Today I am delighted to welcome Robert Hookey (known in some circles as The Hook) to Fiction Favorites. I am happy for a couple of reasons. The first is I’ve been following Robert on his blog, and he has given me many hours of enjoyment with his humor. Second, Robert has a new book, and I’m excited to have him here to talk about it.
So, with that, welcome Robert. I hope you are comfortable. I would offer you a margarita, but I know that drinking alcohol is not one of your vices. I don’t do virgin drinks very well either. How about a cup of tea, eh?
First off, thank you for making this Canadian boy feel at home with the “eh?”, John. I’m currently enjoying some milk from a bag that I‘m using to wash down my Canadian back bacon. (It’s tastier than it sounds.)
Thank you, Robert. The bacon smells delicious. Now let’s get to the first question. I know you have written another book about your life in the service industry, but I’m curious about what caused you to venture into fiction?
Boredom, mostly. I had been laid off from my job as a bellman, and I was sitting at home waiting out the pandemic (which I honestly thought would be over by now) when my lovely bride urged me to write another book. She was concerned that without something to focus on, I’d become so annoying and frustrated she’d have to end me in a most gruesome manner.
I’ve always wanted to venture into the world of fiction, but I was afraid I didn’t have the write stuff. (Sorry, dad jokes have become my thing these days.) At any rate, one illuminating conversation later, another fictional scribe was born!
I’m sitting here thinking of the most gruesome way to end you, and I think it is a good thing you did turn to fiction. Into the Dark is the first book in the Infinite Crossover Crises series. Tell me a little about what Infinite Crossover Crises mean and about Into the Dark?
As a younger nerd (and even now), I’ve always loved the giant crossover events like Infinity Gauntlet and Crisis on Infinite Earths that comic book companies stage to draw all their characters together. And so now the Infinite Crossover Crisis is serving the same purpose with my own characters as well as public domain heroes like the Black Terror, Dracula, and others. I want to give all these heroes, villains, and everyone in-between a legitimate reason to come together.
And honestly, I had some emotional baggage to work through, and Into The Dark is the first step in doing that while addressing some of the real-world evils I’ve been watching from home in the last thirteen months. Some people that know me think I’m a very negative person, but I have hope in my heart, and it shines through in Into The Dark and will continue to do so as the Infinite Crossover Crisis progresses.
For the years that I have known you, I would not characterize you as negative. I think you did have the courage to visit the dark side once in a while, but only to show the rest of us how ridiculous that place really is. My next question is a standard one that I ask every author. Who is your favorite author, and why?
Stephen King. Yes, there are so many great choices out there (including you, John), but Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, has become my all-time favorite book. King ties up all the loose ends from The Shining while weaving an all-new story that gives us some of the most chilling and genuinely evil villains in all of fiction.
I have great respect for Stephen King and have to agree he is a master. Here’s the ten spot I promised if you would mention me. On Amazon, I see you have all five-star reviews. Why do you suppose your readers are so positive about your book? Is it the story or the writing or both?
Bribery. Pure and simple. But I hope it’s a mix of both. My conversational writing style seems to be hitting the right notes, and I decided to unleash my not-so-inner nerd while creating this new world, and it seems to have worked. I’ve mixed superheroes, angels powered by social media, a Southern-fried John Wick, and a ton of other super-powered whackos to give readers what I hope they see as a non-stop thrill ride.
I have to say Into The Dark is sitting on my Kindle, and I can’t wait to get to it after hearing you describe it the way you did. Can you give us a little taste of the next book in the series and when we can expect it to be available?
No spoilers, but Into The Dark ends with my heroes heading to Las Vegas after breaking into smaller teams and running individual gauntlets. Into The Grey will feature a fight that I hope makes the Battle of Helm’s Deep seem like a tea party. The rest of the book will deal with the aftermath of that Sin City donnybrook while teeing up the final installment, Into The Light.
As far as when it’ll be available… I’ve been so busy trying to promote Into The Dark that I really haven’t moved past the outline stage of Into The Grey. I really must get on that…
I love the sequence of titles, Robert. It sounds like you have placed a great deal of thought into your series. You are a Canadian by birth and currently reside on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. In your experience, Is the literary world any different in Canada than it is in the US?
