Today I welcome JJ Hickey to the FlipSide. Welcome Joe, why don’t you take a moment and introduce yourself to the captive audience that you now have before you.
My name is Joe, I am a paranormal researcher out of Michigan and founder of MIParanormal. When I am not out chasing ghosts, I spend my pretty much all my time writing. I graduated at Saginaw Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in Creative writing and have been honing my skills for over a decade now. I released my first indie book back in 2005, and recently released a very successful (if you ask me, at least) book called, Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro.
Tell us about your writing process?
Well, it’s ever changing. Recently I have found myself being very strategic with my writing. Outlining almost the entirety of the second book, whereas the first book was pretty much just sitting down and seeing where my creativity took me. That’s the difference though, my first book was meant to be nothing more than a novella written for my niece and nephew as a Christmas present. It grew so fast I knew it was meant to be more. Now that I am fleshing out this concept into a seven or eight book series, I really have to start outlining and note taking.
Is there a genre, other than the one you currently write in, that you wish you could break into?
Not so much. I don’t just write YA Fantasy/Paranormal, although it is my favorite. I do write more mature books, mostly which still venture into some sort of fantasy. I have a novella I recently published that I wrote in my later stages of my scholarly years. It’s meant to be read in a book club setting and to be discussed and dissected through multiple lenses, the more boxed wine the better! It’s filled with literary theories that was forced down my throat in college. A great story to read for people who like to dig deeper than a surface read.
What are the 5 books that have influenced you the most, and why?
Harry Potter was and is huge influence, especially from the creativity standpoint. I loved The DaVinci Code for its pacing. I loved The Hunger Games and The Running Man as well. There have been so many influential books out there, it’s hard to pick. I usually pick up a book, and I know if I like it if I wind up spending more time writing (due to inspiration) than reading lol.
If you could cast one of your works, who would you choose to play your main characters?
This is a hard question to answer. Because this book was originally meant for my family’s eyes only, I spent a lot of time basing characters off real members of my family or friends. So In my head I already know what they look like and their mannerisms, even if I did my darndest to fictionalize them. If I had to choose, I would pick Kevin Spacey to play Declan Aten.
What 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?
I would retire from my demanding management job, move away to a quiet lakefront house, and live out my dream since I was a child – writing for a living! I would also do something amazing for all the people I my life who helped me reach such a huge goal. I have already met a wonderful group of people who have done so much in the process of getting my stories out for the world to see.
Do you have any vices that you turn to while you are writing?
Many, in fact I need complete silence and absolutely no distractions. The minute my fiancé comes home I know I have to stop because it is literally impossible to write anything if there is another human being anywhere near me. I tend to get lost in the world I am writing; the moment something pulls me back into the real world I am pretty much a goner. It also takes some time for me to get into that zone, and once I am in it I lose track of time. There has been occasions where I will get up to grab something out of the fridge and have no idea I had just spent six hours of my life lost in the creation.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend all my free time writing. So if I am not writing, I am probably stuck at work paying the bills. The little bit of time I spend between the two, I try and relax with my fiancé and friends. I also do the paranormal research thing on the side.
Please share with us the first nine lines of your current work-in-progress.
Professor Aten stood surrounded by a group of well-dressed men, all of which were outfitted in fine tailored made suits. They group stood out like a sore thumb, as most people who visit a bright and sunny beach would dress accordingly, flip flops and board shorts were always popular. However these men were not on vacation to enjoy the tropical weather, or to take a dip the oceans’ cool waters. No, these men were strictly there for business.
“Beautiful isn’t it?” Aten kneeled down onto the beach and ran his fingers through the fine grains of brown sand. He smiled slyly as he felt the pebbles slip between his fingers. He took a deep breath of the fresh crisp air and held it deep into his lungs.
“A beach is a beach, you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, am I right?” One of the cockier business men joked. The group chuckled in response. Aten, however, did not find the man’s musings funny in the least.
“How sad you are, simple and small minded,” Aten stood back up with the aid from his smooth black cane for balance. He dusted the sand off from his hands as he stared out at the ocean.
Now let’s take a sneak peek into Joe’s novel Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenborro…
Young siblings, Hunter Glen and Elly Anne, lost their parents in a plane crash merely two weeks ago. Unknowing how to deal with the sudden and painful loss, the children find themselves living with their enigmatic Godfather, Dr. Calenstine. Taken from their home, and all their friends, they find themselves living inside the even more mysterious Belmonte Manor, a secretive and enormous estate that houses a creepy ancient castle.
Despite the kindness of the Manor’s caretakers, the siblings find themselves imprisoned in their room, where the many secrets and dark past of their new home slowly unfold before their very eyes. Follow the young children as they unravel the truth behind their parents past, the mysterious and creepy Belmonte estate, and their “roles” in the terrifying events that the kids often find themselves in. Filled with secret societies, ancient monsters, mysterious objects, and more adventure the children could have ever hoped for, J.L. Hickey promises a journey great for young adults, yet wonderfully exciting and riveting for all ages.
Don’t forget to click on the cover to be whisked away to Amazon!
Join me next week when L. Andrew Cooper will be joining me at the FlipSide.