Jeremy D. Hill is an exciting sci-fi, fantasy and horror author who has published ten eclectic novels. He has dropped by today to tell us all about his new release: Utopia, which is the first book in The Gifted Series.
Jeremy's author bio: I was born and live in a small town in Tennessee in 1975. I am a lifelong comics lover, metal-head and AD&D fanatic. I’ve been writing since the late 90's, always with an eye on being published someday.
* Book title: The Gifted: Utopia
* Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
* Synopsis: The U.S. government had planted the seeds for a new kind of soldier as far back as World War II. They watched and they waited. Now, Sean Miller finds out that experiments carried out on his grandfather have made him special and that he isn't alone.
His life has now been forever altered. Can Sean and his newfound friends stay one step ahead of a power hungry secret organization and an immortal madman from a war long since over.
Utopia is the first instalment of the Gifted Series - a down to earth super-heroic tale of intrigue, conspiracy, action, romance and much more. You can read an excerpt from Utopia at the end of Jeremy's interview.
* Publish date: Winter 2015, currently serialized at http://www.jukepop.com/home/read/2274
* Publisher: Self published
Author interview with Jeremy D. Hill
Welcome Jeremy, it's great to have you here at the Hunters of Reloria blog. I'm looking forward to hearing about your new release, Utopia.
What was the defining event that made you start writing?
I’m not sure there is a particular singular moment. I’ve always read books since I was extremely young and wrote my own stories too. I’ve always been fascinated by someone else playing that movie in their head, like we all do, when we read and knowing it was my “script”, as it were, that they were drawing from.
What other writing have you done?
I used to write a lot of opinion or review columns for a few comic book, tabletop rpg gaming, movie and even pro wrestling websites that don’t exist anymore in the early 2000’s. Lots of fan run stuff that I was doing as a hobby, but a few that I was paid a little bit for. I also did a lot of fan fiction on sites like deviantart and elfwood and co-wrote a screenplay with a friend that was entered into the first Project Greenlight screenwriting competition. I really saw myself going down the screenwriter path before finally focussing on writing.
What made you choose the sci-fi genre for this novel?
The genre kind of chose me. I set out to write a Science Fiction/Fantasy story about modern day people with abilities or powers, but the story kind of progressed into more of a Young Adult novel. I’m inspired by some of the quality writing and character creation I’ve seen and read in comics, so I set out to create something with a comic book feel with my world.
What’s the basic plot of your book or series?
It follows a group of teenagers and young adults who are trying to rescue others like themselves from a shady government organization. The organization wants to reap the rewards of an experiment carried out over half a century ago on their grandparents during World War 2.
Which scene from your book do you like best and why?
Anything that includes Adam being Adam, but if I had to choose it would be the scene where he is left at the motel in the middle of nowhere. He eventually goes across the street and deals with a service station attendant and steals his truck to follow the rest of the group.
I think it’s my favourite scene because it shows just how much foresight Adam puts into everything he does and it also shows that he’s still a kid and likes to be mischievous too, even if he is extremely dangerous and cruel at times.
Which is your favourite character and why?
Adam is definitely my favourite character to write. He was originally intended to be a smaller character in the story, but he was just so much fun to write, that I made him part of the main cast of characters.
I like him because he’s the wildcard in everything. He is the exact type of disillusioned, “me against the world”, teenager full of angst, that I hope will enjoy reading this book.
It sounds like Adam had quite an influence on the storyline. He sounds like fun. Have you used any real people in your characters?
I draw a lot from friends and people I know. Certain quirks or speech patterns of my unique group of friends will usually find its way into a character when I create a new one. Sometimes subconsciously, but other times intentionally.
What’s your writing routine?
I almost never write before midnight. I seem to be the most creative really late at night. I usually try to do at least 1000 words in one go, but most of my time is spent editing or revising. I don’t want a single word wasted. I self edit as I go probably too much, but that’s how I like to work.
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
I usually watch a movie. I’m a huge movie lover and can spend all night watching many in a row when I’m bored or unable to work on my own stuff. I tend to watch horror movies mostly, but I will watch pretty much anything I haven’t seen before.
How did you go about developing your cover artwork?
I made my cover myself. I spent most of a whole week learning tricks and tips in Photoshop to make my cover. I wanted a painted cover, similar to classic fantasy books with covers by Frazetta or Boris, but used stock photography and photoshopped it into something I wanted.
How do you handle marketing on social media?
I’m still new at marketing my own stuff. I use my Facebook author page and twitter mainly, but I try not to be the guy that constantly spams his own stuff. At some point I will branch out and maybe purchase advertisement, but I don’t think I’m at that stage yet.
Who are your five favourite authors?
I love fantasy writers; J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Weiss, Tracy Hickman, Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey, Neil Gaiman… there are so many.
What is your favourite quote?
“In the end, we were all human… drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Where do you like to travel to?
I’d love to visit England or Scotland for the history and because I love castles or Japan for the strangeness of their culture.
Do you prefer ebook or hardcopy?
Holding something physical in my hands will always be preferable to an ebook. I will always prefer hardcopies.
Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your story today, Jeremy. I wish you all the best with the Gifted Series. Thanks so much for including an except from Utopia below.
“He’s prepared for you now,” the lab tech said.
Jonah Parker and Dr. Mann stood outside a large concrete room somewhere deep within the OSA complex. Jonah fumbled with something in a locker located next to the entryway and held out his hand to Dr. Mann - in it was a respirator.
“You might need to wear this,” Jonah said. “First timers usually do.”
“What is it for?” he asked.
“So you don’t get sick.”
