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Brian Moreland’s The Vagrants Tugs at My Heart Strings, Makes My Pulse Race, and then Horrifies Me: This is Good, Of Course!

Vagrants cover 2

Talking about The Vagrants, New Novella from Brian Moreland~

I’ve been so busy that I’ve held off talking about a new exciting release called The Vagrants, even though I read it weeks ago, but I just can’t keep it in anymore. I had the chance to read an advanced review copy of this novella and gobbled it down in one sitting. I hope launch day found you all buying it, but if you haven’t, please do snap up this novella from Brian Moreland.  It’s a great piece of writing, available in e-format, for just about $3. (You can head to Brian’s website by clicking on the book cover above right now, just remember to come back).

Here’s the synopsis~

Beneath the city of Boston evil is gathering.

Journalist Daniel Finley is determined to save the impoverished of the world. But the abandoned part of humanity has a dark side too. While living under a bridge with the homeless for six months, Daniel witnessed something terrifying. Something that nearly cost him his sanity.

Now, two years later, he’s published a book that exposes a deadly underground cult and its charismatic leader. And Daniel fears the vagrants are after him because of it. At the same time, his father is being terrorized by vicious mobsters. As he desperately tries to help his father, Daniel gets caught up in the middle of a war between the Irish-American mafia and a deranged cult of homeless people who are preparing to shed blood on the streets of Boston.

Brian’s a great friend of mine, but he’s a great writer first and foremost. I would not have met him had I not been his biggest fan girl and all–and then there was the fact that he was hooked on my cookies!! There isn’t a book I haven’t liked from Brian–he’s a seasoned writer who has been traditionally published, re-published, is an internationally award-winning author and videographer, and he’s been around the writing world awhile even topping best seller lists.  If you haven’t heard that, it’s because he’s pretty humble, but really this guy is one-of-a-kind.  Now published primarily by Samhain Publishing’s horror line, they released his novella The Vagrants this June.

I said to Brian a year or so ago, “you know, all your books take place in the woods.” Which too me was awesome–I love horror, thrillers, and historicals that take place in the forest–but he may have not wanted to be pigeonholed I guess. I love his historical reads, like Shadows in the Mist, which takes on the Nazi Occult, or my favorite book Dead of Winter, which surrounds a 1800s outpost in the Canadian wilderness. I love The Devil’s Woods, which I had the honor of helping him critique, with its Native American characters, legends, and of course, the woods. Being a huge fan of witches, he even pulled me in with his novella, The Witching House, which again, takes place in a wooded area.

But he decided to switch it up on me with The Vagrants, as he sets it in none other than my favorite city, Boston, but nowhere near a forest!! As I’m reading he’s taking me into the depth of the city, the tunnels and the abandoned factories, and he’s making me care about the writer in turmoil, and the homeless, and terrifying me about the Irish Mafia. Yet, STILL I loved it.

Here’s why. (Well, besides the fact that it’s BOSTON).  No matter the setting with Brian, woods or city, he has a unique way of blending modern protagonists and characters who are emotionally wretched, uncertain, and have something to prove or redeem themselves from. As he sets into motion their inner turmoil and creates a whole back story that we enjoy just for that emotional connection with them.

His prose is succinct, detailed yet to the point, quick-moving, and cinematic. His protagonist, author and journalist Daniel Finley, is well-rounded and I feel I know him within the matter of a few chapters. We almost forget we are reading a horror novel, but are enjoying a thriller with some suspense…..and then BAM! He just blows it out of the water with a major dose of action, horror, gore, and in this case, supernatural with an element of H. P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker with a dose of The Walking Dead thrown in for good measure. And since I hate the genre that The Walking Dead falls in, Brian does a good job of making me love something I forget that I don’t like. He makes me care and then horrifies me in a way that hypnotizes me so I can’t begin to pull myself away.

The Vagrants tore at my heart-strings due to Daniel’s angst over making it as a writer and his career near and dear to my heart (journalist!), the guilt he feels from depending on his dad for his college and his subsequent financial support, his fight to redeem the name and life of his dad who went to extreme lengths to support him, and then, of course, there is the tale of the homeless living in the city’s tunnels and a strange occurrence happening among them that Daniel goes undercover to report on.

The Vagrants is a phenomenal novella that intermixes all the best short story ideas of Stephen King’s societal yarns, focusing on character development, and yet writing with more staccato prose and less filler such as the master suspense author John Saul and the imaginary, subterranean, otherworldly, monsteresque, cannibalistic, supernatural writing of Clive Barker.

