On June 21, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Eng­lish pro­fessor Gary Gosh­garian will release his eighth novel, “Tunnel Vision,” which fol­lows an atheist who lapses into a coma and wakes up on Easter reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Ara­maic. We asked Gosh­garian, who will sign copies of the novel at the North­eastern Book­store on its release date, about the con­cept behind the book, his pen name and his advice for aspiring novelists.

Near-​​death expe­ri­ences and the search for an after­life figure promi­nently in “Tunnel Vision,” which explores the rela­tion­ship between sci­ence and reli­gion. How did you come up with the idea?

The notion of inten­tion­ally flat-​​lining someone to explore brain activity intrigued me. It’s illegal, so it’s never been done before, but I thought I could explore the pos­si­bil­i­ties in a novel. So, I read up on near-​​death expe­ri­ences and found that quite a few people have claimed to have died and gone down a tunnel into a big wash of light. In this tunnel, they see spir­i­tual beings and dead rel­a­tives and feel a sense of uncon­di­tional love. This fas­ci­nated me.

From Chris­tianity to Islam and some sects of Judaism, many reli­gions promise an after­life. That promise of con­tin­u­ance is a big ques­tion in sci­ence. Is the mind reducible to a series of neu­ro­log­ical net­works or is there some­thing beyond the phys­i­cality of the brain?

You authored your first three novels under your own name, but adopted a pen name more than a decade ago. Why did you make the switch and how did you settle on the nom de plume Gary Braver?
In 2000, I wrote a book about an anti-​​aging drug called “Elixir,” which was optioned for a fea­ture film by director Ridley Scott, of “Glad­i­ator” fame. My pub­lisher got excited and didn’t want to under-​​order copies of the book based on sales of my pre­vious novel. So, she asked me to change my name in order to debut me as a “new” author and pub­lish 10 times as many copies of the book.

I had three days to come up with a short name at the front of the alphabet. There is strong evi­dence that cus­tomers who browse the new-​​releases sec­tion in chain book­stores, such as Barnes & Noble, stop at around “H” or “I.” I con­sulted my family tree and ended up on my grand­fa­ther, who was killed by the Turks in the 1920s. As it turned out, his first name trans­lated from Armenian into Eng­lish as  “Braverman,” so I went with gramps.

What advice do you have for aspiring nov­el­ists?
Look at a book the way a car­penter looks at a house. Be aware of how an author gets in and out of a scene and the ways in which he or she shapes char­acter through dia­logue or descrip­tion. Take note of the struc­ture of a scene and be aware of the rising and falling action of each chapter, which should create ten­sion between what the char­acter wants and what he fears.

Keep writing. I write every day. Even if I’m not at the key­board, I’m taking notes or thinking about a scene. Turn off the TV.