Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have Donald Firesmith returning with the second novel in his series, Hell Holes 2: Demons on the Dalton.
A computer geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He is also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat worrying whether the term “distinguished” makes him sound more like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still more red than gray.
By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.
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About the Book
When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appeared overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, geologist Jack Oswald picked Angele Menendez, his climatologist wife, to determine if the record temperatures due to climate change was the cause. But the holes were not natural. They were unnatural portals for an invading army of demons. Together with Aileen O’Shannon, a 1,400-year-old sorceress demon-hunter, the three survivors of the research team sent to study the holes had only one chance: to flee down the dangerous Dalton Highway towards the relative safety of Fairbanks. However, the advancing horde of devils, imps, hellhounds, and gargoyles will stop at nothing to prevent their prey from escaping. It is a 350-mile race with simple rules. Win and live; lose and die…
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Keep reading for an interview with Aileen O’Shannon from the Hell Holes series:
Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?
I was born a little over 1,700 years ago during the reign of Constantine the Great in a tiny village that no longer exists in what is now the county of Ballinasloe, Ireland. I lived with my mother and father, who was the village blacksmith and the strongest man in the whole village. When I was 12, they were killed by a hellhound. That is when I was I initiated into the Tutores Contra Infernum, an ancient secret order that protects humanity from demon incursions.
Did you have a close relationship with your family?
We loved each other very much, and it was extremely hard to lose them, leave my village, and join the order.
What is the happiest memory from your childhood?
Sharing lunch with my father at the smithy. He would often let me stay for a while so that I could watch him working and see the sparks fly as he hammered the glowing metal. He was so big and strong; he made me feel safe when the wolves howled in the nearby forests.
Who is your enemy? What makes you enemies?
My enemies are the demons that invade our world to kill and enslave people, often treating us a mere livestock and the subject of torture for their entertainment. It does not matter if they are devils, imps, gargoyles, or hellhounds. I hate them all.
Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?
Prior to Hell Day, I lived in Fairbanks, working as a reporter for the Daily News-Miner, a local newspaper. Secretly, I was a curatrix, or warrior sorceress of the Tutores Contra Infernum, responsible for protecting the people of Alaska from demon incursions.
Have you ever been in love? How did that work out for you?
Yes, many many times over the centuries. My first love was not a member of my order, and I had to keep our forbidden relationship a secret from my superiors in the Order. However when I eventually became pregnant, that secret became impossible to keep. Because I had broken my vows and risked exposing the existence of the Order, I was forced to choose between my first love and my baby. I refused to give up my child, and it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, watching him grow old and die while I remained young.
What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?
I wear the clothing of the place and period, but with two small differences. Being incredibly old and not a little vain, I have amassed a sizable fortune which has allowed me to dress in the best quality clothes, whether that means designer dresses or the best in outdoor wear. I also have hidden pockets sewn inside the left forearm of any clothing that covers my arms so that I can keep my wand both secret and readily available should I need it in a hurry.
What was your greatest achievement?
Taking the war to the demons. By traveling through one of their portals to the demon home world, I helped spread the demon plague that turned the tide of the war and hopefully enabled their human slaves trapped in Hell to rebel against their masters.
Would you ever or have you ever lied? How do you feel about lying?
My life has been full of lies I have made to keep the existence of my Order secret from those who would envy our powers and long life. Hiding for centuries in plain sight as an ordinary mortal has made me an excellent, if solitary and lonely, liar.