If you haven’t read Brian Moreland, start now with The Vagrants, but don’t stop there, check out his entire back list. They’re well worth the money and are all unique and highly well-written and edited. He’s a top-notch author you’ll not want to miss, whether you meet him in the woods or below the city streets of Boston.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW~

And now, I’ve had the opportunity to ask Brian a few probing questions about his newest work. He said that he’s unveiled some things here about his life and his book that he hasn’t anywhere else! I think my questions offer some insight you’ll enjoy and his answers allow you to delve deeper into the book as I did when I laid awake thinking about it at length. Please do let us know what you think!

So without further introduction, as he’s sitting here with a smile on his face and a beer in his hand…and he’s already spied all the cookies I set out, though he won’t eat them now, he’s been to the gym and drank a green smoothie, but it’s so much fun to tempt him…at any rate, I welcome Brian to the site today!

Erin: Hi, Brian!! Let me get you a napkin for those cookie crumbs, because I think I saw you sneak one. Let’s turn off the baseball and get down to a discussion of your work.

BM: Hi, Erin, it’s great to be back as a guest of Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m trying to eat healthy,  you  know!

Q: Where did you find your inspiration for The Vagrants? What led you to Boston, one of my most favorite cities?

BM: The Vagrants started out as a short story I wrote many years ago when I was writing a lot of short fiction. The story was originally set in Chicago about some mobsters having to get rid of some vagrants that were squatting in their building. Last year, I re-read the story and liked the dark mystery. I moved the story to Boston, because I wanted the horror element to come from an abandoned underground subway and the Boston’s T has plenty of creepy tunnels that have been closed off for decades. I created a new main character, Daniel Finley, and made him a reporter who was doing an undercover story and witnessed something he shouldn’t have. The new, revised version was supposed to be just a short story, but the more I kept writing, the more I saw a bigger story and expanded it into a novella.

Q: I loved that you chose a journalist to be your lead. It’s always a fear of ours, as journalists, that a story will lead us into horrible circumstances…kidding!! Well, maybe not as I at first wanted to be a foreign war correspondent! But I do like how you used this profession for your protagonist. Your book had some social undertones at the start, was this meant to layer your book? I always think some of the best horror interweaves societal turmoil. What do you think?

BM: Yes, the social undertones were meant to add a layer to the story and make Daniel Finley a sympathetic character as he starts out attempting to do something good for humanity. Also, I’ve had my own experiences with homeless people. There used to be a shanty town beneath a bridge here in Dallas. I don’t know what happened to the shanty town or the people who lived under the bridge, but it looks like the city made them move on and then cleaned up that area. Another time I was helping out a homeless married couple. I offered to just give them some money so they could get back on their feet, but they were very proud. The husband was an ex-soldier and a very good handyman. He had hit hard times and couldn’t find a job. His wife was a housewife and mother of two kids. The husband insisted that he and his wife work for the money, so for a couple months I gave them odd jobs at my house. In the mornings, I’d pick them up at this slum motel they were staying at. One morning, while I parked outside waiting for them, I saw this tall homeless man emerge from beneath a nearby bridge. He crossed through a weed-ridden field toward the motel. At first, I just casually watched the man hiking through the weeds and then turned my attention back on the upstairs apartment door. The married couple was taking longer than usual to get ready. When I turned back to the field, I was shocked to see the homeless man approaching my vehicle, reaching for the passenger door. Before I could hit the locks, the passenger door opened and the homeless man climbed inside and sat right beside me and closed the door. He was bigger than me, sweaty and filthy. He just looked right at me with this crazy grin and said, “Hey.” My fear of being attacked at close range skyrocketed. I panicked and yelled, “What the bleep are you doing in my car? Get the bleep out!” I think I scared him as much as he scared me, because he opened the car door and was out of the vehicle in half a second. I believe in treating homeless people with respect and helping them out when I can, but when they climb into a car with you that crosses a line. A few minutes later the married couple came down to my car and told me that guy was crazy and I did the right thing. Those up-close experiences with homeless people influenced the writing of Daniel Finley’s story.

In answer to your question, yes, if you look between the words of a horror novel, there is often a social message or warning. I didn’t write my story to purposely have one. I mainly focused on characterization and writing a horror story that would entertain readers.

Erin: Leave it to me to find more in a story than what was planned…..lol!

Q: I enjoyed how you intertwined the modern crime and mafia feel into the surreal world of the unknown. How did this come together as you were writing it?

BM: As I mentioned earlier, this story started from the viewpoint of a mafia family dealing with a problem with vagrants. I had liked mixing the mobster genre with horror, but my characters were all bad guys in the short story. I needed a hero readers could root for, so I created Daniel, a man who grew up in South Boston and has a father who did his best to keep Daniel away from the O’Malley family. Connecting Daniel with the O’Malley’s and the vagrants took a little puzzle solving to work out the plot, but eventually the story came together.

