Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Brendan Cobb calls it tar, but there might be as many names for it as cities left standing.

To some, it’s known as filth, or blight. Others call it the Black God in reverential whispers. Whatever name it takes, the effects are the same. Cities left in ruins. People turned into monsters. Living infections with no known cure. The best anyone can do is avoid it, but even that gets harder the more it spreads.

Brendan survives this waking nightmare by trading salvage for shelter and for repairs to his cybernetic arm, until a newcomer arrives, convinced Brendan is the key to ridding the world of tar once and for all. Reluctantly, Brendan and his mechanic join the newcomer on a journey across the desolate highways of a ruined world, where he learns the true history of the tar…and of the dark power inside him, which grows stronger every day.

I know who you are, and I know with whom you travel.

The voice thundered across the expanse, bringing with it a powerful wind. Out of the corner of his eye, Brendan saw the tree bend under its force, and then break apart and turn to dust. This was the voice from his dream at Krystal’s house, the voice from his journey to Tir Anhrefnus with Alicia.

Your companion wishes to destroy this, for he finds it evil.

A form rose amid the tentacles. It had a recognizable head and body, but the waving tendrils and branching threads rendered the creature completely alien.

But there is no evil here, only hunger. To sate an appetite is not evil. The wizard you follow only sees evil because he has found something he cannot control. He does not seek justice. He seeks safety. He is not noble. He is afraid.

The voice buffeted Brendan like a hurricane, gaining strength until its power knocked him onto his back. The dusty earth gave way beneath Brendan. He plummeted into the fresh pit, and he watched the tar trace a network of paths across the sky until what little light remained was blotted out by the black infection.

Tell me which is more evil: Destruction out of hunger, or destruction out of fear?

Taylor, thanks so much for stopping by. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me! Tar is my fifth full-length novel, which just came out November 27. When I’m not at my keyboard banging out another book, I’m at my day job, which is a total blast. I’m a morning show host and program director at a Christian radio station in Des Moines. So that means I spend the first half of my day telling stories and jokes with my awesome co-host, and then the rest of my day is spent making sure the station sounds as good as possible. It’s a demanding job, but really rewarding. If I’m not writing or working, I’m watching movies with my wife, hitting the gym, or reading whatever my latest Kindle find has been.

How did you get started writing?
I’ve always been drawn to stories. I remember drawing comic books on pieces of scrap paper, then stapling them together and trying to sell them door to door. I had a group of friends in junior high who all got involved on FanFiction.Net, and we all wrote stories together, many of which featured each other as main characters. It was after I got married that I really started pursuing the publication route, though. I’d always enjoyed writing, so the idea of having one of my books in actual print was a pretty cool idea. So I basically decided I was going to sit down and write every day until I had a new book on my hands. That was Alpha, which was the first book I self-published. Since then, I’ve published something new every year, and I’ve been having a blast doing it.

What was the inspiration for Tar?
Maybe it was the Desden Files. I think that was the first time I read about a wizard carrying around a shotgun, and I just thought that was the coolest thing ever. I didn’t sit down and say, “Yeah, I should make another Dresden Files,” but I did say, “Man, a book where a wizard with a shotgun goes on a road trip would be a blast to write.” That was an idea that really energized me, so I started with that little kernel and built out from there. By the time I was done, I’d created this weird, cyberpunk/urban fantasy/post-apocalyptic world with monsters and wizards and cybernetics, and I was even more energized than I was when I first had the idea. I am absolutely pumped to finally be able to share this with people.

What’s a genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I’d like to tell a really good haunted house story, or just a good ghost story in general. Like, really drill down to the essence of these types of stories and put just a tiny twist on them to make them fresh. I don’t have a great idea for one yet, but the minute I do, I’ll probably start scribbling away.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
Historical fiction is just not my jam. I need monsters or aliens or ghosts or robots, or some combination of all four in my books…whether I’m reading them or writing them. Also, half the reason I write soft science fiction is that I don’t like doing research.

What are you up to now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
I’m pretty much always working on something. I think there were like three or four weeks after I finished Tar that I really truly took time off working on a project of some sort. My current project is an end-of-the-world comedy. So, I’m still sticking to the apocalypse, which I’ve done for the last four books now, only this time things aren’t quite as dark as they’ve been. It’s a change of pace from my last few for sure, but it’s been really fun changing my tone a bit and using some different tools to solve different problems.

Alright, now for some random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Black. Everyone tells me that’s not a color, but I don’t care. Every color looks cooler when it’s next to black. And I look cooler when I’m in black. Anything that makes me look cooler is a winner in my book.

Favorite movie?
If I want to feel deep and intellectual? Cloud Atlas. If I want to have fun? Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Book that inspired you to become an author?
I don’t know if it inspired me to become an author, but I read Stephen King’s IT while I was writing my first published novel Alpha, which I mentioned earlier. It was the most I’d loved a book in a long time, and I just kept imagining writing a book that would make other people feel the way I felt when I read IT. That’s what drives me with every book I write. I’m an entertainer at heart. My job has me performing live radio every morning, I’ve obviously written a few books, and I’ve played drums in my share of bands. As different as all of those media are, the thing that remains the same is that I love creating things that make people feel things.

You have one superpower. What is it?
Mind-reading. Underrated power for sure.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
1.     Have you picked up on how I’m a Stephen King fanboy yet? Because I’d totally sit down to dinner with him. I want to play just one song in his all-author band someday, and I would spend dinnertime simultaneously fanboying and auditioning.
2.    My cousin, Josh. He was one of my best friends, and I lost him this past spring. We never lived very close together, except for a couple years when we went to the same college and took the same major, but he was the kind of friend who you could pick up right where you left off every time you see him.
3.    My wife. She is truly my best friend, and being with her is just like breathing to me. Sometimes I don’t even think about how much I need that time with her, and sometimes it’s hard to be with her because there’s all this junk in the airway of my life…but when we make time to spend together—I mean, really spend together, not just browse Facebook on the same couch—I just come alive so much more.

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
This is a tough question, because I don’t really think of any characters as being a lot like me. Each one has a little piece of me in them, but I’ve never really tried to create someone that really behaves like me. I think I’d be boring in my types of stories. I’d just cower in the corner and ask if I can read my book and have a cup of coffee yet. Maybe one of my close friends who’s read all my books could answer this question a little better!

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Author Bio and Links:
Taylor Hohulin is a radio personality by morning, a science fiction author by afternoon, and asleep by 9:30. He is the author of The Marian Trilogy, Tar, and other genre-blending works. He lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, with his wife, where they are owned by a dog and a cat.

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  1. Who is your favorite author of all time? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

    1. If I had to pick one, I'd go with Stephen King. Lately, I've been enjoying a lot from China Mieville and NK Jemisin, though, but I'm not ready to supplant uncle Stevie...yet ;)