Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Shivering Intro to Junior Inquisitor!


Reading Junior Inquisitor By Lincoln Farish comes with a serious warning: You will never look at life the same way...

 

Brother Sebastian is halfway up a mountain in Vermont, hell-bent on interrogating an old woman in a shack, when he gets the order to abandon his quest for personal vengeance.

He has to find a missing Inquisitor, or, more likely, his remains. He’s reluctant, to say the least. Not only will he have to stop chasing the best potential lead he’s had in years, this job—his first solo mission—will mean setting foot in the grubby black hole of Providence, Rhode Island.

And, somehow, it only gets worse…If he’d known he would end up ass deep in witches, werewolves, and ogres, and that this mission would jeopardize not only his sanity but also his immortal soul, he never would’ve answered the damn phone.

 

Sebastian Meets a Screwface:

 

I took another step into the shop, pushing against the waves of evil. On the next set of shelves, I saw a severed hand in a large clear jar. The hand of a slain witch contains the knowledge of the deceased. The possessor then has that knowledge, all her spells and tricks. It’s one of the reasons witches were burned years ago...

A flash of movement from the other side of the room caught my eye. Two handmade Raggedy Ann style dolls were each held fast to the counter by a small black iron chain. The dolls were sitting slumped, as though alive and waiting for release. High-pitched, girlish voices came from them, full of hate, malice, and insanity. A sign in front of them said they were Hogaana Dolls.

A summoned spirit—a soul called from Hell—can be captured and enslaved by a strong or skilled witch. Trapped between here and Hell, the spirit can act as an oracle and tutor—a guide for witches trying to learn and experience new levels of power and what I’d call madness but she would refer to as “clear thinking” or “a deeper understanding.” The drawback is that a spirit is still ethereal and can escape easily unless tightly contained and constantly fed power to keep it here. The bound spirit can be transferred into a vessel to contain it in a form, a body...

My hands were shaking, my stomach roiled, and my eyes stung from the candles and incense. I wanted to flee...

I needed to leave and report back. This was beyond my abilities.

When I looked up, a tall, thin woman was staring at me from behind the counter. Her gray hair grew in clumps between patches of gnarled burn scars. She was dressed in a tight jumpsuit, stained with blood. Rings covered her hands, and I saw the deep purple of porphyrite in one.

Her face had an odd twist to it, as though someone had taken a screw, driven it into her nose, and turned it. She was a Screwface—a witch who thrived on pain and torture. A witch I wasn’t capable of breaking, or even dealing with. And now it was too late for me to escape.

Only a very special type of Inquisitor—a man without empathy, one who would be called a sociopath in the regular world—could deal with them. Formed into teams called Hammers, they’re elite, but they die even faster than regular Inquisitors. Not only do they train longer and harder than my regular Brethren, they receive special instruction on how to deal with Screwfaces. And despite all this training and conditioning, they’re still sometimes reduced to a pitiful weeping mess after one of their Purges.

Her smile reeked of madness and pain.

One of the dolls moved and shrilled, “Make it bleed.”

She glanced at it then raised the hand with the porphyrite ring, which was glowing and snapping in a purple and black nimbus. She was unleashing some spell; only magic was that mind-bending color. “Goodbye, false monk.”

 

 

Answers from Lincoln Farish:

 

When did you start writing?

 

On this series, I started the first one about ten years ago. I'm not sure if I will ever use it, it's a kind of Origins story. Once I wrote it I was kinda hooked, I realized there were many, many more stories about Sebastian that needed to get out. I wasn't in a hurry, and I took my time, hence the slow pace. Since then I finished with my fourth novel in the series.  It's funny I wrote my first book long before I'd ever heard of any of the other authors that write along similar lines. The first time I read Larry Correia, Junior Inquisitor was with my editor. I wish I'd read him earlier, his creation of a useful silver bullet is better than mine.

 

Why Horror?

 

Well I still quibble with the horror genre tag, because I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m just exploring what would happen if people suddenly were able to do magic. Following that question I had some answers but also more questions. Where would this ability come from, would it uplift the human spirit, or bring out our worst impulses? Then, if they were bad, who would stop them? If all magic users were good I have a Happiest Elf kids story, which for me would be dull. I could have made witches and warlocks both good and evil, but that’s been done. So I went with evil. From that everything kind of sprang forth. How would someone who is evil and very powerful act? What kinds of spells and energies would they have, how would they get more power, how would they act towards each other and regular people? Everyone who’s evil needs some minions, so what would they have and how would they get them? I ended up with this very dark tale about a group of monks who were waging a guerrilla war on evil made manifest. So it’s dark urban fiction that’s almost horror. The “almost horror” modifier came along because apparently I scared some of my beta readers.

 

What research did you have to do?

 

Quite a bit on Providence, it's been a long time since I've been there. And lest anyone think I hate Providence, I do not. I just needed a decent sized town for creatures of madness and mayhem to run around in. I could have picked Worcester, New Bedford, even Hartford. I went with Providence. I also spent time learning about the different orders of monks, so that part of the story would be authentic. On weapons I had a lot less research to do since I've used weapons ever since high school and quite a bit throughout my twenty-eight years in the military. I've been over to Iraq twice, Afghanistan, three times for the military, and spent about a year in Afghanistan working for a private security firm. Every bit of equipment the Inquisitors use I have experience with, the same with their tactics, which made it easy to describe but boring to read. Most of the time when there is a fight people focus on what is right in-front of them. To give a story any kind of continuity and avoid “Well if you remember Bob,” or “”Tell me again what happened when the Ogre attacked,” dialogue I had to expand Brother Sebastian's peripheral awareness. At the same time I didn't want to descend into omnipotence, so it was a balancing act.

 

Why dark urban fiction almost horror?

 

I was really stuck trying to shoe-horn in my story into a genre, because it just didn't quite fit. I'm not trying to scare anyone, act as a warning to the populace at large on the dangers of Cthulhu, or teach a moral lesson like horror usually does. At the same time if you have a group of people who have powers that can and usually do harm regular people, your story is not going to be a happy one. Bad things will occur, people will die, and mayhem will run rampant. It's not dystopic, for most people magic never enters their lives and they go about quite happily unaware it actually exists. Those that do, however, experience all kinds of terrible events and traumas. Set more or less today that kinda makes it urban fiction, minus the romance. So dark urban fiction almost horror.

 

Are Wiccans witches?

 

Not in my books; completely different types of people and motivations. In my world witches are unrepentantly evil, more or less crazy, sacrifice innocents to gain power, and generally nasty all around. Witches will sometime prey on Wiccans, but they could just as easily go after a Girl Scout Troop, or the Moose Lodge.

 

Tell me about these Illustrated Excerpts and the book cover, where did you get them?

 

I have the best editor possible, Danielle Fine. Not only did she make the story infinitely better, she helped create the cover and then did the illustrated excerpts for promotional efforts. Remember I’m new at this and had no idea how to do marketing. She and a few other authors took me under their wings and helped guide me along. For the artwork, I’d like to say it was a collaborative event, but I have no artistic skills. I gave Danielle my vision of what “right” looked like and with a bit of back and forth, okay a lot of back and forth, she made it happen. Of course, now with all of my nit-picking, I owe her some tequila. Probably several bottles.


 

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