Q: You packed a lot of substance into a short novella so that it read like a full novel. Your character development of your lead, Daniel, was superb and you were able to show us the human elements of parental struggles, regret, guilt, and the need for redemption. Where do you pull your feelings from for these characters? Do you feel that these common emotional themes are what drives people to reading horror?

BM: Thanks. I did my best to add depth to a story that’s just over 100 pages. It’s about the length of a 90-minute movie, and to accomplish building the story with many layers, I wrote this in scenes, just like a movie with lots of dialogue, and painted the world around Daniel with as few words as possible and kept the action moving. I pulled my feelings for Daniel and his father from my own experiences. My parents helped me financially through college, and even after college I got into some financial troubles and had to borrow money from my dad. For a long time I felt guilt for not being able to pay him back. He never gave me a guilt trip, but I could relate to Daniel’s need to be financially independent and prove to his father that he was a man who could make it on his own.

Q: How can horror be explained to those naysayers of this “red-headed step-child” genre? How can readers and writers of the genre encourage others to be open minded and not “judge a book by its cover” or in other words, have preconceived notions?

BM: Well, first I’d say that the naysayers probably think reading a horror novel is the same as watching a horror movie, which many of the straight-to-DVD movies are terrible and derivative of all the horror movies that came before them. Reading horror fiction is an entirely different experience. For one, it’s very personal to the author, and so there’s usually more emotional depth than a movie. Two, reading gives the reader a much more personal experience, where everything is happening to them through the points-of-view of characters. It’s one thing to watch people being chased by zombies on the big screen. It feels much more real when you’re inside a character and the zombies are chasing after you. There are many great authors out there putting a fresh spin on horror. I’d say read several of them and you’ll discover reading horror can be really fun.

Q: Now that I’ve read all your books, I have a more clear idea of a theme running among some of them. It creeped up on me. There is a certain type of horror I hate (which I think you know what that is), but yet, you keep surprising me with it. It seeps into my reading without me even realizing it and then there is no going back. So I do like it, just don’t let me know in the beginning. Ha!

How do you create your stories in such a way that by the time the ending has smacked me in the face, I am shocked and surprised that I am reading it AND liking it? How do you get the reader so invested?

BM: Thanks, I’ll take that as a compliment. (Erin comments: PLEASE DO!!) I do my best to write the kind of horror that seeps into your brain, gets under your skin, and makes you feel what the characters are feeling. The main key is characterization. If readers aren’t invested in the characters, they won’t follow them into the dark house or abandoned building where the horror is waiting for them. I think another technique is knowing how to write a mystery and peeling back the layers slowly, so the reader is constantly wanting to know what’s at the end of maze you’re leading them through. If I’ve done my job right, then you’ll be feeling chills and thrills and finally an adrenaline rush, and that’s what makes you surprised that you are enjoying the story, even when it gets scary and bloody. I’m glad you’ve been willing to read my kind of horror.

Q: Have you ever thought about writing a novel about a fantasy world? Another realm? Science-fiction? It seems to me that your mind would take you there if you were open enough to it?

BM: I don’t know if I’ll ever write a story that’s pure fantasy. I love real-world, human characters who must confront the supernatural and horrific. I like part of my stories grounded in reality and then we discover another, darker parallel world has secretly existed alongside us―underground, in basements, hiding among us yet disguised as human. The Vagrants, which is art horror, part urban fantasy, was inspired by my love for reading Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft, who are masters at creating other dimension creatures that crossover into our world.

Q: What makes some of your horror different from anyone else’s work? I have my own thoughts, but I’d love to hear how you think you connect separately with readers?

BM: Hmm, I’m not really sure what makes me different. I’ve never really thought of my writing as unique, just doing my best to measure up to the successful horror-thriller writers who came before me. I mix a lot of genres and often have more than one horror element going on, like a creature and serial killer in the same story. I learned this from reading a lot of Dean Koontz. I love characters with depth, so I spend a lot of time developing my characters so readers care about them. I also put a lot of emphasis on atmosphere, so that wherever I set the story, you feel like you are there. I’m very lean with my descriptions. Because I studied screenwriting in college, I’ve applied my script writing skills to my novels, where each chapter flows together like movies scenes. They are driven by action and dialogue, cause and effect. The characters are driven by an emotional force that propels them to deal with whatever horrific antagonist they are up against, whether it’s a monster, serial killer, demon or ghost. I don’t spend a lot of time contemplating the universe or preaching my ideals. In fact, I do my best to take myself out of the story. I focus on story and attempt to breathe life into fictional characters that feel like real people. My writing style would probably be considered pulp fiction.

