Monday, October 29, 2018

HALLOWEEN EDITION #4: The Inquisitor Series by Lincoln S. Farish

How many of you guys have been watching Netflix's newest show, The Haunting of Hill House? I have said loudly and frequently that I do not watch horror movies or shows, but this particular show has such an interesting story that I found myself intrigued (yes, it is based on the 1959 horror novel by Shirley Jackson that I am currently considering reading). I'm currently a few episodes in and wondering what's going to happen to all of the Craine siblings. Yet it's the kind of show that I can't binge-watch, either, otherwise I may never sleep again. Yes, I'm a wimp. I watch it during the late afternoon after work, with my dogs at my side, while it's still light outside (ya know...because things that go bump in the dark while watching a scary show is enough to make anyone's heart race!). 

It got me thinking about the art of writing a good horror story. It's not easy to do. Writing something scary is not as easy as it may seem. For example, telling your reader that a room is dark and terrifying is quite different than showing it. A good horror author will make the reader feel the cold dampness of the cellar, taste the salt of terrified tears on their lips, and hear the metallic scrape of chains on the floor as they beam their flashlight across the pitch-black expanse of darkness. Your hair should stand on end. You should be genuinely scared! It takes skill to do this. 

Today, we're visiting with Lincoln S. Farish, the author of the horror books of the Inquisitor Series. I've listed the books below so that you can check them out online, and below that is an interview with Lincoln. Check it out - you may have just found your next spooky October story to read! 

Have a Happy Halloween! 

Get all of the books on Amazon right HERE!


Brother Sebastian is halfway up a mountain in Vermont, hell-bent on interrogating an old woman in a shack, when he gets the order to abandon his quest for personal vengeance. He has to find a missing Inquisitor, or, more likely, his remains. He’s reluctant, to say the least. Not only will he have to stop chasing the best potential lead he’s had in years, this job—his first solo mission—will mean setting foot in the grubby black hole of Providence, Rhode Island. And, somehow, it only gets worse…
If he’d known he would end up ass deep in witches, werewolves, and ogres, and that this mission
would jeopardize not only his sanity but also his immortal soul, he never would’ve answered the damn phone.


Brother Sebastian is in trouble. Again. Banished from New England and sent to train with the hyper-violent Hammers, Sebastian wants to atone, but an army of necromancers, battle-mages, and at least one sorceress is seriously messing up his plans. James, former Inquisitor and disciple of Thaddeus, is lurking about, and even with the help of a bunch of heavily-armed Hammers, will Sebastian be to able stop gut-rippers, constructs, lichs...and a newly returned Thaddeus?


Brother Sebastian is back, and facing new monsters and challenges. Sarah, Sebastian's dead wife, continues to plague his sleep, but now a new woman has joined her. Sebastian's dreams have become even more...disturbing.

Thaddeus may have been strong and terrible, but there is worse evil out there. From the deserts of Arizona, to the decaying inner core of Portland, to the Cascade Mountains, Sebastian is on the trail of the wizard who summoned a Gut Ripper and almost wiped out a priory of Hammers.

Even with the help of old friends and new, can Sebastian survive The Witch's Lair?


A prisoner in Vatican City, Brother Sebastian must endure an ordeal to prove he is still pure, re-qualify to demonstrate he still has the skills required of an Inquisitor, and then figure out where the Vampire Lord who is picking off Cardinals is hiding and Purge him. The hunt is on, but who is hunting whom?
Interview with Lincoln S. Farish

When did you start writing?

On this series, I started about ten years ago with a kind of origins story. I’m not sure I’ll ever use it, but once I wrote it, I was hooked. I realized there were many, many more stories about Sebastian that needed to get out. I wasn’t in a hurry, and I took my time, hence the slow pace. Currently, I’m almost finished with my fourth novel in the series. It’s funny—I wrote my first book long before I’d heard of any of the other authors who write along similar lines. The first time I read Larry Correia, Junior Inquisitor was with my editor. I wish I’d read him earlier; his creation of a useful silver bullet is better than mine.

