On Saturday, June 13, Event Horizon Games welcomes authors, John L Deboer, Erica Lucke Dean, Stephen Kozeniewski, Kelly Stone Gamble, Mary Fan, Claire Ashby, and Karissa Laurel for Red Adept Publishing’s annual book signing event. John is the author of Skeleton Run, a mystery thriller. Stephen will be signing his horror mystery, Braineater Jones, and Erica’s newest release is Ashes of Life, a women’s fiction novel. Here, Karissa Laurel interviews John, Erica, and Stephen about their books, writing, North Carolina, and Saturday’s event.
Karissa: Y’all are coming to town for a book signing event hosted by Red Adept Publishing (RAP), which is a small press located in Garner, NC. John, you’re a local guy, is there anything about North Carolina that is special to you as a writer?
John: I’m not originally from North Carolina, but I’ve lived here since 1988. I’ve featured the Tar Heel State, especially Oak Island, where I have a summer place, in my last three novels.
Karissa: Erica and Stephen, I’m pretty sure you’ve both been to North Carolina before. What has brought you here in the past?
Erica: I live thirty minutes from the NC line, so North Carolina is important to me. We actually own some land in the NC mountains.
Stephen: My first trip to North Carolina was in 2013 to meet my publisher for an intensive weekend of business conferences. I came again in 2014 to run the RAP table at Illogicon, where I met Karissa (although she swears it never happened) and TJ from the Event Horizon game store. And I’ve been back twice since for book signings courtesy of the wonderful folks at Event Horizon.
Karissa: I first encountered Lynn McNamee, RAP’s Owner and Editor-in-Chief, at a panel on publishing at Illogicon. The things she said about small press publishing really drew me in, and the fact that RAP was local, was a big plus. How did you all come to find a home at RAP?
John: The reason I submitted to RAP (which I hadn’t heard of) in the first place was because of its Garner location; I thought that might get me an in. Maybe it did!
Erica: My long time critique partner, Laura Kolar signed a contract with RAP for her book, Canvas Bound. She’d read To Katie with Love, my first novel, and suggested I submit it. I got the call soon after, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Stephen: Elizabeth Corrigan, another one of RAP’s great stable of authors, suggested that I try RAP through a mutual friend. And it turned out after a long, otherwise fruitless search, RAP was interested in publishing my first novel.
Karissa: What’s something you’d like people to know about your latest book, maybe what inspired it, something you learned from the experience, or just a fun fact?
John: I’m a political junkie, and my latest book is a political thriller. It poses the question of how far someone would go to prevent a presidential campaign from unraveling. And also raises the issue of the danger of allowing billionaires to single-handedly finance said campaign.
Erica: Ashes of Life is loosely based on my relationship with my stepdaughter, and the trials and tribulations of basically raising teenagers who don’t consider you their “real” parent.
Stephen: Braineater Jones features zombie sex. That is all ye know on Earth and all ye need to know.
Karissa: The book signing on June 13th sounds exciting, especially with such a big group of authors and so many books. What about this event are you all most looking forward to?
John: Meeting my fellow RAP authors! And Lynn, our leader, of course.
Stephen: I’m looking forward to seeing my good friends Mary, Erica, John, Claire, and Kelly and all the great folks at Event Horizon Games. (Karissa I could take or leave.)
Erica: I’m also looking forward to hanging out with all the awesome RAP authors. We’ve created a support community like no other. I’d be there even if I didn’t have a new book to promote. And I’m super appreciative of the folks at Event Horizon for hosting us yet again. They rock!
Karissa: Any advice for the new authors who’ve never done a book signing before?
Erica: It’s all about the pen. Don’t forget a nice pen.
Stephen: You know, an author with a book signing’s a little like the mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how he got it, and danged if he knows how to use it!
Karissa: All three of you have written a few books each, so I assume you’re busily working on other projects. What’s coming up on the horizon for you all?
John: My current WIP is about the ISIS threat to the U.S. Being “torn from today’s headlines” presents a challenge, in that real-life events often overtake fictional propositions.
Stephen: On the horizon for me is a Braineater Jones television cartoon show which I’ve been developing with Steve Rimpici, the Voice Arts Award-nominated narrator of my audiobook. In terms of writing I’ve actually started work on a YA horror novella, which is a little bit outside of my wheelhouse, but maybe it will open up some new doors.