Q: What are you writing next? What new ideas do you have for future novels and novellas?

BM: I’m currently working on a three-volume short story anthology that’s a collection of short stories I’ve written over the years, along with some new ones that I can’t wait to share with readers. The stories range from supernatural horror, like “The Dealer of Needs,” some urban fantasy such as “Chasing the Dragon” and “The Cosmic Gate,” as well as some stories about serial killers, “The Pond” and “The Jack-O-Lantern Man.” I’m also working on some historical horror short stories, as well. I plan to release these three volumes as eBooks and in paperback. I’m also plotting out my next novella and novel.

Erin: Thanks so much for letting me, and my readers, be privy to your innermost thoughts as a writer. It’s always a wonderful time when I have you here.

BM: Thanks, Erin, for inviting me back. I always enjoy chatting with you.

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See an excerpt of The Vagrants, HERE!

Brian Moreland, Author~

brian 2014Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of supernatural horror and dark suspense. His books include Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House, and The Devil’s Woods, and The Vagrants.

Brian lives in Dallas, Texas, where he is diligently writing his next horror stories, and helping clients with their own books. In his free time, he watches movies, sports, and make guacamole!

Connect with Brian Moreland~

Website

Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Like Brian’s Facebook page

Brian’s blog

Find Brian’s books at Samhain Horror

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Praise for Brian~

“Brian Moreland writes a blend of survival horror and occult mystery that I find impossible to resist.  His writing is clean, precise, and, best of all, compulsively readable.  I know, when I’ve got one of his books in my hands, that I’m going to be lost to the world for hours on end. He’s just that good.”

Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Flesh Eaters

“Brian Moreland writes horror on a level that soars above the usual fare, and THE VAGRANTS is no exception. Chocked full of scares and suspense, Moreland delivers a tale that will soon be a classic. This is the kind of story horror lovers need.”

Kristopher Rufty, author of Oak Hollow and The Lurkers

“I am in awe of Brian Moreland.”

Ronald Malfi, author of Snow and Floating Staircase

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Filed under Book Reviews, Q and A with Authors

Aaron Dries: Author, Filmmaker, Artist! Meet at Virtual Party for Release of A Place for Sinners

It’s the new wave!! Virtual parties!! For an author, it lets them reach all their friends and fans internationally!! How cool is that to be able to party across the miles??

In this upcoming case, for instance, of award winning horror author Aaron Dries who is from Australia, we all can’t pile in a car, a plane, a boat, and well….go for a two hour book signing party can we? We could, but that might get rather expensive.

So, we’ve got a fun VIRTUAL party you can drop by for on Hook of a Book Facebook page to help congratulate and celebrate Aaron’s new release from Samhain Horror, A Place for Sinners! We’ve got some books and an original piece of Aaron’s artwork to giveaway also, courtesy of Aaron. THANKS AARON!!

Here is the awesome cover, isn’t is gorgeous? Don’t be fooled, the book is SCARY and will leave breathless.

A Place for Sinners

You can read more about Aaron and his new book after the party details…..

DETAILS ABOUT PARTY

The virtual party sponsored by Hook of a Book (www.facebook.com/HookofaBook) page takes place on the actual wall of the Facebook page (not on the invite wall if you have a FB invite) from 9-11 p.m. US EST or 1 p.m. Australian time. The cool thing is that we’ll be talking across two days….I’d come just to say you accomplished being in Friday and Saturday at the same time….though you’ll leave which much more, like getting to know Aaron!

Attendees are able to ask Aaron any questions they want by PRE-ASKING or asking during the party via an email submission which will then be posted by the moderator to the Hook of a Book wall. Attendees can see questions answered and be able to comment.

Aaron is a wealth of knowledge on books, TV, film, art…..you genuinely don’t want to miss this chance to pick his brain. You’ll learn a lot and get some great opinions!

HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS

Please pre-ask questions using email listed below or Erin will also take limited questions during the party which will go in a queue to be asked in order received. Email Erin at hookofabook@hotmail.com (subject: Dries question). Again, emailing a question enters you or you can email just to enter to win.

The night of the event you can also inbox message Erin Al-Mehairi on the Hook of a Book Facebook page (below) if you can’t email and it will go into the queue.

Please, NO attendees should post questions to the wall of the party just because it gets too confusing. If questions appear on the wall, Erin will put in to the queue and then re-post the question as a status. Authors won’t answer those, but will wait for them to be re-posted and then answer. However, you can post to the wall to say congratulations and authors can comment on that too.

