Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Gal's 2017 Halloween Frivolities Day 14: Berman-Gorvine's Character Has Spoken


When we first met Suzie Mitchell in the novel All Souls Day, she was a seventeen-year-old high school senior in a town that maintained a fragile, grotesque semblance of normality in a world devastated by nuclear war and ruled over by the demon Moloch.  Suzie was a "Nice Girl" and a "Cheerleader," which gave her a rigidly defined social status that she and her best friend Vickie chafed against, while Suzie's mother secretly subjected her to horrendous abuse.  When Amos, a Nerd who wasn't allowed to date, began a secret love affair with her, all hell broke loose - luckily for Suzie, who was otherwise fated to be a "Virgin Sacrifice" to Moloch.  The three friends brought about Moloch's downfall at a terrible price, only to trigger the rise of a new demon, Asherah the fertility goddess.  Day of Vengeance is the story of Suzie, Amos, and Vickie's struggle to survive in their transformed world, and of Vickie's seduction into Asherah's murderous cult.  With an official publication date of November 13, Day of Vengeance is available on Kindle and the paperback can be preordered.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Hi, Suzie.  Welcome to The Gal.  Some of my readers have yet to read your story.  What should they know about you?

Suzie Mitchell:
I’m just an ordinary girl trying to survive in a demon-infested world. It’s not like I chose to be the Virgin Sacrifice to Moloch. Don’t believe the propaganda that the other Virgin Sacrifices were all willing and eager, either. I’ve met their shades, and somehow survived with my sanity intact. I think.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you believe in?

Suzie Mitchell:
Survival. My boyfriend Amos and my best friend Vickie thought they could join the revolution against Moloch that Rosie and her boyfriend Rick were plotting. When they won they were going to rebuild the old prewar world, and everyone would be rich and happy and well-adjusted. Amos and Vickie did rescue me and bring that girl-eating demon down, I’ll give them that. But all they got for their trouble was another demon, Asherah, who’s just as bloodthirsty, but covers it up with a fertility cult. Gross! And Vickie actually served this creature for a while! She killed for her! 
            If we can escape the demon’s clutches and live free in the woods, I figure that’s the most we can expect from life.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What haunts you?

Suzie Mitchell:
The other Virgin Sacrifices. They keep coming to me in dreams. I don’t know what they want from me. It’s not as though I think I was somehow the only one who deserved to live. I just got lucky, that’s all. Dumb luck for the dumb brown-haired bitch.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any phobias?

Suzie Mitchell:
Well, I could mention ghosts, confined spaces, 1963 Ford Thunderbirds, Satanic pastors, and large gleaming steak knives, all of which tried to kill me [in All Souls Day].  But mainly I'm afraid of ball gowns like the glittery green number I was wearing to Prom when Moloch picked me from all the other girls, lucky me, to be imprisoned in His castle for months and then beheaded and devoured for His pleasure, upon All Souls Day.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What's the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

Suzie Mitchell:
When I escaped from Moloch and my parents, the Pastor and the Punisher, who were all trying to kill me, and I saw immediately that Amos and Vickie had been… I can’t talk about it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Are you lying to yourself about anything?

Suzie Mitchell:
No. I only wish I could. Going through this hellish life undeceived about the world and your place in it, and your own huge character flaws to boot… it’s not for the weak-minded, that’s for sure.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was your childhood like?

Suzie Mitchell:
Uh, you know how I just mentioned the Punisher? The official Chatham’s Forge town torturer? That was my mother. And she liked to test out her inventions on me. I’ll give you an example: the Beanbag. She was so proud that she could use it to beat me senseless but not leave any bruises, because it was just a padded weight light enough to swing one handed, but heavy enough to hurt like hell. It was like being hit by a rock with some towels wrapped around it, though instead of being fluffy like a bath towel the Beanbag’s cover was the gray plasticky stuff gym mats are made of. The thing was vaguely pear-shaped and meant to be gripped by its thin end, with the fat end doing the damage.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Were your actions the result of freedom of choice or of destiny?

Suzie Mitchell:
I don’t have time for abstractions like free will, or Amos’s fancy religious speculations. I’m too busy trying to survive. 

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?

Suzie Mitchell:
Yeah, I wouldn’t have taken part in Rosie and Rick’s stupid plan for a rebellion against Moloch. They knew I was at risk of being chosen for the Virgin Sacrifice. They wanted it to happen, to use me as bait, and I was such a fool I went along with it. Instead, I should have worked with Amos and Vickie and her boyfriend Tom to figure a way out of the Forge. Moloch would still be around, it’s true, but the four of us would be free, Tom would still be alive, and Amos and Vickie wouldn’t have… but I’m not going to talk about that.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What does your name mean to you?

Suzie Mitchell:
It’s a stupid name. Suzie-Q. Cutie Suzie. And the last name I share with the Chief Punisher, Mitchell… maybe I’ll have to marry Amos just to get rid of it.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What scars, birthmarks, tattoos, or other identifying marks do you have?  What stories lie behind them?

