie Mae Monahan. At the point where the two are forced to separate, I developed a bridge character who would test Paul’s loyalty to and love for Maggie Mae. I named her Allie Briarsworth, and I figured she would be would only appear in about three chapters.
But I had a dream soon after I started writing about Allie. In it, she stomped up to me while I was typing, and she peppered me with a bunch of profanities. She insisted on a more significant role in the book. I thought about what Allie said to me in the dream, and soon the novel became the story of a very unusual love triangle.
3. How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
I wrote a comprehensive outline of my novel before I started it. After I finished it, the book seemed as interesting as a college term paper. I then ran across a quote by famed author E.L. Doctorow that said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” So, I rewrote the novel’s ending, changed its beginning, and wondered what the journey between those two points would be. For me, writing each new chapter was like watching the next episode of Breaking Bad—I couldn’t wait to sit down to find out what was going to happen next. I was excited about writing each new scene. I never had a problem keeping my focus and motivation.
4. In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of writing a standalone novel vs. writing a series?
Writing a standalone novel challenges the writer to start fresh with a blank computer screen. In the end, the author doesn’t need to compile a detailed list of material that needs to be transferred to the next book, e.g., character backstories, unique settings, plot continuations. However, the author will be back at square one with the next novel.
Writing a series represents a jumpstart to novels that follow the first one. Much of what has been established can be carried forward. For example, the author has written enough dialogue for the existing characters that it will seem easier to continue writing it. I think it helps establish a groove that speeds the development of subsequent books.
5. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
Not really. I thought publishing the book in Kindle and paperback formats would be sufficient, and I didn’t think an audiobook would be something that I would do. But then I kept reading that audiobooks represented the fastest growing book format. So, I was more receptive to the idea about six months after Damaged Beyond All Recognition was published.
6. How did you select your narrator?
Actually, my narrator picked me. Noah Michael Levine sent me a direct message on Twitter explaining he was interested in developing my novel into an audiobook. Of course, I looked up his resume on the web, and then I responded that I probably couldn’t afford someone with his credentials. We wound up discussing the project, and I realized this was something that needed to be done.
Noah narrated a sample chapter, and I, in turn, sent it out to ten friends for their opinions. Nine of them said “hire him,” and the tenth said I needed to get someone who sounded like William Shatner. Hahaha.
7. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
Before my novel became an audiobook, I would have sided with those who viewed it as cheating. But then I listened to Damaged Beyond All Recognition and realized that Noah had provided extra depth to what I had written. Audible sent me Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale, and I listened to that as well. Suddenly, I was hooked because I realized that the reason I read fiction is for the story. And, with an audiobook, I would have added opportunities to listen to stories while I was doing mindless tasks. I may never “read” another book again.
8. How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
I remember finishing it at midnight one summer night and pouring myself a glass of wine to contemplate how I was going to introduce the world to it. I tell people that writing a bestseller is far easier than trying to convince the public that it deserves to be one.
9. What are some of your favorite things?
As for food, mark me down for Mexican and Italian. In terms of music, I have 27,000 songs on my iPod, but the Moody Blues and their song “Tuesday Afternoon” are tops for me. I love science fiction books, especially those with a pinch of humor. So, anything written by Kurt Vonnegut rates at the top of my list. My favorite movie is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and, as mentioned earlier, I loved The Twilight Zone television series. I’m a big football fan—I love the Colorado Buffaloes and the Denver Broncos. In the summer, I’m a Colorado Rockies baseball fan.
10. What’s next for you?
I’m working on a sequel to Damaged Beyond All Recognition. It’s entitled Damaged And No Longer Under Warranty, and it continues the story of Paul Tomenko, Maggie Mae Monahan, and Allie Briarsworth.