Wednesday 22 August 2018

A Slice of Cake With... Jeff Provine

This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with fellow indie author Jeff Provine.

Jeff is a farm kid turned writer always asking "What If?" He also serves as a professor, lecturing on Composition, Comics, and Mythology.

What kind of books do you write?

I write two very different breeds:  one is a collection of local folklore, Haunted Norman, Haunted Guthrie, Haunted Oklahoma City. They are all true stories pulled from interviews, archives, and history telling the spooky tales we don’t often share—until someone gets it started, and then everyone has a ghost story!

The other breed stems from asking “what if?” The clearest is my This Day in Alternate History blog, which has a post for each day of the year telling a historical event that somehow goes in a different direction, such as Booth calling off the assassination of Lincoln or Russian explorers discovering gold in California decades before Sutter’s Mill. In that same vein, I’ve done an alternate history horror steampunk Hellfire, a young adult multiverse pirates Dawn on the Infinity, and a steampunk trilogy Celestial Voyages.

Can you describe your writing why?

I write to show something new. It may be an old, old ghost story that might be wavering on being swallowed up in the sands of history, or it could be something completely different stemming from that asking “what if.” For my story in Inklings, I asked myself, “What if instead of collecting art, we collected mythological creatures?” Then I had to ask, “How would we hold them,” and the inevitable, “What happens when one escapes?”

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most.

From The Thing In The Cave, Tales from the Underground, here’s the first time the locomotive engineers learn that something is lurking inside the fire:

“Everything all right?” Jones called.
Nate shook his head slowly. “No. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not right. There’s something in the fire.”
“Can you dump it with the ashpan?”
Nate kept shaking his head. “I don’t think so.”
A jarring bang rang from the firebox doors. Nate jumped back and held up his shovel like a weapon.
The doors rattled again, and then the one on the right shifted open just a crack. A fresh sound of wailing poured into the cab. Something not quite black and not quite gray slithered out like a headless snake.
“What is that?” Jones screamed.
Nate swung at it with the shovel, whacking it with the dull side. A roar like the wind out of a cave came from the firebox.
Jones screamed louder, “What was that?”
The tendril grew longer and pushed back the firebox door. Steadily, fighting the weight of the heavy door, the thing climbed out of the firebox. The tendril was like a tail reaching from a shoulder. Its five other legs were segmented like a spider’s, but its body was fat and grotesque like nothing Nate had ever seen. It had eyes, shining, black eyes that blinked all over its bulbous body.

Tell us about your latest project.

I’m working with local artists to launch Okie Comics Magazine, a free quarterly periodical for the Oklahoma City metro that showcases all comics by Oklahomans with the stories set locally. Inspiration jumped out at me one day when I was looking at page rates for some of the free local pubs, and I thought, “These are just about what you pay for a page of comics.” If we cover local news, why not a local entertainment pub as well? Our issue #3 just launched at

What is your favourite cake?

My parents make a chocolate ├ęclair cake that layers graham crackers and vanilla pudding with a chocolate covering. It’s simple and quick, and oh so good!

Wow - this is a new cake on me Jeff and it looks amazing. Not sure whether I'll be able to find all the ingredients here in the UK but I'll do my best! For everyone who is baking-inclined here is a recipe for Chocolate Eclair Cake

You can keep in touch with Jeff on his website, Twitter & Facebook.

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with indie author Moss Whelan, grilling them gently about their writing life and of course sharing their favourite cake.

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

Claire Buss is a multi-genre writer and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find all her books on Amazon. Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop.

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