Northeast Times

His words are pouring out

Glenn Segal, in his op­tic­al store, has au­thored a series of sci­ence-fic­tion nov­els. JENNY SWI­GODA / TIMES PHOTO

Glenn Segal’s an op­ti­cian by day, but his spare time is fo­cused on tap­ping out pages of sci­ence-fic­tion prose.

Ta­cony’s Glenn Segal wrote some po­etry and mu­sic­al lyr­ics as a youth and a short story as a teen­ager, but he has spent his adult years in real es­tate and as an op­ti­cian.

Between cus­tom­ers at De­jaView Op­tic­al in Hunt­ing­don Val­ley, he’d pass the time read­ing.

“I nev­er thought in my wild­est ima­gin­a­tion that I would ever write a nov­el,” he said.

Segal, 54, mar­ried with three chil­dren and a grand­daugh­ter, has long been a sci­ence-fic­tion buff.

Back in the early 1990s, he op­er­ated the UFO In­form­a­tion Line. Callers would dial a 1-900 num­ber for in­form­a­tion on UFO en­coun­ters and sight­ings and NASA hap­pen­ings.

The line even­tu­ally went dead.

“Tim­ing is everything. If it happened after The X-Files, it would be a whole dif­fer­ent thing,” he said of the hit Fox sci-fi tele­vi­sion series.

When Segal de­cided to put his in­terests on pa­per, the sub­ject was a nat­ur­al one. He began writ­ing about sci­ence fic­tion.

The writ­ing came eas­ily.

“I filled up six­teen note­books,” he said.

Those words were even­tu­ally put on a com­puter, and the fin­ished product was an 800-page manuscript.

The key, he said, was hav­ing the will­power to fol­low the story through to its com­ple­tion and de­vel­op­ing a plot, char­ac­ters and places.

“I wrote every night,” Segal said.

Sens­ing that nobody would pub­lish or read such a long nov­el, he di­vided the story in­to three books.

Ori­gin­ally, in Septem­ber 2009, the first of the three-part series was avail­able only on­line through Amazon.

Segal, though, soon pivoted to pub­lish Dev­ine In­ter­ven­tion: The Mes­sen­ger through the self-pub­lish­ing com­pany Au­thor House.

“I wanted a chance to put the book on shelves,” he said. “Un­less you’re backed by a ma­jor pub­lish­er, you have to get a buzz.”

The book is avail­able at au­thor­house.com, xlib­ris.com and dev­inein­ter­ven­tion.com, and at the Dev­ine In­ter­ven­tion page on Face­book.

In ad­di­tion, while Barnes & Noble does not carry the book on its shelves, it can be ordered at the store.

“Every­body who read the first book couldn’t wait for the second one to come out,” Segal said.

In Au­gust, In the Realm was re­leased. The second part of the series is avail­able at au­thor­house.com

Segal prom­ises a good read.

“A lot of ac­tion hap­pens in the second book,” he said.

The third book, Rev­el­a­tion, is pegged for an early 2012 re­lease.

The au­thor be­lieves read­ers will be reeled in by the be­gin­ning of the third nov­el.

“The United States is at­tacked off the coast of Cape May,” he said.

Segal is happy with the way the story has been told.

“I think it’s pretty neat,” he said.

Times change in the pub­lish­ing in­dustry, and Segal sees no prob­lem in re­turn­ing to the ori­gin­al concept — an 800-page book.

The only way that would work, he ac­know­ledges, would be in an elec­tron­ic format.

“I might do all three books in one,” he said. “People are not go­ing to be car­ry­ing around eight-hun­dred pages, but in the di­git­al world, that dis­ap­pears.”

Segal, a Gillespie Street res­id­ent, hopes the books ap­peal to loc­al read­ers, in part be­cause they in­clude a num­ber of loc­al land­marks.

Among those fea­tured in the book are the Ta­cony-Palmyra Bridge, Castor Av­en­ue and three long-ago busi­nesses — the Ging­ham House, the Ben­ner movie theat­er and Marlo Books.

The Dev­ine In­ter­ven­tion series is about a self-ap­poin­ted proph­et who re­cruits dis­ciples and launches a techno-spir­itu­al move­ment that sweeps the plan­et.

Segal draws from vari­ous re­li­gious per­spect­ives. He was raised an Or­tho­dox Jew and be­lieves in a high­er power, but is not part of an or­gan­ized re­li­gion. He and his wife, Joanne, raised their chil­dren Cath­ol­ic, and they at­ten­ded Fath­er Judge and St. Hubert high schools.

The Mes­sen­ger, named Math­ew Wells, sur­faces in a far-flung re­tire­ment en­clave, 20 miles north of Phil­adelphia.

“He woke up one day in that room,” the au­thor ex­plains.

The Mes­sen­ger spends five years study­ing the world be­fore seek­ing dis­ciples.

His new re­li­gion is called the Sphere of Spin and Mod­u­la­tion, and a fic­ti­tious Fath­er Judge stu­dent named Jimbo Griffin sets up its In­ter­net site.

The re­li­gion really takes off after The Mes­sen­ger is in­ter­viewed on 20-20 by Di­ane Saw­yer.

The Mes­sen­ger is op­posed by Chris­ti­an zealots and Muslim fan­at­ics, and en­lists the help of every­one from Je­sus to Mo­hammed to Jerry Gar­cia (Segal is a Dead­head).

Not that he needs the help. He can ma­nip­u­late the weath­er, heal the stricken, fore­tell the fu­ture, al­ter time and space and cure drug ad­dic­tions.

“He can fly, lev­it­ate him­self, per­form mir­acles and cure dis­eases, in­clud­ing AIDS,” the au­thor adds. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­ing@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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