Interview with John D. Mimms
1. What attracted you to writing science fiction?
I have always been a fan of the genre, probably as early as 4-years-old. I grew up watching reruns of Star Trek, Lost in Space, and The Twilight Zone, which had a heavy influence on my then fledgling imagination. On the reading end, my mother was an English teacher who introduced me to Poe and Dickens early on. When I was in 4th grade I had a teacher that made reading an adventure. She took a cardboard refrigerator box and turned it into the wardrobe from the C.S. Lewis classic ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.’ We had to go through the wardrobe to get to the reading area of the classroom where there was a lamp post and a snowy landscape surrounding our reading tables. My lifelong love of the genre coupled with my fascination for the unexplained formed my creative interests today.
2. What are your favorite kinds of books to read for fun?
I read a wide range of genres in the fiction category. To me a good story is a good story, whether it is romance, action/adventure, horror, science fiction, etc. Favorite authors? I have a number of favorite authors. Early on I was influenced by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, H.G. Wells, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jules Verne. My contemporary favorites would have to be Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, John Grisham, and yes, even Nicholas Sparks. Sparks has some pretty good stories mixed in with the romance. King’s book, On Writing, was an eye opener for me as a writer, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has considered a writing career.
3. How has your work as the Technical Director for a group in The Atlantic Paranormal Society influenced your fiction?
I was the technical director of a TAPS family group in Arkansas. TAPS or The Atlantic Paranormal Society, were the creators of SyFy’s Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International. They are the largest and most respected paranormal organization in the world. My involvement in paranormal research has had a tremendous influence on my fiction. There are so many fascinating theories and concepts about paranormal phenomenon and it lends itself very well to the creation of a good yarn. The Tesla Gate at its core is a father/son relationship story, but it is heavily based in paranormal theories, particularly pertaining to ghosts.
4. What’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen on a paranormal investigation?
It is rare to see anything on an investigation but hearing and feeling are very common. I have heard blood curdling moans in an abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium and collected a number of compelling EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) recordings over several investigations, many that will make your hair stand on end. Probably the most amazing thing that happened to me was when I was leading a visiting TAPS group from Texas on an investigation in a tuberculosis sanatorium. I was grabbed by my elbow and jerked backward by something unseen, and that is no easy task considering I’m a fairly big guy. Afterward it felt like my elbow had been submerged in ice water. When my elbow was examined by the thermal camera it was indeed 15 degrees colder than the rest of my arm. It was a very interesting experience, to say the least.
5. Tesla’s birthday is coming up on July 10th -- how do his inventions and discoveries inform your novel and “The Tesla Gate” itself?
I have always been fascinated by the life and inventions of Nikola Tesla. He was one of the true geniuses in history who was far ahead of his time and did not get the credit he deserved while alive. That being said, I never intended the book to be about Tesla. The Tesla Gate is a nickname given to a horrific device in the book. From what I know of Tesla, the man, he would be appalled to have his name associated with this device. The Tesla Gate is a trilogy and Nikola may have something to say about it in the following books.
6. What famous ghost would you most like to meet?
Easy, Abraham Lincoln. He might even be showing up in a book coming out on July 8. At least that’s what I hear.
7. If your daily life could be set to music, what would your theme song be?
Having two teenage boys with veracious appetites and a mortgage, it would probably be Living on a Prayer.
8. What are your favorite haunts?
I love going to movies and travelling, particularly to a beach or a historic location, but for the most part I love staying at home. We live on a mountain in central Arkansas where we have a gorgeous view with plenty of woods and privacy.
9. What are your favorite haunts to write at?
Since I love our tranquil home setting, I am most effective, and find it the most enjoyable, when I write at home in my office. Every writer needs a place of escape to concentrate and open the creative process. Mine is at my roll top desk surrounded by my bookshelves and a ceiling mounted electric train, which I personally designed and installed.
10. What books most frighten you/make you believe in ghosts?
I would have to say the two most frightening books I have read are The Exorcist by William Peter Blaty and Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. I don’t find a lot of horror to be scary nowadays. It almost has become numbingly predictable, especially slasher horror. Both of these books, and their adapted movies, still send a chill up my spine. I can remember watching Salem’s Lot on TV in 1979 when I was a little kid. There were a torturous few months that followed where my brother and I would sneak outside each other’s windows at night without warning and scratch on the glass while whispering, “Let me in … he commands it.”
The former Technical Director of an Arkansas based paranormal research group, science fiction author John D. Mimms has supervised over 100 investigations and written articles on equipment usage and scientific theory for paranormal research. John’s former research group is a family member of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, founded by SyFy’s Ghost Hunters.