Round And Round It Went

James Hodge Author Interview

The Yellow Sign follows a traumatized FBI agent that has to figure out what is real and what is in her head in order to save her friend that has gone missing. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for the story is a little cliche: I was struggling to fall asleep one night a few years ago after reading The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers, and a scene kept playing in my head of a doctor racing to a college campus to help an (unknown to him) dead patient. Her revival, her mad zealotry, and her turning the tables on the doctor (“He told me your name”), the scene wouldn’t let me go. Round and round it went, as more details filled in.

Eventually, around 02:00, I had to get up and write down the scene, just to get it out of my head. Most of the opening of TYS is straight from those first notes, that punch-in-the-face pulpy hook.

After that, it became a question of what made that scene important. Some parts of the setup were natural storytelling (a friend of the doctor tries to find and save him), while others came much later and with much staring at a blank screen (Blaine’s struggles with… everything).

Erica Blaine has suffered a great deal but still risks it all for a friend. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Blaine is a very flawed character; she has made plenty of mistakes, suffered much, and we meet her at her lowest. Some of the driving ideals in her development include her willingness to jump into danger for those she loves, showing how sometimes the best way we can help ourselves is to help others, despite our own (sometimes literal) internal voices telling us how worthless we are.

Blaine presents as an extreme loner, but when push comes to shove she becomes very protective of those she becomes close to (e.g. Amber). These actions help her to begin moving towards the road of recovery, but alas, when your therapist is the leader of a cult, are things really going to get better?

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The themes most dear to my heart are all of the struggles Blaine goes through: deep depression, fighting through trauma, and the courage it takes to face those pains. Everything around the inner voice was very important for me, allowing me to shape the story in a unique direction. I’ve always loved cosmic horror tropes, and they allowed me to play with themes of narration and motivation in ways I rarely see.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently working on The Knife that Bites, a story set in a far-future hive-city of ten billion souls, as famine runs rampant; it will be more sci-fi than The Yellow Sign, but will still have plenty of horror. I just can’t resist. Give me red and raw and ruining any day.

I am hoping to get The Knife that Bites out to everyone in 2023. Fingers crossed.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Mailing List

FBI Agent Erica Blaine has suffered more than most. After narrowly escaping being at the center of a cult sacrifice she’d been tasked with infiltrating, Erica has spent the last few months hitting the bottle, trying to avoid dealing with the trauma of what she experienced and those she couldn’t save. Her ruined hands, always gloved, are an unavoidable reminder of her pain and anguish.

As is the voice that won’t allow her a moment of peace.

But when her old Army buddy goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Erica is pulled back into the Lovecraftian world of cult infiltration. The Yellow College welcomes her with open arms, but as her sanity crumbles beneath the weight of hallucinations, old traumas, and lost memories, how can she expect to save her friend when she can barely tell what’s real and what isn’t?

Have you seen the shores of Carcosa?

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on May 28, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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