Interview with Author Justin Fulkerson
Justin Fulkerson is the author of An Hour for Magic published by GenZ Publishing Justin’s literary tastes turned from science fiction (Isaac Asimov) to horror (Stephen king, of course) at the innocent age of twelve years old. His outlook on life was forever changed by the experience, his mind suffered the consequences. The creatures and scenarios running through his mind forced him to begin his first novel while still in high school. It called to him over the years, but each time he turned away, knowing his imagination wasn't ready, waiting until the time was right to finish the journey.
In 2004, he started setting aside time to finish his first novel. It turned into a 1000 page monstrosity that the world was not ready for. So, the years passed and Justin decided to market his short stories upon Amazon. His most successful stories sold well. ‘Unfinished Business’ took readers into the path of an elderly serial killer obsessed with the one victim that got away. ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ took them into an alternate timeline where a nobody named Lee Harvey Oswald tries to survive after nuclear Armageddon in 1962. He joins forces with Charles Manson and Jim Morrison to fulfill an ancient Indian prophesy and prevent extraterrestrials from overrunning the planet. These are just a few examples of his twisted imagination.
In 2016, he was picked up by GenZ Publishing and An Hour for Magic and it’s two successive sequels were published shortly after. Justin continues to write in his off time in order to rid his mind of the demons writhing there.
1. When and how did your writing journey start?
Actually, it started as an assignment when I was in Junior High School, which I guess is called Middle School now, lol. We had to right a short story. I wrote ‘Tea for Two’ which was a very dark story and I will always remember the look on the teacher’s face when I had to read it aloud. She wrote something along the lines of ‘Quite imaginative’ on the paper when it was returned. After that, I would jot down ideas and bits of dialogue and keep them in manila folders.
2. I've read your book An Hour for Magic and I've become addicted to your writing style. I loved the details you put into the story and it's characters. How did you come up with this interesting plot line?
I’ve been a fan of Jim Morrison and The Doors for as long as I can remember. I had several book of his poetry. One line stood out to me as I was reading one day: ‘When the True King’s murderers are allowed to roam free, a 1000 magicians arise on the land.’ I came up with the idea that some sort of Messiah would be murderers and the magicians would be left to battle evil. The idea grew from there.
3. What kind of research did you put into the story? How long did it take for you to complete it?
I started writing the scenes where each magician realized that they were alone in the world around 2012. At first, I had no idea where the story was going. Only later, after looking into the history of the Water Torture Cell, did I realize there was a story in itself following the real life cell and it fit perfectly with what I wanted to convey. I spent hours scouring books about Houdini and researching on several sites dedicated to Houdini and magic itself. I still have dozens of pages that will possibly be used in another story. Mostly about Houdini’s relationship with Arthur Conan Doyle. I didn’t write the ending of An Hour for Magic until around the beginning of 2014 or so. After working on other projects for a while, i went back and spent lots of time editing and adding in scenes to make the story flow better.
4. When I read the story, the first question that popped in my mind was, how did you handle so many characters in the story? Each character had a role to play and when it ended I remembered each one.
That is my favorite part of writing. I try to make my characters as real as possible and give them each their own emotional anchors and history. Nobody is perfect and I love writing imperfect characters. The more broken, the more interesting to me.
Originally, I intended for An Hour for Magic to have 1000 magicians just like the quote from Morrison. I told a friend of mine this and he called me crazy. I guess I am.
5. So, one of my favorite characters in the story is the beast. Can you tell me more about him? Who is your personal favorite in this story?
Well, first of all, you must capitalize it. LOL. The Beast would be comparable to the idea of Satan himself created by religions over the centuries. He’s an evil that uses others to gain what he wants. What he wants may change from minute to minute, but, once he is set on something, he is going to get it. He’s had decades to plan his revenge as he was trapped in the Cell.
My favorite character is Mister Hollow. He is the flip side of the coin from The Beast, but he is no saint. He uses people also, even his own ‘granddaughter’ and in some ways, he is worse than The Beast. I don’t want to give away too much, but he is not a nice man.
