The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff
by Lane Heymont
Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. Today I'm pleased to introduce you to fell PA Native, Lane Heymont! Thank you so much for chatting with us today Lane.
Lane is also offering you a chance to win a signed copy, so be sure to leave him a comment and enter using the Rafflecopter below :)
BK: Please tell us a little about yourself Lane...
I was born in Pennsylvania and now reside in Massachusetts. I earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a focus on literature and history, and double minors in psychology and business. After college, I thought I was going to go into business, but realized I hated having to sell people things they didn’t actually need. So, I turned back to my love of writing.
I have several short stories published and The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff is my debut novel. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more to come!
Lane belongs to a number of professional organizations including the Horror Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs along with the National Writers Union. He also belongs to the Infinite World of Fantasy Authors.
When Lane’s not writing stories, he writes freelance for various websites on a range of topics. He focuses mainly on science, astrophysics, environmental studies, including Global Warming.
BK: Please tell us a little about your book....
The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff is a historical novel set in Reconstruction-era Louisiana.
The most evil man in history, obsessed with creating a pure race, has crossed the barriers of time to retroactively complete his Final Solution.
In 1871, the United States government has nearly eradicated the Ku Klux Klan, who they fear will inspire Southern whites to make certain the South will rise again. The Klan’s remaining forces have retreated to Louisiana in hopes to escape the “Northern” government.
Jeb, a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the Ku Klux Klan, pulling him into a world of Creole Voodoo, hatred, time travel, and redemption. The two brothers-in-law set out to stop Verdiss and his Klan followers from using the Pharaoh’s Staff, a magical artifact from ancient Egypt. Soon, Jeb and Crispus learn Verdiss’ diabolical plan and discover that he serves an evil far more insidious than himself. In the end, Jeb and Crispus must stop an entire people from eradication and each find redemption for his own past sins.
BK: It sounds amazing, I can't wait to read it. What inspired you to pen this particular novel?
I was enrolled in an African-American literature class during my sophomore year in undergrad. We mainly studied the slave narratives of the 18th and 19th centuries, and I just fell in love. I couldn’t keep myself from writing in the genre.
BK: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think if you can’t quit writing, you’re a writer. So, I’ve considered myself a “writer” in that sense, but a professional writer? Not until my short story The Lost Continent was published in Innsmouth Magazine. Then the story was recommended for a Bram Stoker Award, which was a nice bonus!
BK: How do you keep your story flowing?
It’s about the characters. You have to know what they want, their desires, their goals, their story, and then throw everything you have into trying to stop them. Stories should be character driven. Why does your protagonist feel the need to fight against this particular “dying of the light”?
When you keep that in mind, I think the story flows the way it should.
BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?
Surprisingly, rarely, and the few times I have, I take a break to read. Reading someone else’s work puts me in that creative mind.
Usually when I’m not writing — going about my business during the day — ideas pop into my head. I’ll be walking the dog, see the way a tree sways, and a great idea will hit me.
So, I guess you could say that’s why I rarely have writer’s block.
BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?
A comfortable chair, and a big cup of coffee. Enough said.
BK: Mmmm. I LOVE coffee :). Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
Always be writing. That’s how I operate, so I have plenty of books, and a screenplay, in the works. Whether they sell, make it to the New York Times Best Seller’s list, or end up in the trunk, it’s all up to the wind, I suppose.
BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
Ignorance is not to be underestimated. It leads to racism and hatred. It’s a struggle to understand these ideas, and it can be painful to try to do that, but if we’re to have any kind of future, we need to.
I can sum it up in that famous saying: All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
BK: I love it, well said. What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?
Write what you don’t know, but do your research.
BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?
Learn how to write. Like in any business, there are certain nuances you need to understand and implement. Then never stop writing.
BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?
A lot. I have several more books in the works, and I just finished a screenplay.
BK: Where can readers find you?
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
About The Author:
Lane Heymont was born in Pennsylvania. He earned a BA in Liberal Arts with a focus on literature and history. He also holds a double minor in psychology and business. After college, he turned his focus back to writing. Lane has several short stories published, one of which was recommended for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award in short fiction.
Genre: Historical, Fantasy, Slipstream
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc.
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc.
Release Date: December 23, 2012
Jeb, a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the Ku Klux Klan, pulling him into a world of Creole Voodoo, hatred, time travel, and redemption. The two brothers-in-law set out to stop Verdiss and his Klan followers from using the Pharaoh's Staff, a magical artifact from ancient Egypt. Soon, Jeb and Crispus learn Verdiss’ diabolical plan and discover that he is working for an even more evil force. In the end Jeb and Crispus must stop the eradication of an entire people and each must find redemption for his own past sins.
Allenville flashed in Jeb’s head. Bodies burning, people tortured and brutalized in the streets. Somehow he felt the same thoughts in Fallon. The way his slender hand tightened around his when he’d said the word. He imagined hatred blistering inside the boy. Maybe the need for a father blinded him. Thank the Lawd–that ain’t the case no more…I hope.
“Jeb. Fallon. This way. I found a mambo a few blocks away on Laurel Street.” Crispus’s voice broke through the crowd.
“Come on!” Fallon pulled Jeb through the throng of people. Crispus’s voice always sounded just beyond them, amidst the night madness of Baton Rouge. “Wait!”
“Where’d he go?” Jeb tugged on Fallon’s hand, pushing aside a doughy man.
“He took a right down Nacadian Road. Wait, Crispus!” The hideous ensemble of vendors, farriers, knackers, and other merchants crying out their goods seemed to drown out the boy’s call.
One moment, mayhem wracked the market, the next it fell silent. Fallon stopped, so Jeb did. He couldn’t move, the herd seemed to stop stampeding. Footfalls echoed in the street. The crowd spread. Then came the heavy clacks of soldier’s boots on the flagstones. A band of men, too many to tell. But Jeb knew them by the procession’s cadence–Confederate soldiers. Men clad in gray uniforms marching through Baton Rouge. No doubt, they’d be Klansmen too. Shouts of jubilation spread like wildfire among the townspeople.
“Kill them carpetbaggers!” came a woman’s elegant voice.
“Long live the general!”
“The South shall rise again!” shouted a boy.
Jeb felt the panic in Fallon’s hand, his heartbeat racing as he pulled him away. “What general? I know that cadence like I know my field.” Jeb focused on dodging whatever lay in his way, stumbling over garbage and bumping into people.
Fallon stammered over his words, “Not–not–nothing. Nathan Bedford Forrest?” He gasped, tightening his grip on Jeb.
Somehow Jeb overcame his instincts, keeping his head bowed. Not daring to look up in fear that monster of a man would see him. Though blind, Jeb saw Forrest clad in the gray Confederate officer’s uniform, adorned with medals. He’d seen photos of him. Tall, in his fifties, a receding hairline and a curly mane of black hair. A well-kept goatee tinged gray like his uniform.
I can end it all. Fight through the crowd. A single shot to the head. To hell with being blind, I can do it. For a moment Jeb meant it, caressing his pistol. It’d be easy. Instead, he listened to the Ku Klux Klan founder, savior of the white race, and ender of Reconstruction, parade along the street. Celebrated by a throng of who knew how many people. They were closer now, close enough for Jeb to count them. Four guards following him. Plus Forrest, that’s five. Six shot pistol. Just enough for one miss. He gripped his pistol. It didn’t matter that the crowd loved Forrest, even cheered him on. Six rounds is enough. Jeb edged his pistol free from its holster.