Please welcome Erik Williams to the blog! His brand new book, Demon, just came out and he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about it!
Will you tell us more about Demon and why you wrote it?
Demon started with a very basic idea: a badass demon escapes its prison and causes havoc wherever it goes. The original intention was to have it start at sea, where the demon has already possessed someone and is floating adrift in a life boat that gets picked up by a Navy ship. Then I got to thinking, how’d it get out in the middle of the ocean? So I came up with the idea that somehow it had made it onto an oiler sailing out of the Persian Gulf. But how’d it get on the oiler? So I went back further and finally said, “Well, buddy, you need to start at its prison and how it got out.” I guess I wrote it because if I didn’t, I would have eventually gone all the way back to the moment of creation when the demon was first hatched into existence, in which case I’d probably still be writing it.
You are a Defense Contractor with a Naval background, but have you always wanted to write? Will you tell us a little more about that progression?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to write. Or draw. Or paint. I’ve been an artistic guy all my life, although I don’t fit the artistic stereotype (i.e., I’m not unorganized, I don’t believe in suffering for art, I’m not easily distracted, I have pretty much zero spontaneity, and I always have to have things planned out). I used to talk my teachers into letting me write something fictitious for a project (as opposed, to say, a boring essay). In high school, I wrote a terrible novel. In college, I wrote a couple of okay screenplays and some meh short stories.
While in the Navy I wrote another novel that was light years beyond the first but still not so great. Once I got out back 2005, and while I was looking for a job, I figured I’d finally sit down and try to write professionally.
Since then, I’ve sold a bunch of short stories and novellas to small press markets, along with a couple of novels. I also recently had a screenplay optioned. Not too bad for nine years of work.
What kind of research did you do for Demon? I’m guessing your background provided a lot of material to use?
Yeah, background came in handy, especially for the stuff at sea. Most of my research focused on Iraq and things like angel and demon mythologies. I’ll admit to more than once referring to the experts of Dr. Google and Professor Wikipedia. And for everything else, I employed author sleight of hand.
Why will readers root for Mike Caldwell?
One reason readers will root for Mike is that he’s very, very human. Yes, he’s a good at what he does. As his boss likes to tell him, “You’re a killer, Mike. It’s what you’re good at.” But he’s no James Bond. You’re not entirely sure he’s going to win. And maybe there is no winning, just surviving. The lives he’s taken weigh heavy on him. As a result, he drowns their voices out with booze while doing his best to maintain some form of humanity within himself. I guess you can say he’s a normal guy that just happens to have a particular set of skills…
Demon isn’t your first book, and you’re no stranger to writing the scaries, but what is something that truly terrifies you?
Truly terrifies me? Geez, something bad happening to one of my daughters. I think that’s basically true for all parents. No one wants to see their kids hurt or sick or whatever. There’s a saying that parents should go before their kids. I firmly believe that (sorry mom and dad).
If someone asked for a great book recommendation, which one would you pick?
Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge, is absolutely a perfect Halloween story. For something more disturbing, you can’t go wrong with the stories in Laird Barron’s The Imago Sequence or John Langan’s Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters.
What are you currently reading?
Actually, I’m reading two books as research for future Mike Caldwell tales. The first, Hope of the Wicked by Ted Flynn, is all about power-elite conspiracies to rule the world (you know, Masons and Bankers!). It’s interesting because it’s more scholarly than most books of its type and it’s told from a catholic POV (which, I’m guessing, is pretty damn rare).
The second is an examination of the Book of Revelations called All Things Made New by the late Stratford Caldecott.
When you’re not writing, how do you enjoy spending your free time?
Between the day job, the family, and yard work, there’s not much free time. I will say, however, that once the kids are in bed, it’s nice to get a few hours of quiet to relax with the wife and either watch a movie or, more than likely, binge watch shows.
What’s next for you, this year and beyond?
Well, I just turned in Guardian, the sequel to Demon. I currently working on the third book in the series, tentatively titled Watcher. Oh, and I just had my novel Bigfoot Crank Stomp optioned for film. So, busy, busy, busy.
Mike Caldwell is a CIA assassin who thinks he’s finally got a real case to work on. At a remote construction site in Iraq, something deadly and dangerous has been unearthed, and Mike believes he’s dealing with a powerful pathogen that turns the infected into primal killing machines. The truth, however, is far worse.
The ancient prison of the fallen angel Semyaza has been uncovered, and for the first time in thousands of years he is free to roam the earth, possessing the bodies of the humans he hates. And everywhere he goes, Hell is sure to follow.
Now Mike is on Semyaza’s trail, hunting a demon whose mere presence turns every living thing near it into a weapon of mass destruction. Both merchants of death are on a collision course, while the fate of humanity hangs in the balance.