Today we have a special edition of Nine Questions with… and my guest is author Joshua Skye. I’m hosting him today as a part of his blog tour for The Angels of Autumn. Welcome Josh, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Joshua Skye. I am 38 years old. I have been with my partner Ray since 1996. Our first dates included seeing such films as Scream and Evita, which should tell you how eclectic my tastes are. We have an eight-year-old son named Syrian. I am extremely passionate about my work, which could probably best be described as gay themed, genre-defying fantasy/horror. It is strange, it is unusual, and it is very unique. I am so thrilled that my novel The Angels of Autumn has found a fantastic home with Pink Pepper Press. Aside from my books The Singing Wind, The Grigori, Midnight Rainbows, and the forthcoming Once Upon A Midnight Evil, The Argento, and Matilda & Dusti, my work can be found in anthologies from Sirens Call Publications, JMS Books, Knightwatch Press, and Rainstorm Press as well as periodicals like Blood and Lullabies. I love writing and am so excited that my work is getting out there.
Tell us about your writing process?
Honestly, it depends. Sometimes I write outlines and sometimes I don’t. My best work, like The Angels of Autumn, seems to stem from a combination of both extensive preparation and a willingness to deviate from prepared paths. I like to believe that I am fearless; I will always go where the story takes me.
Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
I am fascinated by steampunk, high fantasy, and pure romance. I love blending genres and will always do so, but I’d love to take a crack as those.
Bending the genres is great Josh, I think many readers respond to a mixture of them in a story. Heck it can even be a great way to introduce readers to books that why may never have thought to try otherwise. Speaking of books, what are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
Shirley MacLaine’s Out on a Limb is an absolutely fascinating read. It is my very favourite book; I’ve read it more than any other. I absolutely believe in the paranormal, that there is more to life than what meets the eye, and this phenomenal and courageous revelation of spiritual exploration proves that my personal experiences aren’t a rarity.
Stephen King’s Night Shift is my favourite anthology. It is a glorious journey into horror. I don’t think I have ever read anything quite so scary.
Our Name is Melancholy by Leilah Wendell is beyond anything I’ve ever read, utterly amazing. Whether fact or fiction, the tale is mesmerizing. I’ve read it a few times with my jaw in my lap. There is no way to read it and not have a very profound reaction.
Clive Barker’s Weaveworld is a flight of imagination that can’t be touched by anyone. Barker’s ability to conjure horror, fantasy, and grotesquery is astounding. I am in awe of this man’s imagination. There’s no one like him.
Communion by Whitley Strieber is perhaps one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. I was so profoundly affected by it that after reading it, I couldn’t bear to close my eyes at night for over a month.
What a great list of eclectic choices! If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
I’ve thought about The Angels of Autumn being made into a movie for a long time and I’ve pictured Chad Allen playing my lead character from day one. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. He’s not only handsome, but an extraordinary actor.
We all know the best way to get your book made into a movie is to get on a best-sellers list of some kind. What do you think is the first thing you would do if you woke up one morning to find one of your books on the NY Times Bestsellers List?
Throw a party! Seriously, it would be a blast, an absolute dream come true.
So Josh, do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
I pace and stare at the walls a lot, they’re not exactly vices but they seem to be a large part of my method. Caffeine and chocolate help, too.
Tell us about what you do when you’re not writing?
I’m a dad, nothing is more important. When my son is at school and I have an abundance of time to myself, I sleep. I read. I watch movies. I’m pretty boring.
Now it’s time for the fun part (aside from catching a good nap!). Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
Josiah Crompton delivered one last vicious blow to his wife’s face. Her nose flattened, her top lip split open and there was a crimson splash. Her eyes rolled up as her head wobbled for a moment. Her arms reached out to each side, fingers grasping for nothing, and then she stumbled backwards into the wall. It was a hard hit, her head bounced before she crumpled into a heap on the floor.
“You don’t ever tell me what to fuckin’ do,” he spat at her. He finished off his beer and then threw the can at her. It landed in her lap. Were it not for the blood one might have been able to dismiss her as passed out.
The excerpt is from my newest work called “Vanilla on the Breeze.” It is a southern gothic romance with a few odd twists. It began as a short story, but has taken on a life of its own.
Oh, that sounds intriguing! Where do you find your inspiration for the tales that you weave?
Most of the time, my nightmares and dreams play a big part in inspiring my work. I love the surreal. The Angels of Autumn is full of these wonderfully bizarre moments, and nothing conjures the fantastic like dreams.
Thank you Josh for talking the time to stop by today! For those you interested in The Angels of Autumn, which is heralded as “a profound and powerful gay erotic thriller”, here’s a sneak peek! It’s published by Pink Pepper Press, the new-ish Romance and Erotic Fiction Imprint of Sirens Call Publications.
Kincaid Kingsley returns to the town of his childhood after the death of his twin brother, Xander. Believing the crime to be motivated by hate and prejudice, Kincaid sets out to discover why the police are no longer actively investigating the case and hopefully uncover his brother’s killer in the process.
Things in Wren are not as they seem, however, and the closer that Kincaid gets to an answer, the more danger he encounters. Why are all the townspeople so afraid to share what they know?
As the mystery surrounding Xander’s death unravels, the town becomes increasingly blind to what is actually going on. Can Kincaid discover who killed his brother and save the town from evil?
If you’d like to purchase a copy…
Now I’m going to tantalize you just a little bit with an awesome excerpt!! If comes from Chapter Five and let me tell you it’s gonna make you want to read the rest!!
“How may I help?”
