Author Interview: Christian Baker

Christian Baker combines the genres of thriller and science fiction to bring us THE BLEAK DOOR—“a scifi thriller with elements of horror, love, and fundamental humanity,” according to a reviewer. Written to both deliver a deep message and to entertain, the author says “science fiction is just an excuse to deal with a very tangible and real subject in a different way.”
When he’s not writing, Baker enjoys exploring new subjects—particularly those dealing with human nature. And he values his loved ones most of all.
TBM: One of your reviewers claimed, “The fusion of real and surreal kept me glued to the page.” When writing THE BLEAK DOOR—or any science fiction—how important is “reality” or “credibility” to telling the story? How do you create that sense of reality?
Christian Baker: From my point of view, credibility in what is written makes the difference between the reader just reading a story and really experiencing it. This is key. I like my readers being immersed in and gripped by it, being oblivious of the hours going by, of the world surrounding them. In my view, this is only achieved when the situations and the characters are natural, like ourselves, like our life. Thus, author and readers are bonded by the mind and emotions. It is a very special experience.

TBM: Why did you choose science fiction as your genre? What first attracted you to it?
Christian Baker: I am very fond of literature as a whole. Perhaps science fiction awakens that fascination and the search for the new, the mysterious, the unknown, which all of us have deep down. In THE BLEAK DOOR in particular, the science fiction approach allows touching on very strong issues in us and our society far more subtly than a conventional story might have posed. But, ultimately, and upon finishing reading the book, the sense of reality it puts across is so clear and tangible that it transcends the genre.

TBM: You describe THE BLEAK DOOR as a “science fiction thriller?” How did you make it a “thriller”?
Christian Baker: Since my early youth, I saw myself by and large as a reader being forced to make a decision between two types of books. Those with excellent content aimed at the intellectual readership and those that are fast-paced and emotion-charged, but leaving a void in readers when finishing them. When I undertook this fascination endeavor I strongly set my mind on putting together the purest essence of both universes so that the reader could be engrossed in the franticness of a thrilling story and, at the same time, feel his/her intellectual side is intact. The fusion of the science fiction and the thriller genres set the proper framework to envelope the hidden intrinsic message with the background of a fast and dramatic story.

TBM: Would you say that THE BLEAK DOOR is more “thriller” or “SciFi?” Would readers who enjoy thrillers like it even if they’re not SciFi fans?
Christian Baker: I think it strikes a balance. In the case of THE BLEAK DOOR, science fiction is just an excuse to deal with a very tangible and real subject in a different way. If the typical thrillers' reader allows science fiction as the author's license so that he can approach tangible and real issues, not linked to fantasy at all, he might be pleasantly surprised.

TBM: Did you write THE BLEAK DOOR to deliver a message and/or for the readers’ entertainment? Reviewers, for example, said “Behind the apparent fiction the story presents very basic questions of our existence and humanity” and “thought-provoking.”
Christian Baker: I wrote the story seeking both things equally intensively. I wanted the reader to be shaken by a deep message and, in turn, even when exhaustion led him to drowsily close his eyes, he would be unable to put down the book. The experience had to be intense in both senses.

TBM: How did you come up with the title THE BLEAK DOOR? Why is it significant?
Christian Baker: I wanted a title that wasn’t evident just as I wanted the reader to immerse himself in the story without realizing what was coming. THE BLEAK DOORshows us a threshold hidden by a door. It doesn't allow us to fully grasp whether it is convenient for us to go through it or not. It is part of the discovery we will have to live through as we begin to understand and experience things along the story.

TBM: How do you create characters that are “well drawn and create a real emotional connection with the reader”?
Christian Baker: The story has several characters, which at some point get linked to us from different aspects of our inner selves. They are somehow a mirror of us. And, as we progress in the story and become part of what they happen to face, we gradually rediscover ourselves. The real and emotional connection is just a natural consequence of feeling protagonists, not just readers.

TBM: How important is the concept of “villain” to THE BLEAK DOOR? What makes a memorable villain? Do you need a villain to have a hero?
Christian Baker: I think that the villain in a way embodies the challenge we have to face. We might state that when the villain is simple and predictable, our challenge isminor. In THE BLEAK DOOR the challenge we have to face will be immense. The process we are involved in is more significant than the outcome itself.

TBM: What’s next?
Christian Baker: First and foremost to enjoy the present, and how positively and beautifully readers are welcoming the book. I believe books have a life of their own. They are like our children, given birth by their parents and then they spread their own wings. I feel that THE BLEAK DOOR is in that trajectory and my wish is that it reaches many, many people with its message. Then, the readers will wink an eye at me, another message will be given birth to and we, once again, will renew that mutual understanding that will bring us together in another story, other emotions, a new learning process.

TBM: Tell us about Christian Baker. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Christian Baker: I am knowledge-hungry, eager to dive headfirst into new subjects and go all out for new experiences. Human nature fascinates me, and so do its challenges - those that aim at a more fair world with happier, inwardly fulfilled people.
And, above all, enjoy my loved ones, and appreciate what having them next to me each day means.

CHRISTIAN BAKER - THE BLEAK DOOR – A science fiction thriller novel