Interview with Curtis Hox, author of ‘Bleedover’


As part of the ‘Bleedover Blog Tour’ I will be giving away a copy of the eBook to one lucky winner. You can enter here.

The author is also giving away a $50 Gift card to one lucky winner who will be chosen from across the blog tour. You can enter here.

Today, I interview author Curtis Hox today. I have also reviewed the book here. The book is a great amalgamation of both my favourite genres: Fantasy and SF.

Interview with Curtis Hox, author of ‘Bleedover’

Describe your book? What genre would you classify it into?
Technically it’s science fantasy. It uses tropes from both genres quite liberally. But during our soft launch we experimented with this terminology and had trouble with it. People on the boards didn’t seem that interested in the genre, which makes sense because it’s a narrow sub genre. So, we’re calling it science fiction and contemporary fantasy.

How did you come up with the idea for the book?
I wanted a rational explanation for things like divinites walking the streets of New York (the premise of a novel I wrote before Bleedover). I’d been thinking about it for some time, even before Gaiman’s American Gods. It also stemmed from an urge to rationalize the fantastic in a way that doesn’t, de facto, accept them as a given. I wanted all the tropes we love in fantasy, but I wanted to explain how they could exist through some system of scientific inquiry.

When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote my first stories as a pre-teen who played Dungeon and Dragons and read R.E. Howard.

How has your journey from writing to getting published been?
Slow and isolated. I published a few short stories in literary and horror magazines when I was in my 20s. Then I turned away from the traditional publishing route as I worked on my PhD. I enjoyed writing so much it was a seductive to just write instead of also doing the hard work of trying to get published. The publishing industry’s buyer’s market was a big turn off. I also had a Romantic tendency to write for one instead of thinking of writing for an audience. So, I spent nearly a decade doing that. It wasn’t until I swapped novels with good friend (and good writer) for beta reads that I stopped that self-defeating practice.

Who is you favourite character? Is there a character in the series you think the readers will hate?
My favorite character is Hattie, of course, although Masumi comes a close second. Hate is a strong word, but you’re also supposed to feel slightly disturbed by Hattie’s rush toward the making of a new science.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
The challenge from the beginning was the articulation of bleedover so that it was, at once, mysterious, while also being clear. When I workshopped the novel (twice), I had people complain they didn’t understand the concept. I did this on purpose! But, I realize the reader shouldn’t be teased without a payout. So I tried to do a slow reveal. By the end, it should be clear that bleedover is a real fact of nature in which the stories we tell somehow bleedover into reality.

What was the hardest part of writing the book?
Getting my characters out of their heads. It was very much an idea book. And during my first drafts I realized I had a bunch of characters sitting around thinking.

Who designed the covers of the book?
Stephanie Mooney. And I think she did a great job!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that a dramatic novel (instead of a traditional literary or experimental novel) must have a compelling series of scenes that steadily increases the dramatic tension. Bleedover starts off slow and picks up steam, ending with a bang. I know this is off putting for some people who want steady action from the beginning. But, I think Bleedover does a good job of ratcheting tension as the story progresses.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I’d make Hattie Sterling a vampire. (joke).

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Was there somewhere in the book you felt stuck?
I tend to get lost in ideas. Bleedover doesn’t get explained, fully, only represented in the novel. It was a challenge to do this well enough that people don’t feel cheated.

What are your current projects?  Will this book be turned into a series?
I am editing several competed novels (Flesh Shock, Chastener, and the Transhuman Warrior Series). Bleedover fits within the world of Flesh Shock and Chastener, but it’s not a series.

Can we get an excerpt from your next book?
Sure, once I finish the edits.

What book are you reading now? Which are your all-time favourite authors / books?
I’m reading Miéville’s Kraken. I love Larry Mcmurtry’s stories, as well as his voice. I also love Cormac McCarthy for his language.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you, something you could not read just about anywhere.

  1. I’m a contrarian who can’t help himself.
  2. I teach English literature at a university.
  3. Sugar is my last fun vice.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to readers?
Don’t do it while crossing the street (reading, that is).

Questions about the Bleedover Effect

If you could get a book character to come to life, which would it be?
Augustus McCrae from Lonesome Dove.

If Bleedover was real, what would you ‘really’ use if for?
I’d write a story in which the entire universe was made of chocolate and take my wife there on a date.

