Thursday, March 14, 2013

Interview with historical fiction author Lane Heymont

Today’s guest is stopping by as he makes his way along a virtual book tour. Lane Heymont tells us a little bit about himself and his historical novel, The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff.

Lane will be giving away 2 specially signed paperback copies of his novel to lucky winners during his tour. You can enter using the form below the interview.

Lane Heymont was born in Pennsylvania. He has been a lifelong reader and writer.

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, Lane turned his focus back to writing. He has several short stories published and his debut novel, The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s staff from Sunbury Press is available at all major retailers.

Welcome, Lane. Please tell us about your current release.
The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff is a historical novel set in Reconstruction-era Louisiana that bends the boundaries between science-fiction, fantasy, and American history.

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.

What inspired you to write this book?
An African-American literature class I took in undergrad.


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.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now, I'm working on a literary novel called Scattering Stars, in which a convicted killer returns home to try to mend his relationship with his sister and nephew, while trying to deal with the guilt of what he may or may not have done.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was always a writer, but a published writer when my short story “The Lost Continent” was published in Innsmouth Magazine.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do write full-time, though I do some extra work on the side.

My day usually consists of writing! I'm up early, relax for a little to let the creative juices gear up and then hit the laptop.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I slouch in my chair. I don't know if anyone else does it, but it's so comfortable!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An author. Cliché, I know.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Before trying to enter the business, do your research. It's as complicated as any other business. Unless you're already "famous" no one is going to hand you a book deal (usually). Research how publishing works, how agents work, the difference between a wholesaler and distributor. You'd be surprised how people couldn't tell you!

Also, I'd like to thank Lisa for letting come on answer these great questions. Thanks so much!

My pleasure, Lane. It’s been nice to meet you. Happy touring!

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