Why dark urban fantasy/almost horror?

I was really stuck trying to shoehorn my story into a genre, because it just didn’t quite fit. I’m not trying to scare anyone, warn the populace at large about the dangers of Cthulhu, or teach a moral lesson, like horror usually does. At the same time, if you have a group of people who have powers that can and usually do harm regular people, your story is not going to be a happy one. Bad things will occur, people will die, and mayhem will ensue. It’s not dystopic—for most people, magic never enters their lives and they go about quite happily unaware of its existence. Those who do, however, experience all kinds of terrible events and traumas. The more or less contemporary setting makes it urban dark urban fantasy almost horror.

Why Catholic Monks?

I needed a group that was world-wide, large enough that they could have a secret society within them, and old enough that they could’ve been battling evil for a very long time. I also needed to explain from where the darkness comes without copying anyone. Larry Correia uses the Cthulhu mythos. Harry Potter is fairly agnostic—religion is rarely mentioned, aside from Christmas. Rick Gualtieri has a hint of Catholicism, with the Templars protecting the Icon from the icky vampires. Jim Butcher has a bit more Catholic mythos with angels and Knights of the Cross, so I went further; full-on Catholic, but again it wasn't initially planned, more like happen-stance that when I started I picked out ground no one else was using at the moment.

Why aren’t there good magicians like Harry Dresden or Harry Potter?

Part of it has to do with how one comes into power. Both Harrys were born magic-users. They grew up around magic, were taught how to use their powers and when, were formally schooled in magic in Harry Potter's case. There was also some group to reign in excess.  Jim Butcher has The White Council and the Laws of Magic to rein in true evil. That kinda, sorta works for Harry Dresden, but it does leave a lot of room for abuse, as Harry’s mother, Margaret LeFay, pointed out.
With Harry Potter, there are the aurors, who get rid of dark wizards, most of the time. There is also a bit of contempt from the magi to the muggles in Harry Potter. Arthur Weasley, as nice as he is written, makes remarks about how clever muggles are for inventing things like electricity and phones because they don’t have magic. As if they’re an occasionally bright child, there is a kind bigotry of low expectations. This is shown pretty clearly when the Minister of Magic visits the Prime Minister, and of course how Dolores Umbridge acts toward non-humans. There’s some real nastiness in the margins of Harry Potter’s world, and I think the stories are better for it.
Those are the worlds created by Butcher and Rowling, they decide what does and doesn't work and how events and characters react to each other, and what is right and wrong. I took, I think, a different, and possibly more realistic approach as to what would happen if there was magic. It’s power. People rarely handle power well, especially if they get it suddenly. In my world someone is reading a strange book, is offered power, gives in to temptation, and “boom,” becomes a magi. No training no slow gradual learning of magic, one moment they are normal, and the next they can kill. With that kind of power suddenly thrust upon you I think most people would turn bad, and turn bad quickly. A decent comparison is when people win the lottery. They tend to go a bit crazy with all the new possibilities open to them now that they’re a millionaire.
Imagine you had the power, magically, and from across the room, to slap someone who was rude—maybe they’re yammering away on their cellphone in public, perhaps they’re driving like a jerk, maybe talking during the movie, cutting in line, whatever. Now if you could do that, and no one would know it was you, and there was no way you’d be punished by the law, would you be tempted?
Even if you never slapped anyone, but knew you could, how would your attitude change toward regular people? Would you start to hold them in contempt, just a little, because you had abilities they didn’t? How would your attitude change toward following the law, knowing you were above it?
Now toss in some evil entities encouraging you to do more than just slap around the people who get in your way, and you have a real monster being created.
You describe yourself as an “almost horror” writer. How would you describe your novels to anyone who's never read them?
Most of the time I say, ”Like a dark version Harry Potter, but for adults, and the witches are the bad guys.” I might also use Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files as an example. I'd said “Like a blacker, grittier version of the Dresden Files, but magic is the problem not the solution. I've also used Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia as a comparison, and again while similar, my books are much darker more focused on magic and the people who use magic than the monsters.

