Monday, October 31, 2011

Interview with Author Martin Lastrapes

Happy Halloween, everyone! Today completes my October series of interviews with horror authors, and I have a special treat for horror fans with an up close ad personal interview with Martin Lastrapes, author of Inside the Outside.  Martin has written an outstanding debut novel that the girls over at Biblio Babes rated 10 out of 10. Read Cara's review. Read Kat's review.


Brian: Martin, your debut horror novel Inside the Outside is about a young woman who was born inside a cult of cannibals and escapes into the outside world. I just love the concept. Can you give us a few meaty morsels about the story and about how you decided to write about cannibals?

Martin: Well, the main character is Timber Marlow, a teenage girl who was born and raised in a cult up in the San Bernardino Mountains. Cannibalism is one of the core tenants of the cult’s belief system, so she grows up believing, among other things, that killing and eating people is normal. I liked the idea of writing a story about a sympathetic killer.

Brian: You’ve come up with an original character with Timber Marlow. I mean, by the time she’s 15, she’s already killed three men. Give us some background on how you came up with her character. Did you develop her from the beginning or did her multi-dimensions evolve over the course of writing the book?

Martin: The only thing I knew about Timber Marlow before I set out to write her story was she was a woman. I was fascinated with the idea of creating a female killer, since, historically, there aren’t a lot of female killers in literature. Other than that, she was basically a blank slate who developed organically along with the story itself.

Brian: Who is Timber’s main nemesis and why?

Martin: The primary nemesis that readers will probably connect with her is Daddy Marlow, the leader of the cult. He is a big, brutal man who does quite a few terrible things to Timber. But, more than any one character, I think Timber’s real nemesis is the cult itself and the tension that builds as it becomes clear she needs to get out.

Brian: Which do you create first … the plot or the characters?

Martin: Ideally, the plot comes first. For me, characters are there to serve the story and not the other way around. The best reading experiences I’ve had involve books with great narrative plots, so, naturally, those are the types I’ve books I want to write. That being said, once I’ve worked out the plot, I take great care in developing my characters, making them as real and interesting as possible.

Brian: What kind of research did you do? Did you visit any of the locations you wrote about or do it all from the Internet?

Martin: Most of the research I did was relegated towards the cannibal stuff. I tried to learn as much as I reasonably could about the human anatomy and what happens to a body after it dies. I also did quite a bit of research on sustainable living communities, as the cult in the book exists off the grid. As far as the locations went, I wrote mostly from memory, since I grew up around where the book takes place. I do the majority of my research with books. The Internet is great for little things, but, for the big ideas, books are the way to go.

Brian: How did a man who loves pizza and watches movies over and again get started writing fiction? And were you always drawn to horror thrillers or did you try your hand at other genres?

Martin: I wanted to be a screenwriter and I figured if I learned the fundamentals of prose fiction, I could then apply those lessons to screenwriting. But, as it turned out, I fell in love with fiction writing and never really went back to screenwriting. I’ve always loved horror movies, but I don’t actually read much horror fiction. I did, however, read a whole lot of Stephen King at one point in my life. As for writing, though, I think of myself as more of a literary author with a flair for the quirky and offbeat. So, if you would’ve told me a few years back that my first novel would be a horror story, I’d have thought you were crazy.

Brian: I also wanted to be a screenwriter and took screenwriting classes in college. I found the 120-page structure to be too limiting and felt more freedom writing prose, so I too turned to fiction writing as my main writing format. You studied at Cal State San Bernardino, achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a Master’s Degree in Composition. How did your studies mould your writing? And can you share a technique or two that you learned on how to write compelling fiction?

Martin: Because my B.A. focused on creative writing, it allowed me to just write, write, and write. And, more than that, I also got to workshop most of my writing, which was invaluable to my development. As far as my M.A., the best thing I took from that was how to do good research, which comes in very handy when working on a novel. One of the best, and most simple, lessons I learned about writing compelling fiction is to make sure every scene has some level of tension in it.

Brian: Writing novels takes discipline, and writers often spend long hours by themselves typing at a computer. The process can take several months to even years. How long did it take you to write your first novel? And how do you motivate yourself to write?

Martin: I spent roughly five years writing Inside the Outside. Generally speaking, I’m motivated to write simply because I love books and I love reading, so having the opportunity to contribute my own work to the literary world is just really cool. But, more importantly, I love writing and telling stories. Of course, to actually complete a novel, I think you have to be at least a little crazy, so there’s that as well.

Brian: What is your writing schedule like? Daily or when you can find the time?

Martin: In a perfect world, I would write daily, but it’s so hard to find time every day. If I’m in the middle of writing a chapter, I’ll usually stick with it for a few days in a row until it’s done. I tend to take breaks in between chapters, but I try not to stay away from a project for more than a few days. Even when I’m not working on my new book, I’m usually writing for my blog or working on the screenplay adaptation of Inside the Outside, so, in that sense, I guess I write every day.

Brian: What was the journey you took to getting your first novel published?

Martin: Well, the initial goal was to find a literary agent and go the traditional route. But, after a year or so of searching, I decided I would be better served to redirect my energy in a more productive way. That’s when I decided to publish the book myself. I started my own imprint, Cannibal Press, and went on from there. Being an independent publisher is a lot of work, but it’s very satisfying.

