Thursday, November 29, 2012

LILITH: A character study of Hunter Singleton

Since most of the advance word about my new supernatural thriller, LILITH, is kind of a general overview of the book’s storyline, I thought it would be cool to talk about some of the characters in the story. There are actually a number of important people in there, but the main protagonist is a guy named Hunter Singleton.

Hunter is half Cherokee Indian, half white, and was adopted as a baby near a Cherokee reservation by two very special people in a small town called Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They raised him as their own and taught him the ways of the Cherokee so that he could stay in touch with his own heritage, his own roots.

Hunter grew up and joined the Navy to get away from the small town life (much as I did) and hopefully have some adventures. After that, he went back to school and got his degree in journalism, then interned at some small newspapers before getting on as a reporter in River City, North Carolina (yeah, that’s me, too!)

Hunter met his wife, Lisa, while interviewing her for a story. Hunter forgot to tape the interview, which Lisa found quite funny, and they decided to start dating and eventually ended up getting married. What happened between then and LILITH can be found in my first novel, (shameless promotion alert) DIABLERO. I can assure you, it’s quite terrifying and not for the faint of heart. But they made it through reasonably unscathed.

Hunter is thirty-ish and in good physical shape, but not very tall. However, due to his Native American heritage, he is dark-skinned, dark-haired and dark-eyed, which most women seem to find attractive. He also has a dry, acerbic wit, which gets him into trouble.

He is not musically inclined, though he loves good rock and roll and some classical music, and generally likes doing outdoorsy stuff like hiking and camping. Hunter is a black belt in Wing Chun Kung Fu, which he learned from his wife. He believes in self-sufficiency and dislikes taking handouts from anyone. He loves his wife and will probably make a great father when their new baby is delivered.

Hunter and Lisa did have some marriage problems due to a miscarriage by Lisa, which you can read about in DIABLERO, but things have been patched up and they are going full-throttle in dealing with this new danger in LILITH.

There are some introspective moments in LILITH where you will discover more about Hunter and his past, about his shortcomings and failures, what makes him tick, and also about why Lisa finds him so irresistible. He gets into quite a jam in LILITH – one which, at first, seems impossible to overcome. Does he make it out, or not? Find out when LILITH is released in January!

Next time, I’ll talk about Hunter’s cohort in all of this, his wife, Lisa, who I think you will find a very interesting character in her own right. Ciao!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Writing the supernatural action-thriller

I have always loved reading horror—Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Bentley Little, Edward Lee—I can’t explain it. It just appeals to me. I guess the thought of flawed humans overcoming insurmountable odds and saving the world from some inhuman beast or life-threatening super-organism is just, well…cool. Sure, sometimes the good guy or woman dies at the end, but that’s life. Heroes are willing to pay the ultimate price so that others may live.

One of my other loves in fiction is the thriller, whether it’s politics, crime, military, whatever. Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, Nelson DeMille, Lee Child, James Patterson, Clive Cussler—I love ‘em all.

But for a long time, there seemed to be a lack of novels that really mixed action/adventure and supernatural horror into one story. I wanted something that was creepy, but that also moved along at a good clip and had memorable characters. There were very few novelists that were doing that kind of thing—Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, John Saul, William Meikle and Jeremy Robinson are some names that come to mind.

So I decided that I would try to create stories I would like to read, something that incorporated both supernatural horror and action/adventure. I had written some short stories, but I wanted something that would keep readers enthralled for a few days. My first undertaking was DIABLERO, a story about modern-day voodoo and the resurrection of a three-hundred year old pirate, Blackbeard. 

I got some good reviews for that book, sold a few hundred copies with Nightbird Publishing and Crossroad Press. But for my next story, I wanted something even bigger involving the CIA, the military, the supernatural, and some human drama. So I took characters from my first novel, Hunter and Lisa Singleton, and put them into my new book.

LILITH is a supernatural creature who takes possession of the crew of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, and is then set free in the streets of Manhattan after it gets demolished by a huge storm. It was a very fun book to write.

My next novel, tentatively titled PRIMORDIAL, will be on an even bigger scale, believe it or not. Did I tell you I want my stakes to be high? Even the young adult sci-fi novel I’m working on is high-octane. Can I help it if I like things to move along at a good clip? And guns? And explosions? And…and…oh, sorry. I get carried away. But you get the picture.

I tried writing “literary” horror. Yeah, that didn’t work out. I kept falling asleep and drooling on the keyboard. Shorted out a lot of PCs. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classics—Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow—and I owe my career to them. But modern times demand that we stretch our writing chops to mix genres that may not have been previously incorporated, e.g., the vampire western, the zombie literary classic, the sci-fi detective, and so on.

So now, I present to you the supernatural action-thriller. I hope you like it.