5 Questions in 5 Minutes with John Hartness

Hi John.  Thanks for being with me at SlipperyWords.com!  Your writing is always enjoyable and good for some great one-liHell on Heelsners and snark, with a little sentimentality thrown in and a lot of fun action scenes.  For those who are unfamiliar with John’s Quincy Harker character, he’s a demon hunter with Dracula for an Uncle.  He has a guardian angel named Glory, and a posse of associates that help him fight the bad guys.  He’s a lot of fun and you should buy John’s stuff.  Link to his website below.

SW: If Quincy has to change his name every couple of years, does he just change his first name and keep the last name of Harker?

JH: Harker typically moves around a lot and will adopt a whole new identity with some backstory about being his own nephew and heir, etc. etc. He’ll typically start in an area as Quincy Harker, live there under that name until it becomes untenable, then move and adopt a new name. If he needs to stay in one place, he’ll move across town and take a new name. That’s a lot harder now than it was in the early 20th Century. 

SW: Do you ever read your own work and laugh out loud at your jokes? I laugh out loud reading them.

JH: The closest I’ll come is reading back on something and thinking “That wasn’t terrible.” I think I’m hilarious when I’m writing the first draft, and I find myself less and less amusing the more times I read it. So if a joke makes it to publication, it’s usually pretty good. 

SW: We know Smith is not human and we get some insight into what he is in this novella. Is his backstory going to be part of the hinted at Quincy Harker book?

JH: I’m slowly unveiling what Smith is. He and his lineage will be a central part of a future novella. Currently, unless someone wants to buy the rights, there aren’t plans for a full-length Harker novel. I really enjoy writing novellas, and my readers seem to like them, so I’m going to stick with this length at least for one more novella, then we’ll see what 2016 brings. 

SW: As a Jim Butcher fan, it is fun to see the homage to Harry Dresden.  Has Jim ever commented to you about this? I’m sure he would enjoy it.

JH: I don’t think Jim has read the Harker books. I’ve dropped little Easter eggs to various series in several of my books, just a little hat tip to writers I admire or who are friends of mine. I’ve mentioned Gail Martin’s Deadly Curiosities world in a story, I’ve dropped a Rogue Mage RPG book by Faith Hunter into a book. I like finding those little nuggets as a reader, so I wanted to throw a bone to the readers who enjoy them. 

SW: Did you watch the Constantine TV show? What did you think of it? And will we see more of Glory in upcoming stories? (and, yes, I know I stuck an extra question in here…)

I watched some of it, and I enjoyed it, and would love to see it on a network that could really do justice to the character. I’m an old-school Hellblazer fan, from the Garth Ennis days, when Glenn Fabry was doing the amazing covers and Steve Dillon was drawing the books. I love that character, and Harker has a lot of ol’ Con-job woven into him. 

 Glory will definitely be back. Hell of Heels wasn’t a global-reach kind of story, so Glory didn’t feel the need to stick her nose in. She’s more the cosmic-level storyline cameo, and I have to be careful where I use her, or the story gets too big. I wanted Hell on Heels to be a smaller story, as much about Quincy and Luke’s memories as about a fight, so I kept her on the sidelines. But she’ll definitely be returning to action soon. 

 SW: Bonus question 6:  Have you studied weapons and martial arts extensively to be able to write the fighting scenes?  I’m sure you grew up with guns, but what about some of the other martial arts weaponry you refer to?

 JH: You know, you’d think I had a lot of experience with guns and weapons but I really don’t. Growing up, we had a shotgun on the back porch for snakes, but that was the only gun in the house. I learned to shoot when I was eleven or twelve, and I was actually quite a good shot, but I never hunted, and never owned a gun until relatively recently. The only gun I currently own is my own 12-gauge shotgun – no rifles, no handguns, nothing. 

 As far as any other combat training, I’ve had none. I’ve been an actor and theatre director for over twenty years, and blocking out complicated movements on stage allows me to write decent fight scenes. I play a Jason Statham or Jet Li movie in my head, and I write down what the characters do. I would like to say that I’m a total badass like Jon F. Merz or some of those guys, but not really. I just let the movie in my head play and write down what happens. 

Thanks for being with me today, John!  For those who want to learn more about John and buy his stories, which I totally recommend, go find him at www.johnhartness.com.

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