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Eli Pope

Eli Pope Author Interview

The Glass House dives deeper into Billy’s psyche where vengeance now motivates his actions. What are some sources that informed this novels development?

With the basic layout of how I wanted this story to progress and layout, the sources were what I was hoping lay deep in the readers psyche also. We all usually want either the bad guy to redeem himself in some way that lets us know we weren’t fooled by him all along, we saw some qualities that may just turn him. I wanted the reader to keep diving back in and out of seeing him as a bobber floating at the waters surface, constantly pulled under against his will and then released for air and the possibility of losing the devil inside him. There comes a point though, when the line that is drawn in the sand becomes too muddled and stirred so much there is no way sort out what is good from what is mostly bad. Billy Jay’s façade had to break and break big. I think he even was coming to the point he hated himself and was realizing his judgment was really looking in the mirror at himself. He hated what he saw and lashed out.

What were some new aspects of Billy’s character that were important for you to explore in this book?

That there is a point of almost no return. When things begin collapsing around him, he starts to understand he has crossed lines he can never uncross. I wanted to show that yes, he is human, he had a horrible upbringing without love, but one cannot use even a background as such, to continue justifying manic and crazy fits of rage that lead to murder and torturous aspects. Ethan is showing signs of the same path but from opposites spectrums of social and economical backgrounds.

What scene in the book was the most fun to write?

Actually, there are a couple. I did really enjoy the scenes in lockup where Darrell and Jay were forced to share a close area. It was fun twisting the reader one more time into despising Jay for his taunting of Darrell. The other scene is Ethan in Springfield, MO. A man who has designed his path in life to enjoy his wants and desires to their fullest at even his best friend’s expense. He has everything now that he has craved and spent so much time building—and he is foolish enough to go for the easy thrill and lose everything. He thinks he is infallible.

This is book three in The Mason Jar Series. What can readers expect in book four?

Book four carries a different tone from the onset. There is a new character who will either be involved in this series through it’s continued run, or, possibly a series of their own that runs parallel to The Mason Jar. There is of course far more twists and turns as things become revealed more and more in the main characters and side character plots. I hate to give anything away, but I do hope some readers find enjoyment in some danglers for books I call, 4.5 (a novella) that is a surprise book that appears to be written and published by the new character. It’s from the outside looking in prospective of Billy Jay Cader, and book 5 which promises to bring things closer to a close. I can’t say I’m done with the series at that point, because my head is still spinning developments I think the reader will enjoy and be shocked. I however, do not want this series to fizzle away from repeat twists or things that leave a reader unprovoked. I want to end this with the reader feeling their time was well spent and maybe still hungry for more at some point later on. Please stay tuned for now, though. The ride isn’t over just yet!

Author Links: Facebook | Amazon

This addition to The Mason Jar Series continues the ongoing saga of the Billy Jay Cader family. Book 3 takes a simmering pot of Billy Jay’s anger and psyche and twists the burner flame up to boil. Vengeance now dominates his thoughts and actions, bringing consequences he’d not yet thought through. Who will suffer at his hand? A sideline story takes hold between characters unknowingly connected with Billy Jay. Love and deceit begin to dance on the spider’s outer web, causing waves and drawing the spider’s attention. This story as it continues will suck you into that web of wonder, drawing you deeper into this southern coastal town’s secrets. Secrets that long to be solved and swept away to be forgotten. A back-swamp sheriff loses control of his town, a regional famous defense attorney who shares a dark past with Sheriff Burks, sees that forgone skeleton in his closet coming to light and taking away all he’s worked for. A woman once shared between them falls in love with no idea of the sorted past hidden from memory. Come watch as this story begins to come to a head much like a freight train steams toward the intersection…lights flashing and gates drawing down, but the car speeding ahead either believes it can escape the danger or is unaware of the peril ahead. This saga will make a looky-loo out of the staunchest reader that attempts to look the other way. The train wreck is gore beyond belief…but will force you to turn and face the scene. If you haven’t read The Judgment Game and The Spark of Wrath, you’ve missed the potatoes in the stew and gone straight for the meat with The Glass House. The entre is so much better and satisfying to the palette if the stew is complete when enjoying the meal. You’ll want to gobble this dinner down late into the night, keeping you up well past your bedtime. Book 4, The Reclamation is on its way soon. Early to mid-2022, with an added special offering entitled- Snapshot Into A Killer’s Mind, to follow shortly after. You’ll want all five! This series does contain explicit language, adult content and is twisted together in an eclectic mix of mystery, thrills, love, murder, erotica, dysfunctional characters, and plain old “what the hell just happened.” interfused with an unusual melange of faith and hope.

