Friday, January 20, 2017

Interview with supernatural thriller author Charles R. Hinckley

Author Charles R Hinckley is with me to wrap up the week. We’re chatting about his supernatural thriller, Dream State.

Charles R. Hinckley is an author, audiobook producer, playwright, and fine artist. His short stories and articles have been published by online magazines, and News America Syndicate. As a producer/voice actor, Charles has several titles available on Audible and Amazon.

Inspiration for his novel Dream State came when he had a precognitive experience. He saw a crime happen just before it was committed. After this experience he began to realize the potential for exploring this phenomenon in the form of fiction.

Welcome, Charles. Please tell us about your current release.
August Chase is an ordinary man plagued by extraordinary precognitive dreams. When he foresees the brutal murder of a young woman, he tracks her down to warn her. His warnings go unheeded, and the dreamed murder becomes a reality. The victim’s sister, frustrated by slow police work, enlists August’s help, and he is launched into his first case as a private investigator. Delving deep into the victim’s life, he soon discovers a common thread in the shadowy world that may have claimed her. This is book One of the August Chase Mystery Series.

What inspired you to write this book?
When I was twenty-one I had a very powerful prerogative experience where I saw my car was about to be stolen. I was able to get to my car and stop the thieves, but not until after they had done some damage. The cops came and they said the exact same things I had witnessed them saying in my precognitive vision. It was an unsettling experience. Since then I have had a number of small precognitive visions occur such as, knowing someone would visit, or I’d hear from someone I had been thinking about. I had a football dream once. During the AFC championship game, the Patriots would beat the Steelers, and then go on to win their first super bowl. I knew Tom Brady would hurt his ankle and Drew Bledsoe would come in against the Steelers, and they would win the game. I dreamed all this. And after that, I knew they would go on to win the Super Bowl. I didn’t bet on the game, but I guess I should have.

Excerpt from Dream State:

Pablo Carrillo was killed in the same dream several times before I attempted to save him. The dream always starts the same way: I’m in the passenger seat of a large sedan travelling along a suspension bridge. Light flickers through support girders, creating a strobe effect on the faintly illuminated guardrails. Outside to my right, at least a hundred feet down, is black water. I turn to the driver. He’s a heavyset man with a five o’clock shadow and thick, dark eyebrows. He’s fishing around for something between his legs, his eyes darting from the road to the seat. I try to speak, but nothing comes out. Awareness that this is actually a dream begins to dawn on me. It’s already set in motion. I’m only along for the ride. The car will crash, and the man will be killed. I dream this again and again. But this time I have the presence of mind to do something.

“Stop the car.” My voice is slurred and low as I choke out the words. He glances in my direction and smiles, like I’d paid him a gentle compliment. I turn down the sun visor and gaze into the mirror. It’s not my reflection I see, but a dark-haired woman sitting in the back seat. Her eyes are black and intense. She glares at me as if I’d robbed her. Her mouth moves, but I cannot hear her words.

Up ahead, in the oncoming lane, a large pickup truck swerves across the road, coming straight at us. I hear the piercing sound of tires skidding on cement, and shock reverberates through me. A slap to the head and we’re falling off the bridge toward the river. My stomach flies around in my chest; my heart pulses hard enough to burst my veins. Then the guttural smack of hitting the water, the puzzled look on Bushy Eyebrows’ face as his fat frame pushes into me, the crunching of bone as my cheek melts into the car door. His face is in front of me now. I see it in his eyes. He knows. All is lost. Death rears up and there is no escaping. It’s happening no matter what I do.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently working on a sci-fi story about an astronaut that encounters an alien species that is toxic to humans. As the space station he’s in changes course towards Earth, he must overcome the effects of the toxicity to save the space station and, ultimately, the planet from the alien threat.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have been writing off and on since high school, but was drawn into acting and playwriting. I guess, you could say I have come full circle back to writing. Just in the last few years, I have been able to write full time.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I try to get all the daily chores out of the way and start writing around mid-morning. I take many breaks throughout the day, and sometimes can work up to 10 hours a day. Some days, I hardly write at all. Maybe I’ll spend the day reading or doing research. I also paint and produce audiobooks, although I try to do one thing at a time. So when I’m writing full time, no other projects take up my time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
I get into the mood and sort of get the creative juices flowing by listening to music. (Although, I can’t listen to music while I’m writing. It’s too distracting) Dido is a great artist for me to get into the state I like to be in when I write. There’s something about her music that gets my creative juices flowing. Also, classical music. Love cello. Also, dreaming is big in my life. I solve problems while dreaming. I often lucid dream. Many times when I write, I’m seeing the story in my head and just writing down what I see. I dream small movies at night. They usually have a beginning, middle and end. Sometimes with music!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was really young I played soldier all the time. As I got older, I was drawn to the arts. Music was huge for me growing up. I learned to play the drums and attended Berklee College of Music. But I soon realized music would not be my full-time passion. I gravitated towards the theatre and storytelling after that.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am very happy and grateful to be able to write full time and plan to write as long as I can. I hope you enjoy my writing as much as I do.


