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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Author Interview & Giveaway: The King of Evil by Josh Stricklin




Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

With every novel, I spend about a week, sometimes two, mapping the whole thing out. I didn’t know to do this on my first one, and the story was a little chaotic. With The King of Evil I feel like it flows a lot better and smoother, because I was following a path instead walking through a field. I always tell new people to spend a little time mapping the story out beforehand. Even if it changes as you write, it’ll help give direction.

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Oh yeah. In my first novel, Those Who Are Left, there was a character, Mark Phillips, who was loud and immature but really fun to write. He kept trying to be a main character, but he was more of a comic relief. It took a major realization for him to get serious. I don’t want to ruin anything there. The King of Evil, on the other hand, was a little different. The villain was the one trying to take over. That was kind of the point so I let him. He started in with his evil ways and really pushed the story out.

What is your favourite food?

If I’m talking ethnicity, Italian is the best. I love marinara and penne pasta. If we’re speaking in specifics, I make some mean homemade chicken nuggets that I learned from my dad. We grew up with this joke that the first batch is strictly the test nuggets—because you don’t want to keep cooking bad nuggets, of course—but when I do it every batch is the test nuggets. I have to cook sides before I finish nuggets or I will be too stuffed to eat any sides.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m not a morning person. My dogs usually wake me up at around six or earlier with their barking at the air conditioner or just the fact that I’m still asleep. I don’t like commotion in the morning so naturally I’m pretty unapproachable then. I do a lot of writing at night, so I would definitely go with night owl.

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

One of my favorite cities is Seattle. I love rain and the Seahawks, so I’ve always wanted to go there. I’ve toured America with a band, so I’ve seen most of the places here that I’ve wanted to see. I want to go to Australia too. I don’t really have a reason. I’ve never been outside the country, but I have a passport. I feel like that would be a fun place to start. The accents are cool.

Do distant places feature in your books?

Not in the two I’ve put out so far. Both Those Who Are Left and The King of Evil take place in the Gulf of Mexico area—mainly Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana. They have similar roots, not quite companion novels, and definitely not sequels, just involved with one another. I have a series coming up that does have a different area to it.

Do you listen to music while writing?

Not usually. When I first started I did. It’s distracting, because I play music. Maybe musicians know what I’m talking about when I say I don’t just listen to the song, I listen to the instruments, words, everything. So I lose focus on writing kind of easily when there is music playing. The rare times that I do listen to music it’s just because I made a note on the pad I was writing on, and I want to get into whatever mindset I was in when I made the note. It’s mostly research when I do.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

Of course. The book follows the lives of Jack and Cindy Simmons. They’ve had a rough couple of years, but who hasn’t? They try to get out of the funk of their lives by starting over in a new place. But their problems didn’t stay in their old hometown. Their problems followed them. More accurately their problem followed them. They find that what has sunk its teeth in them is feeding off their passion for what they do for a living. It more than comes to life. It takes over their lives, and tracks down their friends.

Jack doesn’t know what it’s after but he desperately tries to fend it off before it sends he and Cindy back to the depressing life they only recently left. Jack finds out that Cindy is the key to defeating the thing in the river behind their new home.

This was a fun book, because it heavily involved with the Voodoo culture. Readers will see some familiar images and hopefully learn something they didn’t. I did a lot of research on Voodoo and I learned more than what comes out in the book.

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

It’s tough. You have “no” far more than “yes,” and more than that you don’t even get answers. At times it seems like people actively go out of their way to not help you. It’s incredibly humbling. It’s unfortunate because it’s all I want to do from here on out. But that’s part of the business, paying dues and all.

Is there anything you would do differently?

I would have edited my first book myself. I don’t think the editor I used was as committed to the book as I was, and people have let me hear it almost constantly. It’s not their fault, they didn’t write it so they didn’t have as much at stake that I did. I also paid a lot of money for reviews on my first book. I definitely wouldn’t have done that. I still haven’t gotten the first review that I paid for. Gigantic ripoff.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

Horror of all kinds influences me. Music, movies, art, books, whatever you can find. Even things that aren’t horror-related. I like things that are weird. There is a They Might Be Giants song that spurred on an upcoming series. It’s not about horror at all. I think it’s about being paranoid. I’m not sure. That’s how their songs are. I have no idea what 90% of them are about.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Like I said early, outlines helped me out incredibly. It gets you thinking about the story as a whole before you actually start going. Character sheets are also good. I usually write everything I can about each of my main character or anyone who is more than just an ancillary background character before I start having them do things. That always keeps things straight so you don’t have to worry about continuity.

What are three words that describe you?

