Justin Fulkerson, author of An Hour for Magic, was born in Lubbock, Texas on March 5, 1976. He began to write while in high school, after discovering a love for literature at a young age. After years of working for others, he finally decided to dedicate time to the craft that he loves.
He has been working for a big box retailer for the last eighteen years while focusing on his writing in his spare time. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Mary Ellen, for fifteen years and they have two wonderful daughters, Sean and Tobi. A native Texan, he wants to prove to the world that intelligent people do reside there.
Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinFulkerson.
Justin Fulkerson Interview
SF&S: What was the book or movie that got you interested in horror? What was it about it that got you hooked?
Justin Fulkerson: Well, around age 9 or 10 I became interested in reading novels. At the time, my mother made the statement ‘I don’t care what you read, but I don’t want you to read Stephen King.’ Now, bear in mind, that this was the early 80s and he wasn’t nearly as big as he is now. She was steadfast against me reading anything written by him. So, what did her protest stir in me? Natural curiosity and I guess a little rebellion caused me to pick up my first King book, Cujo. Mentally, I was never the same. The storytelling drew me in and never let go. Now, if you look me up on Facebook and go to my albums, you will see that my office is basically a shrine to Mr. King.
SF&S: You have multiple titles under your belt now. Do you think your writing style is set, or is it still evolving?
Justin Fulkerson: Always evolving and changing depending on the story I’m working on. I’ve gotten into the habit of creating multiple points of view through the characters in my novels. When I first started, I tried the omnipotent point of view of the all seeing all feeling observer, but I was told it didn’t work, so I had to make myself change.
SF&S: Your book Hallowed Ground seems to have a religious element as one of the characters is a nun. Does faith play a role in your writing?
Justin Fulkerson: I’ve never been a religious person. I believe there is something out there, but I don’t believe any man on this planet can tell me exactly what it is, no matter what book they read from. That being said, I’ve seen over the years faith and religion playing a major part in most of the pain and suffering in this world. So, the most horrific thing, more horrifying than the monster under the bed, is someone telling you that you’re an abomination or pretending not to judge you under the guise of some higher being’s directions. There is more hypocrisy in religion than politics in my opinion. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I’ve seen it first-hand growing up in the belt buckle of the bible-belt. So, when writing horror, you can’t help bring up faith, good vs evil, it’s just a matter of what is really good. Being a person of faith doesn’t necessarily make one a ‘good’ person.
SF&S: Which character from Hallowed Ground is your favorite?
Justin Fulkerson: Probably Christine. Because she isn’t blinded by Donald’s heroism.
SF&S: Hallowed Ground is based in a world where a zombie outbreak occurs. Do you have a favorite zombie book or movie?
Justin Fulkerson: Not really. I enjoyed quite a few seasons of The Walking Dead, but never really delved into the genre. I don’t want to say too much, but the zombies pale in comparison to the real monster in the novel.
SF&S: Are you a “panster” (write the story from the seat of your pants) or do you write a detailed outline before digging into the manuscript?
Justin Fulkerson: When I get an idea, I clearly see the beginning and the end and usually write both while fresh in my mind. Then, the struggle is to get the journey hammered out connecting point A to point B. Most times, I sit down and just write. I hate outlining and planning, I feel that it takes away from the story if you place yourself in a box. There have been times that I thought a story was going in a certain direction, wrote several pages, and then realized it had changed direction without me even realizing it. I try to let the characters show me what they are doing, tell me their motivations. When I give them control, it’s usually easier to connect the dots.
SF&S: With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) approaching, many aspiring writers are about to set on the journey of pushing out 50,000 words manuscripts in a month. Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? How long does it take you to write a manuscript from the first word to the final edited page?
Justin Fulkerson: I’ve never taken part in NaNoWriMo. I don’t think I would work well under pressure. Writing the first word to the final edited page sometimes takes years. I started writing An Hour for Magic in 2012 and once it was picked up by GenZ Publishing, in 2015, it was fully edited. I depends on the intricacy of the plot and number of characters how long a story takes. Hallowed Ground only took about a year to complete, but you have to know, that I am never focused solely on one story. Most of the time, I’m working on no less than three novels at once. It helps me when I feel burned out or frustrated with where any one story is going.
SF&S: Are there any horror troupes you refuse to touch?
Justin Fulkerson: I don’t think so. Horror to me is more psychological. People are damaged, no matter what front they put out to show the world, they have secrets and things in their past that they are not proud of, people are more frightening than any monster you can conjure up, because people are real.
SF&S: What is next up for you?
Justin Fulkerson: This is going to sound rough and definitely horrific. But, my latest is called Freckles the Clown about a cannibalistic clown that terrifies a man for over twenty years. Once again, psychology plays a major part in their dependency upon each other.
SF&S: If there is something you wish we had asked, but didn’t, now it your chance to talk about it here:
Getting your name out in to the publishing world is the hardest step in this whole process. Getting the words onto the page and making it make sense is nothing compared to getting people to read the story. People don’t read anymore. They’re more interested in social media and television than picking up a good book. I want the old days back.
And now, a little about the book…
Hallowed Ground by Justin Fulkerson
Donald Bristo served his country for eight years and PTSD is all he has to show for his service.
But, when a zombie outbreak occurs, Donald must go into survival mode and rescue Sister Mary Frances and her young nun in training, Christine.
Taking them to family hunting cabin in the woods, he prepares to teach them the skills they will need to survive while battling his own demons.
As the women face an uncertain future, they must also come to terms with their pasts. Christine begins to doubt Donald’s integrity and Sister Mary Frances finds herself questioning her faith because of the feelings she has for Donald.
Available on Amazon