Confused, Dr. Mann accepted the respirator and slipped it over his face. And then at Jonah’s beckoning entered the large room. Several security guards and a few lab technicians were inside, all but a few wore respirators. They stood mostly toward the walls. Mann’s eyes went to the center of the room. A small boy, perhaps no older than fourteen or fifteen sat strapped into a thick metal chair bolted to a platform with rollers, his eyes darting all over the place, a manic and confused look on his face.
“This is Adam Donald Feldhaus and he’s a monster.” Jonah said motioning to the young boy. “You can call him Adam, but we’ve been calling him simply the bloodhound.”
“Bloodhound?” Mann inquired, still a bit confused. “I don’t exactly understand what these masks are for? What can the boy do?”
“Adam has many genetic talents, Dr. Mann,” Jonah explained. “The mask is so you don’t get nauseous and make a mess of our lovely floor. Adam is capable of making people in his proximity extremely sick. We at first believed it to be an involuntary reaction but he has proven he is very capable of controlling it. We believe his skin secretes some sort of pheromone-like chemical that causes a debilitating sense of vertigo, nausea and even can make you faint. Some of us, like myself, have
spent enough time in his presence we aren’t easily affected. Although, I don’t mind telling you I am stifling the urge to spill my lunch on this floor right now.”
“You would not only be wise to keep the mask on, but also don’t ever, ever touch him or let him touch you.” He continued. “Another of Adam’s monstrous abilities is that if he makes skin to skin contact, the effect I just mentioned is ten-fold. I’ve seen it firsthand and he’s killed people with it.”
“Killed with a single touch? Amazing!” Mann spouted. “How long has he been here?”
“Adam, much like his biblical namesake, is the first.” Jonah said. “He was the first one we discovered and he’s been under our ‘care’ for the past three years or so.”
“How did it manifest? How was he discovered?”
“He moved with his mother to the small town of Hitchfield, Pennsylvania, shortly after the death of his father. Three years ago the NSA, Homeland Security and perhaps a dozen other agencies descended on this small little town, assuming that terrorists had unleashed a biological weapon. The only biological weapon in that town was Adam and when it was all said and done over five hundred and twelve people died; a hell of a thing to successfully cover up, mind you.”
“You see, when he isn’t sedated like he is now, he is a walking contagion. The multi-drug cocktail we keep him on suppresses his ability, to a degree. If not, just breathing the same air he breathes could be fatal to us all - if he so chooses.”
“That does sound like a monster.” Mann stated. “Not to sound like a monster myself or anything, but why keep him alive?”
“I’d put a bullet in his grey matter right now, if it was up to me.” Jonah said. “But you know the bureaucrats; all they see are profits from future biological weaponry here. If not under our supervision, he’ll be a labrat for one agency or the other, probably until he’s old and grey.”
Mann looked hard at the young boy. It was obvious now he was heavily drugged. His manic eye movement and his drowsy facial expression made him almost look insane, but for the briefest of moments he would lock eyes with Dr. Mann. In that moment, all Mann could see in the boys eyes were hate.
“So you house him here, I gather?” Mann asked. “How many do you have in this facility? Are there others?”
“Yes, and counting Adam, there are three in total.” Jonah replied smugly, as if he was proud to be warden of such a collection. “We have over a dozen or more at our Dallas facility and even one that has chosen to work with us in Hartford.”
“Is he trusted?”
“As far as he can be, I guess. I wouldn’t trust the damn freak though.”
Mann nodded in agreement and began to slowly circle Adam. “So why do you call him Bloodhound?”
“He has a third talent that I’ve yet to mention. We discovered it quite by accident when he bit one of our techs a year or so ago. I doubt even he knew he was able to do it.”
“Let me guess.” Mann interrupted. “He’s a vampire.”
“Not quite.” Jonah stifled a laugh. “Our techs routinely interview and quiz him on a multitude of subjects, at least three or more times a week. It’s proven to be the only way to keep him somewhat in the here and now - to engage him, instead of allowing him to permanently drift off to neverland on the cocktail we pump into him. He’s amped full of some serious psychotropics, you know?”
“The tech that was bitten survived with a minor injury and returned for work the next day. She began her interview like normal but soon had to leave the room in a panic, when he started reciting verbatim things she had wrote in her journal at home the previous night. She really went bug-eyed when he told her he had seen the odd birthmark that she possessed on her left breast and that her normally long relaxing bath was cut short due to a trivial phone call from her brother.”
“How did he know all this?”
“She and the rest of us initially thought there was a breach of security and that he had gotten out of the compound somehow and perhaps followed her.” Jonah explained. “But later we discovered that the tiny bit of her blood he must have ingested when he bit her caused a brief but intense psychic connection. From what we believe, it manifested a few hours after her shift ended and lasted about an hour. She was totally unaware that he essentially was ‘in her head’, seeing what she saw and experiencing it to a degree.”
“And you have replicated this effect?”
“Oh, yes, Dr. Mann.” Jonah bragged. “With normal people like you or me, it’s hit or miss. Sometimes he makes a psychic connection, sometimes he doesn’t; and even then it can be as brief as a few minutes or upwards to a little over an hour. But like I said we have four monsters here - Adam and three others. The effect is amplified when employed upon the other three. Adam’s psychic connection with someone like him is almost instantaneous and lasts as long as three or four hours. In addition to that is the fact that he can also track them while psychically linked.”
“His body seems to absorb the genetic information and then like a psychic search engine it ‘looks’ for matching code. His range is unknown, but we’ve
managed to track test subjects as far away as sixty miles.” Jonah continued. “And you, Dr. Mann, have brought me Sean Miller’s blood.”