Suzie Mitchell:
I have a scar on my right cheek from the time my fellow Cheerleaders slut-shamed me, defrocked me, and beat me almost to death for the crime of being a Nice Girl who was secretly dating the Nerd Amos. Thanks so much for mentioning it and making me relive that memory. Amos says it only makes me more beautiful, but he’s crazy. He must be, to love me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What was unique about the setting of your books and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

Suzie Mitchell:
Chatham’s Forge is a shithole, but so is every other human town around the edges of what was once Philadelphia. I understand they used to call these places “suburbs,” before the War of the Judgment back in 1962 rained nuclear fire on every large city in the world. The suburbs were great places to live, that’s what the older people say, so they made a bargain with demons like Moloch: protection and prosperity in exchange for the life of one innocent girl every year. All around are woods, dark and deep, filled with wanderers we were taught to despise as “mutants” but who are actually the last free men and women, being hunted to extinction by the “civilized” townspeople. Ain’t the world a grand place?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Suzie Mitchell:
Like I said, I’m a survivor, that’s all. I have no grand plans or ambitions. If I can convince Amos and Vickie to lay low with me in the forest, so we stay beneath the notice of the demon-gods and townies like the Forgers, that’s all the happiness I ask from life.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Suzie Mitchell:
You know the saying, "As flies are to the gods, they kill us for their sport"?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Suzie Mitchell:
Oh Moloch, you must be another “religious” person like Amos. There isn’t any higher power out there above and beyond Moloch and Asherah and the rest, all right? If there was a God, why would He let us trash the world He supposedly created, and let demons run wild over it to enslave human beings?

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why do you think the author chose to write about your story?  Do you think they did a good job?

Suzie Mitchell:
You're really going to make me play this game, aren't you?  If there were a Supreme Being out there who was responsible for creating this perverse world full of evil and suffering, with no peace and no justice for anybody, He would have to be the Supreme Sadist, right?  Amos found a book, Moloch knows where, by someone called Bernard Schweitzer - Hating God: The Untold Story of Misotheism. "Misotheism" is the author's made-up word for the obvious point that if God exists, He hates us, so we might as well hate Him right back.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think about the ending?

Suzie Mitchell:
You’re not implying, I hope, that I’m getting some kind of sick enjoyment from what Asherah did to Vickie once she finally got up the courage to defy Her? Just because of what Vickie and Amos did when I was imprisoned in the Castle? I hope I’m not as petty as that. Vickie is still my best friend.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told? Did they miss anything?

Suzie Mitchell:
None of the gods or demons will ever get inside here, inside my skull. They all claim to be able to read your mind, but that’s just as much propaganda as saying the Virgin Sacrifices longed to die for Moloch. So I guess to that sorry extent, I really do believe in free will.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Have you read any other books?

Suzie Mitchell:
Oh yeah, Amos had me read the Hebrew Bible he rescued from the ruins of his parents' house.  Claimed it might have all sorts of useful information on how to fight Moloch and Asherah, when all it says is you'd better not worship them or God is gonna getcha!  Personally, I think someone just made it up to be a blasphemous parody of the Book of Moloch, how about that?


About the author:
Martin Berman-Gorvine is the perpetrator of the four-book "Days of Ascension" horror novel series.  All Souls Day was published by Silver Leaf Books in February 2016, and Days of Vengeance is scheduled for release November 15, 2017.  In 2018,  Silver Leaf Books is inexplicably planning on inflicting the third and fourth books of the series, Day of Atonement and Judgment Day, on an unsuspecting world.
            Martin is also the author of seven science fiction novels, including the Sidewise Award-winning The Severed Wing (as Martin Gidron) (Livingston Press, 2002); 36 (Livingston Press, 2012); Seven Against Mars (Wildside Press, 2013); Save the Dragons! (Wildside Press, 2013), which was a finalist for the Prometheus AwardZiona: A Novel of Alternate History (as Marty Armon), an expansion of the short story "Palestina," published in Interzone Magazine, May/June 2006 (Amazon/CreateSpace, 2014); Heroes of Earth (Wildside Press, 2015); and Monsters of Venus (Wildside Press, 2017).  He is a contributor to the 2015 feminist science fiction anthology Brave New Girls.
            Martin lives in Maryland with his wife and the youngest of three sons, four cats, and a sort of Muppet dog.


About the books:
If a demon and its servants ruled your ordinary town, demanding an annual virgin sacrifice, would you have the courage to stop them?  And at what price?  This question confronts Amos Ross, Suzie Mitchell, and Vickie Riordan, high school seniors in the new horror novel, All Souls Day.

            In an alternate reality of the 1980's, twenty years after the Cuban Missile Crisis triggered World War III and left the United States a devastated wasteland, the ancient, demonic god Moloch, whose worship was forbidden by the Old Testament, exercises absolute control over the Philadelphia suburb of Chatham's Forge.  The town is an oasis of prosperity that the nuclear war hardly touched, but its comfort comes at a fearful cost: at the high school prom every year, the prettiest and most popular senior girl is chosen by Moloch and his servant, the evil Pastor Justin Bello, to be spirited away to a former National Guard armory known as the Castle, where she is imprisoned alone for five months only to be beheaded and eaten alive by the demon on All Souls Day, the second of November, the anniversary of the war.  And this year, 1985, it's Suzie's turn...


What if you escaped being sacrificed to the evil god Moloch and banished him from your town at a terrible price in blood and destruction... only to become prey to gods more powerful and ruthless still?

            Teenage friends Suzie Mitchell, Amos Ross, and Vickie Riordan are plunged into this terrifying dilemma in the ruins of their hometown, Chatham's Forge, in a world devastated by nuclear war.  Stumbling through the wreckage, they must confront the physically living but soul-dead remains of their friends and family, the vengeful victims of the old order in the Forge, the ascent of the powerful and seductive goddess Asherah, and worst of all... the deeds they themselves are tempted to commit in their rage and grief.

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