Do you think if Bleedover was real, humanity would be able to handle it?
No. I have a novel written about that already (Flesh Shock), soon to come.

Quick-fire questions

ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
ebooks

Cats or dogs?
Both

Coffee or tea?
Coffee

Favourite food?
Pizza

Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream?
Both

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
My keys, my glasses, my kindle, and myself

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Anywhere, anytime (I’ve even written on a plane.)

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you any why?
No way. Not falling for that one.

List 3 of your all-time favourite movies?
Too many. I wouldn’t want to leave any out. Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors, if that helps.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched recently and really enjoyed?
Boardwalk Empire.

My review of Bleedover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bleedover is a novel which has elements of both fantasy and science fiction, just the way I like it! … The writing is excellent … and the story is well constructed and fast paced …” Ritesh Kala’s Book Reviews

ABOUT THE BOOK

Bleedover by Curtis Hox

Science Fiction/Contemporary Fantasy
80,000 words
ISBN: 978-0-9846656-0-0
Links: Author Site | Author Blog | Facebook Fan Page
Buy it Now: Amazon
Tags: Science fiction, contemporary fantasy, thriller, pulp fiction, sword and sorcery, portals, alternate worlds, magic, spell casting, demon summoning.

Inspirations for Bleedover

Bleedover‘s a novel that blends intellectual subject matter with popular genre tropes in an examination of what narrative is and how we consume it. I wanted a story that pits literary sensibilities vs. the stuff of pulp fiction and popular culture. This emerges as a battle between the protagonist Dr. Hattie Sterling and an old book club member, Corbin Lyell. Hattie’s a professor with an attitude who thinks she knows how to explain (and control) bleedover events seeping into reality. The conflict focuses on how Corbin counters her, and her response. He believes that the sword-and-sorcery fiction of R.E. Howard and the science horror of H.P. Lovecraft is just as important as the serious literature you get in an English department. I threw in a few fun pulp-fiction tropes like a sword-wielding barbarian, a demon-thing and monstrosities from deep space, even a red-goddess. These, I hope, are handled in an original fashion that avoids the clichés and contrived mechanisms we’ve all seen a million times. In the end, I tried to write a smart novel with all the fun stuff I liked as a kid.

I know Bleedover risks alienating readers who expect standard science fiction and contemporary fantasy, but the slow build is worth the reward in the end when Hattie and Corbin duel.

Flap Copy

An intriguing phenomenon in literature and arts.
A maverick professor’s quest to find answers.
And a discovery that will shock the world.

Books, TV, film, advertising. It’s all being mysteriously altered, and no one knows why. Dr. Harriet Sterling claims she understands, even if no one believes her. She calls it the New Phenomenon of Bleedover.
She’s alone, though, because the science establishment stands in her way. When trusted graduate students generate an apple out of thin air in a controversial bleedover project, the world takes notice. So does an old enemy thirsty for revenge, Corbin Lyell, who manipulates bleedover to hurtle monstrosities from the world of his pulp heroes, H.P. Lovecraft and R.E. Howard.
Dr. Sterling must stop Lyell’s apocalyptic plans, but with enemies on all sides undermining her discovery, can she succeed?
With a heady mixture of serious literature and genre fiction, Bleedover dazzles as a thought-provoking work of science fiction and contemporary fantasy that both inspires and entertains.

About the Author

I’ve written six unpublished contemporary, literary science fantasy novels in the last decade, all of which I finished and promptly put away. I didn’t even let my wife read one until this year. (I know, ultra critical and self defeating as hell, but that’s me.) I’ve done rounds of agent hunting with little luck, and since everyone is talking about e-publishing, I thought I’d give it a try by self publishing Bleedover and by writing a series of three YA novels with all the juicy stuff I love from science fiction and fantasy and just have fun with it. Those turned into the Transhuman Warrior Series (currently being edited). I’m also forcing myself to be open to everything that goes along with the business side of marketing without griping, “Frack it! I just want to write.”

Other titles by me: Repossession in Progress, The Kafka Harrier, and The Red Sphere.

You can reach me at www.curtishox.com | @curtishox | curtishox@gmail.com

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2 responses to “Interview with Curtis Hox, author of ‘Bleedover’

  1. Hey, Ritesh. Thanks so much for this. Your blog is a major up and comer.

  2. Pingback: Announcement: Winner of Bleedover Blog Tour Contest – $50 Amazon Gift Card | Epub World

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