I first found out about The Secret Seekers Society on Kickstarter where Joe was seeking funding to help publish his book. Turns out he read my post and offered me a copy of the book as thanks.
I read it and thought it was a really good story. If you’re into fantasy and paranormal stuff then you’ll like Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro.
Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro follows the young protagonists Hunter Glenn, and Eliza Lynn through an adventure ripe with adversity, paranormal monsters, secret societies, and most haunting of all, a life without their parents.
It all happened one fall afternoon when they learned that their parent’s plane had gone down overseas, never to be seen again.
The book follows the siblings as they are dropped off at their new guardian’s home, an ancient and creepy mansion known only as the Belmonte Estate. Here they unravel the secrets of their parent’s true identities, the origin of the mysterious Mansion, and their inheritance into an ancient secret society of monster hunters known as Seekers. [More on Goodreads]
How did you decide to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since grade school. I remember writing short stories about my friends and I exploring pyramids and battling off mummies and ancient curses. I never stopped writing; it’s been a part of me for as long as I can remember. It did however take on many different variations over my life.
In middle school I was drawing and writing comic strips. When high school hit, the internet was rapidly growing in popularity, and I spent many nights up late writing for different websites. I kind stopped for a few years while I was trying to find myself in college. It wasn’t until I took a creative writing course in my sophomore year that I found out I really had some talent. Peers would approach my after class telling me how imaginative I was, and how they wish they could write like me. It was kind of shocking. I was never one to share my works with anyone.
I wrote my first every short story and saw it published in the college’s literary magazine, and I decided despite what anyone said, I was going to chase my dreams and major in Creative Writing.
The Secret Seekers Society is your second novel, how did the writing process compare to the first book?
My first book’s creation from start to finish was a mess. I was so naive back then, and to be honest, I was still developing a lot as a writer. Honing my skills, my voice, pacing. I believe the first book has lots of potential, it’s as imaginative as ever, but being young and unpolished, it’s all hidden underneath some cliche’s. There was no structure to implementing my ideas, I would literally sit down and just see where my pen took me. It’s fun to write like that, but without the process behind the narrative, it can create more of a hassle than any type of help. It’s like driving with a blindfold, you never know where you’re going to go, and it’s easy to drive head first into a wall. Secret Seekers Society was written in six months, compared to 4 years for my first book. It was well thought out and structured. Much easier to write.
The main characters, Hunter and Elly, are based on your niece and nephew. Was it difficult writing about people you know?
No, it was quite easy. If I ever had writers block, I would just hang out with my niece and nephew and listen to them talk and act like the crazy kids they are. Talk about real life characters. A lot of people in my life are represented by characters, whether they realize it or not. I also pull from some famous people who have influenced me as well, fictionalized of course.
What was the most challenging part of the book to write? Writing the book was easy. The self-publication and promotion have proven to be by far the worse/hardest part of being an author. Here I have this book gaining rave reviews from all over the world, yet no one even knows it exists. Major publishers won’t even look at me yet, because I have no name or literary mags outside of my college experience. They also keep claiming that YA is not popular anymore, and they want something more mature. Which, if they read the book would realize despite the characters age range, there is a lot going on in the book for readers of all ages.
What did Hunter think of your inclusion of Liv as a love interest in the book?
As much as I wish he even knew about him having a crush, I would suspect he is clueless. My niece and nephew have not read the book yet. To be honest, Hunter is a mixed bag of characters. Yes, he definitely is a fictional version of my nephew, but he is also a fictional version of myself as a child. I can’t speak for Hunter and how he would act around a girl, I definitely know how I felt at that age, awkward, confused, scared, intimidated.
I think Plato is a really interesting character in the book. Will you be exploring more of his background in future books?
I get a lot of feedback from Plato being one of the most popular characters in the book. Plato is definitely a secondary character in the series, but as the books progress they all flesh out more. Plato is an automaton living in an emotional world, something he struggles with daily. His origin and needs as an individual begin to surface in the second book.
Looking back on The Secret Seekers Society, what is your favorite part or aspect of the book?
I love this book in so many ways. It’s hard to narrow it down to one. If I can cheat, I will say the overall mytho’s I have created surrounding around the mysterious Estate and the people who inhabit within its walls. There is so much intriguing things going on, sometimes as I go back and edit my work, I am shocked it came from me.
What does being a paranormal researcher involve?
It involves a lot. Being a paranormal researcher (I head up a group in Michigan, MIParanormal) I am able to pull a lot from my own research into my works. The second book delves deeper into the paranormal spiritual realm, which is what I spend most of my time as a paranormal researcher investigating.
When can we expect to see The Secret Seekers Society and Solomon’s Seal?
Here is a little hype:
Following directly after the events of the first book, the children start their new lives as future members of the Secret Seekers Society! But first, the children have to go through six years of training, known only as the ‘Enlightenment’. What will the children learn about in their first year? What new friends will they meet?
The story delves deeper into the spiritual realm of the paranormal. Learning about a magical and ancient ring known as Solomon’s Seal, (known to grant its wearer the ability to speak to animals and spirits) the children must decide if playing with the spiritual realm and potentially speaking to their parents one last time, is worth the risk of putting their souls in danger.
With rumor’s spreading that their parents were “double agents” and working with the evil Aten Corp. the children our desperate for answers.
Is the ring real? Does it truly grant its wearer such powers? Or does Solomon’s ring hide a deeper evil?
Get ready for the ride of your life, as nothing is ever as it seems inside of the Belmonte Estate. If you thought there were secrets abound in the first book, just wait until the children unravel even more about the Mansion’s history, the origin of Professor Calenstine, his relationship with the evil Aten, and the truth about the mysteries of the world.
Its called the ‘enlightenment’ for a reason.
[EDIT: The sequel to Beast of Bladenboro is out now. Download Secret Seekers Society and Solomon's Seal]
Thanks for sharing this with us, Joe!