Interview in which I specifically ask about his character Jericho Mills.
Who is Jericho Mills?
His full name is Breece Jericho Milburn but nobody calls him that, at least not to his face. He goes by Jericho Mills, or just Mills, or “you drunk bastard”. He describes himself as a drunk with an astral projection problem. He used to be a detective, a great detective, who could sniff out the smallest clues and follow them to a perp, but that was a long time ago. He’s lost a step and lost his job but gained something in return. Many desperate people look for answers in the bottom of a bottle. Jericho Mills can actually find them there. He can track a killer or find a body, but only if he’s drunk enough. Lucky for him, that’s a regular occurrence.
How did you come up with the idea? Character or plot first?
Mills was born one night while camping at RenFest when I was so hammered on rum and mead that I tried to climb the walls to regain entry after the gates were closed and got chased by a security guard. My cousin had to help me back to the tent after I twisted an ankle and told him I’d stepped on a land mine and lost my leg. Later, while lying in the wet grass looking up at the stars and understanding that I was in for a terrible morning, I imagined that I could send my mind out from my body to learn the secrets of the universe. Yeah, I was blitzed. Anyway, the idea for a gifted detective whose ability only worked when he was drunk was born on that night.
Is he an anti-hero? Why or why not?
Not sure. I suppose he could fit the definition. Usually when people think of an anti-hero they think of a bad guy with a heart of gold. He’s definitely not that. But if you’re asking if he’s a protagonist who doesn’t possess the typical heroic qualities, then yeah, he fits that definition. He does some good, and he does some bad. I didn’t set out to create an anti-hero, just a troubled man struggling to forget a past tragedy and deal with guilt the only way he knows how, which is to drink himself to death. He’s a good guy under some circumstances and horrible in others. In many he’s just indifferent. Mostly he’s just an ass.
If you could turn this into a tv show, would you want to? Who would you cast? Why?
I think it could make a good series. If I had a time machine I’d get Steve Railsback from 20 years ago. When he was in the X-Files and starred in Ed Gein, he looked exactly how I envisioned Mills. As for now, I’d pick Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson). If he got a little bit of a beer gut, forgot to shave for about four days, and puked on his shirt, he’d be Jericho Mills. He also has the voice for it.
How many completed Mills stories? Do you plan to write any in the future?
Currently there are 6 completed shorts and I’m working on a novel that ties them all together and plans for several more shorts after the novel.
Tells us something about Mills only you as the author knows. (not in stories)
There are three important details that only I know, but they’re all important to future stories so I can’t tell you about them without spoiling things. I suppose that I can tell you that eventually the cause of his drinking, the source of his guilt, and the source of his supernatural gift will all be revealed.
Setting of story? Your hometown? Expound on why you used that location.
So Jericho Mills spends most of his time in a fictionalized version of Lake Charles which sits just to the east of the fabricated town of Brimstone. Brimstone is loosely based on my hometown of Sulphur which used to be called Brimstone back when it was still a mining town. The town in this story, and others, are a bit different from where I grew up with a few different streets and buildings and slightly different history. But there’s some subtle supernatural stuff that plays a part in the lives of some of the residents. Nothing major or even recognized by most of the residents, but a few minor events and experiences that some view as unnatural. The town, the real town, and the surrounding area has a rich history that includes outlaws, pirates, land disputes, organized crime, and even a few serial killers. On the surface it’s just a normal small town, but if you live there you can feel there’s a darkness beneath, so I set most of my stories in and around the place where I grew up.
Is this your first serial?
I have another ongoing series entitled Book of Favors. It’s about a wealthy real estate tycoon named Kari Hiel who uses her financial influence as a weapon. She’s locked in a fierce feud with a resourceful layabout named Tyler Pierce who collects and trades favors the way some people collect baseball cards. If you want something, or need something to happen, he’s your guy but calling on him puts you in his debt and one day you’ll be asked to repay it. So the story is about those two misunderstood individuals and the small town that’s caught in the crossfire of their feud. It’s more lighthearted than the Mills stories, but it’s not all fun and games, and Jericho Mills actually makes an appearance in one story and makes everyone’s lives miserable.
Do you think the main characters (Mac & Mills) can successfully work together or will they be on opposite sides?
I believe they can, provided A: they don’t work together much and B: they don’t fully understand the motives and goals of each other.
Is this your first writer collaboration? Think we’ll work together any better than our characters?
Yup. I almost collaborated with one of my brothers on a short story series back in the day but we never got around to it. I think we can work together at least as well as those two bastards.