What inspired you to write this book?
A few things.
First and foremost, I am primarily a horror author, so it felt like it was time to challenge myself with something related to romance. Secondly, my aunt has always complained about my stories being dark, spooky, and evil, so I decided to write something more pleasing to her. Finally, I believe each of my stories has a representation of what’s real in life.
There’s a simple set of themes here: love, beauty, bliss, escapism, and on the darker end, ignorance, obsession, and blind love.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I don’t want to be overly optimistic, but at the very least, another free short story will come out this year. I can’t tell you a lot about it, beyond that one of the major themes is maternal instinct. It won’t be horror, but it’ll be rather depressing and dark with some elements of Sci-Fi. It’ll also be on the weirder side of things.
If things go well with Seventh Circle and that next short story, I should have a third free short story out this year, creating a trilogy.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Seventh Circle?
Mia is supposed to be the dream girl of Michael. She’s elusive, entrancing, mysterious, and too good to be true. Beneath her confident and quirky exterior, she’s damaged goods. She has been used, abused, and taken advantage of by every person she’s ever been involved with.
Michael on the other hand, is anxious, nerdy, and awkward. He’s sweet but too clumsy and inexperienced for his own good. He can’t help but wonder why someone like Mia would give him the time of day.
My favorite character is Richard. He’s based off of this guy I sat next to in Math class when I was still in high school. This guy had a lisp, drove the nicest cars money could buy, and left class everyday to snort Xanax. He would sniffle and his nose made a whistling noise.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
The ending. You’ll see why. It’s only thirty pages or so. The journey is just as good as the destination. And just as crazy.
Who designed your book covers?
I used to do some pretty amateur photography. Granted, everyone with a phone in this day and age can call themselves a photographer; a devalued art, I suppose. I designed the covers for New York Onions, Weeping of the Caverns, and Grey Skies.
Seventh Circle was a pretty even split between Aubrey Flowers and I. I made the original design, she perfected it and made a few different versions of it at different sizes, and I turned it into a gif. I thought it would be unique and be something worth staring at for a little bit, even if it’s just a minimalistic symbol. It has some depth.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m a perfectionist usually. If I don’t like it, it’s gonna get changed and turned into something decent. The most common complaint Seventh Circle has gotten is that it’s too short, but I’d rather my work not overstay its welcome. Stephen King has a handful of books that are over a thousand pages long, and to be honest, he fills them with a lot of rambling and detail that doesn’t do much for me. His short stories are absolutely masterful and feel right to the point. I don’t think I’d make Seventh Circle any longer. Michael’s story feels complete to me. I can’t say a lot about that without spoiling anything.
Who is Mark Hammelton? Why is he in every single book by you?
I can’t say anything about that. Give me a few years and we can figure that out together.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I would like a bunch of average people who are decent at acting. I don’t need an ensemble cast. The story is the important part, not the people playing it.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I’m sorry if Seventh Circle pisses you off.
How did you come up with name of this book?
The number seven has a lot of symbolism, both in religion and life. The first and most obvious is the Seventh Circle of hell, which is the circle of hell that is inhabited by damned souls who have committed acts of brutality. It is also held on a pedestal in every major religion; in the Bible, the world being created in seven days and the number being everywhere in the bible. There’s seven capital sins and 7 Catholic sacraments. On the surface, this might seem a bit far off from what the book is about, but finish it and you’ll understand. The themes of obsession and infatuation are very prominent with the cover.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
A little bit of both, sure, but beyond all things, my writing feels controlled by imagery. A lot of my imagery comes from random things I ponder or dreams, leading to a lot of the strangeness going on. These images connect themselves together through logic and become their own unique beasts.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
It won’t be immediately apparent from the start. There’s a cliche angle that seems very “normal,” especially for my standards, but the story quickly becomes incredibly unique. It’ll be unlike any other book you ever read.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Sweat and desperation.
Is there an author which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I actually was lucky enough to have a good conversation with Andy Weir, the author of “The Martian.” He congratulated me for being such a prolific author at such a young age ( I was 18 then and had just published my second novel. I’m 19 now.) He told me that he had fashioned a readership of about 3,000 people through his website, so that really helped to propel him to success.