A Quest To Reconstruct Edison

David Church Author Interview

Thomas Edison and the Lazarus Vessel follows the former mentee of Edison, who is given a device that grants him the ability to speak with the dead. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The two key historical facts that anchored the first book (Thomas Edison and the Purgatory Equation) were Edison’s obsession to create a machine that would communicate with the dead, and his never-explained disappearance for the entire month of February in 1918. The sequel takes place in 1933, two years after Edison’s death, and the historical lynch pins are the ‘business plot’ a coup hatched against Franklin Roosevelt during the first year of his presidency – and Edison’s decade-long exploration of the applications of hybridized rubber. The imagined result is his final invention: the simu-dermis – a synthetic vessel of skin capable of housing a soul and allowing the dead to walk again.  When the ‘Resurrector’ device re-activates after several years of slumber, it propels Edison’s protege, John Dawkins, on a quest to reconstruct Edison and save the world.

With so many interesting characters in this novel, who was your favorite character to write for and why? Was there a scene you felt captured the characters’ essence?

Besides Mr. Edison, my favorite character is Groucho Marx.  He’s an iconic comedian and I was both thrilled and daunted by the challenge of creating an honest portrayal of him within this fantastical, fictional setting.  If Purgatory Equation was more of a traditional adventure, Lazarus Vessel is fueled by elements of a 1930’s screwball comedy, and Groucho is the ringmaster. But he’s also the unexpected soul of the novel and has a scene on the promise of America that’s one of my favorite moments in the entire trilogy. In ‘writing’ Groucho, I was able to realize one of my life’s ambitions: not just to meet him but, in a strange way, to work with him. I only hope it proves as rewarding a collaboration for Groucho as it was for me.

Within this book, you flawlessly blend historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy. It takes exceptional talent to blend the two genres together. How did you go about blending the two genres without disrupting the story?

The secret to this wild ride of a genre mash-up is that it’s anchored in fact. It requires an enormous amount of research to make sure every real-life character or incident blends seamlessly with the science-fiction/fantasy elements.  One surprising reason they mesh so well is that the facts often trigger the fiction.  Examples?  The Chicago World’s Fair really DID feature an exhibit dedicated solely to Thomas Edison. Sally Rand, an exotic fan dancer, really DID help pull the country out of the depression by performing sixteen sold-out shows a day at the fair. Major General Smedley Butler really DID expose a cabal of big business titans who planned to stage a coup against President Roosevelt.  And on it goes. As Harry Truman often said, “The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.”

Where does the next book in the series take the characters?

Book III takes place during the final days of World War II. John Dawkins has married Sophie Erskine, a former hot-shot newspaper reporter, and they’ve moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania to raise their eleven-year-old son, Josh. Everything seems perfect – until it’s not – and the spirit of Thomas Edison is summoned one final time. Together, they embark on an expedition to London, Germany and Hell itself – and are joined on their quest by Winston Churchill, Aleister Crowley, the dark-arts magician, and theatrical playboy (and secret agent), Noel Coward.  While the finale features derring-do action sequences and comic interludes, the stakes are higher and the tone more somber.  For the endgame of the Edison Trilogy doesn’t so much address ‘what country will win the war?’ but rather, ‘which world will rule?’ The adventure continues!

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

Join Thomas Edison, John Dawkins, Emily Auburn and George Gershwin, as they reunite to realize Edison’s final invention, the simu-dermis, a manufactured vessel of skin capable of housing a soul and allowing the dead to rise again. Accompanied by their new companions, Groucho Marx and Eleanor Roosevelt, their quest propels them from the Hollywood dream factory, to the metaphysical vortex of Sedona, Arizona, to the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, to Andros Island in the Bermuda Triangle, where they battle a cabal of terrorists and come face to face with one of the greatest villains in human history.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 15, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: