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About the Book
Eerie, intense, and masterfully-crafted, Hank Early’s gripping series debut Heaven’s Crooked Finger transports readers to a secretive community in the Georgia mountains.
Crooked Lane Books
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 in Heaven’s Crooked Finger, Hank Early’s thrilling series debut.
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Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
Telling stories to my little sister and my cousin. They loved my stories, which gave me a ton of confidence and exposed me to that euphoric adrenaline rush I still get when someone likes something I wrote. Never gets old.
What genres do you prefer to write in?
It’s a toss-up between horror and crime. My new novel, Heaven’s Crooked Finger is a blend of the two, probably leaning a little more toward crime, but early readers have been pleasantly surprised by the horror aspects.
Are there any authors you prefer to read and why?
Of course. I’ve always been an unashamed Stephen King fan. He’s by far my favorite horror writer. On the crime side, I’m partial to James Lee Burke, Megan Abbott, and Tom Franklin.
How did you make the move into being a published author?
I started by writing several failed and unpublishable novels before moving to short stories and finding some success. After that, I tried a novel again and found it was much easier. I got an agent first and then she helped me find my first publishing deal.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I think I enjoy when the idea is still relatively new and unexplored, when I know I’ve got a lot of territory to dig through and can take my time and really entertain myself as I write.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
Probably deadlines. Why? See the previous answer.
Do you have any tips for writers who find themselves experiencing writer’s block?
I’m not sure I’ve experienced writer’s block. In fact, I’m not sure I believe in it. Which is probably why I’ve never experienced. Soooo, I supposed my advice is to not believe in it and it won’t happen to you!
What advice would you give to people that want to enter the field?
Ask yourself if you enjoy being alone for large chunks of time. If the answer is yes, proceed. If no, then proceed with caution.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
Something. I suppose I don’t really care what because it’s really all pretty personal. Some people will be moved, some will be entertained, some my be angry. Which is all fine. I just don’t want someone closing the book and feeling nothing. That would be the worst.
Is there anything else about you that you think readers might find interesting?
Me? No. I’m boring, but hopefully my books aren’t.
About the Author
Hank Early spent much of his youth in the mountains of North Georgia, but he never held a snake or got struck by lightning. Heaven’s Crooked Finger (Nov. 7, 2017; Crooked Lane Books) is his first novel.
Although the author did not begin writing until later in life, his fascination with storytelling was sparked early on when he discovered his father’s bookshelf.. “He had Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz and Stephen King, among others.” says Early. “I like to think that everything I write now is something my dad would enjoy and put on that same bookshelf.”
Early holds a Masters in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and has been a middle school teacher in central Alabama for nearly 20 years. Early finds at least one hour each day during the school year for writing, and dedicates his summers and holidays to getting his stories on paper.
Hank Early is the pen name for horror author John Mantooth, whose novel The Year of the Storm was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. The author enjoys a good beer, strong coffee and wild storms. He’s married and has two kids who are constantly giving him ideas for his next novel.