A 5,000-year-old telepathic cat. A kindly man who hails from the stars. A down-on-his-luck man, recently divorced. A Voodoo Queen. What connects them all? An insidious plot to take over the U.S., a …
A 5,000-year-old telepathic cat. A kindly man who hails from the stars. A down-on-his-luck man, recently divorced. A Voodoo Queen. What connects them all? An insidious plot to take over the U.S., a plot more deadly than anyone realizes.
Readers will find all of this and more within the pages of John Parham’s debut novel, “The Binding: Volume One.” The first in a planned trilogy, The Binding tells the story of feline Bastet and Uncle Jim, travelers from outer space, as they come to earth to save their own planet, and ours. The idea flourished thanks to Parham’s cat Juno, the inspiration behind Bastet.
“I was out walking on the beach in Destin, Florida one day, and I just randomly thought, ‘what if Juno had levitation powers? What if Juno had telepathy? What if Juno was 5,000 years old?’ And I started spinning the story around to get the meat for it, and I just went from there,” Parham said.
The result is a fun sci-fi yarn filled with adventure, humor, and action. After spending years working in sales and marketing and running his own company, Parham retired. After 20 years working with technology, he said it was surprising to find himself quickly returning to a computer. This got him thinking about how he wanted to spend his time. Though he has a degree in journalism, he admits it wasn’t until after retiring that he decided to try his hand at writing novels. Since, he has self-published a book of short stories and the first volume in the Binding trilogy. His short story “Town That Dreaded Halloween” won a national writing contest and was selected to be read on the 2018 Halloween Special Edition AIARWIP podcast.
“I have these ideas, weird ideas,” he said. “I like stories, and I like the characters. I found myself putting a lot of time into it. The first few chapters of “The Binding” are slower, really just laying the foundation for the characters, and once I got beyond that I just got into the flow of the story.”
While the core of the novel is based in science fiction, plenty of facts can be found within the pages. Parham took inspiration from his life, incorporating many real-life locations that he’s visited throughout the story. The majority of the characters are based on real people (and felines) in his life as well, including Bastet and the Voodoo Queen, who is based on Parham’s wife, Mindy. Their other cat, Juno’s brother Loco, has a planned appearance in the second novel.
“This is a story that has a lot of different elements in it, I think,” Parham said. “It’s a story of action, it’s a story with some love interests, it’s a story with quite a bit of humor, and a story with characters that I think as a reader, you’ll get involved with and invested in. You’ll get to care about what happens to them, and it makes you love the book because you’re invested with the characters.”
Parham said finishing the book was only the first half of the race. Afterwards came the edits, the creation of the cover with the assistance of a friend, building a website, and learning about self-publishing. Now he’s working to gain exposure through book signings, and to introduce his written world to new readers. His next book signing will be held at the Book Exchange, located at 101 West Laurel Avenue, Foley, on Saturday, May 15 from 1 - 3 p.m.
So, does he have any advice for writers out there? Don’t give up, even when writer’s block sets in.
“It’s quite a journey,” he said. “Sometimes you’ll get to a point and think that you’re just cooking right along, and then, ‘oho, now there’s a wall right there, what am I going to do with this one?’ It may hold you up for a while to figure out what’s next, and you might even start doubting yourself and think it’s never going to work, that you’ll never finish the book, or that no one’s going to like it. Then one day something will come to you, and you’ll write one sentence. Then write another sentence, and soon you’ve got a paragraph, and then another paragraph, and then you’ve got a page filled up. Next thing you know, you’re back on track.”
To learn more about Parham and his books, visit https://www.johnparhamauthor.com. “The Binding: Volume One” and Parham’s short story collection can be purchased via the website or from Amazon, and are available in eBook and paperback versions.