Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ten Plus One Questions with Author Philip Seal

hilgerphotoI want to start this post with some full disclosure. I found out about Philip Seal’s book Hilger through a Facebook post. A friend on there made those post about how a friend’s fiance had written a book. I saw the post read the information and after some checking, and help, was able to get a hold of the publisher. The book review was off from there and now we have the Ten Plus One Questions from Philip below. So enjoy his answers.



Question 1: What inspired you to write Hilger?

I was traveling across Montana and was passing through the actual town of Hilger. The town is small, way off the beaten path, and almost exactly as it is described in the book. The town had a dead look to it, and for a moment I thought it could almost be a ghost town; was there anyone around? How would I even know? I asked myself what could happen in a little town to make it deserted. Well, what if a stranger arrived in town? What if that stranger wasn’t quite what he seemed…?

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

None, other than I tried to keep the names period correct. By that I mean in 1979, there were not very many girls named Mercedes and Bianca, or men named Asher and Beckett. My one regret is giving the two main female characters, Sally and Sandy, similar sounding names. Some readers have told me it is hard to remember which one is which.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

So much of the book came from my memories; in a sense the whole story really happened. For example, the part about the boxcar. When I was a little kid, me and my friend traveled a bit further from the house than we were allowed to go, and we came upon a rather macabre scene: an old boxcar with the doors open, toilet paper strung about, and in the opening hung what appeared to be a skinned and bloody human body. We ran home and told mom, and she explained to us that it probably was just a deer that a hunter had hung inside the boxcar to age. We accepted the explanation, but I still have a picture of that scene stuck in my head after all these years, and what I seen doesn’t look like a deer hanging there to me. I used memories like that in Hilger, except in the book the little boy tells the sheriff, and the events that have recently been happening compel the sheriff to investigate.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

My favorite book is Aztec by Gary Jennings. It’s a masterpiece, and I hope he knew how good it was before he died. I like anything that is historical fiction, but really I like everything and anything that is well-written.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

I have heard from a few fans and I love to hear from them since so often their comments surprise me. One young girl told me the part about Oscar thinking the devil was after him was the scariest thing she had ever read, since that was a real fear of hers. Another reader told me there was too much sex in the book, and I thought what sex??! And it surprises me how readers felt about some of the characters; while most everyone liked Blanchie, some felt sympathetic towards Bob, yet others felt outright disdain for him.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

It was very rewarding to see Hilger in print. I had worked so hard and so long on it, and when Black Rose Writing took the project on, I had deadlines to get the book finished. The last two months before publication was very hectic, and then all at once it was over. It left a void, and I immediately started my next book.

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

You betcha, everyday.

Question 8: What is the message you are want people to take away from the book?

First I want them to be entertained. Then I want them to realize that a lot happens in these quiet little towns. They’re not so quiet when you peel away the layers and get to know the people who live there. I’ve lived in small towns most of my life; there are some strange and interesting people in them.

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

The book starts with Daryl as a young man and ends with him as an old man, so I hope that Daryl gets that quiet retirement he’s been dreaming of, but we get the sense that his retirement will be anything but quiet.

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

I dedicated Hilger to my father since he has always encouraged me to write. He is my biggest fan and my harshest critic.


When it came to the Plus One Question Philip did not answer as he isn’t sure where he’d go. Got to give him credit for this as shows he’s enjoying the writing process and hasn’t had time to really thing where he’d go to promote his book. At least that’s the theory I’m going with and based off of his questions above. 

A special thanks to Black Rose Writing as they assisted in this review by providing me with a copy after I made a request for the book as explained in the opening.


Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Interview


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Hilger by Author Philip Seal

Small towHilgern America can be considered a bit of a myth in today’s technology age. The speed of information, ability to purchase items from far away, and talk to someone in another country almost makes it unnecessary to talk to a neighbor. A great way to get an idea is ask yourself how well you know your neighbors. If you like most of us you have little interaction with them as no need when all available at your fingertips.

Author Philip Seal will give the reader a great glimpse into that missing small town America in his book Hilger. A book that will take the reader into the far corners of the small town which has one bar, a gas station and an eclectic group of people who call the town home. However, they will find out that something has come to their town in the late 1970’s that will rock this town to its core. The book brought to readers through Black Rose Writing.

Hilger opens with a man telling of a visit to a bar where he is given a fortune reading by a woman claiming to be a witch. The witch will tell him, through tarot cards that his days of wondering will come to an end in a small town. This man is left wondering what the woman meant by her last statement, “You will hunt. But do not ever feel sorry for it, for that will be your undoing.” In a way this could be foreshadowing what to come in the book which in itself has a mystery to be unraveled as well as the cryptic message.

The reader is introduced to Daryl, whose father had killed himself at the age of thirty nine and it was many years later this poor young man lost his mother to an auto accident. Thus this young man did the only thing he could think of and joined the military and was one of the thousands of young men to fight in Vietnam. His return home was filled with the question of what to do and this path of finding work would eventually lead him to Judith County and the town of Hilger.

Hilger, a small town which has the local bar as its main place or entertainment and owned by Bob and his cheating wife Sally. A gas station that is run by John Liberty and then lastly there was the grain elevator that had at its busiest time three employees, the owner, Russ and Sandy. In like all small towns there was a woman who loved to gossip. The town had its eclectic mix of people from a woman who sat on her porch with a shotgun, an old man who horded his money, and a few cattle ranchers. It was a small town with a small population where everyone new something about the neighbor. At least that’s what it seems from the outside.

It is only when a stranger comes into town, one Peter Olin, that things begin to change for the small town and the county. This mysterious man had driven from the west coast to arrive in this small Montana town. He was searching for something but would not really interact much with the locals and eventually his car is found on the side of the road. Peter had gone for a walk into a field only to disappear and not be seen by anyone other than a few locals.

The second disappearance, a man nicknamed Eds, will leave the bar in the hopes of a late night hookup with a cute young woman and never make that rendezvous. Thus he becomes the second person to disappear in this small town. The interesting thing with Eds’ tale is that things had been conspiring that evening that the man would disappear anyhow. The fact is that how he disappears is much worse than the fate that was being planned for him. The big problem that is plaguing this small town is that those hunting in the mountains nearby are not the only ones hunting.

Hilger is a book set back in the late 1970’s and what makes it a great read is the character development. You begin to understand the motivations of the people of the town and their lives. There are characters you can sympathize with and others you may find yourself hoping will be next to “disappear.” The addition of a running thread of mystery helps give the book just enough of an element of suspense it keeps you turning the pages. There is even some brief mention of General Patton in the book when we are introduced to Daryl as a child. This history buff loved the reference to the man. Along with this reference there are points in the book where we learn of how a grandparent can be just as influential on a child as his own parents. The reader discovers this as we read about a young man in school and the impact of his grandfather.

Author Philip Seal creates not just a great small town but the characters that live within this town. The fact that a mysterious event draws additional concerns for this small community makes many of their problems seem small. However, when you live in a small town no problem is ever small. This is a great read one that fans of sci-fi, mystery, suspense and even light horror will enjoy.


Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Reviews


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