Thanks for being here today, Charles.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Interview with writer / debut novelist David Trock

Writer and debut novelist David H. Trock is here today and we’re chatting about this newest crime fiction (a murder mystery), A Religion Called Love.

David Trock has been published in several genres including crime fiction and medical non-fiction. As a novelist, his foray into murder mystery was launched in 2016 with the psychological thriller, A Religion Called Love. In 2007, his first book titled, Healing Fibromyalgia, was published by Wiley & Sons. He's written book chapters and journal articles primarily in the field of rheumatology. He is an attending physician at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut and a clinician on faculty at Yale University School of Medicine

Welcome, David. Please tell us about your current release.
A Religion Called Love is an unconventional murder mystery that draws attention to controversial themes, such as the meaning of faith, the debate over stem cells & tissue cloning (known as somatic cell nuclear transfer), and the pain of unrequited love.
When a young kindergarten teacher confesses the truth about her unorthodox religious beliefs, a throng of angry parents confronts her. The next day, she is found dead, and an investigation led by Detective Robin Noel (a friend of the deceased) exposes the lurid secrets inside a small town.

What inspired you to write this book?
At first, the story was inspired by the yearnings of three different men for the central character (Kathryn), then I folded in the dynamic of a woman (Detective Robin Noel) who also secretly pined for her, then I focused on the intertwining of their lives after Kathryn's death. The subplots pertaining to religious faith and humanism came later and fit perfectly into the narrative. 

Excerpt from A Religion Called Love:
(from the end of chapter 1)

When word of Kathryn's attitude spread, she was snubbed in the teacher’s lounge, anonymously harassed online and marginalized by a small but formidable core. At dismissal one Friday afternoon, she found herself surrounded outside the door of her own classroom by a throng of angry parents. Confronted by pointed fingers and accusations, she was forced to field questions from all directions. What kind of teacher are you? What kind of values are you teaching our children? You’re a disgrace to the school!

 Kathryn flinched, thinking an object had been hurled in her direction. The brief misperception tugged at her playful sense of humor—she had nearly smiled but thought better of it. By chance, a security guard was making his rounds and diffused the situation by his mere presence. He strolled past the adults, who nodded politely in unison, and when he was out of sight once more, their angry pitch returned. Don’t put confusing thoughts in their minds! You don’t have children of your own, stay away from ours!

 Kathryn tried to assure everyone that her personal beliefs were no threat whatsoever to their children. She insisted that only kindness and fairness and the Golden Rule were emphasized in class—but their anger only escalated. Finally, she said, “I’m going home now.” She squeezed through the fray and turned to say one more thing: “By the way, if you’re certain that having a religion is required to be a good teacher, then my religion is love—love for one another—love and respect for all living things. That is my religion.”

 Kathryn walked away from the spectacle that Friday afternoon and made little of it. She ended her week in the usual way, on the top step of her cement porch with a cup of green mint chocolate chip ice cream. A roach clip sat in the porcelain ashtray beside her. “Sugar Magnolia” echoed in her thoughts. A crescent moon lit a corner of the sky that evening and she slept well. 

 The following day, Kathryn’s body was discovered at home with no sign of forced entry—no evidence of rape or robbery. She was only twenty eight when it happened, a crime that roused the neighborhood from its provincial slumber. Neighbors whispered from behind the yellow police tape that she should have been more careful. A patrol car idled silently at the curb with lights running. Curious onlookers gathered to see what was going on, speculating among themselves about the pretty kindergarten teacher inside. Detectives arrived in short order to ask them what they had seen or heard, and their responses were predictably useless. No less than a dozen different stories belied the fact that nobody knew exactly why Kathryn James was dead or who was responsible. 
A five-block area was scoured for evidence. Detective went door to door looking for clues. One reclusive neighbor protested for being questioned more than once, but Detective Robin Noel didn't care; she was accustomed to that kind of response.  

What exciting story are you working on next?
I'm working on several projects, both fiction (the first living heart donor), and non-fiction (about treating chronic pain).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still think of myself as a doctor, teacher, husband, father, and somewhere in there I get my share of writing done.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I love to write, so I find time to do it whenever I can.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually write freehand, then I edit at least once before transferring to my laptop.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I love animals, so I wanted to become a veterinarian.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I've attended several book groups that have focused their debate on the religious themes of A Religion Called Love, and I think that's okay - but don't forget the love part!! 

Thanks for being here today, David!