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Only One Left Standing

Stephen Galgon Author Interview

The Circle follows a man who’s inducted into a secretive group who have everything they want but must hunt or be hunted to keep hold of their power. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

This story was loosely based on the game “Assassins” I played when I was younger. Each player got a random name and a water gun and they had to hunt their target and “assassinate” him/her. If successful, you then take your vanquished foe’s target and hunt that person down until there is only one left standing. I was never very good at the game but always felt there was a greater story beneath the surface.

Doug is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Doug had to be relatable, so it was important that he was well grounded and had a good heart. Otherwise, he may not have resisted for as long as he did. I don’t believe, at least I hope, that the readers have the same tendencies as the seasoned members of the Circle, so it was important to take the reader along for the ride with Doug as he fought for his life. Doug is all of us when we have our backs to the wall and don’t know what we’re capable of. He is the living embodiment of fight vs. flight. But for him, the flight part was not an option.

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

I would say the main theme in The Circle is self-preservation. My hope is that the reader is constantly asking themselves, “How far would I go to preserve my way of life?” My guess is that we all would be surprised by our answers, and that’s what I love about the world of The Circle. It forces us to ask ourselves tough questions.

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

Currently, I’m working on the next installment of the Circle Series called “Legends of the Circle.” It is a prequel and it dives deeper into the Circle, some familiar characters, and their sacred rules. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it’s due out on October 5th. Kindle and e-reader users can pre-order it now on Amazon.

I also will be releasing a series of short stories that center around The Circle called the “Beyond the Envelope” Series. The first installment of those, “Mr. Star’s Story” follows a minor character from The Circle whose story, despite wanting to, I couldn’t tell in the book. It is available now on Amazon for $0.99, or a PDF version can be downloaded for free on my website, mjepublishing.com/beyond-the-envelope.

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IMAGINE YOU HAD ALL THE MONEY YOU EVER WANTED at the push of a button. The power to control law enforcement, politicians at the highest levels, the judicial system as a whole. To have what you want when you want it, whatever it is. All you have to do is kill someone . . . before someone kills you.

MEMBERS of THE CIRCLE don’t have to imagine such a life. They live it. The liberation of being both hunter and hunted. The salvation that comes with such freedom. A chance to feel truly alive. A chance to savor each precious moment. Because in THE CIRCLE any moment could be your last.

DOUGLAS GOODWIN isn’t rich. He isn’t powerful. What could the sacred society of THE CIRCLE possibly want with him—just a regular guy with a regular job leading a regular life? What would drive them to coerce a young man who has always valued integrity over hedonism into their midst? And why would Doug agree to submersion in a world of secrecy and murder? It’s unthinkable.

THE HARSH REALITY? Doug has been inducted into an institution where friends become enemies overnight, loyalty is a nothing more than a punchline, and conscience is a burden. Where he will be hunted and expected to hunt other members to their death. With no escape from THE CIRCLE’s ubiquitous influence and domination.

HOW FAR WILL DOUG GO? How much will he sacrifice to preserve his way of life? Will he be swayed by the money, the women, the power? Or will THE CIRCLE consume him, as it has hundreds of others before him, and leave nothing but another nameless corpse in its wake?
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