Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Author Interview: Hal Goodman, author of The Logic of Demon Series!

Today, I'm with author friend and writer, Hal Goodman.  Hal launched his debut novel nearly two years ago called, Logic of Demons and I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing it too.  If you didn't get a chance to see my review, check it out here.  Fast forward to today, Hal has continued with his fantasy series and recently launched Book 2 called Breaking The Devil's Heart.
Please welcome Hal Goodman, author of The Logic of Demon Series!

Mina: Welcome, Hal! Can you tell us a bit about Book 1 in The Logic of Demons? Where did you find your inspiration?

Hal:  In Logic of Demons, I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I was still fortunate enough to receive a plethora of wonderful reviews (yours being one of them). The inspiration for the first book came from my memories of working as a U.S. history teacher at LAUSD and a stock broker for various brokerage firms and banks. Logic of Demons was my first foray into writing and a way for me to express my philosophy on life and human nature. The story is written in the third person and is in many ways completely different from my newest novel, Breaking the Devil’s Heart. The primary correlation between the two books is theme based; both stories revolve around how human beings will justify almost anything if it fits within a specific paradigm of thinking. The second book of the “series” is written in the first person, from the perspective of a deceased former CIA agent named Stewart Willoughby; a man completely different from Devin in the first novel. The motivation for Breaking the Devil’s Heart comes from the belief that I can actually create a philosophical story people will enjoy and find thought provoking.

Mina:  Thought provoking for sure, especially the ending--which I still remember. And that doesn't happen with every novel.

Since Breaking the Devil’s Heart is Book 2 in the series, can you tell us a bit about it and whether or not it picks up from The Logic of Demons?

Hal: Breaking the Devil’s Heart is a completely stand alone book. The main reason I decided to develop a “series” is because the elements of the afterlife in both novels are congruent, as is the overall theme I tried to convey within both stories. Hell is still a corporation with evil bureaucratic protocols, Heaven is still in the throes of civil war with fundamentalists, and human beings are still easily influenced by emotional, cultural and religious constructs. One thing I tried to do, which is something you and other wonderful reviewers and readers had turned me on to, is try to make the protagonist more courageous and street wise. So, Stewart in this novel isn’t only a bolder, stronger character, he’s a far more intelligent and proactive man than Devin. He’ll go overboard at times (torturing demons, etc.) but at least there’s some method to the madness with this main character. He also believes in the power of love, which in an odd way allows him to achieve many things in the novel.

Mina: What type of music did you listen to (if any) for inspiration?

Hal: Well, interestingly enough, music doesn’t inspire me, it just relaxes me and eases my mind. However, I started getting into death metal and other harder metal genres (heavy metal) after writing Breaking the Devil’s Heart. I find that death metal and black metal actually combat depression and negative thoughts quite well. Why? Because when you listen to an Amon Amarth or Satyricon song, for example, you’re initial reaction – if you aren’t used to the music – is one of fear and shock. Then that emotion quickly turns to confidence and then into enjoyment of the power that fuels the music. But, if you check my iPod, I’ll also have Dionne Warwick and Richard Hawley, so that tells you all you need to know about my musical tastes. My primary inspiration to write is to illustrate the madness behind the logic that promotes evil and the reasons people refrain from ending wicked behavior on planet Earth. I have nothing against vampires falling in love with each other – I like that stuff also – but my goal is to write philosophical novels that if possible, mirror one-one hundredth of the power and lessons found in George Orwell’s or Franz Kafka’s writing.


Mina:  Awesome!  Very cool.

What type of genre is this book? Adult or YA Fantasy? Give a snapshot to our readers of not only the genre, age range and also if you like “X” author or “X” novel, then you’ll love the Logic of Demon series.

Hal:  This is a great question, because the answer can be viewed both as a challenge and an opportunity. But, I think the fact that Breaking the Devil’s Heart really doesn’t have a genre is a tremendous blessing. The story is a nice blend of several genres, from paranormal romance to fantasy and speculative fiction, but doesn’t really have a home. This is a great thing for me since the book can be appreciated by enthusiasts of many genres without them thinking the story is trying to be something it’s not. The overall plot is unique; something that isn’t out there today. It takes religious mythology and spins it around and around in a washing machine of a story, weaving political and social issues with historical events and crazy characters. Throughout the story, the characters deal not only with the shortcomings of others, but also their own fears, insecurities, and faults. One thing I tried to do with both novels -and I think I succeeded with this one even more than the first - is not to be preachy in any way. The scenes speak for themselves. I tried to put my own biases on the back burner, although of course they are there if you look hard enough.

Mina: Would you call this stand alone novel or do you suggest reading Book 1?

Absolutely, Breaking the Devil’s Heart is a completely stand alone book. I think you mentioned in your review of the first one that you wanted to strangle Devin, the main character at times (as did several reviewers and readers). Well with Stewart, I think you’ll have a better connection with this type of main character. He’s far more cognizant of his decisions, although he can go overboard at times because of his appetite to destroy Satan and her company.

Mina:  LOL. Did I say that? *clears throat* Okay, now for a random question. What’s your favorite food or recipe?

Hal:  I love Korean barbeque, Indian food, and I’m now getting into Ethiopian food. But, I’ve always had a thing for Italian, Japanese, and Chinese food. My ever growing waistline is a testament to these loves.

Mina:  Oh, boy!  That does look good!

Okay next question. Do you have any lessons learned about publishing?

Hal:  I have learned so much, mainly that if you have glowing reviews from as many review sites as possible, people will notice you. Even with my last novel, a book I wrote without knowing a thing about the literary industry, I had agents in NYC and London, big ones, looking at me for the sole reason that my reviews caught their attention. They all basically told me (in agent speak) that they loved the concept and will have no trouble introducing the series to a big publisher once I get the sales up. So, I’m focusing on my ebook sales big time this go around. The novel is just unique enough and thought provoking, I believe, to garner some widespread attention. So once I get my bevy of reviews, I’ll start on a whole list of cool marketing strategies to bring attention to my wacky story. I’m working to get a great deal of reviews this time, even more than the first one. When you come out with a novel from a small publisher, bigger agents want to know if they can make money from what you’ve created. In a nutshell, you’re selling your creation, or artwork, and its potential for greater revenue in the future. I think what I’ve come up with is something people haven’t seen before and will enjoy, and thus a concept that has legs, so to speak. So I think it’s just a matter of time before something cool happens. Right now, the train is slowly moving, but when it starts going at full speed, of course the big guys and gals will want to get on board for the profit potential.

Mina:  Wow that's some great insight.  Can you tell us what to expect with the series? Are you writing any other novels?

Hal:  I have the next novel in my head, but there are several big literary agents eyeing me. So, I’m going to wait and see what happens.

Mina:  That's wonderful news, Hal.  Keep us posted on your success! Get your copy of Breaking the Devil’s Heart below:
B&N Nook
Via iPad/iTunes

You can find Hal at FaceBook, his website and on Goodreads for the Breaking the Devil’s Heart.

Mina B.


Morgan said...

Hal's work sounds fantastic! And what a fun interview, Mina! Thanks for sharing Hal with us :D

Cecilia M. said...

oh wow, Logic of Demons sounds like a fantastic and intense read. Great interview Mina and Hal!

hey Mina, I left you a gift over at my blog. :)

Tonja said...

"Satan and HER company?" Awesome.

Elise Fallson said...

Great interview Mina. Hal's book sounds like a really interesting read and right up my alley. Also, what Tonja said! (:

Michael Pierce said...

Hal's books sound quite interesting, thought provoking and unique. Thanks, Mina, for the introduction to him and his work. Great interview! :)