Best-selling author Steve Alten just threw us a curve ball. Next year, his first book, MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror (1997) is slated for an August 10 release date as a summer blockbuster movie event! Currently, the film is in post production and it features a phenomenal cast that includes Jason Statham, Ruby Rose, Li Bingbing, Jessica McNamee, and Rainn Wilson. It also stars a megalodon. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s a prehistoric shark that is big enough to call Jaws an hors d’oeuvre.
Over the past two decades, Steve has written about giant sharks and other remarkable deep water creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster, so you might think this summer he’d publish another book about fearsome behemoths. Not so. Alten’s thematic scope encompasses an expanse far greater than the oceans of our world.
In his latest novel, UNDISCLOSED, Steve includes a number of elements he has touched upon in previous stories. There’s the technology from Goliath, the sci-fi from The Domain Trilogy, the cautionary tale found in The Shell Game and Grim Reaper: End of Days, and the philosophical pondering that fuels The Omega Project.
One of the components that makes Steve’s work stand out is his mind-boggling diligence when it comes to research. Alten unearths countless facts, data, and historical footnotes, and manages to embed them all in a fantastic context so they work together to support an epic tale. He mingles fact with fiction to create stories he calls “faction.”
Additionally, Steve excels at depicting the myriad of complexities which comprise the human condition.
When these fragments are crafted together, you get a narrative rich in emotion that is set in a high-stakes world… which might actually exist! UNDISCLOSED is a story about greed, cover-ups, and an alien technology that could save the human race from extinction by its own hand. As you read his latest book, remember, the story was conceived after Alten was given access to testimonials from military intelligence regarding the truth about UFOs and extraterrestrials.
Steve was kind enough to answer our questions about this compelling novel.
Entertaining Options: What is UNACKNOWLEDGED? How does UNDISCLOSED tie-in to it?
Steve Alten: UNACKNOWLEDGED is Dr. Steven M. Greer’s new book, which I co-wrote and edited. It is the definitive bible of UFOs, ETs, secret subterranean bases, and the advanced energy technologies this planet desperately needs which were reverse-engineered from downed interstellar craft. UNDISCLOSED is my thriller that uses this incredible info to tell a story.
EO: How did you get to know Dr. Steven Greer?
SA: I discovered Dr. Greer’s work in 2010 while writing my eleventh novel, Phobos: Mayan Fear. I write “faction” — fictional thrillers woven in fact, and I sweat the details. Extraterrestrials played a small part in the storyline I had been working on and during my research I had come across a YouTube video of The Disclosure Project. I was blown away by both the encounters and integrity of these eyewitnesses, many of whom held top security clearances in the military. I emailed Dr. Greer seeking permission to use excerpts of these testimonials between chapters as a means of entwining fact with fiction. The Greers generously agreed. I thanked them in the acknowledgment and sent a signed book when the novel was published a year later. In August of 2013, I received an email from his wife, Emily. She loved the book and said Steven would like to meet me — perhaps we could have dinner together when they came down to Miami Beach in mid-December.
On Saturday, December 14, 2013 at approximately 11:10 p.m., 3 DAYS BEFORE WE WERE SCHEDULED TO MEET, my wife, Kim and I were returning home from dinner and a movie. As we drove through our neighborhood, I noticed something bizarre moving toward us in the night sky — pale amber lights like nothing I had ever seen. There were eight to twelve of them flying in staggered pairs, approaching from the south less than a thousand feet (estimated) above Route 441/State Road 7 in Palm Beach County. They were far too silent and smooth to be helicopters and they were definitely not planes. As they came closer and passed almost directly overhead we could see the outline of a… well, their saucer-shaped vessels.
By this time, I had parked the car. Kim and I stood and watched them, the two of us incredulous as they moved north through a cloudless night sky… until, pair by pair, they simply faded into the ether. Let me be clear here, they didn’t move out of range or shut off their lights or disappear into a cloud bank, they slipped out of existence. My wife and I were both fifty-three at the time, and neither one of us in our combined one-hundred-plus years on this planet had ever seen a UFO. Far from being scared, we felt exhilarated, like we had just been treated to something very special.
Three days later, we drove to Miami Beach and had dinner with Dr. Steven M. Greer and his wife, Emily — the first time the four of us had ever met. Of course, the first thing we spoke about was our UFO experience three nights earlier. Dr. Greer explained that these close encounters happen to many of the people he is going to meet for the first time, the ETs “checking us out.” I’ve since learned that advanced species communicate through consciousness; it was during meditation that Steven Greer discovered how to initiate his own close encounters.