GIVEAWAY

We’re giving away some books too! Copies of choice of his books in e-format will be up for grabs. All that ask questions will have a chance to win or you can email to enter!

For the grandprize, the award is a signed paperback copy from Australia PLUS his original black and white artwork piece he drew for A Place for Sinners. That is a HUGE prize, right??!!

ARTWORK GIVEAWAY

The giveaway of the original painting created by Aaron, which is titled “They Closed In,” can be seen at the link. It’s black and white watercolors on paper. It depicts a scene from the first chapter of the book. See all his promo art for the book at the link…

http://www.aarondries.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=189540354

“Amity was trapped, her back flat against the cave wall. The dogs glared at her with candle-flame eyes, flickering with the potential to burn and cause pain. The dogs had claimed her as their own. Coveted her. Her blood was a sweetness they found favorable, and they were desperate for more.” – A PLACE FOR SINNERS by Aaron Dries

REFRESH YOUR BROWSER!

Please remember that refreshing your browser is very important to see all questions and answers ongoing during the event. Also remember to be patient. The moderator, Erin, is constantly working in the background and will be taking your emails, inbox messages, posting questions, and monitoring the party all at once.

You can RSVP or see more about the event here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/629992483758374/

You also have to “like” the Hook of a Book page here: www.facebook.com/HookofaBook

About Hook of Book Facebook Page

Like the Hook of a Book Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HookofaBook! We post reviews and interviews from this site there, but it also gives us the opportunity to talk books with you more, feature upcoming covers and releases, post free or discounted books, discuss literature, and showcase books we have on list to review.

Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Blog is an extension of Hook of a Book Services of Addison’s Compass Public Relations. We do book publicity, editing, proofreading, developmental consulting, media relations, press releases, and more.

A PLACE FOR SINNERS, SYNOPSIS

A Place for SinnersSometimes, survival is a sin.

Amity Collins has been deaf since she was seven. That was the day the wild dogs attacked, fighting for her bones. The day her father died. This trip to Thailand is exactly what Amity and her brother, Caleb, need—freedom… As their boat slits through saltwater, Amity, Caleb and the other passengers are having the time of their lives. They watch the island emerge on the horizon. Its trees twitch, as though impatient or hungry. Within its shadows, secrets best kept hidden will be unearthed. Sacrifices will be made. Terror will reach out to grasp Amity, as real and frightening as what’s lurking in the dark.

AARON DRIES, BIOGRAPHY

Aaron 1In 1984, Wes Craven unleashed Freddy Krueger on the world. That year also saw lonely children riding Luck Dragons in “The Neverending Story. And somewhere between these two pop culture events, there was the (relatively) unnoticed birth of a ginger-haired child. Aaron Dries.

Raised in a small New South Wales town in Australia, the former video store clerk, pizza delivery boy, retail specialist, aged-care nurse, document scanner, video editor, commissioned artist and amateur filmmaker always had a strong interest in creating stories. Were it hand-drawn X-Files comic books or home-made movies starring himself and his family (the best of which had Aaron running over a friend with a lawnmower, followed closely by a remake of “Scream” starring his brother as Drew Barrymore), there was always something in the works.

Aaron graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Communication under his wing, majoring in creative writing and video production. As a filmmaker, he won a number of awards for his short films at home and abroad, including Best Film at the Newcastle Film Festival for “Placebo,” coinciding with the publication of his earliest stories in literary magazines.

His first novel, HOUSE OF SIGHS was originally written under the title “Disunity” for the Leisure Books / Rue Morgue/ Chizine Publications FRESH BLOOD Contest. The premise of the novel stemmed back to a local murder that took place in Aaron’s adolescence. A mother on his pizza delivery route shot and murdered her husband and children before turning the gun upon herself. As was the case with everyone who read about the incident, Aaron’s mind churned with questions of morality. Why do bad things happen to good people? What is the origin of evil? What makes apparently sane people do insane acts? These questions would become the genesis for HOUSE OF SIGHS some years later.

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When he is not writing, Aaron Dries is thinking about writing, or upcoming film projects. He is also an avid traveler. The first draft of his debut was written over a three month period on a borrowed semi-functional laptop whilst living in overseas hostels.

People often ask Aaron, “Why horror? Why aim to terrify and disturb people?”

To this he has very little justification. “I guess I write horror because it pays better than jumping out from behind doors and scaring people- although I’ve got no plans to stop doing this either.” Aaron’s second book was the highly-acclaimed THE FALLEN BOYS, which was voted as one of the Best Horror Novels of 2013 by Fearnet.com, alongside works by Stephen King and Joe Hill. Also available is AND THE NIGHT GROWLED BACK, a disturbing novella set in the Icelandic wilderness. His third novel is A PLACE FOR SINNERS, which is garnering glowing praise.