Reflect On The Traumas

Author Interview
Eddie Brophy Author Interview

Nothing to Get Nostalgic About follows a man whos haunted past catches up to him and threatens his family. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My father passed away in 2014 after being diagnosed a year prior with esophageal cancer.  We had a VERY contentious and toxic relationship. He was a very abusive person.  Our last phone call the evening before he died, instead of telling him how much he hurt me and how angry I was I started sobbing and told him I loved him. He called me the f-word and told me to call my mother.  2017 my oldest son was born, and when I realized I was going to be both a father and a father to a son…I couldn’t help but reflect on the traumas of my childhood and the abuse I endured from my father.  There was one day when I was showering and I had my oldest in a high chair in the bathroom. When I exited the shower he had this look on his face like he had just seen a ghost or some kind of spectral tormentor.  At the time I had become VERY superstitious and overzealous about protecting my son from both the physical and spiritual dangers in life.  I feared that maybe what my son saw was my father…it scared the crap out of me and strangely I started writing the crib scene based on this vulnerability I felt wanting to protect my future from my past.  

Charlie is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Charlie is me.  Charlie was a character that manifested from my childhood memories and traumas.  I wanted to write a book about the abuse I endured and the abuse a lot of my friends endured as children.  In the 90s, we didn’t have smartphones or social media and most of our parents worked multiple jobs to keep the electricity on.  If we came home off the bus or walked home from school,  a lot of us walked into empty homes with nothing but a television and a full liquor cabinet that many abused.  I wanted to explore the world I grew up in and how it cultivated a generation of latchkey kids who were discovering life vicariously through what was on television or through their parents’ behavior and neglect.  If any of these characters resonate with readers, it’s because they were intended to be reflections of ourselves, friends we had, our people we knew.  Misfits, and very scared young people trying to make sense of a world that made no damn sense.  

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

I really wanted to remove the rose colored lenses of the 90s in the sense that people get really obsessed with the pop culture of that era and deify a lot of the most prominent figures of that time period.  The 90s I remember (while very fun, I was a kid) was very confusing and disturbing.  Divorce rates reached staggering heights, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear macabre tales about kids being sent to gay conversion camps or winding up as fodder in custody trials.  There are a staggering number of people who think that’s Kurt Cobain’s ubiquity in his fleeting four years as a generation’s spokesperson define that entire decade…but I grew up in the post 90s right after this man committed suicide and ending with Columbine and Woodstock 99.  There was this very decadent, contentious, and polarizing feeling and it didn’t reflect the wistful ideologies that nostalgia projects onto younger generations.  

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

At the beginning of the summer I finished a manuscript for a novel that I’m very excited about, but haven’t found representation for it yet.  While enduring the tedium of trying to find an agent or a publisher with any interest I also finished my first poetry manuscript which I’m very proud of.  I’ve mostly been trying to enter those into contests and querying agents about those projects. Recently I’ve started prepping for another novel and another poetry manuscript.  I submit my poems a lot.  So, I’m trying to come up with as much material as I can to hopefully catch the right pair of eyes.  

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

Charlie Harris is haunted. Haunted by addiction, haunted by depression, but more than anything he is a man haunted by his childhood. For years, Charlie had successfully used his relationship with his past and with fear to his advantage. He became a successful and award-winning author by confronting the tangible terrors of a divisive world of economic strife and political polarization. Unfortunately, the one fear he was never able to confront was the one that now hid under the crib of his infant son.In order to save his son, Charlie must confront everything he is afraid of. Not only own his name, but finally own his past. A troubled family, a haunted house, dead parents, and finally, what happened that fateful day in 1997. Once, Charlie didn’t stop what was happening, and now it might kill his son if it doesn’t kill him first. Childhood? It’s nothing to get nostalgic about.

THE ALTER PREY

THE ALTER PREY by [Frederick Mulae]

The Alter Prey by Fredrick Mulae is an intriguing psychological thriller containing numerous concepts and introductions into the realms of professional psychology and hypnosis. In a series of fast paced events, Stuart, the protagonist, a private psychologist who specializes in hypnotism as a form of therapy, unearths his deeply buried childhood trauma and faces becoming diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

Any reader who enjoys this type of genre will enjoy the realistic psychological aspects within this book, likely being kept on the edge of their seat as Stuart and the supporting protagonists – in particular Robbie – are caught up in a series of enthralling events occurring due to this second personality developing. The story is punctuated by moments of suspense and incidents of crime, making this a definite page turner. The storyline tests the readers’ understanding of morality with regard to the actions of ‘Paolo’ as well, giving the story compelling depth.