EO: Where does the fact end and the fiction begin in UNDISCLOSED?
SA: Most of the story’s information is factual, in fact much of the hero’s story happened to Dr. Greer. The only liberties I take are with descriptions in the subterranean bases and in the “future” B story.
EO: How long did it take to research and plot this book? Did the story change as you researched?
SA: It took close to 2 years. The results of the 2016 Presidential Election forced me to go back and change the Hillary scenes to Trump scenes.
EO: How much fun was it to write the scene with Bill Clinton?
SA: The scene I had to rewrite between Bill and Hillary was more fun. She was not a happy camper when she learned Bill was the one to initiate the hero’s journey down the rabbit hole.
EO: Is there any added pressure when writing a story that basically takes place right now?
SA: Not really. If anything, you have to be more careful.
EO: Did you know Jessica Marulli? What made you name one of your main characters after her?
SA: I had never met her, but I met her father while she was battling cancer. Sadly, Jessica passed away after a hard-fought battle. At his request, I used her as the female protagonist.
EO: You are incredible at taking a maelstrom of facts and figuring out how they all fit together to make sense (e.g., The Loch). Does a story start to blossom as you research, or do you do research to support a story?
SA: Actually both. During the plotting stages, the research identifies the puzzle pieces. When I start writing, the research continues in the form of getting the smallest details correct. As an example, there is a chapter in UNDISCLOSED that brings the hero to a mentor character who must pass on vital historical information. I decided to set it in a Chinese restaurant in the back room. So now I am researching restaurants in a certain area of Virginia, and I want it to be real, so I need directions for the hero, the interior set-up, what’s on the menu, etc.
EO: The pace of this story is like a roller coaster ride. At the beginning, there is a big build, the story progresses slowly as all the elements are inserted and knowledge is imparted. Then, it crosses the threshold — the summit of that first hill — and just whips along at a breakneck pace filled with unexpected thrills. How do you create/control the pace of a novel?
SA: I think you described it accurately — you need to insert key knowledge into the hero’s journey that keeps him moving down the rabbit hole before you unleash the confrontations with the villains.
EO: Many of your novels involve incredible vehicles/machines. Do you have a fascination with them?
SA: I am fascinated by them, but use them because they are necessary to advance the plot. Kinda hard to tell a story about giant sharks without a submersible to get you down there.
EO: In Dean Koontz’ Ashley Bell, one of the characters states, “Fiction could be a search engine where you find elusive truths.” Do you think that is true?
SA: Absolutely. UNDISCLOSED functions as a Trojan Horse for truth, delivered in digestible bites.
EO: There is an interesting observation in UNDISCLOSED. Without revealing anything, do you believe sociopaths rise to power?
SA: There is a significant number of sociopaths who rise through the ranks because they are ruthless, with no moral boundaries.
EO: Is that psychological element part of what it takes to be a ruler?
SA: Not a good ruler. Society rises through caring about others, not by cutting away its lowest rungs.
EO: UNDISCLOSED talks a great deal about zero-point-energy, a clean, abundant energy source. Is it real?
EO: When did you first learn of it?
SA: The more important question is when did man first learn about it? Not through reverse-engineering UFOs, but from brilliant scientists like Nikola Tesla, T. Townsend Brown, and Professor John Searle, among others. Tesla had his work confiscated when J.P. Morgan decided the world shouldn’t have free, clean energy. Townsend was denied patents, and they attempted to poison Searle.
EO: At any point during the writing of UNDISCLOSED and/or UNACKNOWLEDGED did you feel paranoid or concerned that maybe the story and/or information contained within would anger certain factions?
SA: The thought has occurred to me. Fortunately, the books are out.
EO: Do you consider UNDISCLOSED to be a wake-up call or is it merely entertainment?
SA: It is both. Whether or not it succeeds as a wake-up call is correlated by the success of the book.
EO: Are you excited for MEG? Do you think anything will change for you as the movie’s release approaches?
SA: I’m focused on promoting UNDISCLOSED while I am writing MEG: Generations, so the MEG movie excitement is tempered. As the publicity machine heats up and trailers begin hitting theaters, I’ll grow more excited.
EO: You are incredibly gracious. Are fans initially surprised when they learn you are so giving of your time?
SA: They are surprised when they email me and receive a personal reply back…. every time. I think they deserve that.
Steve Alten will be making two appearances in Delaware in August. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet the author of UNDISCLOSED.
Sunday, August 6 at 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
4801 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803
Monday, August 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Bethany Beach Books
99 Garfield Parkway
Bethany Beach, DE 19930
“As always, I’ll sign every book you bring.”