Drop Aaron a line at www.aarondries.com. He won’t bite. Much.

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BOOK TRAILERS

Here is the link to his Youtube channel, which is where all of his book trailers and multimedia are kept. AND THEY ARE AWESOME!!!
http://www.youtube.com/user/aarondriesdisunity/videos

BUY LINKS

Samhain store Aaron Dries purchase link: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/aaron-dries-pa-1699.html

Get on discount in e-book and paperback for limited time!

Amazon author page with purchase links: http://www.amazon.com/Aaron-Dries/e/B008GXNU64

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Filed under Book Parties

One Killer Interview with Author Hunter Shea, Master of the Paranormal Horror

Today on the site we have one of my most favorite authors ever–the never elusive, extremely funny, and all around great guy Hunter Shea!!! Let’s see how much he tries to scare our socks off this time. He told me he has revealed more in this interview than anywhere before…..and I’m kicking myself for not asking him even MORE questions! If you like paranormal, creepy, horror, and the like, then you’ll want to check out what Shea has to say.

Or maybe start with a kiss……

Hunter kissing a skull

Hi, Hunter! So happy to have you stop by the blog today so I can infiltrate your monster of a mind. 🙂 One of my favorite times on the blog is when you are hanging out…

Hunter: Thanks Erin. Glad to see you lifted the restraining order so I can come around again. I’ve tried to stir up all the cranial beasties and spirits, just for you!

Erin: You sure know how to rub a girl the right way….! I’m anxious to ask you some questions to let readers get to know you and your writing better, as well as catch up on your news for 2013!

Q: When did you first start writing? Have you always had a love affair with the pen?

A: I started writing with the aim of doing more than just killing time in the mid 1990’s. I was in a dead end job and my friend Norm who sat next to me was working on a book whenever he had some down time in the office. I was going through a tough time and Norm both inspired and coached me along the way. I thank him every chance I get (and dedicated my book, Swamp Monster Massacre to him). As a kid and a teen I used to write zombie poems and dystopian stories littered with tough guys who said inane things and battled creatures. Then college came and writing only became something you did to get a good grade on a paper…or writing flyers for wing night or free keg. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties when the bug burrowed under my skin and became a passion. And boy, it only grows with each passing year.

Erin Comments: “My friend Norm” sounds like a Cheers episode. Boy am I glad your friend Norm was writing novels and not just tipping back beers. Otherwise you’d be a drunk not an author….lol! Now I’m wondering what happened to Norm and if he published anything….

Q:  Your writing is pretty polished. You have a nice tone to your writing voice. How did you perfect this over the years?

A: Now you’re making me blush. Lots of practice, trial and colossal error. I didn’t even attempt writing a novel in my favorite genre, horror, until I’d been working on short stories and novels in other genres for almost 8 years. My very first full length book was a romantic comedy, of all things, but the voice wasn’t quite mine. It was hard getting the voices in my head to translate onto the page. I realized early on that everything I was writing was not solid gold. I have a vampire novella in a file that induces nausea quicker than a shot of Ipecac. I learned from my mistakes on that one and moved on to another that was slightly less horrible. I just kept at it until I was comfortable with my voice and style.

Erin Comments: Would love to see a vampire novel from you! And I can see why’d you write comedy, you’re so funny.

Q: Where do you come up with all the evil stories you churn out? What gives you inspiration?

A: I was raised a good Irish Catholic altar boy. I know evil when I see it! I thank God that my father let me watch horror and sci-fi flicks from day one on this big blue marble. We had a drive-in theater by our house so I got to see all these wonderfully awful B movie monster and biker flicks. We had Chiller Theatre on TV and this new writer called Stephen King giving everyone nightmares. I’ve loved horror for as long as I can remember and I was blessed with an overactive imagination. Now I get to put it to work!

Erin Comments: It’s always those preacher kid and good little altar boys isn’t it? Ha!

forest of shadows

Q:  When following a creative lead, how do you write? Outline first or just write what comes into your head?

A: I’ve heard other writers talk about their process and I guess I fall into the ‘organic’ category. I despise outlines. I did too many of them in school. Whenever I think of doing one, I get the feeling there’s an angry Brother behind me tapping a ruler in the palm of his hand. I develop a basic idea for a novel and kind of let my subconscious turn it around for a few months. If I still want to do it months later, I’ll start research (on locations or events or people), then pick a day to sit my ass down and start typing. I let the story kind of write itself and I’m always surprised by how my novels and characters end up. It’s pretty cool. Kind of like a medium and automatic writing, except it’s just the dark recesses of my demented brain doing all the heavy work.

