Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Conversation with Mystery Author Hank Early

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Hank Early

We are delighted to welcome author Hank Early to Omnimystery News today.

Hank's series debut is Heaven's Crooked Finger (Crooked Lane Books; November 2017 hardcover, trade paperback and ebook formats) and we recently caught up with him to talk more about the book.

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Omnimystery News: Why did you choose to start a new series with a recurring character? And do you expect him to evolve over the course of subsequent books?

Hank Early
Photo provided courtesy of
Hank Early

Hank Early: I didn’t just choose to write one recurring character; I chose to write a recurring cast of characters. Ideally, I hope each book can stand alone, but also build on the last one. I also hope an overall storyline will emerge involving the protagonist and secondary characters. So, yes, I do expect all the characters to develop over time. I hope that is already happening as I am putting the finishing touches on book two, In the Valley of the Devil.

OMN: Into which genre would you place this series?

HE:  If I had to say, I suppose my books are a hybrid mix of crime/Southern Gothic. But honestly, I write what interests me, which changes from book to book, but I tend to come back to rural settings and Gothic underpinnings. And since my main character, Earl Marcus is a private investigator, there will likely be a crime or crimes to investigate.

OMN: Tell us something about Heaven's Crooked Finger that isn't mentioned in the publisher's synopsis.

HE: I don’t think the synopsis mentions the character study elements in the novel. Sure it’s a thriller and a mystery, but the novel delves deeply into Earl’s past and the way it affects his present situation. The book also has a little romance.

OMN: How much of your own personal or professional experience have you included in the book?

HE: I drew upon memories from some of the churches I went to as a child. None of them were as extreme as the church Earl grew up in, but they served as the impetus for the story. I suppose Granny’s character is based on my real grandmother to some extent.

OMN: What is the best advice you've received as an author? And what might you say to aspiring authors?

HE: My buddy, Kurt Dinan (you’ve got to read his book Don’t Get Caught if you haven’t) is always getting on to me about speeding up the pace of my books. I think it’s finally sinking in. People say Heaven’s Crooked Finger is fast-paced, so there you go. As to advice I’d give to aspiring authors, I have one thing: stick with it. The only way to fail in this business is by giving up.

OMN: Complete this sentence for us: "I am a mystery author and thus I am also …"

HE: … a little bit insane because let’s be honest, being a writer is one third awesome and two thirds self-flagellation.

OMN: Where do you most often find yourself writing?

HE: There’s a little coffee shop not too far from my house where I do my best writing. The coffee is excellent, as are the muffins. The seats are comfortable, and the music isn’t too loud or too terrible. Plus, there’s a little place down the road that serves breakfast until two. Good bacon and eggs are my favorite writer fuel.

OMN: If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, to research a setting for a book, where would it be?

HE: I’d like to set an Earl Marcus book in Charleston, South Carolina. I’d love to go there for a month or so and research some of the ghost stories there. It’s a beautiful city with tons of Southern Gothic overtones, and I can definitely see Earl visiting it at some point.

OMN: Create a Top 5 list for us.

HE: Top 5 books you should read:

1. Poachers by Tom Franklin
2. Anything by James Lee Burke
3. The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
4. Girl Trouble by Holly Goddard Jones
5. Joe by Larry Brown

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Hank Early spent much of his youth in the mountains of North Georgia, but he never held a snake or got struck by lightning. These days, he lives in central Alabama with his wife and two kids. He writes crime, watches too much basketball, and rarely sleeps.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at HankEarly.com and his author page on Goodreads, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early

Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early

An Earl Marcus Mystery

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)iTunes iBook FormatKobo eBook Format

Earl Marcus thought he had left the mountains of Georgia behind forever, and with them, the painful memories of a childhood spent under the fundamentalist rule of his father RJ’s church—a church built on fear, penance, and the twisting, writhing mass of snakes. But then an ominous photo of RJ is delivered to Earl’s home. The photograph is dated long after his father’s burial, and there’s no doubt that the man in the picture is very much alive.

As Earl returns to Church of the Holy Flame searching for the truth, faithful followers insist that his father has risen to a holy place high in the mountains. Nobody will talk about the teenage girls who go missing, only to return with strange tattoo-like marks on their skin. Rumors swirl about an old well that sits atop one of the mountains, a place of unimaginable power and secrets. Earl doesn’t know what to believe, but he has long been haunted by his father, forever lurking in the shadows of his life. Desperate to leave his sinful Holy Flame childhood in the past, Earl digs up deeply buried secrets to discover the truth before time runs out and he’s the one put underground.

Heaven's Crooked Finger by Hank Early


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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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