Words with Thom Reese, author of "The Demon Baqash"

Can you tell us a little bit about "THE DEMON BAQASH?"

The protagonist, Trent Troxel, was humiliated, defeated. He left his position amidst scorn and scandal. Now, after nearly a year of rebuilding his life and reestablishing trust with his wife, he’s confronted by the one who just might have been the cause of it all. Trent comes face-to-face with the demon Baqash. Initially he doesn’t believe the demon’s supernatural claims, but soon he’s drawn into Baqash’s mad scheme to utilize ancient documents to undermine Satan himself. His wife spirals into the insanity of possession, his daughter is threatened, and he must somehow overcome this unearthly threat or lose his family and possibly his soul.

An interesting aspect of the book, to me, is that, while the front story is told in standard third person prose, the back story is told through a series of the demon’s journal entries which were given to the protagonist, Trent Troxel. I took the position that demons are fallen angels. As such, Baqash is a being who was once exalted. This makes for a very complex character. Here was someone who had once literally lived in paradise, but turned away from it to follow a more enticing dream. Through his journal entries, I explore his passions and regrets, his dawning realization at what he’s truly become and the hopelessness of his wretched existence. Baqash both longs to be what he’d once been while simultaneously holding firmly to the travesty of his decisions.

What's your background with writing?

I’ve always loved to write and began by writing my own self-made comic book series back in middle and high school. Soon, I started writing short stories and made my first attempts at novels. Professionally, I started in the non-fiction realm as a fulltime staff writer for an online magazine. Later, my wife, Kathy, and I produced a weekly audio drama radio program here in Las Vegas. I wrote and directed every episode, while Kathy engineered and composed original music. It was a half hour show similar in format to the old time radio shows such as “The Shadow” and “Inner Sanctum.” But, these were entirely contemporary, with 21stcentury plots, music, and effects. Imagine a modern-day TV drama like Dexter or Criminal Minds with no video, just sound. Several of these are now available for download from my publisher Speaking Volumes at www.speakingvolumes.us. In addition to the downloads, the first collection of four audio dramas will be available on CD this coming January.

After releasing my audio dramas, Speaking Volumes then picked up my novel, THE DEMON BAQASH, for publication in both print and Ebook formats. It will be out in mid January 2011. As well, Speaking Volumes will release my novels, DEAD MAN’S FIRE and CHASING KELVIN, along with my short story collection, 13 BODIES:SEVEN TALES OF MURDER & MADNESS throughout 2011. My novel, THE EMPTY, will be released by L & L Dreamspell in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

As to utilizing the journals for the back story, that was entirely inspired by the Bram Stoker classic, Dracula. I was probably 16 or 17 years old the first time a read it. If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s written in the epistolary style, which basically means that the story is told through correspondences such as letters and journals. I fell in love with the concept and swore that one day I’d write a book using that technique. Now, I didn’t go full boat on that. In BAQASH, the front story is written in standard 3rd person prose, but the back story is told through a series of the demon’s journal entries. These were fun to write, the whole process of getting into the inner workings of the demon’s mind, at exploring his motivations as he descends deeper and deeper into the insanity of his existence was a wild ride.

Otherwise, my influences are quite varied. I read constantly. In the horror genre, I Like Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Stephen King, Brian Lumley, Jonathan Maberry, H. P. Lovecraft, and too many others to list. But, I read books from many genres, and love authors such as Ken Follet, Jeremy Shipp, Robert E. Howard, Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, Michael Connelly, Victor Hugo, Orson Scott Card. Probably my favorite book ever is EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck. I’ve read that three times so far and will read it again.

What was it like working with "Speaking Volumes?"

Kurt Mueller at Speaking Volumes has been fantastic to work with. For one, he’s given me, an unknown author, a multi-book contract. He’s been supportive and encouraging, always open to my questions and concerns. He believes in my writing and is dedicated to launching me as an up and coming author. I’ve been very fortunate to work with him.

Who was responsible for the cover/book design?

Speaking Volumes was responsible for the cover design. It’s a great cover. Very creepy. I think it fits the mood of the story and will look great on the bookshelf.

What are you doing in terms of marketing/publicity?

As soon as the book is released, I’ll be doing book signings, primarily in the southwest. I’m located in Las Vegas, so I’ll do several in and around the city, and will also do signings in neighboring areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, etc. I’ll do radio and blog interviews, encourage book reviews, and promote through my own blogs.

What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

I’ve just launched a blog which features journal entries from Baqash, not included in the novel. You can find that here. I will be relaunching my blog, THROUGH THOM TINTED LENSES, in the coming weeks.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

Two of the novels to be released in 2011, DEAD MAN’S FIRE and CHASING KELVIN, are based on my audio drama series, MARC HUNTINGTON ADVENTURES, and have yet to be written. I’ve just finished the first draft of DEAD MAN’S FIRE and am diving right into draft number two. The manuscript is due to the publisher March 1. After that, I’ll head straight into writing CHASING KELVIN. After that...? I have a couple of unfinished manuscripts waiting patiently for me to return to them. There might be a sequel to THE DEMON BAQASH or additional Marc Huntington novels. I suppose I’ll see what happens once these first novels start hitting the bookstore shelves.

Is there anything else about you we should know?

I love reading and interacting with others who love a good book. I encourage your readers to look me up on Facebook. Tell me what you like to read. Share the wonder of a story well told. I’m currently writing in both the horror and action/adventure thriller genres. I’d love to hear from people who love these types of stories.

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