The King of Evil
Genre: Horror, Occult, Voodoo
Publisher: Silver Leaf Books
Date of Publication: September 1
Number of pages: 334
Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: Paul Tynes
After a horrific accident, graphic artist Jack Simmons and his wife, Cindy, have lost all sense of a normal life. With their marriage in pieces, their only hope in setting things back is by starting over. The two pack their lives in boxes and migrate to the Big Easy. Upon arrival, Jack and Cindy fall into the jobs of their dreams. The new start they were hoping for seemed to have been waiting for them in New Orleans, after all. But something followed them. Something Evil.
Jack is commissioned to create the artwork for a graphic novel about a voodoo king, The King of Evil. As Jack works diligently to create a masterpiece, drawing the images back and forth between paper and his computer, he starts seeing things. Images of his King appear in the corners of his vision. They spring up just as Jack falls asleep. Always only inches out of plain sight.
The King grows more powerful, and soon he unleashes his power on Jack, Cindy, and the people in their lives. The King slowly destroys everyone around them, showing the newly rekindled couple what it's like to be evil for evil's sake. Jack and Cindy will need help from the King's past victims to stop him.
The King of Evil is a heart-pounding, supernatural thriller. Its vibrant characters and intense action is certain to keep its audience reading well into the night.
About the Author:
Josh Stricklin is an American author and musician with degrees in English literature and advertising from the University of Southern Mississippi. His first novel, Those Who Are Left, is available online and in person. The King of Evil is his first terrifying novel with Silver Leaf Books. He's currently hard at work finishing his first series…or more likely reading comic books and wearing a Seahawks jersey.
Meeting the King of Evil
The King of Evil is a story that takes place in New Orleans, and it follows the lives of Jack and Cindy Simmons. Jack is a graphic designer, and Cindy is a Physical Therapist. They move to New Orleans because Cindy gets a better job, and at the same time, Jack is commissioned to create the art for a graphic novel. The novel is about their run-in with an evil voodoo spirit.
This story actually came from a few of different places. The most obvious influence on the story was the city of New Orleans (the actually city, not the train). I live closer to New Orleans than any other big city so I naturally spend a good bit of time there. The first book I wrote, Those Who Are Left, takes place in Jackson for the most part and ends in New Orleans. I thought it would be good for the flow from one book to the other if I picked up where I left off.
Much like the first book, I spent a lot of time in the book’s setting to get the lay of the land and to get into the feel of the city. I didn’t want the villain of the story to be a voodoo spirit. I just knew I wanted the villain to be from inside Jack’s mind. The more time I spent in New Orleans the more I realized that The King was the perfect villain. There’s a scene where Jack and Cindy check out the town, and they find a number of different shops that sell voodoo-inspired trinkets and clothing. There are plenty of them in the area. I walked the same streets Jack and Cindy did. Just like they did, I found a hole-in-the-wall with tons of items I could use—even the statue that Jack and Cindy eventually buy and use for the graphic novel. The city is an incredible place, and I still go there regularly even though I’m not working on a story set in New Orleans.
Another part of the story came from my experience with Physical Therapy. Cindy’s job as a physical therapist allows her to meet vital people that help her in the end. It’s not as vital to the story as other parts, but it was something I really liked writing about. I had an accident and had to go through a few months of PT for me to be able to walk again. I felt that it was a good enough experience to use in my writing.
There was a moment in particular though that really spurred this story on. I had the idea of a character being attacked by his art. I’ve described art multiple times as being like a monster inside you that constantly takes over your thoughts. That’s what it is for me. It’s something that controls what I do sometimes. It’s relentless in its quest for 100% of my attention.
I wanted to bring this idea to life. It’s an idea that’s been done before, I know. I wanted to make this idea my own, and I almost gave up on it. I couldn’t find a way to bring Jack’s creation off the canvas into his life. I was putting the finishing touches on another book I wrote, when it happened. There was one scene in particular that scared me. Believe me, I know what that sounds like, but it’s true. I can’t explain why, but it just freaked me out a little. I had to stop when I finished and walk away from the keyboard for a couple hours.
I eventually cooled off and went back to it. I was about to sleep and even start The King of Evil. One night I had an incredibly vivid dream of that scene in the manuscript that I had to take a break from. I stood at the opening of a cave and something reached out for me. I snapped awake, heaving breath.
I was legitimately scared, and luckily I had a pen and pad next to might bed. I wrote down what happened and in the morning I had what I needed. In the story, it’s Cindy’s personality that gives the spirit the power to come alive, but it’s Jack nightmares that bring him from the canvas to the real world.
From that night on I had to just sit back, and let the story use my fingers to come out. Compared to my first book, this was a much easier novel to write. I had a lot of fun getting to know the voodoo religion, and I think it shows. I can’t wait to hear what people think about it.
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