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7.26.2012

Summer of Indie Hangs Out With Lee Allen Howard

Our guest author for today is Lee Allen Howard, who "writes horror, dark fantasy, and supernatural crime—and technical manuals. All terribly horrifying.

Lee also does editing and layout for fitness professionals and psychics in addition to editing fiction and non-fiction projects. He’s done book publishing consultancy.

A long time ago he earned a BA in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also received an MA in Biblical Studies from CI School of Theology and an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Lee is a Spiritualist and is a practicing medium and metaphysician. You’ll see these supernatural elements crop up in his writing.

His publication credits include CEMETERY SONATA anthology, THOU SHALT NOT... anthology (Dark Cloud Press), and Amber Quill Press. His fiction titles for Kindle include THE SIXTH SEED, MAMA SAID, STRAY, DESPERATE SPIRITS, NIGHT MONSTERS, and SEVERED RELATIONS.

He lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."

Today we talked with author Lee Allen Howard in-depth about his book, The Sixth Seed, which is a "dark, paranormal fantasy fraught with suburban Pittsburgh horror."

The Sixth Seed

Today’s stories of alien abduction and experimentation include temporary embryonic implantation. THE SIXTH SEED takes this scenario one radical step further when the first alien/human hybrid fertilization develops to full term in utero.

Believing a vasectomy will prevent another unplanned pregnancy, 34-year-old Tom Furst--Melanie’s loving husband and the father of their five children--wants more than anything to dig himself out of the fiscal hole he’s mired in and become financially secure. However, during the procedure, mysterious Dr. Prindar Krakhil secretly implants a worm-like alien seed in Tom’s vas deferens that not only ensures that Melanie gets pregnant, but plants in her womb a child half alien.

Their children are abducted. Melanie becomes gravely ill. When Tom loses his job, their home, and the sixth seed is born, will he be able to accept the child for what it really is--and conquer the temptation to exchange it for the money Krakhil offers?
 



After hearing more about The Sixth Seed, we interviewed author Lee Allen Howard to find out more about his inspirations, and the process of being a writer.

Q: Can you tell us how you got started writing?
A: I started writing because I stories made my imagination explode. Writing horror began at a young age: I wrote my first story on ruled tablet paper in second grade. My teacher passed it on to the elementary school principal. He read it at a meeting of the local Lions Club, of which my father was a member. As president of the chapter, Principal Sprunger fined my father a dime because the preacher’s son wrote such a sordid tale full of skeletons, witches and blood.
Some boys like baseball. My fun was writing stories.
Q: What motivated you to start publishing?
A: I was never keen on writing to fit the strict bookstore shelving categories. I began publishing my work for e-readers because I can write the story I’m inspired to write and tag it with the terms that suit it best. Anyone with a search engine can find it.
Although I’m responsible for the writing, the formatting, the editing, and the promotion, I no longer have to wait for or depend on others to validate me. If I do a good job, the potential for profit far surpasses traditional publishing. 
Q: Can you tell us more about your book?
A: When I first began working on THE SIXTH SEED, I wasn’t planning to write anything other than a horror tale. And it started out as a story, a short one, way back in 1994.
The idea invaded my mind during my drive home through rush-hour traffic: A man gets a vasectomy performed by a doctor in league with the Gray alien race in order to produce the first human/alien hybrid. The doctor implants a genetically engineered paraseed in the man’s vas deferens, outside the cauterization point, that impregnates his wife with their sixth child—the first hybrid to develop full-term in utero.
The more I worked with this idea, the bigger it grew. Frustrated with my inability to get a handle on this tale, I sent it out for review and received a comment that the idea was too big for a short story; why not develop it into a novel?
When I wrapped my head around the possibility, I broadened the story arc, developed the characters, and gave them a backstory. Working on my antagonist revealed that I needed to represent his world realistically, and this included science and medicine. (Frankly, without this grounding in reality, the story would be too farfetched to believe.) So I studied up on urology and obstetrics. I was lucky to have a friend who had just undergone a vasectomy and was willing to give me the gritty (intensely portrayed in chapter 1).
My horror story was mutating into something else, some kind of hybrid… Was it science fiction? Kind of. Fantasy? That, too, listing toward the dark side. Definitely paranormal, in the aliens and UFO sense. And what else? Family drama. What a mish-mash.
I tried to place this book for a decade, and it couldn’t be categorized. I liked it just fine the way it turned out, so I refused to rewrite it to make it acceptable for traditional print publication. I finally decided to produce it myself for Kindle, and it’s enjoying regular sales.
I bill THE SIXTH SEED as “a dark paranormal fantasy fraught with suburban Pittsburgh horror.” But the science fiction is there too, in the medical procedures, extrapolated to the conception, prenatal care, and delivery of a child half alien.
Although I spent the most time with my protagonist in THE SIXTH SEED, my favorite character is six-year-old Emil, a sweet, starry-eyed boy who can’t get his father to believe that the bug people are coming to take him away.
Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?
A:
Melanie had been virtually comatose since lunch. Late that afternoon, he slipped into the bedroom to check on her and laid his hand on her warm belly. She didn’t stir. Faintly, almost imperceptibly, he felt the baby move in her womb. It made him smile. His smile died when he felt the child trace the outline of his outspread hand.
Q: Where can people find your book?
My blog is http://leeallenhoward.com 
Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?
A: I’ve read a few and enjoyed most of them, but the one that sticks out is Jason Jack Miller’s THE DEVIL AND PRESTON BLACK—Appalachian gothic at its finest.
Q: What are some of your favorite authors?
A: I like Stephen King’s early books. I also appreciate Patrick McGrath and Cormac McCarthy. A new favorite is Trent Zelazny, who wrote DESTINATION UNKNOWN.
Frank Herbert’s THE RATS and Thomas Tryon’s THE OTHER were probably the most influential books during my teen years. I still love reading THE OTHER.
Q: What's  next for you?
A: I earned a master’s in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. I’m working on finally getting my thesis novel, DEATH PERCEPTION, ready for publication. Here’s the skinny:
Nineteen-year-old Kennet Singleton lives with his invalid mother in a personal care home, but he wants out. He operates the crematory at the local funeral home, where he discovers he has a gift for discerning the cause of death of those he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes.
He thinks his ability is no big deal since his customers are already dead. However, when what he discerns differs from what’s on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers. To save the residents and avenge the dead, he must bring the killers to justice.
Supernatural crime blends my love of horror, crime, and the supernatural. It’s the direction my fiction is taking. 
Q: Can you tell us some interesting facts about you?
A: I’m kind of bipolar with my light and dark sides. Besides writing dark fiction, I have a master’s in biblical studies and was once a pastor before I came out. I’m now a Spiritualist and a practicing medium. I write about metaphysical issues at http://buildingthebridge.wordpress.com/.
I’m a technical writer by trade, which is a sub-genre of horror.
I love cashews and eat them every day.

You can find author Lee Allen Howard online at:

Twitter: @leeallenhoward

Author Website: http://leeallenhoward.com


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