Thunderclap, sledgehammer, warm

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

Stephen King is my favorite author, hands down. My favorite book depends on which one I finished last. Every summer I read Under the Dome, It, and Salem’s Lot. Right now It is on top. I also love American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Border by Robert McCammon. Pretty much anything creepy does the trick for me.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

After a horrific accident, graphic artist Jack Simmons and his wife, Cindy, have lost all sense of a normal life. With their marriage in pieces, their only hope in setting things back is by starting over. The two pack their lives in boxes and migrate to the Big Easy. Upon arrival, Jack and Cindy fall into the jobs of their dreams. The new start they were hoping for seemed to have been waiting for them in New Orleans, after all. But something followed them. Something Evil.

Jack is commissioned to create the artwork for a graphic novel about a voodoo king, The King of Evil. As Jack works diligently to create a masterpiece, drawing the images back and forth between paper and his computer, he starts seeing things. Images of his King appear in the corners of his vision. They spring up just as Jack falls asleep. Always only inches out of plain sight.

The King grows more powerful, and soon he unleashes his power on Jack, Cindy, and the people in their lives. The King slowly destroys everyone around them, showing the newly rekindled couple what it’s like to be evil for evil’s sake. Jack and Cindy will need help from the King’s past victims to stop him.

List of previous books if any

Those Who Are Left

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

https://www.thegreenroses.com
https://www.facebook.com/thegreenroses
https://twitter.com/ExplosionAction
https://www.instagram.com/explosionaction/






The King of Evil
Josh Stricklin

Genre: Horror, Occult, Voodoo

Publisher: Silver Leaf Books

Date of Publication: September 1

ISBN: 978-1609751753

Number of pages: 334
Word Count: 80,000

Cover Artist: Paul Tynes

Book Description:

After a horrific accident, graphic artist Jack Simmons and his wife, Cindy, have lost all sense of a normal life. With their marriage in pieces, their only hope in setting things back is by starting over. The two pack their lives in boxes and migrate to the Big Easy. Upon arrival, Jack and Cindy fall into the jobs of their dreams. The new start they were hoping for seemed to have been waiting for them in New Orleans, after all. But something followed them. Something Evil.
Jack is commissioned to create the artwork for a graphic novel about a voodoo king, The King of Evil. As Jack works diligently to create a masterpiece, drawing the images back and forth between paper and his computer, he starts seeing things. Images of his King appear in the corners of his vision. They spring up just as Jack falls asleep. Always only inches out of plain sight.
The King grows more powerful, and soon he unleashes his power on Jack, Cindy, and the people in their lives. The King slowly destroys everyone around them, showing the newly rekindled couple what it's like to be evil for evil's sake. Jack and Cindy will need help from the King's past victims to stop him.
The King of Evil is a heart-pounding, supernatural thriller. Its vibrant characters and intense action is certain to keep its audience reading well into the night.


Prologue

In the 1940s there was a hospital on the back way out of town where the poor people had their children. It was far enough out of the way that the city was only a murmur, and the trees surrounding the building threatened to break in through the windows. The red brick building was small, and there were only a few rooms. At the edge of the tall grass where the trees stopped, a chipmunk stared in wonder at the marvelous brick structure built by man. She had spent a long day trudging through the swampy Louisiana woods, which was much harder now that she was carrying a litter. The faraway sky bruised with the arrival of an oncoming storm.
Bars guarded the glass, but the chipmunk had no problem watching the commotion inside. She didn’t see the brownish-orange, diamond-shaped head easing through the tall grass. She watched as the big people picked up the small people from tiny beds and walked out of view. Then a big person would return and lay the small one back in the bed. No one but the chipmunk seemed to notice when the black smoke rose from the center of the room. None of the people reacted whatsoever, because only the chipmunk saw the ashy gray person materialize in the center of the nursery. The head crept closer. The life inside the chipmunk’s belly stirred. They were hungry, too.
The gray person stood above the tiny bed with wide eyes fixed on the small person. He looked back and forth between the one in front of him and the one just to his right. Then he turned to the one on his right as if suddenly more intrigued with that one. The chipmunk had no idea what to make of this. She just wanted food, and there was the feint smell of something sweet coming from that building. The chipmunk stood on her hind legs. She stopped, tilting her head. The new person, the one no one else seemed to notice, lifted an arm above his head. The copperhead sprung forward, sinking its teeth and venom into her back. The arm descended. As life drained from the chipmunk, the ashy gray person vanished, and the other people in the building seemed to panic.

About the Author:

Josh Stricklin is an American author and musician with degrees in English literature and advertising from the University of Southern Mississippi. His first novel, Those Who Are Left, is available online and in person. The King of Evil is his first terrifying novel with Silver Leaf Books. He's currently hard at work finishing his first series…or more likely reading comic books and wearing a Seahawks jersey.





Tour giveaway

5 copies The King of Evil

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