I met Edward Hancock II at a book event in Tyler, Texas, in 2012. I spent quite a while visiting with him, and so now I'm introducing him to you.
Welcome, Edward. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I have always said Alex Mendez is “the ‘me’ that I never got to be.” I write a lot of my personality in him. My desires, my fears, my beliefs are 90% of who Alex is. Through him, I’m also able to do things that I am not able to do from my wheelchair, however. So, while there’s a lot of me in Alex, there’s a lot of Alex in me as well.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In writing or in life? In writing, the quirkiest thing I have done is to invent the Mendez family, through which I have been able to live vicariously. I have been able to be Father, Mother, Grandparent, cousin and child in this family. I’ve also written a few scenes from the perspective of the family dog. That in and of itself is probably the quirkiest part of it all. In LIFE, I’d have to say the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done is married a woman I met via the Internet. When that marriage failed, I found my next wife via the Internet as well. No surprise, that relationship did not work out well either.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
At a very young age. Many of my earliest memories are of writing. Having been born disabled, I have always been a serious dreamer. While other kids were running, jumping and playing various sports, I was writing about it. I could read and write my ABC’s by the age of 3. I was able to write my name before I entered Kindergarten. I began attempting to write short stories at age 8. I wrote what I consider to be my first coherent short story at 10. It was years before I realized I could actually get paid to do it.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I have very eclectic tastes. I read my Bible almost every day. (I’d love to say every day but that would be a lie.) I read Dean Koontz, who writes in many genres (Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery, Drama, dark comedy just to name a few) Under the pen name of J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts writes a Romantic Suspense series set in the future. I’ve recently discovered Keith Douglass, whose Seal Team Seven series is phenomenal. I also enjoy classics such as Tartuffe by Moliere, Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and I’m on my 3rd reading of Dante’s The Divine Comedy I’ve also enjoyed reading the introductory books by my friends and fellow writers Patty Wiseman, Ann Everett, and Lynn Hobbs. They each write things I would not normally have read, but their ability to write believable characters and engrossing storylines makes me want to be a better writer myself.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I take time to smell the roses. I make myself take that time. Whether it’s playing video games, watching a DVD or simply hanging out with family or friends, I force myself to just stop what I’m doing and breathe. Some people cannot do that. I have to, lest I go crazy. Of course, I’ve also been richly blessed by friends and loved ones who keep me grounded. Prayer, too, is very vital to my sanity. I truly believe you can pray anywhere. It’s not uncommon for me to pray and drive to various events. Or just to be shopping in Wal-Mart and suddenly feel an overwhelming urge to just start praising God under my breath.
I’m also a big kid at heart. Watching cartoons such as the original G1 Transformers (which I own on DVD) allows me to shake off the pressures of the adult world and just “be.”
How do you choose your characters’ names?
Many different ways. Some characters introduce themselves to me by name. Alex Mendez did this, as did his wife, Lisa. Others pay homage to a person who has had an influence on me. In an early short story for example, I had a character named Malcolm Shepard. This was an homage to Malcolm Scott Carpenter and Alan B. Shepard, two Mercury Astronauts. I had a character named Deke once (a tribute to Deke Slayton) but wound up changing his name because it just didn’t fit. I’ve also named characters after friends and family members. Or named them a similar name. I’ve often used a friend’s middle name so that only those closest to us would understand the tribute.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
In writing, I would have to go back to my college years. I was assistant editor and editor-in-chief of the Kilgore College Ranger Yearbook. During my time there, I won more than 20 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. I’m proud of that because it was a team effort. It took an entire staff to make that product so great and the Junior College staff collectively won the sweepstakes award, beating out Universities whose staff is often there 4 years or better.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Part Grizzly Bear, Part Teddy Bear. That’s what Elvis wanted to be and I think it’s fitting. I’m very snuggly 99% of the time, but when I’m hungry, more than my stomach can get to growling. And you don’t want to wake me up without good reason.
What is your favorite food?
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock initially was shyness. As a person who’s naturally shy, my writing reflected that shyness for years. I had to really develop a thick skin to criticism and learn to take it constructively. Also, I had to learn to ask for help. Being disabled, I’m very prideful. I don’t like admitting I needed help. But, as a writer, I had to admit I did not know everything there was to know. Once I got over my pride and my shyness, my writing really began to improve.
Tell us about the featured book?
Mourning Reign follows Alex and Lisa Mendez into a harrowing battle. As police detectives, Alex and Lisa are sworn to protect the community of
. When Terrorists charge
into the Police Department Headquarters, the sleepy town finds itself awakened
by the most horrific and unexpected attack imaginable. Just as the game changed on September 11, 2001, so
it changed once more on this fateful summer day. When Lisa is kidnapped by
associates of the terrorists, it is up to Alex and his friend, Detective Danny
Peterson, to put not only the pieces of Longview,
back together, but the shattered lives of Alex’s family. Longview
The sequel, Heart Beatings, will follow Alex and Lisa in the months after Mourning Reign. It will open with Alex standing over the body of one of
East Texas’s most vocal racists. Suddenly, Alex finds
himself charged with finding the identity of the person behind the murder of a
person who’d just as soon seen Alex swinging from a tree.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Too late, Lisa saw the trigger in the madman’s hand. His thumb nervously pressed against… what… a button? Some kind of switch? A rainbow of wires trailed from the bottom of his hand, up his black
sleeve, disappearing into God only knew where.
“A bomb!” she screamed, milliseconds before her mind grabbed conscious hold of the thought. “He’s got a bomb!”
Bullets were riddling his chest and torso from all sides but the man refused to stay down. No fewer than twenty cops were firing, some less than a few feet away. His right leg wobbled out from under him by a shotgun blast but nothing seemed to be getting through. He was not going to be taken by a headshot. His face concealed, his entire skull protected by what looked like regulation SWAT gear. This was no ordinary SWAT helmet though. A headshot sparked as it bounced carelessly off the helmet, making little more than a dent. At least two officers were using high-powered rifles with armor-piercing shells but nothing was getting through.
What was the angle? Where’s my shot? Shoot the gun out of his hand? That’d just piss him off.
So, what then? Shoot the remote trigger? That ran the risk of setting off whatever explosives he was mastering. She knew whatever was strapped to him was protected behind some strange type of body armor this guy was wearing. Amazed, Lisa quickly cruised her mental police file for anything like the armor protecting the psychopath facing down an entire police force. She’d heard or read nothing that could quell her utter astonishment at the power possessed by the lone assailant.
His throat looked vulnerable, but the shot would have to be perfect. From her vantage point, it was no good. The hard shell of the super helmet he was wearing protected the back of his neck and head. A dead man would release his grip on the button. What then? Was that the end? Shoot him. Kill him. Then boom?
How can readers find you on the Internet?http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/122428.Edward_Hancock_II
Thank you, Edward, for sharing part of your life with us today.
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Mourning Reign - paperback
Mourning Reign (a Christian thriller) - Kindle
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