Thomas Greanias is the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlantis Prophecy and Raising Atlantis. A graduate of Northwestern University, Greanias's varied background includes having worked as an on-air correspondent in Washington D.C. for NBC affiliates, and advising Congress, the White House and Fortune 50 CEOs on the future of digital convergence. His media development, production and finance company, Thomas Greanias Entertainment, produces audiobooks, interactive games, and now motion pictures. He is at work on The Atlantis Revelation, but was kind enough to take time out for a brief interview.
How is this book different from Raising Atlantis and why did you go in the direction you chose?
Raising Atlantis involved the discovery of ancient ruins two miles beneath the ice of Antarctica – Atlantis. The Atlantis Prophecy, on the other hand, involves a global conspiracy by those who feel they are the heirs of Atlantis and want to create a New Atlantis. And that's what Sir Francis Bacon called America and the New World – the New Atlantis. I went this route because of research on the third book in the trilogy – The Atlantis Revelation. Hitler had an outfit called the Ahnenerbe (German Ancestral Heritage), composed of leading academics and archaeologists. They scoured the earth in search of proof that the Aryans were the genetic descendants of Atlantis and thus the "master race." What amazed me was how much of their research drew upon America's Founding Fathers, the Freemasons, Knights Templar, etc., and how those groups in turn influenced the shape of the Nazi SS, itself a secret society. Throughout history villainy has sought the imprimatur of history or myth to justify itself.
The Atlantis Prophecy is based on a story you wrote a long time ago. Can you tell us the story behind the writing of this book?
Ah, yes. It always pains me to see the the "rip-off of National Treasure" criticisms when, in fact, The Atlantis Prophecy is based on a No. 1 bestselling eDoc on Amazon in 2001 that I wrote to promote Raising Atlantis, several years before the first National Treasure had a completed script or hit the screen. The eDoc was called "Washingotnople" — I think it's still for sale on Amazon for $2.99 — and allegedly written by Dr. Conrad Yeats, the hero of Raising Atlantis, as a secret government "white paper" for the National Science Foundation. The NSF has hired experts like my astro-archaeologist for years to make sense of things in Washington, D.C., including the astronomical alignment of the city to the stars and even the location of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. (Officially, they still haven't found it.)
Anyway, going further still, the idea for The Atlantis Prophecy first hit me as a young NBC correspondent in D.C. the night I covered my first State of the Union Address. It was 1987 and I was 21 and still finishing up my Masters Degree in Journalism. Reagan had just finished and I have wrapped my "stand up" in front of the Capitol when a friend in government offered to "show me something" beneath the Capitol. It was then that I first saw the real hidden world beneath the U.S. Capitol and much of the Mall, and tunnels that were built before WE built tunnels….
You know, somebody around here has that broadcast tape from that night. I should put it up on MySpace or on the website. You want it or a link to it?
There's a great deal of Revolutionary War Era history involved in this story. How much of it is "real"?
Wow, just about all of it. All the characters of that era are real, the things they said and did. Even the globe.
George Washington plays an important role. Are you a particular admirer of his?
He was, as his contemporaries said, the "indispensable" figure of American history. The Republic could not have happened without him. Twice he voluntarily gave up power. First as Commander-in-Chief of the Colonial Army at the end of the Revolution. Then again after his second term as President of the United States. He has no equal as president.
Conrad proves very tough and resourceful in this story. Is there an element of his background of which we are unaware, or did he toughen up after the Antarctic incident?
Yes and yes. There is some background that will come to the forefront of The Atlantis Revelation. And he did toughen up after Antarctica and the loss of both his father and Serena. He became less tolerant of lies and liars, both inside government and outside, and is more willing to use deadly force if his own life or those of others is in danger.
What is your opinion on the Atlantis myth? Based in fact? Fun source of speculation? Alien race? The source of Dick Vitale's annoying personality?
Personally, I suspect Plato used the volcanic eruption of Fira — present-day Santorini — as the basis for his story about Atlantis. I've been back there several times, and each time reinforces for me the connection between the island and Crete and the Minoan civilization before Plato's time. However, as has been pointed out, Fira blew about 900 years before Plato's time, and Plato put the destruction of Atlantis 9,000 years before his time. Maybe it's one of those "lost in translation" mistakes. If not, then the only place that satisfies Plato's description in time and space is Antarctica, which was ice-free at the time of his account, outside the Mediterranean, and surrounded by a "world ocean." It's always instructive to look at a dead-on satellite image of Earth with Antarctica in its center to really see how East Antarctica beneath the ice and the islands of West Antarctica beneath the ice could really have been Atlantis if Plato's account is historically accurate.
Should this book find its way to the big screen, who should play Yeats and Serghetti?
I have met with some of the biggest directors in Hollywood about this series, and to a person we all lament — after complaining about the massive budget to pull the movies off — about how much easier it is to cast Serena Serghetti than Conrad Yeats.
I can't get into details about all these discussions, but I can reveal to you, for the first time, a few of the names that consistently pop up for Serena.
The most interesting one, for me, is Evangeline Lilly of Lost. I think she'd be terrific, but studios naturally wonder how well she'd "translate" to the big screen. She hasn't made the transition yet.
Another interesting one is Emily Blunt from Devil Wears Prada and Charlie Wilson's War. A third name I hear is Sienna Miller in brunette mode. A fourth is Eva Green from Casino Royale. Other names are the usual suspects, like Keira Knightley, although, sad to say, there is concern about the rest of them being "too old" for Serena: Rachel Weisz, Kate Beckinsale, etc.
As for Conrad Yeats, please send me your suggestions! There are so few "action" stars today in their 30s, and the most effective casting in these kinds of movies have often been unconventional choices: Tobey Maguire in Spiderman or Nicolas Cage in National Treasure or Robert Downy Jr. in Iron Man. Even Matt Damon in the Bourne movies was unexpected—and successful.
Will The Atlantis Revelation be the final Conrad Yeats story, or will he go on to new adventures?
Yes. The end of all things is here. All will be revealed next summer. In some ways the first two novels are trailers for The Atlantis Revelation. It's really exciting. And, of course, you'll be the first to get the sneak previews.
Any final words for our readers?
They are among the most intelligent out there and the first to tell me where I've got things wrong, which is more often than I'd like. In other words, they care. And I'm extraordinarily grateful.
Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us.
My pleasure, as always.Powered by Sidelines