Today I am interviewing Connie Corcoran Wilson, author of the paranormal-thriller series, The Color of Evil, whose first three books are currently being released as a box set.
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DJ: Hey Connie! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Connie Corcoran Wilson: I am a graduate of the University of Iowa who has also attended Berkeley, NIU, WIU and the University of Chicago. I’ve taught writing at 6 IA/IL colleges and taught from 1969 to 1985 before going to work writing a book for Performance Learning Systems, Inc. (“Training the Teacher As A Champion” published in 1989). I founded 2 businesses in Bettendorf, Iowa (Sylvan Learning Center #3301 and a Prometric Testing Center) and, when I sold them in 2003, I began writing “long.” I have always written “short” (i.e., newspapers and blogs), since I was 11 years old. I’ve now published about 35 books or contributions to anthologies by other publishers and began self-publishing more in the last few years. I also am married, have 2 grown children (Scott and Stacey) and move between the Quad Cities of Illinois, Chicago and Austin, Texas, where I will be covering film festivals for www.TheMovieBlog.com, www.Quadcities.com and www.WeeklyWilson.com from now until November 3rd.
DJ: What is The Color of Evil series about?
CW: As the Amazon lead-in says, “In the 3 novels that comprise THE COLOR OF EVIL SERIES, we follow the adventures of Tad McGreevy, the young boy who can see auras around others and, from this, dreams of the crimes of the evil-doers in vivid nightmares. We take Tad and his best friend Stevie Scranton and their high school friends through their junior and senior years of high school, when evil stalks the land and Pogo, the Killer Clown, terrorizes the small Midwestern town of Cedar Falls, Iowa.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Color of Evil series?
CW: I am most often compared to Stephen King, Philip K. Dick and Dean Koontz—although I protest that what happens in my books could REALLY happen. It’s good company to be in, so I won’t deny their influence. I was probably influenced by early TV shows like “Twilight Zone,” “Thriller” and the like.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
CW: Tad McGreevy, the hero of the tale, has a unique ability to “see” auras around others that tell him who is naughty or nice. From his Tetrachromatic Super Vision (a real thing, by the way), he, at night, relives the crimes of the evil-doers who have “the color of evil.” A lot of people also sympathize with the problems faced by Tad’s best friend, Stevie Scranton, who is a bit of a loser at times, but grows on you in his earnest ness. There are also several female characters, most notably Jenny SanGiovanni and her cheerleader friends, who you will come to know well. It’s a large cast of characters. I actually put a cast list at the end of Book #3 (KHAKI=KILLER) to help ME keep them straight and to aid the readers.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the The Color of Evil series like?
CW: Cedar Falls, Iowa, is a small town of about 39,000 inhabitants that is located quite near my own home town of Independence, Iowa. It is usually referred to as Waterloo/Cedar Falls since the two towns run together. It is a typical Midwestern town…or is it?
DJ: How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers been for the first three books of the The Color of Evil series? Is there anything that your audience seems to be particularly enjoying or is eager to find out more about?
C.W. If you read the individual reviews for the books, which are noted on the book’s dedicated blogs along with trailers, you will see many very good reviews. Even Kirkus was fairly kind. The book’s dedicated blogs are: www.TheColorOfEvil.com, www.RedIsforRage.com and www.KhakiEqualsKiller.com. I would urge potential readers to check there for themselves, as some big name authors (Jonathan Maberry, Jon Land, William F. Nolan, Gary Braver) weigh in on the series and other readers give their opinions. Plus, there are trailers that might help you visualize the characters a bit more.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Color of Evil series so far?
CW: Finishing the third book.
DJ: Did you have a goal when you began writing The Color of Evil series? The series is not yet complete, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
CW: There are repeating theme lines throughout the books, much like John Irving (“The World According to Garp,” “Cider House Rules”) used, “Keep passing the open windows” or King’s “Life turns on a dime.” I think I stress the fact that King is right: your entire life can turn around in a nano-second.
DJ: How many novels do you plan on having in the series total?
CW: I guess we’ll find out if anyone cares to read any more tales from Cedar Falls on this blog tour. I did not set out to write a certain number of books and I could easily hang it up now, since all the students have just graduated from high school in Book #3. Let’s just say, it is TBD.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Color of Evil series that you can share with us?
CW: My favorite quotes might not be your favorite quotes, but I used the line from “My Life As A House” (the film) that goes, “We’re all dying. I just got moved to the head of the line” because it seems to fit. True story: my sister-in-law’s mother (Barb), age 86, was just in St. Louis with us having a wonderful time at the wedding of her first granddaughter, Megan (my niece.) She looked lovely and her only complaint was she had a bit of laryngitis. This was May 13th of this year. After the wedding, which was truly lovely, Barb returned to her home in Moline, Illinois, and we heard she was being hospitalized for atrial fibrillation, which is not necessarily life-threatening or even serious and happens often. She went into the hospital and mentioned she had had laryngitis for a while. The doctors took X-rays of her throat, couldn’t find a good reason for her laryngitis, fixed the atrial fibrillation and kept her there on antibiotics for a while. The antibiotics did nothing and she was in the hospital for a while, so they decided to take ANOTHER X-ray. This one was a larger X-ray of her entire chest cavity. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer that had spread to her bones and elsewhere and sent home with a diagnosis of “three weeks to live.” We buried Barb on September 16th. “Life turns on a dime.”
