5 Questions for Gene O’Neill

geneI met Gene many years ago at one of the first Morbid Curiosity open mics I hosted at a World Horror Convention. We’ve run into each other again and again at horror events over the years. This spring, I had the honor of including one of his short stories in Tales For the Camp Fire: An Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief.

Gene has seen about 200 of his stories and novellas published, several of which have been reprinted in France, Spain, and Russia. Some of these stories have been collected in Ghost Spirits, Computers & World Machines, The Grand Struggle, In Dark Corners, Dance of the Blue Lady, The Hitchhiking Effect, Lethal Birds, and Frozen Shadows & Other Chilling Stories. He has seen six novels published. Gene has been a Stoker finalist twelve times. In 2010 Taste of Tenderloin won the haunted house for collection; in 2012 “The Blue Heron” won for Long Fiction. A series of two novels in The White Plague Chronicles will come out in 2019—The Sarawak Virus followed by Beyond Pandemic. Also out in 2019 will be Entangled Soul, a collaborative novella written with Chris Marrs. Recently, Gene finished “The Beast with Two Backs,” a novella with a strong Maya background.

Gene lives in the Napa Valley with his wife, Kay. He has two grown children: Gavin, who lives in Oakland, and Kaydee, who lives in Carlsbad and rides herd on his two g-kids, Fiona and TJ. When he isn’t writing or visiting g-kids, Gene likes to read good fiction or watch sports—all of them, especially boxing.

Gene’s new book is Deathflash: Book 3 in the series The Crime Files of Katy Green

DeathFlash - Front Cover, 300 dpiYoung Billy Williams has been elevated to status of Shepherd of the Flock—leader of a zealous religious cult—and granted gift of the Deathflash, the ability to see the soul as it departs its mortal form at demise. Billy is also given an ancient knife-like talon and “commanded to do the Lord’s work,” which he does fanatically, slaying drug addicts in San Francisco who are poisoning their bodies with heroin.

Retired police detectives Katy Green and Johnny Cato find themselves drawn into the grim case of the murdered underclass, whom no one seems to care about until the brother of one victim comes forward with his incredible suspicions… So begins a journey of addiction, tracking a killer through the dope dens and seedy rehab houses of the Tenderloin district. As time passes, junkies begin to die faster and faster for Billy Williams has given himself entirely to his own addiction: the rush of viewing the Deathflash.

Did something in the real world inspire Deathflash

Maybe fifteen years ago, I read a translated copy of some obscure Russian experiments. They were taking photos of the radiation leaving the body at the moment of death. Amazingly, they said that the radiation was 100 times that considered normal in a body. What was that flash? Even a non-religious person thinks: It’s the soul. I never found a replication here in this country of those experiments, because of ethical issues. But I had a neat story premise.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

Of course I love the initial scene where the boy, the new Shepherd, first sees the death flash. The following two descriptions of the flash are awesome, too.

What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?

My writing process is always similar. I pretty much have the premise, title, main character’s name, and an ending before I start a project. Then I write every morning, six days a week, until I finish the project. I spend most of the morning going back and revising before adding something new—usually 500 words or so. Of course, this makes me a much slower writer than my contemporaries.

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?

Eric Guignard, the publisher of Dark Moon Books, is a good promoter. He already has two important signings lined up for DeathflashSept 8th at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, California, and at a date and time to be determined at a prominent bookstore in Berkeley. I always enjoy meeting old fans or new folks at signings.

What do you have planned next?

I’ve finished a two-book series, The White Plague, and it’s in to JaSunni. They will hopefully bring out the first, The Sarawak Virus, by this Fall, and the second, Beyond Pandemic, a little later. I think this series, based on a high premise, is written as well and as compelling as my well-received four-book series, The Cal Wild Chronicles, available from Written Backwards Press.

Pick up your own copy of Deathflash: https://amzn.to/2lwuBtx

You can check out all of Gene’s books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ly9TJP

DeathFlash - Back Cover, 300 dpi

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. I'm also co-author of a series about a succubus and her angel. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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1 Response to 5 Questions for Gene O’Neill

  1. I am seriously intrigued. And OMGosh, the cover art for the series, such fab watercolors!

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