Canada is a blip on the radar compared to the US, so we have fewer agents and publishing houses to pitch to. I liken it to having to scale a mountain made of salt without any equipment while completely naked with a thousand cuts all over my body.
I have been on that mountain of salt, Robert, so I can empathize with you on the degree of difficulty. When you are not writing adventure stories, Robert, what do you for fun? Remember, this is a family blog.
Got it. I’ll be spending more time outside now that Old Man Winter has pretty much retired to your neck of the woods, John. I also spend a lot of time bonding with my daughter over shows like Chicago Fire, The Masked Singer, and Grey’s Anatomy. (Don’t judge me.)
I’ve also been reading a lot to learn what works for me as a writer and what doesn’t.
I have read some lovely posts where you and your daughter attended some Broadway shows. I think it is great that you have that kind of relationship. Thank you, Robert, for agreeing to this interview. I had a lot of fun and hope you did as well.
I look forward to our next time. Following is an excerpt and the buy links for Into the Dark and Robert’s contact information. By the way, Robert, that teacup is Limoges and is not a carryout container.
I was told there would be at least three honey-glazed donuts and a grape Fanta Big Gulp, but that’s fine; I realize budget cuts are hitting everyone hard these days, John.
In an all-too-familiar world controlled by ancient beings known as The Dark, heroes of every origin must assemble (yeah, I said it, sue me) to pull humanity back from the edge of annihilation – if they don’t kill each other first.
They may not be the Avengers, the Suicide Squad, hell, they may not even be the Great Lakes Avengers… but they’ve been brought together by a hero in a Green Hornet mask and leather jacket to match named Nemesis to face every form of evil imaginable. From seemingly invincible masked killers who stalk teen camp counselors to clones of Nazi super-soldiers to monsters of the human variety, Nemesis and his team of unlikely heroes will traverse the globe to dismantle The Dark’s vast power structure once and for all.
If you took The Umbrella Academy, The Boys, and The Cabin In The Woods and gave them a hearty stir you’d get Into The Dark: Book One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis, a clever, electrifying, genre-busting adventure that pits the most unconventional superheroes in the Multiverse against the embodiment of evil itself.
Into The Dark is the inaugural novel by indie author The Hook. He hopes you like it. (But if you don’t, feel free to keep it to yourself.)
Into The Dark Excerpt:
There we were: two orderlies who looked like Arnold’s German cousins, a young evil doctor whose lab coat swished as she glided across the halls of the Dusk and me, their newest patient. I was #300; apparently, a fact Doctor Death took great delight in notifying me of. I couldn’t take my eyes off the two members of the Master Race. Their chiseled features, complete with blonde hair, blue eyes, and even synchronized goose steps, were truly mesmerizing.
My fascination did not go unnoticed.
“You’re right, they’re authentic in every way, and we have dozens of them,” was Dr. Death’s response to a question that hadn’t even been asked, though it certainly was on my list.
“They really are clones of that one rumored mute Nazi super-soldier?” I knew exactly what they were, but playing the game seemed important to my captor. “And how did you know what I was thinking? Do we have a telepathic connection?”
“Well, that’s disappointing. Especially since I feel like Patrick Stewart in a souped-up wheelchair. Except I have hair… which I guess would make me James McAvoy,” I said, though my snarky retorts and pop culture references were wasted on this singular-minded MD.
“We’re here,” she refused to speak with anything other than an emotionless tone peppered with just a hint of sultriness.
After making our way to the Dusk’s fifth level, which had the same “stuck in 1953” look as the rest of the building, we stopped at the end of the floor where a large rectangular window and a foreboding metal door awaited. It was obvious from the view this was an observation room, a cavernous one at that.
“This is an observation room,” she said. (Told ya.) “This is where you’ll learn everything you need to know about what we do here… and why that insight will be useless.”
The Hook is the author of one million critically-acclaimed novels – in his head.
Into The Dark: Book, One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis, is his first attempt at committing one to paper/computerized medium.
He hopes you enjoy it. (But if you don’t… please keep it to yourself.)
The Hook lives in the bustling metropolis known as Niagara Falls, Canada, with
his wife, daughter, and a houseful of pets and ghosts.
Amazon Buy link amazon.com/dp/B08XN1FQBJ