When not traveling, Hickory Cole spends his time in North Texas with his wife and two children, stealing as much time away to devote to his writing as he can. Cole drew his inspiration for his novel, Little, from a family vacation spent in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He is also an avid football fan and currently serves as commissioner of his family's fantasy football league. (Go Motherboy!)
You can sample several of Hickory Cole's short stories available for free on Smashwords.com.
How do you approach cover design?
I take great pride in my covers. I think the old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover" is only partially correct. The cover is clearly one of the key components that can grab a potential reader's eye, but does a great cover ensure a great read? Of course not, but a bad one will almost certainly ensure the reader will pass on the book. I personally create all my covers, partly because I am a control freak when it comes to the creative aspect of my books, but also because I really enjoy that part of the process. When I released my short story "Amnesia" as one of my first Smashwords titles I got nearly a thousand views on the first day. I was really proud of that cover, and I think it had a lot to do with the huge volume of interest.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I enjoy a good story. Often, I look for a mystery of some sort, not a pure crime mystery, but a nice suspenseful thriller where you are trying to figure out where it is headed, and usually can't until the end. But my favorite pieces are ones that construct a world that I can connect with. These five works have not always been on this list for me, but for now they are.
1. Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain) - I discovered this book when I was young. Mark Twain is still one of my favorite authors. From the scheming young boy, conning a bunch of boys into white washing his aunt's picket fence to the story line of a boy's first crush on the vulnerable young Becky Thatcher to the ultimate villain, Injun Joe, the story grabbed me from the start to the very end. You can't go wrong with this literary classic
2. Stone Cold (David Baldacci) - This was the first story in the Oliver Stone series that I picked up and I found it quite enjoyable. I love a good suspenseful thriller and this is one of my favorites..Baldacci is an easy read, very fluid and he created a great story in this book. If you like a good conspiracy plot I highly recommend this one.
3. Five Skies (Ron Carlson) - This story is a great story about three men working on a remote construction project for one summer. Nothing much happens for 95% of the book as far as plot advancement goes, but it's a great character study watching these characters explore themselves and each other. Carlson does a great job with the imagery of the scene and the internal struggles of these three compelling characters.
4. The Last Oracle (James Rollins) - I came in late to this series (Sigma Force) but the prior stories were not required reading for this novel. Rollins creates an intricate plot, where fringe science meets the mystery of the untapped human potential. It's an excellent thrill-a-minute page turner. This genre more or less encapsulates my sweet spot for storytelling. I love sci-fi, emphasis on the fi, not the sci, sci-fi light if you want to call it that. Plus as I explained earlier, I gravitate towards the suspsense/thriller. This one has the perfect blend for me. I think I may read this one again, this weekend.
5. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) - My wife and son read this book and suggested I give it a try despite its YA target audience. I'm so glad I read it. I really loved the surreal world created by Collins, with the compelling and unimaginable cruelty of the Hunger Games at its center. Katniss Everdeen has all the quintessential characteristics that make for the perfect heroine. This is easily my favorite read in the past five years.
A man finds himself along a narrow stretch of highway unsure of his destination. He ponders his life's journey as he considers this one, whether to continue towards the unknown or return to the familiar despite the obvious pain associated with the only place he knows as home.
When Chief Auditor, Paul Reynolds, uncovers a massive embezzlement scam involving thousands of disappearing high end cyborg units he discovers a trail of evidence leading straight to himself and must quickly uncover the truth before he is implicated for a crime he did not commit.
A man wakes up in a strange place with no knowledge of how he got there or who he is when a mysterious woman enters the scene and his life. Armed with nothing but his own intuition and a mysterious package to guide him he must make a crucial decision that will change his world and that of his new acquaintance forever.
Foundry McDermott is at the top of his world when the revelations of a dear uncle shake his perception of reality to the very core. A mysterious book and a simple equation transform a seemingly ordinary afternoon into the critical turning point in his life.
John Corning is conflicted about his feelings for the new work force represented by Kalini, an entry level immigrant contract worker. His world has long since been up ended by their presence, but his reluctance to fully accept them is challenged one evening by chance circumstance.
A man burdened with an image he can never forget seeks out the person whose chance encounter turned him into the cynical person he is today. Plagued by the image of the man found standing over the body of his mother, he hopes to fill the emptiness inside with a confrontation he has avoided for years.
Blue Haired Alien Girlfriend
on Nov. 18, 2012
There were parts of Carroll's writing style I really enjoyed and parts I found to be a little too cheesy even though most of those instances he called out himself. I wasn't as sold on the story itself as much as all the other reviewers but I would definitely read more from this author.
on Dec. 31, 2012
I found the story concept very fascinating, but I could see the tech jargon getting in the way of some readers. Overall a great read.