Featured Author Interview

January/February

Edward Hancock II

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Online Links:

Website: https://www.edwardhancockii.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEdwardHancockII/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edwardhancockii/  @EdwardHancockII

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/edward-hancock-ii-4a8b3126/

**Llink on his website that has all his books with the exception of the Letters Home. All the summaries and covers in one convenient spot: https://www.edwardhancockii.com/publishedtitles.htm

Biography

Raised a true East Texan, Edward Hancock II is a graduate of Sabine High School and Kilgore College. While attending Kilgore, Hancock was Assistant Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Ranger Yearbook, where he won more than 20 awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. But his love for writing goes back much further than that. 


Born with Spina Bifida, Hancock was always a dreamer. These dreams became a reality at the age of 10 when he wrote what he considers to be his first real short story. By the age of 14, Hancock developed a deep love for writing poetry. By 19, he was a staff member of the Kilgore College Ranger Yearbook and Flare newspaper. 


To date, Hancock’s writing resume consists of more than 15 short stories, over 100 poems and six novels and one YA story. He is a member of the Northeast Texas Writers Organization (NETWO) as well as the East Texas Christian Writers. He is also a speaker for hire, regularly speaking to children’s and disabled groups on such topics as “life with no excuses” and “never give up on a dream”. His hobbies include reading, traveling, genealogy research and movies. He currently lives in Gilmer, Texas with a house full of four-legged children.

Taking Time With The Author

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? What/who inspired you to publish your first book?

For me, I think it happened very differently than it would/did for most people. Having been born with Spina Bifida, I was always a dreamer. When other kids were learning to walk and run and jump and be physically active, I was sitting on the floor at 2 and 3 years old learning how to read. Where most kids had a teddy bear, I often slept cuddled up to a book. I don’t think I had any sort of stuffed animal until like 3rd or 4th grade. In school, I was surrounded by able-bodied children and was the only disabled child at the school not to be in special ed. When other kids were running and jumping and playing sports, I was watching on the sidelines. I did play soccer on my crutches for a couple years, until an accidental move caused me to hit another child in the leg with my crutch when I was going for the ball. After that, I quit playing. I felt like I was too dangerous to play with the other kids. Right or wrong, I began to sit on the sidelines watching. When other kids were scoring goals and making game-winning touchdown passes or 3-point shots in a basketball game, I was dreaming about it. By the age of 9, those dreams began to manifest themselves in story form. I think I had tried to write before that but didn’t really have the ability to craft a real story. By nine, I had written what I consider to be my first real story, with form and substance and logical flow – beginning, middle, end. I’m 45 now, so it’s literally been a lifetime for me.


How much of your books are realistic? Are the experiences based on someone you know, or are they events in your real life?
I have many police officer friends and know a couple of former FBI agents. My book, Connection Terminated, was based on a study that a former FBI friend of mine told me. The ending is almost verbatim what really happened. It’s one of my only stories that I can say is not anywhere close to a “Happily ever ever” ending… because it’s real life. Well, it’s based in reality. I changed enough of it to make it fit the Mendez Series story I was crafting, but it’s based on the very real story told to me by a former Law Enforcement Officer. The rest of the stories are all a product of my imagination. Each book is a bit of an exercise in morality. Crafted to challenge the reader to ask themselves what do they really think on certain issues of the world. But they are not generally based in reality. One book I released in October is reality, however. It is a collection of letters my grandfather wrote to his parents when he was in Europe fighting Nazis. It was a very personal project to me, mostly because I didn’t even know my grandfather (and namesake) had even been in the war until after he died. That book is very real to me. And very special. 