DJ: Now that The Color of Evil series box collection is released, what is next for you?
CW: Right now, I’m knee-deep in film festival reviewing. I have reviewed continuously since 1970. I even won a prize in a Writer’s Digest screenwriting competition once for the screenplay I wrote based on my very first sci-fi novel “Out of Time” (not my plot, but a collaboration with another and published by Lachesis of Canada.) I am here in Chicago now seeing 3 to 4 films a day, and that will go on until October 26. On October 27 I will fly to Austin, Texas, to take part in the Austin Film Festival as Press and I am accredited for SXSW in March. I have been reviewing film continuously since 1970, which is a long time. I started out with the Quad City Times as their local film and book critic, but had to quit when I began 2 businesses in town, which I mentioned earlier. However, I continue to review on my own blog and those of others, including, at one point, Yahoo’s Content Contributor network. So, for me, from now until November 4th, it will be “All movies, all the time.” After that, I’ll regroup and either continue to finish the already-started Book #4 entitled (tentatively) “Scarlet Summer” or perhaps write a “Best of” from my short story series “Hellfire & Damnation” (www.HellfireandDamnationTheBook.com), which has 3 installments. And as Christmas nears there will be promoting of the wholesome children’s series I wrote for my granddaughters (5 books, The Christmas Cats in Silly Hats, www.TheXmasCats.com). I probably won’t settle down to actually begin a big new project until I have promoted some of the close to 35 older ones, including “It Came from the’70s: From The Godfather to Apocalypse Now,” which is comprised of the film reviews from the Quad City Times I wrote between 1970-1979 that ran in the newspaper. My review of “Blueprint” from the Chicago Film Festival is up now on both The Movie Blog and my own blog, WeeklyWilson.com.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: Yes, I have an Amazon author’s page.
Author Newsletter: Readers can sign up for WeeklyWilson.com and I send out a newsletter entitled “Weekly Wilson’s New News” when there is a “new” project. It isn’t on a schedule and won’t load down your in box.
Bookbub: I’ve never had enough reviews to qualify for Bookbub. They only let people like Jane Smiley (Pulitzer Prize winner for “1,000 Acres”) on there, in my experience. I can’t catch a break on Bookbub, but I am on many other book sites at different promotional times.
Booktrack: I know nothing about Booktrack. This will be a good project to mention to one of my team members. Right now, we have a rotating group of people working to help poor computer-illiterate me deal with these many computer sites. I learned to type on a manual typewriter in 1962, so I’m struggling with social media, but have some helpers coming aboard or already on board.
Facebook: I have both a personal Facebook page and professional one that will soon have a permanent administrator. I’m on as Connie Corcoran Wilson.
Goodreads: Likewise, I’m on it as Connie Corcoran Wilson. It has to be the least user friendly dashboard in the world, and I have only succeeded in giving away books, so far, which, as you can imagine, is not particularly lucrative for a struggling retired English teacher. And, until recently, anyway, they had to be paperbacks.
Linkedin: On LinkedIn as Constance Corcoran Wilson.
Pinterest: I used to put up ALL my good shots from the Chicago Film Festival. Then, Pinterest “updated” their site and I can’t figure it out now. And I’m too busy to do it, anyway. Maybe one of my “helpers” will get me back on it again.
CW: It’s as good as anything out there, and I’d like some new readers to tell the world that fact. Otherwise, after working hard at it since 2003, I’m about ready to hang it up and simply review film and say, “Well, THAT didn’t work out well at all!”
DJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Connie: Just that I’ve been writing for 62 years and it is a miracle if I can turn on my computer every day. All I want to do and claim I can do, well, is write. For updates on how I’m doing, check out my blog (www.WeeklyWilson.com), which I maintain myself, and which has been in existence since 2007.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
CW: You’re welcome. Since I was up writing till 4:30 a.m. and am officially 3 films behind already (and the Festival hasn’t even STARTED yet) I’ll just go lie down now. Have a good one! And thank you!
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RED IS FOR RAGE, Chapter 13
And so it was that Daniel Malone walked in, just as the door to Stevie Scranton’s room splintered into bits, revealing Stevie standing there in his BVD’s. “Tighty Whities,” as Stevie called them. Stevie presented as a misshapen, truly miserable-looking specimen, hunched over in anticipation of some random cruelty.
Daniel couldn’t see that far around the corner, but he could hear further than he could see.
