Local author sees success from first book

James Hershey Jr.

Within months of publishing his first book, “I Am Legion,” James Hershey Jr., of Strasburg, already has a radio play adaptation in the works.

The horror book tells the modern story of two murderers and their encounter with Legion, a demon Hershey drew from stories in the New Testament.

Hershey self-published the book on Kindle and in paperback on March 23 and has done all of the marketing himself through social media. He said favorable reviews and word of mouth have promoted “I Am Legion” well enough for a 2016 Indie Book Award nomination.

Composer and HOH Audio producer John Carl Toth discovered “I Am Legion” through a Facebook group he and Hershey were both part of. He said he knew from previewing the book that it would make a good radio play and would fit the tab for HOH Audio’s focus on horror and sci-fi novels.

“I was thinking, ‘this would be a pretty good radio play too,'” he said. “We’re always trying to get new material, of course.”

He contacted Hershey through Facebook, citing his credentials and proposing his idea for the radio play. Hershey said he was thrilled by the idea of an adaptation so soon after the release of his first published book.

“The audioplay stuff was kind of neat because it reminded me of old radio shows that people used to listen to before there was TV,” he said.

In the same vein of horror writer Stephen King’s works and adaptations, Hershey said he hopes to have “I Am Legion” adapted into film and other transformative media.

“You’re experiencing the book, you’re living the book, you’re in the book,” he said. “I think that’ll translate really well on film.”

Toth said HOH Audio has “I Am Legion” on its queue of stories to adapt behind about four other similar projects. He estimates that after adapting the large story into around 20 22-minute episodes, recording for the project will begin in January and HOH Audio will release the first three episodes around June 2016.

With producers, voice actors and mixers scattered around the world, Toth said the radio play adaptation is a slow but rewarding process for all involved.

“The biggest bottleneck is to get our scriptwriters to do the adaptation,” he said.

Having recently finished writing his second book titled “Call Of The Wind Spirits,” Hershey is in the editing process and hopes to publish it sometime before Halloween. He said the process for writing it didn’t take as long as he thought it would, and his wife helped him create the cover.

“I Am Legion” is a print on demand book that Hershey sells through Amazon, on Kindle and through certain Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble outlets. He said he has tried to set up book signing events through chain bookstores but hasn’t made any headway thus far.

Although he said he isn’t a “sequel kind of guy,” he has started to envision scenes for a “I Am Legion” part two. He said he has around 30 books contained within the notebooks he keeps of the scenes in his dreams, and he plans on continuing to scribe them into published works.

“If it goes the way it has been going with the response, it’s going to be pretty cool,” he said. “Ultimately, I would like to write books that people love and sell millions of them.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com