Angelo was a handsome man with typically Italian features. He was dressed in a nice, solemn suit and had his hair combed strictly back. His large hazel eyes fell on his guest and there was an audible sound of shock, a sigh and then a deep intake of air. He said, “Kincaid. Wow, I thought you’d never come back to this place especially when you didn’t attend your brother’s funeral. Everyone thought it was pretty scandalous. So, how’s it going?”
Ignoring the crude judgment, Kincaid detected a genuine surprise in Angelo’s voice. He was the same age and had been in many of the very same classes as the Kingsley twins, he’d even been one of the disapproving assholes who had put them through hell. Angelo had been one of the popular kids, one of the over-exulted Wren Dragons, a dumb jock destined to forever mourn his golden high school days. As an adult, Angelo didn’t seem so intimidating anymore. He was just a man in his late twenties, wasting away in the family business, no longer taut, tan and toned, no longer important, no longer a Dragon…the toast of the town. He had a beer belly which alone made Kincaid happy. “I’m okay,” he replied. “How have you been?”
Angelo’s lips quivered when he forced a smile and answered, “Good. Thank you. How’s your mother?”
“As good as can be expected, I guess.”
Angelo said, “Right. Well, how can I help you?” He was stiff, formal. The fingers of his hands were entwined and resting at his waist. He cocked his head to one side, the sympathy in his eyes was counterfeit, a professional automation.
“I wanted to talk to you about my brother’s funeral, actually.” Kincaid found he couldn’t look at Angelo when he said ‘funeral,’ and so he diverted his gaze across the room to nothing in particular. Everything about the place was so old.
Angelo’s voice got deeper and there was a hint of umbrage to it. “I imagine you would. Your mother expressed her disappointment in your brother’s restoration. We’re very sorry she was so displeased. I assure you we pro-rated our fees accordingly.”
Kincaid slowly brought his attention back to his host and said, “Yeah well, do you do the restoration?”
“No. My mother does.” Angelo’s stance changed, he was getting defensive both vocally and physically.
“May I speak with her, please?”
“I’m not here to cause a scene or anything. I just want to talk to her. That’s all, Angelo. I’m not going to berate your mother.”
The Italian man just stood there for several tedious and silent moments assessing the guest’s intentions. Kincaid refused to look away this time no matter how nerve-racking or unsettling the situation slowly became. He wasn’t in high school anymore, he wasn’t the frightened and belittled teenager who shied away from everyone and Angelo wasn’t the pompous cock-of-the-walk anymore. They were adults and far more equal now than Angelo was probably even aware of.
Kincaid prepared himself for a physical altercation. Being picked on mercilessly had prompted him to take quite a few self-defense classes over the years. Angelo might have been able to beat the shit out of him once, long ago, but his glory days were long over. He was out of shape and didn’t have his buddies around to back him up. Kincaid put on a confident little grin and stated, “I said please.
Angelo’s shoulders slouched ever so slightly. He swallowed hard and his eyes turned down as his voice became professional, disengaged. He said, “Of course. If you’ll excuse me I’ll see if she’s available. Please, take a seat.”
“Thank you, Angelo,” Kincaid said lowly.
Angelo nodded and disappeared behind the curtain.
Kincaid turned and meandered into the small, dismal sitting room and over to a stiff, uncomfortable sofa and sat down. A spider crawled over the surface of the weathered coffee table. Not particularly squeamish about such things, Kincaid watched it with a distracting fascination, the way it moved, the legs click, click, clicking along. He frowned as he realized that this spider was malformed. It had nine legs instead of eight and yet the added appendage didn’t seem to impede it in the slightest. He found himself leaning down, close, to get a better view of the little creepy crawly. The spider stopped. Perhaps it was now quite aware of its audience. It was perfectly still, frozen.
“Mr. Kingsley.” The voice was soft.
Kincaid flinched. The spider lurched into motion and scurried over the edge of the table and vanished. Being polite, Kincaid stood and turned his attention to the petite woman standing in the entranceway. She clutched a leather-bound portfolio to her bosom. Her salt and pepper hair was pulled into a tight bun on her head. She had modest make-up on and was dressed in a long, conservative black dress. There was a beautifully crocheted shawl draped over her shoulders perhaps utilized to hide the slight curvature of her upper spine. Kincaid said, “Ms. Lombardi, thank you for seeing me.”
She smiled courtly and entered the room, moved gracefully around the back of the sofa and sat down next to her guest. Kincaid sat down as well. Her eyes were down. He wondered what she was thinking. He imagined she thought he was there to complain. He wanted to reassure her he was not and so he said, “I didn’t come here to…”
Without looking at him, she shoved the portfolio at him. Sheepishly, he accepted it and took a deep breath before opening it. For a moment he expected to see pictures of his dead brother, before and after. It wasn’t something he was even remotely interested in. They were pictures of the dead and indeed they were before and after shots, instamatic snapshots, many of them yellowed with age. The first was an old man whose face had practically been pulled off in some horrible accident. After the restoration he simply appeared as though he were napping. The second was a woman whose forehead had been cleaved open and again the after picture was perfect. On and on the pictures went, each turn of the page revealing flawless transformations.
She said demurely, “My work. As you can see, I am very good at it.”
“It’s immaculate, you’d never know, but my mother said she could…” Kincaid paused as a realization hit him. He turned his eyes away from the Polaroid snapshots in the photo album. The widow Lombardi looked sad and afraid at the same time. His voice was shaky, hesitant. He said, “You did it on purpose.”
Mary Anne nodded and took the album back from him, she closed it and pressed it, embraced it, to her breast. Her eyes moved downward until she stared at the floor and there she focused for a long time, barely breathing, silent and still. She was contemplating something. Kincaid’s mind raced with what those thoughts might be. His heart fluttered nervously. What secret was she about to reveal?
If you need to know the secret as much as I do, scroll back up to the purchase links!!