I liked how author Frederick Mulae normalizes and destigmatizes various therapy techniques and conditions while the main protagonist searches for answers to his psychological state. It cleverly presents a situation in which an alternate personality could be damaging and detrimental to the individual, and I find it particularly interesting how the author has made the protagonist a clinical psychologist, someone who would be brought in to assess his very own mental state.

The Alter Prey is a riveting psychological thriller that explores mental issues and the methodical unraveling of a man whos’ suppression of his past has criminal consequences. I recommend this book to readers fascinated with the world of criminal psychology and the thriller genre as this is a thought-provoking and intellectually invigorating novel.

Pages: 412 | ASIN: B099ZPDS9G

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Nothing to Get Nostalgic About

Nothing to Get Nostalgic About by [Eddie Brophy]

Charlie Harris has lived a life of fear, stemming from his troubled childhood and one fateful day in 1997. For the most part, he has managed to keep the monsters at bay. Not only that, but he has successfully capitalized on them by being an author of the macabre. But now, they are all coming out of the woodwork, and they have found a nice, cozy spot underneath the crib of Charlie’s infant son. 

With a premise like that, any horror fan is sure to recognize the influence of Stephen King in this novel. Not only is it set in Maine – the master storyteller’s hometown and favorite setting – but it is also about an alcoholic author haunted by his past.

Automatically, titles like The Dark Half and The Shining come to mind. But instead of distracting from Brophy’s identity as a writer, the contrast between King’s signatures and Brophy’s distinct style only shines through. While King is the self-proclaimed “literary equivalent of a Big Mac,” Brophy delivers the scares through a more cerebral approach.

The novel is sprinkled with meditations on fear and how it never leaves us after it has made its mark. It only mutates and adapts to scare us until our dying breath. It is undeniably a dark concept, and Brophy takes readers through the journey with an unflinching eye. Luckily, he manages to make it easy for us with prose that is somehow both conversational and sophisticated at the same time but never pretentious. The dialogue ranges from unrealistic to dull at times, with some of it being there simply to provide exposition but this does not take away from the story. 

Horror hounds will find a lot to sink their teeth into in Nothing to Get Nostalgic About. It is a creepy, psychological tale that is not your run-of-the-mill paperback, making it well worth a read.

Pages: 352 | ASIN: B08RCW4YPM

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The Given

The Given: Book one of The Given Trilogy by [Mickey Martin]

The Given by Mickey Martin is a thrilling dark fantasy novel with generous helpings of romance and dystopian themes. It follows our protagonist Lilliana and her friends as they navigate through their new lives within “The Given” facility. The story takes place in a near future, where the justice system has been reinvented: those who have suffered as a result of crimes are sent to “The Given” to heal and find new purpose. With themes of rehabilitation and friendship, Martin focuses heavily on the dynamics built amongst the characters; their connections, history, and dreams.

The greatest charm of Martin’s writing is undoubtedly her character construction. Every character is fleshed out with rich details which make them alluring and interesting to follow. The novel is full of intimate conversations that vividly illustrate budding connections and relationships in a refreshing way. The intensity of their interactions emphasizes how crucial the theme of friendship is to this novel. It feels very satisfying overall.

Martin creates a captivating concept in this novel, and I enjoyed the narrative overall. It is well-structured and fast-paced and felt like much care was put into the backstory and world these characters inhabit. Her reconceptualization of justice is presented in a fresh and intriguing way that seems more realistic than other dystopian novels with similar premises.

Lilliana is an interesting character, but I felt like Lilliana’s recovery from her abuse could have been explored further. All characters adore her, she is intelligent and talented, and gains the attention of her crush from the first chapter. While it’s nice to see a main character thrive, I would have preferred to see Lilliana develop more actively throughout the novel, to succeed overcoming her traumas.

The Given is a dark fantasy story with fairytale undertones that give this dystopian novel a unique feel throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed Martin’s highly descriptive writing and the story’s atmosphere. It was heavy and dark at times, but generally it was an interesting and exciting read.

Pages: 298 | ASIN: B085VG9X83

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The Glass House

The Glass House (The Mason Jar Series Book 3) by [Eli Pope]

The Cader saga continues in The Glass House by Eli Pope. In this third installment to The Mason Jar Series, we dive deeper into the twisted mind of Billy Jay Cader and the chaos he unleashes on the people around him. Following the events of the last installment, Jay and Darrell are sitting in a jail cell while this tragic story continues to unfold on the outside. The sky is the limit on the secrets that are hiding within the shadows of the small coastal town – what will the locals find out next? What will we find out next?

