Today's Author Spotlight is author Eric Leland! Read on for the full interview. Publication date: February 1st 2021 Goodreads Can you ...

Author Spotlight || Eric Leland

Today's Author Spotlight is author Eric Leland!

Read on for the full interview.

Publication date: February 1st 2021

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 

In 1969, somewhere over South Vietnam, Captain Brandon Doran sits aboard an unmarked aircraft on final approach to a Top-Secret military base. A shadowy government operative offers a deal: in exchange for erasing Brandon's tarnished military record, he must ensure the recon team, to which he is about to be assigned, follows orders. Easy enough. Or so Brandon thinks. 

Sergeant First Class John Nicholas, Captain Brandon, and the elite Recon Team New York venture deep into North Vietnam to rescue Recon Team Florida, which has gone missing near a remote village in the north. John expects heavy resistance, but intercepted radio traffic suggests something near that village has spooked even the hardened North Vietnamese Army. Soon after New York's midnight insertion behind enemy lines, John finds out what. Confronted in the night by a merciless demon, John reacts the way any soldier would: he shoots it. But John discovers, far too late, pulling the trigger is the worst mistake he can make. 

Flung headlong into atrocity and supernatural chaos, New York's surviving members discover an unexpected ally in Jaran, a young novice in the old magic of her ancestors. She is the only defense New York has against this powerful evil, but her magic requires a cruel price. Now, with a ruthless NVA hunter-killer team on New York's trail, and an ancient evil lurking in the shadows, the few remaining survivors learn their escape demands brutal payment. To survive, New York must become as inhuman as their demonic pursuer.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?

During a class for my MA I wrote a 25-page short story titled Recon Team: Mercury. That story was shortened to five pages and is now the prologue to Inhuman. For a NaNoWriMo idea I thought it would be interesting to see what happened when the rescuers came looking for the team that disappeared in my original short story. Inhuman is the result.

I want to provide veterans with fiction that entertains, but also lets them know someone else out there knows how they feel when they stare at the ceiling at night..

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?

The character Jaran is heavily based on my wife’s experiences who was born in Vietnam. At an early age, she and her family fled to a refugee camp after the war. The chaos of displacement during war time seemed terrifying. I can’t really say which character I have the strongest connection to—John’s sense of duty; Chris’s refusal to take anything seriously; and Brandon’s severe depression and self-doubt—they’re all variations of me.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?

Military readers, from Vietnam veterans to Iraq/Afghanistan have told me they have all met guys like John and Brandon during their careers. 

In your opinion what makes a good story?

I’ll never turn down a chance to shout the names of Amy Hempel, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy. The Bluest Eye (Morrison) and Blood Meridian (McCarthy) are two of the most terrifying books I’ve ever read. And it’s just a joy to watch what Amy Hempel does with language.

What led you to start writing?

After reading the Red Wedding scene from A Storm of Swords, and throwing the book against the wall, I wanted to learn how GRRM played with my emotions so I could do it to others. Inhuman isn’t my first novel, but it’s the first novel I wrote after I figured out how story works.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?

I have a tragic little transgressive romance begging me to play catch with it, but from the messages I’m receiving it’s fairly obvious my readers want to see what’s next for the survivors of Inhuman. I suppose I can only blame myself. If you write an epilogue like that it’s probably best not to keep people waiting. Oops. So, books two and three of Inhuman are loosely plotted and I’m starting in on those.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

"(X) is my favorite character. Kill (them).”—Advice from my editor. 
So when you get there, don’t blame me. Thanks for having me and thanks to anyone who reads and reviews Inhuman.   

Eric Leland grew up in Massena, NY and entered Army basic training upon high school graduation. He was an MP in the Army for six years and reclassified to a Special Agent with the Army Criminal Investigation Division. Eric deployed to Honduras in 2002, and Iraq in 2003 and 2009 where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for valor. He completed his MA in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and has happily traded in his gun for a pen. Eric lives in Seattle with his wife. Connect with Eric Leland on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Eric, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!