Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Tour: Interview with Christopher Keating, author of 'That Which Maddens and Torments'

Chris Keating had his first story published when he was just seven years old and in second grade. He has been writing both fiction and nonfiction ever since.

He wrote his first book, Dialogues on 2012: Why the World Will Not End, while he was a professor of physics at the U.S Naval Academy. He was inspired to write it because of continually being questioned on all walks of life about the myth the world was going to end on December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan calendar.

After the world didn’t end, Chris decided to tackle the controversial topic of climate change by writing Undeniable! Dialogues on Global Warming, which was published in 2014. He also began the online Global Warming Skeptic Challenge, offering $10,000 to the first person who could prove the fallacy of global warming. His challenge quickly went viral and Chris spent his entire summer that year responding to submissions. He later published a compilation of the submissions and his responses, which can be purchased at or downloaded as a free PDF at Chris also writes the blog, Dialogues on Global Warming, which is devoted to climate change issues.

Chris most recent book is the thriller, That Which Maddens and Torments. It pits an ambitious, hard-hitting young newspaper journalist writing about global warming against villainous denier lobbyists in Washington, D.C., who are working for the fossil fuel industry. At the behest of their clients, the lobbyists will stop at nothing to protect the industry’s profits and to ensure that a scientific study proving the truth of global warming does not become public. Chris hopes that by tackling the issue of global warming via a work of fiction, he will engage a broader cross section of people in the issue.

After successful careers as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy and the Navy Reserve and then as a professor of physics, Chris now lives in the Texas Hill Country, where he continues to focus on climate change research and to write.

For More Information
  • Visit Christopher Keating’s website.
  • Connect with Christopher on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Find out more about Christopher at Goodreads.
  • Visit Christopher’s blog.
Thanks for this interview, Christopher.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

I wrote my first story for publication when I was in second grade when a friend asked me to write a story for book he was putting together. I’ve been writing, off and on, ever since. I spent a lot of time over the years writing analytical reports for my work and education, but I always kept going back to writing fiction. I’m a professor of physics and starting in 2010, students in my classes started asking me about the Mayan calendar myth. This became such a big issue I decided to write a nonfiction book about the topic in 2011. That was my first published book. Then, I wrote a second nonfiction book on climate change. This inspired me to go to work on my first novel. Now, I’m working on several other novels.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation?

Writing is what I do for relaxation. I love to come up with stories in my head and see where it leads me. When I’m stressed, I simply sit back and start imagining a story to see where it will take me. It’s a great way to unwind and you can take it with you, no matter where you go. I write dozens of stories that never see the surface of a piece of paper, but they do me good.

Do you have a day job? Or a night one?

I’m one of those lucky people who can devote their time to whatever they want. I retired from the military and academia and went looking for a place where I could have a quiet, peaceful life. Now, I spend my time writing, working on my house, doing climate change research, and socializing. When I want to do something different I do volunteer work with the Texas Master Naturalists.

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

Publishing has been easy. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to publish. You can publish anything you write and there is no need to deal with an agent. The writing part has been difficult, though. The country is filled with people who intended to write a novel. We all have obligations to work and supporting the family that interfere with writing. You have to make choices in life and I made mine. I put off my writing career to take care of my family and I have no regrets about that. But now I’m in a situation where I can make writing a priority and I’m enjoying it.

What is it about the suspense/thriller genre that appeals more than any other genre you would choose to write?

Nothing. This book is a suspense/thriller, but that was simply because it was fun. My next book will be very different. And, I have several books outlined that will be in other genres. I like the suspense/thrillers and have read many books in that genre over the years, but I don’t think I’m limited to writing thrillers.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

Captain Ahab. The main character of the story sinks into the obsessive insanity of Moby Dick.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

The science is very sound. Like I said, I do research in climate change, so that part is very sound. Also, I deal with people who deny climate change is occurring, so that part is very authentic. I needed a villain for the book and I didn’t want to do the same old thing. I just happened to have a real-world villain right in front of me.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

I get my ideas from life. Many parts of my books are actually adapted from real stories I have experienced or heard. Life is amazing and there is a story to tell every day. All you have to do is pay attention and take notes and you’ll have the basis for a good story.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Yes – write. And, write for yourself. Write a story you enjoy. Write a story where, in the end, you want to go back and read it again. Don’t worry about what others think. Write something you like. And, if you don’t like it, work it until you do.

What’s next for you?

Purple Legion. It’s story about the unforeseen consequences of our actions and the way we treat each other. It will be very different from All That Maddens and Torments, but the people I have shown it to have loved it. I’m very pleased with the way it’s going.


Title: That Which Maddens and Torments
Author: Christopher Keating
Publisher: Christopher Keating
Pages: 274
Genre: Suspense/Thriller

With the encouragement of her uncle, a retired professor of geophysics, Josephine Black, a recent college graduate, begins reporting on the issue of climate change for a major New York City newspaper. She quickly discovers that she has a passion for the subject and a talent for investigative journalism.

It’s not long before Jo’s hard-hitting articles are being noticed. However, leaders within the powerful fossil fuel industry don’t like what they are reading. They believe that the information in Jo’s articles could threaten their profits eventually, and they are also concerned that Jo will uncover a scientific report written by a friend of her uncle’s that proves the truth about global warming. The industry’s leaders are ruthless and are willing to stop at nothing to silence Jo and protect their profits.
Soon, Jo finds herself caught up in a very dangerous high stakes “cat and mouse game” related to the climate change debate. A game that combines politics and policy brokering at the highest levels of government with criminality. However, Jo is determined to outwit her ruthless enemies no matter what it takes.

Full of twists and turns, That Which Maddens and Torments is an entertaining, page-turning read. However, it also provides readers with insights into the debate surrounding the issue of global warming and helps to explain the motivation behind many of the global warming skeptics or deniers we read about or see on TV.

For More Information

  • That Which Maddens and Torments is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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