Monday 2 May 2016

Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway - The Enigmatologist by Ben Adams

The Enigmatologist
Author: Ben Adams
Release Date: April 30, 2016
Keywords: Humor, sci-fi, Elvis, conspiracy theories, crossword puzzles, American Southwest
Categories: Humorous Science Fiction/Mystery
Pages: 403
ISBN: 978-0692670606
Imprint: Devil’s Tower

ONE LINER: A detective unearths a secret that entwines conspiracies involving shape-shifting aliens, Elvis Presley, and Mary Todd Lincoln in, THE ENIGMATOLOGIST, a comedic sci-fi/mystery novel.

Book Description:
Twenty-something, John Abernathy is disillusioned. His job as a private investigator is unfulfilling, and he can’t find work in his chosen field, Enigmatology, the study and design of puzzles. He is about to quit when the National Enquirer calls. A woman in Las Vegas, New Mexico sent them a photo of someone who’s supposed to have died 35 years ago—Elvis Aaron Presley. And they need John to investigate it.

When the Elvis impersonator, Al Leadbelly, is murdered, John investigates, finding Air Force colonel, Alvin Hollister—convinced Leadbelly has information regarding Elvis's death—at the crime scene conducting his own investigation. John discovers great-great-great grandfather's journal—unearthing a conspiracy entwining Elvis, shape-shifting aliens, and Mary Todd Lincoln. When John finds Leadbelly, alive and wearing a sequined jumpsuit, John must help him escape before Colonel Hollister finds him, and discover if Leadbelly is really Elvis, an obsessed fan, or something more.

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The Origin of The Enigmatologist

Here’s how I came up with the concept for the novel. I was having a conversation about how The National Enquirer used to cover popular modern myths like Elvis being alive, Big Foot, and the Loch Ness Monster, and how now they cover celebrity gossip, and how I think people in super market check out lines are really losing out on some serious entertainment because of this, because while overweight celebrities might be entertaining, they are ultimately transitory. That is the nature of celebrity, that they will be replaced with a new batch of people to worship and despise. But myths are timeless. They stir the imagination with their improbability. We all know there’s not a prehistoric sea creature living in lake in Scotland, yet we’re attracted to this idea by the hope that the impossible might exist, a hope that I think is intrinsic in all humans. And so, I was thinking about this, about modern myths, and the Enquirer, and all the blurry photos of Elvis I’d seen as a kid, and wondered how would the Enquirer authentic these photos—which of course they didn’t—and I came up with this character, a private investigator who was hired by The National Enquirer to investigate Elvis sightings.

The book originally started as a short story and I was encouraged to turn it into a novel, and it has changed significantly since. It originally took place in the early 1980’s. The main character, John Abernathy, was an alcoholic Viet Nam veteran who was wounded during his first tour of duty. While the premise of the book worked, this character did not. I was encouraged to change him, make him younger, and bring the story into the present. I was a little hesitant to do this at first, but once I started the rewrites, all these ideas and jokes just started flowing and it didn’t take long for this new character to emerge on the page. YA is such a huge trend right now, and I new I didn’t want to make John too young and fall into that genre. So I decided to write him as just being out of college. I studied music in school, and while I don’t regret this, I do feel my music degree makes me under-qualified to work any job save teaching private lessons. When I started writing The Enigmatologist, I had decided take a brake from music, having recently become extremely burnt out. And I was angry and bitter at arts education, and that came through when I was writing John. I had him study the creation of puzzles, earning a degree in Enigmatology. At the start of the book he works as a private investigator, taking pictures of cheating spouses. And to compound his problems, when he goes home to work on his puzzles, he suffers writer’s block, causing him to question his purpose in life. There are so many kids graduating with art degrees only to discover that either the world isn’t receptive to their art, or they’re not as talented as they thought—which was my case. And so, I placed John at this crossroads at the beginning of the story, a struggling and unsure artist about to journey to New Mexico on an adventure that will change his life. And, like I mentioned, once I made these changes the book practically wrote itself.

About the Author
Ben Adams is a San Francisco Bay Area writer. His work has appeared in Everyday Weirdness, an online literary magazine. He is currently enrolled in Stanford’s Novel Writing Program. The Enigmatologist is the first book in a trilogy.


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