Burn, Beautiful Soul: A Novel

About the Book

Basil the demon king has come to a crossroads. He has grown tired of life underground and regretful of the atrocities he has committed to maintaining his hold on power. Wanderlust leads him to the surface, to live freely among humans. Considering the state of the world, most humans seem unfazed by his arrival – but not all. A religious zealot with murderous intentions and a vengeful biker gang seek his end. Meanwhile, Basil must contend with two internal forces: the disturbing dreams that suggest he once walked the earth as a human; and the pull of the underworld, drawing him back to deal with the troubles he left behind – namely, a cunning foe who craves the throne, a monstrous kraken, and an ancient evil as cold and dark as the soil.

About the Author

William J. Donahue made halfhearted attempts to become an American ninja, a herpetologist, a professional wrestler, a horror-punk icon, and, finally, a goon for a minor-league ice hockey team. Although he failed miserably in each of these pursuits, the experiences provided ample fodder for his fiction. His novel BURN, BEAUTIFUL SOUL won the horror category in the 2021 International Book Awards. In addition to his novels, he has authored three short-story collections: TOO MUCH POISON, FILTHY BEAST, and BRAIN CRADLE, one of which (FILTHY BEAST) was a finalist for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award.

When he’s not writing literary horror/dark fiction, entertaining his cats, or wandering quietly in the woods, he works as a full-time magazine editor and features writer. Currently he is the chief editor of three monthly lifestyle publications serving the Greater Philadelphia Area, and he’s also on the editorial staff of a literary journal that celebrates the remarkable people, places, and history of Bucks County, Pa. His writing and on-camera reporting have earned multiple awards for excellence in business journalism. He lives inside a small but well-guarded fortress near Bethlehem, Pa.

Qn 1: Can you tell us more about your book What is it about?

BURN, BEAUTIFUL SOUL follows a demon king named Basil who lives in a place most of us would think of as hell: a hideous subterranean world without any trace of mercy, compassion, humor, humanity. Basil is about as cruel an individual as you might imagine a demon king would be, but he hates where he lives and regrets the things that he has done to get there. He believes he belongs someplace else, so he goes out and looks for it by coming to the human world, looking very much like the demon he is: eight feet tall, black reptilian skin, the horns of a ram, cloven hooves, a snake-like tail, etc. He makes friends, as well as a few enemies, and finds beauty in the natural world. Meanwhile, things underground aren’t going particularly well, threatening to draw him into a conflict that could end his life, if not all of humanity.

Qn 2: Who do you think would be interested in this book, is it directed at any particular market?

The novel would appeal to readers of horror, dark fantasy, and other forms of dark fiction.

Qn 3: Out of all the books in the world, and all the authors, which are your favourite and why?

I started out reading thriller authors such as Peter Benchley and Preston & Child, but my tastes have evolved quite a bit since then. I’m now partial to literary voices such as John Updike, Elizabeth Strout, Jim Harrison, Philip Roth, and Annie Proulx, as well as the likes of Josh Malerman, Tiffany McDaniel, and Michael Chabon. My current TBR pile includes everything from horror and YA to poetry and historical fiction.

Qn 4: What guidance would you offer to someone new, or trying to enhance their writing?

Join a writers group. A writers group helps you understand what’s working and what needs improvement; it gets you comfortable with criticism; and it keeps you accountable, in that it forces you to keep writing. It also taps you into a network of other writers, publishers, and other folks in the business. I have belonged to a writers group for more than 10 years, and it has helped me immensely in all these ways and then some.

Qn 5: Where can our readers find out more about you, do you have a website, or a way to be contacted?

My website, https://wjdonahue.com, is a good place to start. It includes more about me, links to my books and other writing, and how to find me on social media.

Authors Next Book:

CRAWL ON YOUR BELLY ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE, which will be published in April 2022.

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