What is your current project? Will you share a little of it with us – kind of a sneak peek?
I’m never working on one project at a time. I’ve just never been able to do that. So, I can tell you I’m working on the next Mendez Series book. But I’m also working on another “History” project. It discusses the Regulator-Moderator war, which occurred in East Texas in the 1840’s. At least 3 of my ancestors were involved in that conflict, which culminated in the Poisoned Wedding Supper. So, you’ll get a lot of background information on the conflict itself and you’ll get a very personal side to it, as I recount the lives of my ancestors, their famous ancestors (including 2 war heroes!) and how it all leads to me. History is fun. I’ve been researching my genealogy for going on 20 years. I have traced it back to Edward I of England (Called “Longshanks”) as well as the kings of France and even Charlemagne. Another story I would like to write is the story on the Black Dinner. If you were a fan of Game of Thrones, you probably remember the Red Wedding. It’s come out that the inspiration for that came from the Black Dinner, which involved James II of Scotland and 16-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas, as well as William’s younger brother. The event was organized by William Crichton, Lord Chancellor of Scotland. I’m genetically connected to James II, the Douglas clan as well as the Crichtons. I would like to write that story as well – again, including my genealogical connections to the event. 


What do you do in the ‘real world’ when you’re not writing?
What is this “not writing” thing? It does not sound any fun. (Kidding) Honestly, I love history and genealogy. When I’m not writing, I’m usually researching my family history or that of others. Going to Cemeteries to photograph headstones or researching stories and events online. I love to go to Comic Cons when I can. Dallas, Tyler, Longview, Kilgore, Shreveport and several other places all have great Comic Cons. There are several in Arkansas as well. I’ve heard about some in Oklahoma but have not yet been to any. I need to rectify that. 


What are the challenges in writing your books? (Ex: logistical, research, literary, psychological, etc)

Getting distracted by the internet is a big one. But I also have to say, in all seriousness, I am terrible at marketing. (Thank you for allowing me to do this interview. It’s allowing me to reach a market I might not otherwise reach!) I’m an introvert, but I’m an outgoing and creative introvert. My mother is a saleswoman. She was in the insurance business for 30 years. She is the type of person that can take the hat off your head and sell it back to you. As much as I’m like my mother, I could not sell a bottle of water to a thirsty man in the desert. But my passion for my books is something that comes across to people in person. I’ve had great luck in person, because I’m not selling my books. I’m just talking about them. Answering questions. When I’m able to do that, it isn’t fake. And people seem to migrate toward it. 


Are there any quotes or verses you find inspiring? What are they and why?
Best quote of my life came from my mother, and it still guides my life even today.
“You can do anything anyone else can do. You just may have to find a different way.” When I was a little boy, these words helped me deal with elementary school and Jr. High. As I’ve aged, it’s simply helped me deal with the world at large. I can do anything others can do, if I’m willing to think outside the box and come up with a different way. My favorite BIBLE book is the book of James. I’ve read the entire Bible 7 times cover to cover. I’ve read the book of James I don’t even know how many times. James chapters 1 and 2 are also important to my life. 


Tell us a little about yourself. Perhaps something that a lot of people do not know?
I’ve always considered myself a reasonably open book. There’s very little about me that isn’t public knowledge. I have a lot of genealogical connections that are quite unique. I’m distantly related to each of the first 16 presidents, with the current exception of James Buchanan. I’m also related to numerous other presidents. (All very distant relations. As in we probably would not share a drop of the same blood.) I have an as-yet-unconfirmed connection to Jesse James and the Youngers. Some of my more infamous relatives include Dr. H.H. Holmes and Lizzie Borden herself. What’s more fun is that I have a connection to Geoffrey Chaucer, Emily Dickenson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Disney, William Neville, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ray Bradbury, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jonathon Swift, Henry David Thoreau, Tennessee Williams, Jack London, Mark Twain, Francis Scott Key, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Clint Eastwood, John Ritter, Lucille Ball, Olivia De Havilland, Joan Fontaine and many others. So, I guess you could say creativity is literally in my blood. My great-great-grandmother was first cousins with John Ritter’s father, Tex Ritter. I am a 3rd cousin 2 times removed of John. (4th Cousin once removed to his children. If and when they have children, I will be that child’s 5th cousin.) 


Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to writing? (Planner – outline; Pantser – sit down and write)
Mostly a pantser but I’m noticing I am beginning to plan more as I get older. 


