And the Lightening Splits the Sky! An Interview With Author Michael J. Lee

July 18, 2011

Arts & Literature, Interviews

By Alex Mcdermott:

When the thunder rolls and the lightening splits the sky you know Dr. Frankenstein will be in his lab. Mary Shelley challenged us to question the nature of humanity with her monster and the sinister doctor who created him. Michael J. Lee revives the dark side of science in his book My Frankenstein. I had the pleasure to chat with Mr. Lee about his own creation!

Alex Mcdermott: With all of the classic horror monsters out there, why Frankenstein?

Michael J. Lee: At the time I came up with my story, Frankenstein wasn’t getting a whole lot of love; before everyone and their grandmother started doing Frankenstein inspired projects. Before that everything was vampires, werewolves, ghosts, aliens. It seemed everyone was getting a revival except the book that started it all; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. And this may sound silly but it’s where the great Hammer horror films truly started with Curse of Frankenstein. I was trying to emulate my heroes. It worked out pretty well for them after all.

AM: It’s unusual to see a female protagonist. What inspired you to center the story on Eva?

MJL: Eva made the story. My problem was that I had two characters who were at total odds with each other and it’s hard to sustain a story that way. Eva was the bridge between those two characters. She has a powerful relationship with both Viktor and with Adam. Without her I wouldn’t have had as much to write about. It would have been a very short book.

AM: The monsters in your story are a deviation from the traditional monster in Shelley’s work. What inspired their development?

MJL: I have to give credit to an early reviewer of my original story, then a screenplay. I gave it to one of my friends, Karen Craig, writer of American Psycho II All American Girl. At the time Viktor was using a sword cane to menace Adam. She suggested something a bit more science fictional. That led to the creatures becoming much more like steampunk cyborgs.

AM: What advantages were there to working with a story already written?

MJL: For one you don’t have to worry too much about spoilers! Seriously though stories like Frankenstein are more than just stories, they’re part of our mental landscape. And they exist so that they can be reinvented constantly. Every generation can look at it and find something new and relevant to the world they live in.

AM: What disadvantages were there?

MJL: In order for your version to stand you really do have to find a strong theme or multiple themes. Part of the reason I wrote this is because Frankenstein is used as a label for technology run amok. At the same time the world we live in now so comfortably is a product of technology. We have this sort of love/hate relationship with our technology. That relationship was reflected in Eva and also in how the town changes and grows. It’s much more than just a love triangle between the three main characters.

AM: How did you perceive Viktor Frankenstein?

MJL: As a man who is right 90% of the time. The problem is he thinks he’s right 100% of the time. And because of that he’s willing to do whatever is necessary to carry out his plans; plans he believes to be vital for the survival of humanity.

AM: My Frankenstein is tagged as a romance/ horror novel. Where do you see your work as it fits into the horror genre?

MJL: It fits very nicely. There’s plenty of horror. Terrible things happen in the story. I originally wrote this as a screenplay and it contains some very haunting and violent images. Not only that, Viktor’s vision of the world is a frightening one. And who’s to say he’s not wrong. The jury may still be out on that one.

My Frankenstein is available for purchase on for Kindle.

(All interviews are the exclusive property of DarkMedia, and may not be reproduced or shared without permission.)

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