There had been so much noise made by Charlie kicking the door down, and so much anticipation on the part of Evelyn, Scott and Charlie on the other side of that door, that no one was really watching or listening carefully for the sound of a vehicle pulling up in the driveway or an SUV motor that had been left idling. Daniel Malone never came home before closing. Closing was at least seven hours away. But Daniel Malone came home this night to get the key ring he had left on the dresser in his bedroom.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Daniel, too, was not paying attention as carefully as usual. He certainly wasn’t expecting to find two strangers in his house. Since the bedroom level was in the basement, when he entered the upstairs of the three-bedroom structure, nobody saw him or heard him drive up. Daniel didn’t push the button to the garage door, because he wasn’t going to stay long. Just grab the keys and get back to work.
But as soon as Daniel turned the handle of the upstairs front door, he could hear Stevie’s voice shout, “Okay” in a sort of muffled voice. He could hear the sound of splintering wood. He knew something was up. Daniel crept to the broom closet in the kitchen where he kept a shotgun, protection against intruders.
Daniel began silently creeping down the basement stairs, shotgun in hand, hugging the right side of the stairs. He approached as quietly as he could. There were loud noises and voices. Somebody was crying
As he cautiously peeked around the corner of the basement hallway stairs, Daniel Malone saw a woman, a man, and the two boys. He drew a bead on the woman, since she appeared to be armed with a small holstered side arm. She had her back to him. He fired. Evelyn, hit in the shoulder, fell. The three others quickly scattered to the indentation in the wall, crouching behind the substantial plaster planter.
Daniel ducked back behind the coverage of the wall of the stairwell and reloaded.
I’m going to blast these idiots one more time. Then, I’m going to get the hell out of here, he thought.
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*** The Color of Evil Series is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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About the Book:
THE COLOR OF EVIL series presents you with characters who live, breathe and die in small town Cedar Falls, Iowa. Tad McGreevy, the focus of the series, has a paranormal power, Tetrachromatic Super Vision, that allows him to see auras that tell him whether a person is good or evil. At night, in horrifying nightmares, Tad relives the crimes of the evil-doers. Eventually, becomes the target of a particularly lethal antagonist, Michael Clay (aka Pogo the Clown) who wants to eliminate the teen-aged boy. In three books, we witness the power of evil faced off against a good-hearted young boy who just wants to protect those he loves.
Beginning with the first manifestations of this supernatural power at the age of 8, the book quickly takes us forward to the high school years of Tad and the band of friends we come to know well. We follow their progress from their junior year of high school through graduation with danger always lurking in the background. As others have said, it’s quite a ride.
Begin the journey today with this specially-priced trilogy: THE COLOR OF EVIL; RED IS FOR RAGE; and KHAKI=KILLER..
“THE COLOR OF EVIL series is old-school psychological horror, artfully blended with new-school shocks and twists. Bravo!” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author, multiple Bram Stoker winner.
Connie (Corcoran) Wilson (MS + 30) graduated from the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University, with additional study at Northern Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago. She taught writing at six Iowa/Illinois colleges and has written for five newspapers and seven blogs, including Yahoo, which named her its 2008 Content Producer of the Year. She covers politics and entertainment and writes for The Movie Blog, QuadCities.com and her own blog, WeeklyWilson.com.
She is a member of ITW (International Thriller Writers) and a member of IWPA (Illinois Women’s Press Association, Chicago chapter), which awarded her its Silver Feather Award in 2012 and 2014, MWA (Midwest Writers Association), AWP (American Writing Program) and MWC (Midwest Writing Center), which named her its Writer of the Year in 2010. She has won numerous E-Lit awards, a NABE Pinnacle award, an ALMA (American Literary Merit Award), Lucky Cinda competition and two IWPA Silver Feather Awards (2012, 2014).
Her stories and interviews with writers like David Morrell, Joe Hill, Kurt Vonnegut, Frederik Pohl, William F. Nolan, Anne Perry, r. Barri Flowers, Valerie Plame, Allen Zadoff and Jon Land have appeared online and in numerous journals.
Her work has won prizes from “Whim’s Place Flash Fiction,” “Writer’s Digest” (Screenplay) and she has 30 published works. Connie reviewed film and books for the Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa) for 12 years, wrote humor columns and conducted interviews for the (Moline, Illinois) Dispatch.
Connie has three ongoing series: THE COLOR OF EVIL, HELLFIRE & DAMNATION (short stories organized around the crimes or sins punished at each of the levels of Hell in Dante’s Inferno) and THE CHRISTMAS CATS, which she writes for her granddaughters. (www.TheColorOfEvil.com; www.RedIsforRage.com; www.KhakiEqualsKiller.com; www.HellfireAndDamnationTheBook.com; www.TheXmasCats.com)
Connie lives in East Moline, Illinois with husband Craig and in Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas. Son Scott and wife Jessica and granddaughters Ava and Elise live in Austin and her daughter, Stacey, currently flies for Southwest Airlines and flies from Denver, Colorado.
Connie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieCWilson
Connie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Connie-Corcoran-Wilson/275020829241869
Connie on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/conniecwilson/