“To get close to something a million times is the same as being a mile away from it!” Papa Dilly reminded a hastily-gathered group of upper-level Kinfolk in a scornful shout, wagging his finger judgmentally. “What you see to believe in is what you need… If you need a doorstop, I’ll be your doorstop. As you need me as your aquarium, I’ll be your aquarium, for those of you that don’t have an aquarium… If you need me as your Pat Boone, I’ll be your Pat Boone. Need a pimp? Say ‘Hello’ to Silky Bradford, welcome to my stable! I am just a holy mirror. Turn your nose up at me, you’ll see a beggar. Worship me, you’ll see a higher being. Look me straight in the eye, you’ll see yourself. If you need me as your merciless vengeful God, I’ll be your merciless vengeful God!”

The windows rattled in the long, sweaty pauses as the winds outside grew with the rhetoric. I’m not God,” Papa Dilly clarified paradoxically. “God is me!”

–From The Kinfolk by Josh Hickman

Equally fascinated with horror movies, comedians, and true crime since early childhood, Josh Hickman spent equal time wading in the heady waters of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, the Three Stooges comedy shorts, and Helter Skelter while growing up in various parts of Texas. When he became a writer, Hickman incorporated his comedic sensibility and lifelong love of the horror and true crime genres into his satiric writings. His past comic novels also include the fictional comedy bio THROUGH TICK & TINN: THE TRUE STORY OF THE GREATEST UNKNOWN COMEDY TEAM EVER KNOWN and the illustrated surreal, cautionary high-seas treasure-hunt saga AMBERGRIS. Hickman lives and works in Hollywood.

 

Hollywood Author Josh Hickman will release his latest brand of satirical, humorous books in mid-November. In the author’s new book, THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE  he explores the maddening world of cults.  Mr. Hickman’s new novel follows his last satirical fantasy book, FIVE SLICES OF FEAR, that has received much critical praise from book reviewers.

Hollywood writer Mr. Hickman releases his new book as the fourth in a fantasy book series he has created and published.  In THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE he chronicles the rise and fall of a “seductive, fanatical cult” led by the enigmatic Dillman “Papa Dilly” Bradford.

With THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE once again fact meets fiction in the funny fantasy worlds author Josh Hickman creates. This time his fascination with cults has produced a fresh, yet familiar cast of charlatans, rubes, losers, and lucky fools, finding laughs in the cult impulse, religious fervor, and the common pathos of the average person who will do anything to find solace and belonging. Once more, author Hickman focuses his gaze on tragic comedy that is human existence–with all its fears, pitfalls, trials, and triumphs–and again he speaks hilarious truth to power in his latest entry THE KINFOLK: CULT OF SEX AND CHEESE.

“For as long as I’ve read books I’ve always been a huge fan of comedic novels,” Hickman asserted. “It was time I decided to start expressing my own comedic side of creative writing.”

Interview:

Welcome, Josh!  Your new satirical fantasy novel sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?

Josh: While weighing inspirations and ideas for my next comic novel, I was suddenly sort of hit over the head with the obvious fact that I had been researching cults of one form or another—i.e. the Manson Family, the Jonestown massacre, Scientology, est—since my early college days. The trick then was to “find the funny,” to expose that eternal human pathos—that ever-present weakness and blindness in all of us waiting to be exploited when the time and situation are right.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters?

Josh: The main characters in The Kinfolk: Cult of Sex & Cheese are cult founder and leader Dillman “Papa Dilly” Bradford and his immediate family. Always an eccentric outcast who some called mad, Papa Dilly maintained an inexplicable power of mesmerism and influence of people since his childhood days as a boy faith healer. He and his rabidly protective wife “Mother Milly” started what became the Kinfolk cult while proselytizing on the road in 1953.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Josh: Well, around the halfway mark The Kinfolk experience a big change and a bigger challenge. Hounded by what they think is persecution by the authorities and outraged citizens, the cult pulls up stakes in Los Angeles and disappears into the night. Secretly, Dillman plans to convert and take over an entire small town, Lemon Curd in Northern California, the question is, will the Kinfolk be successful in their diabolical mission?

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Josh: Yes. To paraphrase Buster Keaton, the trappings or setting of a joke must be completely realistic and believable for the joke to work. Then you can go nuts. I have always tried to make my comic novel book covers look dryly realistic: the academic, biographic cover of Through Tick & Tinn: The True Story Of The Greatest Unknown Comedy Team Ever Known, the scrimshaw engraved look of the whaling epic Ambergris (I drew the image myself), the early-70s pop literary horror anthology style of Five Slices Of Fear: A Connoisseur’s Hoagie Of Horror. For the Kinfolk I went for a mid-70s overly serious but sensational cover, in the style of Helter Skelter, The Family, or the Charles Manson Life magazine cover—muted colors with a shock of red, very photographic. The Kinfolk cult functionally ended in 1974, so I tried to make it look like a pop-true crime or pop-sociology bestseller from around 1976 or so. If a few people are confused whether its fact or fiction, then I feel like I’ve done my job.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

Josh: At first, I wanted to be a mailman. But, by the time I was nine I was producing little animated home movies on super 8mm film, and by the time I was twelve I had written my first collection of short stories. But I also drew constantly, as well. Art was probably my first love, but film and writing took over at some point. I continued with art into college, then transferred to film and screenwriting before I graduated.

Do your novels carry a message?

Josh: I think so, yes, a subtle one. There’s a lot of tragedy in my comedies, a lot of pathos. Many times in my life I think I “laugh to keep from crying,” as they say. To illuminate and illustrate hypocrisy, to be able to laugh at others and especially at yourself seems to be an eternal gift. To expose the stupid things people do—the lies they tell you as well as the lies you tell yourself—is a healing and informative thing to do, I think. When people’s perspective and cold reality become completely at odds, sometimes all you can do is take note and laugh.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

Josh: Laugh more. I think we all need to laugh more, I know I do. Times seem to have gotten awfully unfunny as of late; emergency shots of humor and satire are desperately needed right now. If you’re looking to be offended in this world, you will never be disappointed. I think concentrating on how we are all human—to look at our similarities rather than our differences—is a worthy and fun endeavor.

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