Pope has done it again! The third installment to the riveting Mason Jar Series did not disappoint. In fact, it was my favorite book out of the current three. There were many improvements to already wonderful aspects, including the pacing, character building, and more. I flew through this installment quicker than the previous two. I was enthralled from page one all the way to the end. Having Darrell and Jay in a confined space together really built the tension for me – it was a fantastic opening plot device by Pope.

Diving deeper into Jay’s psyche was a present I didn’t know I wanted. In The Glass House, we gain a deeper understanding of the thoughts behind Jay’s actions. Pope does an amazing job tackling the idea of a God complex. What is truly right? What is truly wrong? And how would someone so skewed themselves determine such things? That part was an absolute masterpiece.

I would have liked to see more discussion about Darrell and Mitzy in the opening chapters. That was such a captivating part of the story; I was constantly on edge to know more and didn’t get what I wanted until much later.

The Glass House by Eli Pope is a captivating psychodrama that will be thrilling for long time fans of the series and anyone else looking for a contemplative psychological thriller.

Pages: 259 | ASIN: B0924V898S

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Bending to Break

Bending to Break (A Before I Break Novel Book 1) by [A. L. Hartwell]

Olivia Heart, a young lawyer, traumatized after losing her parents at 13, led most of her life with her guard up, shutting out her feelings. One night she finds herself kidnapped by a rich and dangerous Italian man named Luca. Blinded by his obsession and insane desire for her, he does everything to protect her yet she feels trapped and almost violated. As the two start spending more time together, she discovers a new vulnerable side to him which surprises her. But Luca has too many secrets and unresolved mysteries. Will Olivia be able to navigate safely through this situation or succumb to the pressure?

Ending with a cliffhanger this book is the first in a series that keeps readers engaged throughout the length of the novel. An absolute page turner, with interesting personalities and dynamic characters like Dante who provides some comic relief while Luca remains an attractive yet dangerous man.

There are certain situations that strip Olivia of dignity which can be disturbing for some. The issue of consent becomes so blurred in the story that it seems to suggest a possible romance between the protagonists as one is left to wonder whether any mystery could ever justify Luca’s unhinged and toxic behavior towards Olivia. Even when she fights to gain control, it ultimately rests with Luca to give her what little agency she has. This provides for some emotionally-charged and thought-provoking commentary on relationships, making this one of the most provocative romance novels I have read this year.

The way in which the story alternates between Olivia and Luca’s perspective provides readers with a glimpse into their complex psychology and internal monologues. This intimacy which the characters reflect, portray them as flawed and humane, inviting readers to further relate with their predicament.

Bending to Break is a compelling romance novel that provides readers with a racy psychological thriller that is hard to put down.

Pages: 342 | ASIN: B095PVGMRB

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Daughter of Pompeii

Daughter of Pompeii by [Lorraine Blundell]

In Daughter of Pompeii, author Lorraine Blundell envisions what life might have been like in Ancient Rome for a little-known girl from Pompeii, called Poppy in this historical novel, and the notorious Emperor Nero. The story begins while Poppy is just a young girl and Claudius is still emperor. Through a tragic turn of events, Poppy loses her only family and embarks on a life-long quest for vengeance. Her journey to becoming Empress of Rome eventually felt less about revenge and more about straight ambition, to change her own destiny and rise far above her station.

Poppy’s character is written sympathetically while still attempting to convey the horrific things she did. Poppy is relatable and easy to root for, but there are times I felt she was unjustified in her actions, but this spike of emotion the story created in me is the mark of good writing. Her only lasting relationship throughout the book is with a friend she makes as a young girl who journeys through life with her, ever loyal and dependable. Farzana is an intriguing moral character, which made me wish I saw more from her perspective in the book. In addition to these two characters, there is a large collection of interesting characters who flit in and out of the narrative.

The narrative is told from an omniscient perspective, and the story often jumps from character to character, switching points of view or “getting inside their head”. I thought this was a little confusing, as it wasn’t always clear whose thoughts we were following. The story covers a lot of time, making this feel like a very quick read.

This novel was well written and the story was very entertaining. There’s everything one might want from a historical novel: the historically accurate references to real people and recorded facts from their lives, the political intrigue of the time, and a glimpse into ancient life for the differing classes. We get to view major historical events through the eyes of our protagonist, bringing to life tragic events like the murder of Claudius, the burning of Rome, and Nero’s descent into madness.

If you’re a history buff, particularly interested in Ancient Rome, this book is for you. Author Lorraine Blundell provides a riveting fictional story within an already fascinating time in history. All of this is elevated by Lorraine Blundell’s captivating storytelling ability.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B07S1S75JV

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