Gary Morgenstein’s The Dark Depths Trilogy

by Charles Briede

A Dugout to Peace book 3 in the The Dark Depths Trilogy will be releasing Tuesday, December 5th everywhere and this is by far one of our favorites. We twisted Gary’s arm for a few minutes to chat about the final book in this series (or is it) as well as what’s next.

As always, Gary was very gracious with his time for the FoF and it is greatly appreciated.

How much did the story change as you progressed from Book One to Book Three?

I’m the exact opposite of those writers who are buttoned up and have everything planned. I had a general sense of how I wanted the trilogy to end, but writing’s hard work, Charles. My fun is stepping back and being surprised at how the characters take over and direct the story. Writers who rely too much on plot will circle the drain. Characters decide plot. You don’t know who those characters are unless you give them space and nurturing to develop naturally. And I was delighted at all the many roads we went down.

Were there any characters or side stories that needed to be cut from any of the books in the series?

That’s a terrific question. While Mickey Mantle was always number one, I struggled with which other players from the past should come into 2098. And also how many. At first I had Babe Ruth, but he was so overpowering a personality that he became the center of attention instead of part of the ensemble. Then I brought back Reggie Jackson, who was just boring. Sorry, Reg, it’s me, not you. Once Ty Cobb walked in the door, horrified at the America of the 22nd Century, everything fell into place.

Now that the final chapter is finally coming out, what are your feelings from where it was when you started on this story?

I began this trilogy in May 2015. My wife and I were having Sunday breakfast of everything bagels with a shmeer and listening to The Beatles when this idea popped into my head: America has lost World War Three. The country is led by Grandma. And baseball begins its final season at Amazon Stadium. The journey has been exhilarating as I constructed this dystopian world. And how terrifyingly timely because the trilogy opens in 2098 after America and the West have lost World War Three to the Islamic Empire.

I know Book 3, A Dugout to Peace, is the final book, but is it really?

Yes! The trilogy is an epic adventure of a world at war, poised on the brink of nuclear holocaust, which can only be saved by ordinary people like you and me who become extraordinary heroes, showing that amidst the carnage, simple faith in ourselves and each other, might shine a light and bring people together. And save the world. Someone better! Over more than 1,500 pages from America to the Islamic Empire, these characters have done and said it all. I experienced great and frankly, teary sadness at saying goodbye to them. But you gotta know when to say it’s done, pencils down, and move on.

For future novels, will you approach them the same or did you take something away that you want to incorporate in future novels?

Oh I’ve learned a lot. Most importantly, the essential concept that a writer must sometimes devour its young. Which means edit, edit and always look at what you’ve written from many angles to make sure the characters are talking, not you.

What’s next, what can fans look forward from you?

In addition to writing dystopian political baseball novels, I’m also an award-winning playwright. This past summer my play A Black and White Cookie, about the unlikely friendship between a conservative African American newsstand owner and an eccentric Jewish Communist, ran for six weeks in Los Angeles while, simultaneously, there was a different production in New Jersey. Together, they garnered 13 Broadway World nominations including Best Play. My very timely drama Dancing on Glass, which confronts antisemitism and political bullying at a private school, recently premiered at a Dramatists Guild reading. And my latest, Walking Charlie, is a romantic dramedy about a New York business owner and a Venezuelan political refugee who are brought together by a pug dog named Charlie.

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