6. My next question is about the sequel An hour for Maggie. Do we get to see more of the characters we read about in the first part? Can you tell us more about the books in this series?
The first sequel is Hollow Be Thy Name. It takes place parallel to the events in An Hour for Magic involving other Magicians in the same position, alone and confused. Many new characters are introduced and several from the first book make appearances also.
The third book which you mentioned, An Hour for Maggie, takes place nine months after the events in the first two book, bringing everyone back together again, it’s a heck of a ride.
I thought I was done with this world after Maggie, but I want to reveal that over 300 pages have been written on the fourth and final book, Hollow Beast. It probably won’t be finished for several years and will be the longest book in the series. I want to get this one right, so I am taking my time.
7. When you look back at your writing journey, what do you feel? Can you tell me about the challenges you overcame?
The hardest hurdle for me when I started was point of view. I always wrote in omnipotent point of vire, which means basically God, able to read all characters thoughts and see everything going on. I was told this was confusing to the reader, so that is where my style came from, I switch between characters to get across what I want the reader to know.
The other challenge is getting someone to actually read your work. Query letters are no reflection of someone’s 500 page manuscript. I hate query letters with a passion.
8. All right, so let's come to your upcoming release, Hallowed Ground. Can you tell me more about this story? Is this a standalone or a series?
A standalone story set at the beginning of a zombie apocalypse. It may sound cliche, but my readers know that I like to put a twist on everything. My story revolves around two nuns and an ex-soldier with PTSD locked in a cabin trying to survive and battle their own internal demons.
9. What other projects are you working on?
Freckles the Clown. The title kinda give it away. It’s about a cannibal clown and a guy he has been tormenting for the last 20 years.
10. Your favorite part/dialogue/scene from one of your books:
Probably the scene in An Hour for Magic where Shelly finds the photograph in Maggie’s lockbox and realizes that Maggie has been lying to her the whole time.
11. What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
I know tons of authors say this, but the master Stephen King has had a huge influence upon me. His ability to build characters is awe inspiring. IT is probably his best book in my opinion. The emotional rollercoaster in that book is exhausting. I read it the first time when I was 12, the same age as the children in the book. I waited 28 years to read it again, just as long as IT stayed dormant beneath the street of Derry. This time I was the same age as the adults in the book. It was eerie. I connected with them as kids the first time and with the adults the second time. My all time favorite novel.
12. What's your family like?
We are a Halloween family. The decorations go up in August and stay up through Christmas. Our Halloween tree is already up this year. We all like scary movies and the macabre. Just look at our Facebook pages, lol.
1. A random fun fact about yourself: I can ruin the lyrics to any song on the radio, better than Weird Al Yankovic. My wife hates it because all she hears are my made up lyrics when she hears the song again.
2. Best surprise ever: 18 years ago when I realized that my wife was in love with me and we were going to get married.
3. Pet peeves: People who don’t know the difference between their, there and they’re.
4. An unforgettable moment in your writing journey: Being compared to Stephen King is the most humbling and amazing thing ever. Also, doing my first radio interview.
5. When I'm not writing, I'd like to: Read and binge watch television shows. Also a lot of different art projects.
6. Your hidden talent: refer to number 1. LOL
7. Dogs or Cats: Definitely cats. As a matter of fact, there’s one asleep on my lap as I write this. We have four. Baby, Ozzy, Manson and Simba. We also have a dog, Hades.
8. Marvels or DC: Never been a big comic book guy, but have to go with DC just because I’ve always been a Batman fan. Because, like the characters I write, he is human and he has his flaws.
9. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? Stephen King said in his book On Writing that if you write three pages a day, you will have a novel in 90 days. The first time I followed that advice, I ended up with 500 pages in that time. If you make it a habit, you are restless if you aren’t doing it.
10. The most inspiring quote:
“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.” -Stephen King
Message to your fans:
I want to thank all the readers that set aside time in their lives, away from their cell phones, to spend it with me as I tell my tale. I hope my words stay with them long after the tale is through. I also want them to realize how important leaving reviews is to a writer’s career.