Erin Comments: Knowing you, I am determined you just press your finger to the screen and say download. I don’t know how you write so fast….but glad you do.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?  Who inspires you? I think you are unique in your writing style, an original. Would you say so, or are you compared to any certain novelists in how you approach your stories?

A: I’m sure there are bits of every author I admire in my work. I do make a conscious effort to not sound like anyone else, but it’s hard to keep all your influences and loves at bay. I re-read several Hemingway books every year. If you want to learn brevity and the power of words, you have to study him. For horror, aside from the master, King, I’ve devoured everything by Robert McCammon, Brian Keene, Richard Matheson and Bentley Little. Oh, and I can’t forget my pal Norm Hendricks.

Q:  I know you are a huge video and film buff. What are some of your favorite all-time movies? Why?

A: Me likey movies. Hell, I started the Monster Men podcast with my bud Jack Campisi because we both loved scary movies so much. For my money, Alien is the best horror and the best sci-fi movie of all time. I mean, holy cow. There is nothing scarier than that creature, especially when Dallas was going through the air ducts with the flame thrower and they can see the alien on the radar coming up on him and he can’t! I still get chills.

The Big Lebowski is my #1 favorite movie. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is funnier. The Hunter abides. I love Excalibur and its grandiose story, music and action. King Arthur kicks some serious ass. The Haunting (the original, not that abomination of a remake) is proof that you can make a terrifying ghost movie without special effects. Rosemary’s Baby is just plain creepy, as is The Sentinel. I could go on forever (and you can all see Jack and I pontificate at The Monster Men…and it’s all free!).

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Q:  What movies are you looking forward to this year?

A: I haven’t been too thrilled with movies the past few years. I really can’t think of anything I feel like I absolutely have to see in 2013. I’m sure something will come out of the blue and surprise me. Of course, I’ll watch anything with Salma Hayek. Hence my ponying up money to see Here Comes the Boom. I’m so shallow.

Erin Comments: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was awesome!!

Q:  What books are you looking forward to reading this year?

A: I have a whole wish list of books from other authors at Samhain that I can’t wait to dive into. I’m finally going to get around to reading NightWhere by John Everson. I hear it’s kinky and twisted. John is a super nice guy. Hard to imagine that coming from him…that is, until I went to one of his short story readings. He’s a sick puppy, alright! I also can’t wait to read The Narrows by Ron Malfi, another awesome dude and Tumor Fruit by bizarro master Carlton Mellick. Carlton is an acquired taste, but he hooks you like a drug. I’m also looking forward to reading The Lawgiver by Herman Wouk. My Amazon wish list is about 60 books long. I’m hoping to get through all of them this year.

Q:  How did you begin to take a turn with your writing in regards to being published or publishing your work?

A: I wrote my first horror novel, Forest of Shadows, with the intention of sending it to editor Don D’Auria who was at Dorchester/Leisure horror at the time. I was an avid fan of the entire Leisure line and wrote my book to make sure it fit in with the tone and style they were looking for, which was also the style I enjoyed writing. I submitted it only to Don and waited…for 3+ years. Then, out of the blue, I got an email from Don saying he wanted the book. For the first time in my life, I was speechless. Before I could sign the final contract, though, Dorchester went under. Luckily, Don signed up with Samhain a few months later and asked if I wanted to head up the new horror line. It’s all been wonderful since then.

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Q:  I know you set out for Evil Eternal to be a comic book.  Why do you describe it as such?  Do you still have hopes of it becoming drawn? 

A: I grew up loving comic books and have always wanted to write one. Evil Eternal is so over-the-top, so visual, so gory, I still hope we can get this in graphic comic form some day. It doesn’t read like anything else I’ve written. The characters are larger than life and dammit, they need to be drawn! 🙂

Erin Comments: Yes, it does and the cover is awesome. You can see my review HERE.

Q:  Have you written any other comic stories? Movie scripts? Tell us a little bit about what other writing you do besides on your novels.

A: Over the years I’ve written tons of stories in all genres except romance. I’ve never read a romance novel and I feel you can’t write something you have never read. Just a rule of mine. I also wrote a darkly comedic suspense novel back in 2000.

My one experience with script writing was, in hindsight, a funny disaster. A friend of mine met the head writer of a very, very popular crime show on network TV. He told him about my desire to be a writer and the guy asked me to write an episode of one of the top comedies on TV at the time. I spent 2 weeks watching every episode to get the characters, cadence and overall flavor down. Then I spent another 2 weeks writing and polishing the script. Turns out I did a good job, because the script was stolen by a staff writer and pitched to the producers. I didn’t get credit, but I did learn some valuable lessons about protecting my work, especially in a script/screenplay environment.  

