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……
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!
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!).
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Writing is lonely work.