Welcome to the blog, Jerry!
Thanks for having me.
Could you tell us a little bit about Thaloc Has a Body?
Thaloc has a Body is the second book in the Brodie Wade series of paranormal thrillers. In this book, Brodie must encounter the paranormal force that he calls The Truth. It can take the form of anything or anyone, and taunts him with clues in cryptic riddles and languages that he must decipher.
Since no one else can see The Truth, Brodie has been institutionalized three times as being schizophrenic. While the medicines and doctors haven't taken away this spiritual manifestation, they have taught Brodie how to hide his psychosis from the outside world... at least enough to get by on most days. But when he encounters a scene where the manifestations are strong and violent, things can get interesting.
In this book, there have been a series of unsettling murders that Detective Phil Dawson can't wrap his head around. Three murders in three days committed by three different people. The only problem is that one of the accused murderers has been dead for six weeks already. Not having all of the facts is driving him nuts, so he calls on his friend, Brodie Wade, to help him discover the items that he can't see with his own two eyes.
They discover an ancient Egyptian force that calls itself Thaloc. There actually is a beast in Egyptian lore called Thaloc, and I tried to stay as close to that legend as I could, with the little I could scrape up on the beast. He's a very tiny aspect of Egyptian lore, so there isn't a ton of information on him. In a way, that was very frustrating. But then again, it gave me huge latitude to fit the legend to my own plot.
What led you to write this series?
I started writing a story about a gruff police detective who had a bizarre case for Death Has a Name. It was intended to be a single book. And it was a straight-forward who-dunnit with a slight paranormal twist at the end. In order to give this twist, I introduced a strange, awkward, lanky psychic named Brodie. I liked the character so much, I scrapped the original story and started over. This character was so wild and had so many different aspects that I didn't feel that I could do him justice in just one simple scenario. So, I sat down and sketched out three quick stories that will show his progression from awkward certifiable schizophrenic to his final blossoming moment in society.
How did you make Detective Wade psychic without making his job too easy?
The Truth doesn't just say "Hey! There's a body over here!" It speaks in riddles and rhymes that he has to solve. Just like there are certain truths in our world that need some prior knowledge to fully understand, it is true in the spirit realm as well. If you look at something from what you already know, it may mislead you. But if you look at the same result using a different set of starting facts, all of the riddles and questions make perfect sense.
I know it is a hard concept to grasp for some people. Imagine with me if you will, every action taken and word said leaves a faint impression on the space around you. Now, for violent or emotionally charged events, the impression is stronger, burning itself deep into the space around you. This impression is so strong, that it fights the bounds of the spirit realm and bleeds into our reality. The fresher a scene is, the more violent and uncontrollable these impressions can be for those that can see them, physically harming them if they do not stop and listen with every ounce of attention they have.
What are some vital ingredients in a good mystery?
Well, you don't need a dead body, but it helps. (* laugh *) You need a big question that can't be easily answered (how did the person die? or how did the murderer get away without being noticed?) You then need this question to be big enough to have several possible answers. Toss in a few clues that can help define more than one of those answers (but when looked at from the TRUE answer, they still make perfect sense) This will also keep the main character searching for the solution to the bizarre clues, and keep the tension for the reader ... bake a 350 for three months while writing, editing, and polishing, and there you have it.
What do you enjoy most about Thaloc Has a Body?
I can summarize that in two words: Jamie Stanford. She was briefly mentioned in Death Has a Name, but takes a prominent role in the second book. She becomes Brodie's love interest, and plays a very large part in the plot as it unfolds. That relationship is Brodie's undoing in this book, and keeps him just distracted enough that even the clues that he would normally understand in a flash slip right by him until things get crazy.
What is your best advice on writing?
Just keep at it. I know that sounds very trite, but it really is the best advice I've ever received. The more you do it, the better you get. The better you get, the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes the more you can do. It's an interesting cycle, but one that -- if you stick to it -- will pay off in the end. It's just one very long, laborious, intense circle from end-to-end. Just keep walking that cycle.
If you need encouragement (and we all do!) join a critique group in your area and surround yourself with other writers. You'll learn more from them in two weeks than you will in two years of trying to do things on your own. Contrary to popular opinion, writing is not a solitary vocation. It requires twice as much interaction with the outside world than with your characters.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Jerry!
You are welcome. Thanks for having me over today.
Jerry Hanel is trained as a computer programmer in various languages. He has worked in several industries from finance to petroleum, but at night, he pulls out his computer for other purposes. He spins the world into chaos, then brings his heroes in to save the day.
Currently he has two published works, Death Has a Name and Thaloc Has a Body, both in the Brodie Wade Series.
Jerry lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his beautiful wife and his dog.
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