You've gotten a lot of positive feedback over “Junior Inquisitor,” “Soulless Monk,” and “The Witch's Lair.” Could you tell us a little about how you came up with the concept? Was it one book concept that grew into a series, or did you go into it knowing you wanted it to be a series?

It started off when I asked myself, “What would happen if people could suddenly do magic?” While some might believe that the world would suddenly be filled with puppies, and rainbows, I have a darker view of human nature. This morphed into a book, kind of an origins story. When that was done I realized I'd created characters and a world that had many stories in them, and kept going.

What about your latest book?

The Vampire of Rome is my most recent. It came out in October 2016. And lest anyone, worry, these are not the emo vamps of other series, but the sanguineous monsters of old who will kill you for breathing loudly. Also, there are evil monkeys.

You seem to do a lot of spotlights for other writers, helping to get them exposure. Is there a particular reason?

When I started my blog, I had 17 people visit it that first month. I had no followers on Twitter, and just a few friends on Facebook. Some rather big name authors helped me out when I started, and I've grown a bit on social media since then. I'm reciprocating   the favor I received. Everyone should read more, and probably would if they knew about all the terrific stories that are out there. Since I know a few people online I help out some of my fellow authors, and those who read my blog.

On your blog, you mention that you think outlines are OCD behavior. What tips would you give to aspiring novel writers, in regard to outlines, or lack thereof?

The OCD snark was to tease some of my fellow writers, who do outline. It works for them, and they produce great stories for it. Imitating their methods for story construction would bore me to tears. My process is a bit more chaotic, and horrifies some which makes me grin. For anyone who is new to this, do what works for you, if it is forced, it will show, and your work will be poorer for it.

What do you do when you're not writing?
I read, a lot. I'm a Reservist, which keeps me busy at least one weekend a month. There is my family, which is about to get a little bit bigger, and of course there are all the others things in life, like the mowing the grass. I shoe-horn in writing around my life, perhaps, when I'm a full-time author (my end goal) it will be that I shoe-horn in my life around writing.

What's the single best tip, or bit of advice, you've ever gotten? How did you apply it in your career?

Anyone can be a writer, few will be an author, even fewer will ever be a professional author. The difference between a writer and an author is an audience, the difference between an author and a professional author is the size of that audience.
Crafting a good story is work. If you don’t drag the reader into your world, cannot delight and entertain them while they are there, they will find something else to do with their time. And it's not enough to write a great story, need to find a way to let the world know they can be entertained by it. If you want to be an author, you must find/create an audience, and that's marketing. Without marketing, the best story in the world is a book sitting unread on a shelf. Field of Dreams was a movie, “If you build it they will come,” is a lie. If you want to be an author, it's not enough to be able to tell a great story, you will be required to create an audience. Even then there are no guarantees.
I know; it's brutal, but it's true.

Who would you say inspires and motivates you the most?
Reviews. When someone tells you that your story captivated them, entertained them, it validates all the work it took in birthing that book.

Are there any gems of wisdom you'd like to share with aspiring authors?
Build your audience. Hone your craft. Be nice to people
About the Author

A story teller that wove the real with the fantastic since he was a child, Lincoln is an Army Reservist who has had the pleasure of visiting the Middle East five times so far. He currently resides in the Commonwealth of Virginia with his lovely wife, little girl, and Calvin the Helper Dog. When not doing obscure jobs for the Government or shadowy corporations he works at honing his craft and defeating the neighborhood ninjas.

Visit Lincoln on his blogTwitter, and Facebook.

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Get fictional - it's fun! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you again soon!