March Madness has begun and college basketball playoffs are heating up, not that Robert Walker—a graduate student from Texas—particularly cares. He has decided to skip classes for the day, sleep in, and get some rest. Unfortunately, a brief spat on the phone with his fiancée makes that impossible. Hoping to take his mind off of it, he scans through TV channels in search of entertainment and instead finds one news report after another that warns of violence erupting in the streets.
People are randomly and savagely attacking one another all along the East Coast from Maine to Florida. Some speculate it may be related to strange lights that have appeared in the sky above the outbreaks. Before any solid conclusions can be drawn, however, the brutality spreads, sweeping across the country until it hits Houston, then proceeds on to the West Coast. Robert, a handful of classmates, and a few others manage to survive the first wave and find themselves in the midst of civilization’s blackest hour, surrounded by pandemonium, bloodshed, and masses of people who have been stripped of their humanity. Hours later, as those strange lights continue to dominate the sky, the vicious horde undergoes a new transformation.
There is no escaping the horror. Unable to reach his fiancée by phone, Robert sets out to find her, joined by a small ensemble of fellow survivors. The thirty-five miles they must cover are fraught with danger, and their terror grows with each step they take as they witness the genesis of a new Earth. Can they find a way to stop it? Will they even survive it?
Joe Solomon earned both master’s and doctoral degrees from Rice University and is a writer, a director, an independent filmmaker, and a composer. His first novel—a supernatural thriller entitled The Darkness: Giger, Texas—reached #2 on Amazon’s Best Seller list and is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. His next novel—The Light: Houston, Texas—will release June 11, 2019. He has also completed a collection of short stories that arose from the macabre and will release next year.
An award-winning screenwriter, Joe has completed seventeen screenplays and nine stage plays. He has also been very active in the independent film industry, directing four short films, one feature film (post production), and six music videos. His screenplays have won Best Screenplay at the Mediterranean Film Festival (Cannes, France), been Official Selections at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, been a Finalist in the American Movie Awards, won the Final Draft Screenwriters Award, won the Screenwriting Showcase Award, reached the Second Round in The Sundance Feature Film Program, and been a Finalist in the Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition. His music videos have won Best Music Video at the Honolulu Film Awards, the Silver Remi Award for Creative Excellence at the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, won the Maple Leaf Award at the Canada International Film Festival, been an Official Selection of the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema—Milan, been an Official Selection of the Switzerland International Film Festival, won Best Director—Music Video in the Honolulu Film Awards, and been a Finalist in the American Movie Awards. They have also been Official Selections of many additional international film festivals.
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For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about the THE LIGHT: HOUSTON TEXAS and the characters?
In The Light: Houston, Texas, a handful of college students find their worlds turned upside down when mysterious lights abruptly appear in the sky and dramatically change (for the worse) anyone who looks up at them. Chaos and violence erupt. But this is only the beginning. And these students, boasting a variety of personalities and backgrounds, will have to work together to survive.
What are you working on now?
I am working on an anthology that will include sci-fi, suspense, and horror stories, some with humor mixed in. I am also working on my next novel, which will follow the anthology.
Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?
No. They are a combination of personalities I have rattling around in my imagination: What if you insert this attribute into this deranged person or vice versa?
Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?
Anthony was my favorite character to write. I wanted him to be horrible, awful, just a terrible person no one could root for. At the same time, I didn’t want him to be too terrible since everybody has a little goodness in them. However, if something unfortunate happened to him, I wanted readers to cheer.
My least favorite character to write is one who presents one face when you meet the person, but secretly possesses a nefarious motive. I know it is a simple character. We’ve all met people like that, too. But I hate writing characters like that. In Anthony’s case, he at least proudly proclaims that he is a snake so you know exactly what you’re getting.
What is your favorite passages/scenes in THE LIGHT: HOUSTON TEXAS?
This is an early scene in which Robert and Alex (Alexandria) are trying to wrap their minds around the chaos that has erupted, chaos that spilled into Robert’s studio apartment in the grad house. They are just coming out of hiding. Robert had sought refuge in a closet while Alex hid in a bathtub with a torn shower curtain thrown over her.
* * *
“Not good,” Robert told her softly. He stood slowly, the movement inspiring a moan. “Are you okay?”
With an almost catlike grace, she hopped out of the tub. “Are you?” she asked.
“Four years of high school basketball,” she said. “But you know that.”
“You want to turn that off?” Alex pointed at his cell phone. “Might need the juice later.”
“Oh. Yeah… yeah,” Robert said almost as an afterthought, then nodded toward the next room. “I guess we should go out there, huh?”
“Okay. I have to officially say this: I’m scared shitless. I know I’m the guy, but—”
“What, are you crazy?” Alex interjected. “This isn’t about opening a door or picking up a check on a first date. This is the end.”
Robert nodded and took another nervous deep breath. “Yeah. Yeah.” He expelled it. “The Doors.”
Her brow crinkled in confusion. “What doors?”
“The Doors. Jim Morrison. This is the end. You know.”
“The Doors.” Watching him with an eagle eye, she added, “Right. Right.”
What kind of research did you have to do for the story?
I had to research various aspects of NASA, learn about SOFIA (The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), nuclear submarines, military compounds, and detailed mapping of certain parts of Houston that Google Maps don’t really show, as well as surrounding areas.
Who is your ultimate book villain?
Pinhead from The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.
What inspired you to write this story?
I always begin with, “What if. . . ?” From there I plug in different ideas, and this was the result of them.
What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
Cell by Stephen King. HG Wells’ Complete Short Stories.
What Hogwarts House would the Sorting Hat place you in?
I’ve never read Harry Potter, so I have no idea.
Twitter or Facebook?
Man of Steel version of Superman
Favorite TV show?
On the air now: Modern Family.
Sweet or Salty?
Song you can’t get enough of right now?
2019 Movie you’re most looking forward to?
Endgame on dvd
Thanks again for the interview. I hope your readers will enjoy the story.
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