If there was anything you could change regarding your publishing experience, what would it be and why? Also, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Best advice I can give young authors is never sign with any publisher out of emotion. It’s wonderful to get signed and it’s great to think you’ve signed with a reputable company but check those contracts and have an attorney look them over. Do NOT sign anything without a way for you to get out of it if the publisher doesn’t publish your book in a set amount of time. When Mourning Reign first came out, it was with a publisher out of Denton. The book did really well, and I was ultimately able to embark on writing as a full-time career because of that first book. Unfortunately, when the publisher offered me a contract for my second book, I signed it on emotion rather than reason and logic. I didn’t check the thing. I didn’t protect myself. I had done so well, I simply signed the contract and thought “let’s go!” I finished the book a couple weeks after signing the contract. Fast forward FOUR years and a host of excuses, I did not have a second book released. I had solved every problem he put before me, eliminated every excuse. Finally, after FOUR YEARS, he told me he was reluctant to publish the book because Mourning Reign wasn’t selling. Well of course it wasn’t selling BY THAT POINT. He’d missed the boat! I did the only thing I could do. I went on and published Connection Terminated and subsequent books. Shortly after I published Connection Terminated, my publisher released book 2 (Heart Beatings) on KINDLE only. I didn’t pitch it or promote it at events. It was there if anyone wanted it but I was ANGRY beyond belief! Fast forward a couple more years, the publisher went out of business. (Decided to retire if we’re being technical). FINALLY I had my rights back and was able to re-release Mourning Reign and get Heart Beatings in Paperback for the first time ever.  It will take an act of God for me to ever sign a publishing contract again. But you can bet there will be an out clause and, for me, a 2 year limit on publication. If you don’t publish it within 2 years, I get it back. And the publisher loses any money they’ve invested in it at that time. (Cover artist work, purchasing an ISBN…. Whatever costs they may have incurred.) Put your own limits and stipulations on your contract and don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal. If one publisher found your book worthy, another will too. If they don’t, have faith in your work and self-publish. That’s what I’ve done and I could not be happier. 


I know you have shows and book signings coming up. Would you please share those you currently have scheduled for 2020, so people know where to find you?
Generally, the best place to find an updated schedule is on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorEdwardHancockII/

But,  I’m becoming more disciplined about announcing events on my website: www.edwardhancockii.com

Feel free to check any of those out. I would appreciate the facebook like in particular! 


Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I truly have the best readers in the world. I just want to say thank you to my established readers… my E-listers, as I call them. But I also want to say I hope that my prospective readers will find the experience enjoyable. I’m not for everyone. No writer is. But I truly hope those of you who enjoy detective thrillers or historical books will give me a shot. I have a spin-off series I’m currently working on and hope to have the first book out by the end of 2020. It will involve a person with a connection to Alex Mendez, the central character of the Mendez Series. That’s all I can say about it right now. I think it’s going to be a young adult series. That’s the plan anyway. But characters have a mind of their own in my world, so who knows what they really have planned?

Books by Edward Hancock II

Mourning Reign

An armed-and armored-terrorist breaks into the Longview Police department, shooting anything in his path before detonating the explosives hiding beneath his body armor. As retired police detective Alex Mendez waits for news of his injured cop wife's condition, the whole of East Texas begins to dig out from the carnage visited upon it. While Alex sits with Lisa, the television screams with reports of similar attacks in small towns all across the country. They've struck again. And just as it had on September 11th, 2001, the game has dramatically changed. As the local law enforcement adapts to being overwhelmed for such carnage, Alex is forced to wrestle with demons both personal and professional. When terrorists connected to the cell group responsible for the Texas attacks kidnap a severely injured Lisa Mendez, the stakes are raised for Alex yet again as he weighs the hazards and benefits of coming out of retirement or sitting on the sidelines, leaving his family's fate in the hands of strangers. Terrorists have invaded his country. They've destroyed his town. Now they've raided his home. They've drawn the line in the sand. Badge or no badge, Alex Mendez is just the man to take the fight right back to them.


Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZZMWGQL/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

Heart Beatings

Alex Mendez had knelt over countless dead bodies in his career. Young, old, male, female, short, fat, black, white, brown, red and yellow. Alex had seen it all... or so he thought. Kneeling over the body of Andrew Kramer -- father, husband, racist -- Alex discovered a reluctance he'd never experienced. As he stared into the lifeless eyes of a man who'd just as soon have seen Alex swinging from a tree, Alex found himself in the midst of a heated internal battle like nothing he'd ever known. A dead man deserved justice. A dead racist had received his. 

As the mystery surrounding Kramer's untimely demise unravels, Alex finds himself deeper and deeper in a web of misery, deceit and destruction. It is up to him to balance the scales of justice before he, too, falls victim to the very darkness that got Andrew Kramer killed.


Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZZKRLXS/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i2

Connection Terminated

Alex Mendez was hoping his tenure as Acting Captain of Longview Police Department's Homicide Division would be uneventful. As he kneels over a dead body, holding the ominous calling card of a serial killer with a twisted mission, any hope of a quiet reign falls by the wayside. While Alex struggles to adjust to an office he did not want, a separate battle rages. A killer is on the loose. A community is looking for a hero. With everything he's ever believed being put to the test, Alex must battle an enemy he doesn't expect if he has any hope of defeating the devilry invading his town.


Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H7PXIYQ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i1

Target: Mendez: An Alex Mendez Tale

Twelve years ago, Alex Mendez was a fresh-faced uniformed police officer, unsure of himself or the profession he had chosen. When a drunk driver kills a family on its way home from vacation, Alex was forced to grow up quickly, witnessing unrepentant evil the likes of which he'd never seen. Derrick Calloway was a shiftless drunk. No job, no ambition. Only a devoted wife and loving child to inspire him to get clean. Covered in the stench of alcohol, blood and saliva, Derrick Calloway is cuffed and forced into the back of a police car. Meanwhile, across town, fate deals Calloway a gut-wrenching blow. One that causes him to swear revenge on everyone responsible for his incarceration. Having served his time, Calloway is now out. And, as the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold.


Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M9NYHFK/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i4

Mendez Genesis

SPLINTERED SOULS: Tina Miles is a young girl starting a new chapter in her life. When she encounters Devin Snow, everything changes. Deep down, she believes there is more to Devin than meets the eye. Meanwhile, Det. Lisa Warner is convinced there is more to Tina's story. People are dying. No one has answers. What mysterious force binds these Splintered Souls 
BREATH OF GOD: After a horrible accident leaves him partially paralyzed, it takes the enigmatic power of heaven to bring Lieutenant Alex Mendez back from the dead, unlocking a secret as old as time that may have been hidden inside his four-year-old daughter. To make matters worse, Detective Lisa Mendez, Alex's wife, confronts her own demons, all the while chasing the most unlikely of suspects in connection with multiple homicides. Is it possible a seventeen-year-old boy with Spina Bifida is singlehandedly responsible for the worst crime spree to ever hit the small east Texas community? Lisa Mendez believes it is possible, though a thousand questions remain. As with Alex, the answers to Lisa's questions lay buried deep within the innocent soul of her daughter. While Alex searches himself for strength to battle physical and emotional uncertainties, Lisa must search inside herself, taking charge of courage and faith she never dreamed existed.


Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018YFLXPS/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i5

Sutter’s Cave

Sixteen-year-old Robert Rand decides he's had enough of what he feels like is an unfair life. Feeling unappreciated by demanding parents, overwrought with the responsibilities of school and home, young Robert decides it is time to change. Frustrated, he resigns himself to a plan that will challenge the young man's perspective, test his resolve and change not only his life but the lives of many others. The road to Sutter's Cave is filled with both fear and determination. It is filled with uncertainty and the companionship of his best friend, Chris. As Robert finds out, the journey home from Sutter's Cave is just the beginning of the mystery destined to follow him for the rest of his life.


Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0749N4ZWZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i3

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