Erin Comments: That sucks!! But glad you take it as a compliment.

Q:  Where is the best place for you to write? Do you make set times to do so, or try to do it wherever and whenever the muse strikes?

A: I have a corner of my bedroom that is my writing cave, but I’ve learned to write wherever I can. That could be in the kitchen, in the living room surrounded by my family, in libraries, my car, airports, hotels, you name it. When I’m knee deep in a project, I make sure I write at least 6 days a week and you can’t always do it in the place or the time you want, so you make do with what you have and where you are. You know what they say, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

Erin Comments: Remember the post about writing in the kitchen….read HERE.

Q:  I know you have a Monster Men podcast and I enjoy listening to some of them. How did this come about? Can you tell us more about it?

A: Jack Campisi and I worked together for many years and discovered that our childhoods intersected but we’d somehow never met. We have the same sensibilities, likes, and passion for movies and horror. We’d always said we should just do a show where we talk about the things we love, like watching us sit at the bar and debate the state of the zombie as a genre.

When my first book, Forest of Shadows, was picked up, Jack decided it was time we put our money where our mouths are so I could also use the show as a way to promote my books. This summer we’ll have been doing it for 2 years and it gets better and better (and funnier). We say we have a lighthearted approach to dark topics. I do think we take a unique angle when it comes to talking about movies, books and the paranormal. It’s all about having fun.

Erin Comments: JACK is the MAN!!

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Q: Tell us about your previous novels/novellas first, then let us know what is upcoming for you this year. What will be published?

A: My latest novella is Swamp Monster Massacre, a sweaty slog through Florida’s Everglades with a pack of vicious skunk apes on the trail of a group of shipwrecked tourists led by a crook named Rooster. It’s non-stop, relentless fun, and a chance for me to give some love to Bigfoot’s wet, smelly cousin. People have really taken to it and it’s my most successful book to date (as of January 2013).

In April, Samhain released my next novel, Sinister Entity, and a short story that precedes it, The Graveyard Speaks. Both are sequels to Forest of Shadows and center around a 19 year old ghost hunter with nerves of steel and unknown paranormal abilities of her own. She’s joined by the descendant of famed spiritualist D.D. Home and together they go up against angry poltergeists, malevolent spirits and the terrifying doppelganger of a young girl.

They’ve hit top selling lists on Samhain’s website and TGS has hit a top list on Amazon. The Graveyard Speaks is still free, for now, and introduces my ghost hunter. It takes the reader right into Sinister Entity and should give folks a chill or two up their spines.

Erin Comments:  You can read reviews of Forest of Shadows HERE, The Graveyard Speaks HERE, and Sinister Entity HERE.

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Q: What are you currently working on? What is on the horizon for Hunter Shea?

A: I started my next novel already, as a matter of fact and have a first draft done to turn in at the end of the month. I don’t want to give away much, but I will say it’s set in Wyoming in the early 1900s and Teddy Roosevelt will be a minor character. And no, he’s not hunting vampires or killing zombies. That’s already been done. It’s going to be a unique story with a lot of true history behind it. I also completed a novella that is based on the actual paranormal events my wife and I went through over a decade ago. More on that to come…

Erin Comments: I can’t wait, sounds amazing!

Q:  Your favorite movie snack?

A: Popcorn, without a doubt. I could eat the stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And theaters, don’t give me that pre-popped in a giant bag crap. Pop it fresh. It’s not that hard to do.

Erin Comments: Mine too, extra butter! It’s how I keep a nice round butt!

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Q:  How can readers and fans connect with you?

A: The best place to find me is on my web lair at www.huntershea.com. There you can read my blog, excerpts of my books, free short stories, every Monster Men podcast and more. You can find the Monster Men on our You Tube channel, Monster Men 13. I also have a Facebook fan page (Hunter Shea, of course) and you can follow me on Twitter at HunterShea1.

Erin:  Thanks so much for joining me. It was a lot of fun, as always, to talk to you.  You’re a great writer with a friendly side.  Your books scare me more than you do. *wink*

Hunter:  Thank you for having me. I love what you’ve done with the place. And sure, you say my books scare you more now. Wait till I visit and stay for a week. Then you’ll see. *wink*

Author Hunter Shea, Biography~

I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. I don’t just write about the paranormal. I actively seek out the things that scare the hell out of people and experience them for myself.

My novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre and Sinister Entity are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. I live with my family and untrainable cat close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with my partner in crime, Jack Campisi. Our show is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. We explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun.

Feel free to contact me any time at huntershea1@gmail.com. Writing is lonely work.

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