And who is to argue with this up-and-coming author. Not I, that's for sure. Also, one could say that Kafka avoided falling into the "second novel trap" by never actually completing his novels. And - maybe - there just might be some issues with having Stephen King for your father.
Hill said in some ways Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" was a bigger initial influence on the story than anything in the Bible. "The Metamorphosis" was already flipped on its head in Hill's "You Will Hear the Locust Sing," included in "20th Century Ghosts."
Joe Hill goes to the devil with 'Horns'Author overcomes 'second novel trap' with psychological suspense novel
INXS may be right about that business with every single one of us and a devil inside. But we don't all have a devil parked in our DNA.
New Hampshire author Joe Hill has angels and demons in his blood, as the son of famed horror maestro Stephen King and the brother of minister Naomi King.
But the strongest genetic pull seems to be to writing — as his mother, Tabitha, and younger brother, Owen, are also writers.
So it may be fate that brought Joe Hillstrom King not only to horror stories but to the biblical and psychological playground of his second novel, "Horns" — which will be released on Tuesday, the same day he launches his international book tour at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth.
"Horns" follows the story of Ignatius "Ig" Perrish, who has gone through hell in the year since his girlfriend, Merrin Williams, was murdered. Many of his fellow Gideon, N.H., residents think he's responsible for killing her, although he was never charged with a crime.
The book opens with a hungover Ig waking up to find he has grown horns overnight. Not only that, the people around him begin making terribly confessions to him, leading him down a path to finding who did kill Merrin.
"'Horns' has had about four different incarnations," Hill said. "It's an idea that I've been playing around with for over a decade."
Hill's first two books were the short-story collection "20th Century Ghosts" (2005) and New York Times' best-selling novel "Heart-Shaped Box" (2007).
"But there were a lot of books before that that I wrote. Including way back when in my 20s I wrote an epic fantasy novel called 'The Fear Tree.'" Hill said. "I was trying to see if I couldn't do something like if John Irving tried to write 'The Hobbit.' And one of the elements of that book was it featured a character who had a psychic power that allowed him to see other people's ugliest secrets."
"The Fear Tree" was never published, but the concept stuck with Hill and he included similar elements in another unpublished novel called "The Surrealist's Glass."
"But this idea of how terrible it would be to see everyone's worst secrets has been circling around in my head for at least a decade, and it just so happens I feel like I finally got it right with 'Horns.'"
Getting it right with "Horns" was a serious concern for several reasons.
"I fall into a little bit of the second novel trap," Hill said. "'Heart-Shaped Box' was a terrific success, '20th Century Ghosts' has done very well, and in the process of those books coming out it also came out about my pen name and people found out about who my dad was.