Erica: Next on the horizon for me is two new books. Splintered Souls coming out sometime this fall, and Suddenly Spellbound (release date unknown), which is the second book in my Suddenly Sorceress series.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed his surgical training in the U.S. Army and then spent three years in the Medical Corps as a general surgeon. Thirty years of private practice later, he retired to begin a new career as a writer. When not creating new plot lines for his novels, Dr. DeBoer pursues his interests in cooking, the cinema, and the amazing cosmos. He’s an avid tennis player, and his yet-to-be-fulfilled goal is to achieve a level of mediocrity in the frustrating game of golf. The father of two grown sons, he lives with his wife in North Carolina.
After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Luke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost. When she’s not busy writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens, diabolical ducks, and a quintet of piglets, hell bent on having her for dinner, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the characters in her books, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces. How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.
Stephen Kozeniewski (pronounced: “causin’ ooze key”) lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. He was born to the soothing strains of “Boogie With Stu” even though The Who are far superior to Zep, for reasons that he doesn’t even really want to get into right now. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. The depiction of addiction in his fiction is strongly informed by the three years he spent working at a substance abuse clinic, an experience which also ensures that he employs strict moderation when enjoying the occasional highball of Old Crow. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s degree is in German.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
Skeleton Run by John L. DeBoer
Twenty years ago, four teenage boys left a baby behind in a crushed car after they caused the tragic accident that took the mother’s life. Ever since, they’ve guarded the secret that would’ve ruined their lives and destroyed their future careers. But when one of them succumbs to illness, a blackmailer makes contact, and the survivors realize that, somehow, someone else knows. Now, everything that matters to them is at stake.
Las Vegas billionaire Wendell Logan is pursuing the role of political kingmaker, and he’s selected his unsuspecting king: Alan Granger, governor of Pennsylvania. Granger confesses his closet skeleton to Logan, but the tycoon has invested too much time and money into Granger’s future presidential campaign to let him and his old friends endanger Logan’s power play.
It’s time to run.
Ashes of Life by Erica Lucke Dean
Married for just three months, Alex Barrett is stunned when her husband, David, dies in a tragic accident. And the absolute last thing the pregnant young widow wants is to take on responsibility for his teenage daughter, Maddie. Reeling from loss, Alex struggles to deal with her grief and her troubled stepdaughter, but one question haunts her: why was David with his ex-wife when he died?
All Maddie Barrett wanted was for her parents to get back together, but an icy road took that dream away. Afterward, Maddie is riddled with guilt that she can’t share with anyone. Feeling angry and alone, she lays all the blame on Alex.
Alex and Maddie must find a way to move past their pain—shared, yet separate. Thrown together in an untenable arrangement, they fight through a frozen landscape of sorrow and redemption while redefining love, forgiveness, and family.
Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski
Braineater Jones wakes up face down in a swimming pool with no memory of his former life, how he died, or why he’s now a zombie. With a smart-aleck severed head as a partner, Jones descends into the undead ghetto to solve his own murder.
But Jones’s investigation is complicated by his crippling addiction to human flesh. Like all walking corpses, he discovers that only a stiff drink can soothe his cravings. Unfortunately, finding liquor during Prohibition is costly and dangerous. From his Mason jar, the cantankerous Old Man rules the only speakeasy in the city that caters to the postmortem crowd.
As the booze, blood, and clues coagulate, Jones gets closer to discovering the identity of his killer and the secrets behind the city’s stranglehold on liquid spirits. Death couldn’t stop him, but if the liquor dries up, the entire city will be plunged into an orgy of cannibalism.
Cracking this case is a tall order. Braineater Jones won’t get out alive, but if he plays his cards right, he might manage to salvage the last scraps of his humanity
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
Karissa Laurel is the author of Midnight Burning, available July 7, 2015 from Red Adept Publishing. Karissa lives near Raleigh with her son, husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. She is a graduate of UNC-G and Meredith College and works in legal affairs for North Carolina state government. She is also a book junkie, a first reader for Strange Horizons magazine, and a dancing monkey for coffee, chocolate, and superheroes.
[Editor’s Note: Karissa Laurel and Lynn McNamee will appear on the July 6th broadcast of Carolina Book Beat.]