Wolf Majick Reviews is happy to have author Lane Heymont stop by and answer some questions for us.
I’d like to thank Wolf Majick for letting me come and asking such great, thought-provoking questions!
What gave you the idea for this novel?
I was enrolled in an African-American literature class during in undergrad and fell in love with the genre. I snowballed a short story I had written as an assignment into the beginning chapters.
About the same time I was reading Hitler and the Occult by Ken Anderson. Hitler was notorious for his obsession with anything supernatural, such as the Spear of Longinus, the Holy Grail, time travel, super soldiers, Atlantis, runes, and anything else you could imagine.
Being Jewish, World War II literature is always in my pile of current reads. So, I thought what if I combined the Civil War era with World War II—two different types of holocausts.
The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff was born from that idea.
Is there anything you hope readers will learn from your work?
I hope it serves as an eye-opener, a reminder of how horrible and irresponsible our past is—we have left some of the old ignorance and hate behind us. It’s still present in our lives today, but we’ve come a long way, and there’s still a long way to go.
There’s this idea now that people claim to be “color blind”, but that’s to deny the cultural differences. We come from different experiences, and that’s to be respected, understood, and embraced. As a Jewish person I don’t want that part of me ignored, because it’s who I am.
It’s about understanding and unity. A crime against a people is a crime against all people.
Edmund Burke said it best, “When good men do nothing, evil triumphs.”
How long did the novel take you to write?
I hate to say that it took me around four years to write The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff. I sum it up as letting life happen and not having the self-discipline to just sit down and write. Thankfully, I have that now, and finished my second book in about 7 months.
Are any of your characters based on real people?
A lot of them are. One of the main characters Jeb is based on Frederick Douglass. His brother-in-law Crispus is very loosely based on the first National President of the NAACP Moorfield Storey. I based Verdiss on an article I read about a African-American who passed as white and joined the Ku Klux Klan in order to hide his ancestry.
Any ideas what your next novel will be about?
I have several in the works from literary to fantasy to screenplays. My current prose work-in-progress is called Souls and Secrets. I can only describe it as a medieval urban fantasy, a critique on issues pertaining to drugs, socioeconomic equality, and inner city life.
As a reader what do you look for in a story?
In fiction, I look for originality. Something I haven’t seen before or may be an odd concept that’s based in reality. I want characters that face real-world problems, and have real-world issues, even in the most fantastic world. Emotional complications, not just some need to do something for the sake of the story.
As for non-fiction, I like biographies of people I respect—politicians, activists, authors, etc. Classic and new philosophy, poetry, and good ole literature is always on my shelves. Also, I’m always up any new scientific theories or discoveries.