Brian: I also self-published my first novel. After many frustrations with trying to get an agent or publisher to even read my book, I finally decided to form my own publishing company and just get the book out there. In hind-sight, it was the right decision for me and I’ve already sold that novel to traditional publishers three times now. Do you have any advice you like to share for aspiring writers?

Martin: Read every day. Even when you don’t have time to write, you must make time to read. Not only does it help sharpen your craft, but you need to be intimately engaged in the world with which you want to live, so to speak. Beyond that, write what you love. Don’t attempt to pander to what you think the publishing world wants. As long as you write the best book you have in you, I can promise there will be an audience who can’t wait to read it.

Brian: What lessons did you learn from professional wrestling and was that from participating or watching as a spectator?

Martin: My lessons definitely came from being a big, big fan growing up. Professional wrestling taught me about narrative arcs and how to sustain a storyline, building it up and ending it with a satisfying climax and resolution. Of course, I didn’t realize I was learning these lessons at the time. I just knew I was enjoying the show.

Brian: If you were ever famous enough to be on Dancing with the Stars what three dances would you choose to win the trophy?

Martin: Hahaha! You’ve clearly done your research. The Jive, the Paso Doble, and the Tango.

Brian: I happened to take ballroom dancing myself and learned over 22 dances. My favorites are The East Coast Swing, Rumba, and Salsa. Let’s get back to talking horror. Describe your next novel project.

Martin: I’m currently working on a vampire novel. My goal, among other things, is to write novel that will appeal both to fans of the genre, but also to readers who assume they don’t like vampires. While it has elements of horror, it’s a much lighter book than Inside the Outside and I think it will definitely display the more quirky and offbeat side of my imagination. I’m definitely paying tribute too a lot of the classic vampire mythology that fans are familiar with, but I’m also adding my own wrinkles to it. I also have a few tricks up my sleeve that I’m pretty certain nobody has ever tried before. Also, professional wrestling plays an important role in the story.


Brian: Where can people find your books?

Martin: Inside the Outside is available in paperback and eBook on all major online retailers, including Amazon and BarnesandNoble.

Brian: Thanks, Martin. I've enjoyed having you as a guest. For readers looking for a fresh new look at horror, go to your favorite bookseller and purchase a copy of Inside the Outside.
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MARTIN LASTRAPES is an award-winning writer who grew up in the Inland Empire. He studied at Cal State San Bernardino, where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in English and a Master's Degree in Composition. Inside the Outside is his first novel. If you want to learn more, you can visit http://www.martinlastrapes.com/. You can also check out Martin’s Facebook and GoodReads pages, as well as follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Excerpt: The Dealer of Needs


For a limited time, from now until Halloween, you can read my horror short story "The Dealer of Needs" for free at my second blog THE CRYPT OF HORROR




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interview with Horror Author W.D. Gagliani

Brian: Continuing with my interview series for October, I'm thrilled to have werewolf author extraordinaire, W.D. Gagliani, as a guest on my blog. Hi, W.D., thanks for being here.

W.D.: Thanks for having me as a guest, Brian! There’s nothing I like better than talking horror fiction.

You’ve written a series of novels about a homicide cop, Nick Lupo, who happens to also be a werewolf. When I was growing up loving all things horror, werewolves were my favorite monster. I remember how much I wanted to have the powers to change into a wolf. You get to live out this fantasy through Nick Lupo. I always like to know how a horror writer’s mind ticks. Out of all the monsters you could write about, what had you gravitate toward werewolves? And how did you come up with the Nick Lupo character?

It’s hard to say where Dominic “Nick” Lupo came from specifically, but I’d say he’s the intersection of several strong influences and a desire to explore some autobiographical notes, as well as wanting to deal with a monster I’d loved since watching Universal movies as a kid. I was greatly influenced by Robert McCammon’s novel The Wolf’s Hour (even the title had an influence), in which a World War 2 spy is a werewolf. It made me realize that a protagonist werewolf could be something other than “the monster.”

I was also a huge Robert McCammon fan growing up, and The Wolf’s Hour was one of my favorites. I really like the concept of having a werewolf as the hero. What were some of your other influences?

Then later along came the syndicated TV show Forever Knight, about the homicide cop who is a vampire. On the surface my Wolf books might seem to owe a lot to that show, but really it was more the format. In FK, Knight was trying to become human by atoning for many past sins. As I built my protagonist’s character, I gave him sins to atone for, but they were more closely related to his youth, and growing up Italian-American, and learning to cope with his condition. If you think about it, a vampire cop has it all – he can fly, he has supernatural strength, he can hypnotize people into submission, or after letting them see his fangs… the only tough element he faces is getting on the night shift forever!

But when I started to see a cop who was a werewolf, he was a tortured soul for reasons different than the TV cop, and I saw that his condition actually would hamper his police duties. He can barely control his temper, or the Change. He’s still learning how to control the Beast. He has to leave his clothes somewhere. If he defends himself, he’s likely to leave a mess. Plus he can’t blend into an urban setting as a wolf nearly as easily as a vampire. He can’t hypnotize people. If he tries to wolf out for cop work, he’ll almost always have to explain himself (where he was, why his clothes are rumpled, etc.). It’s like the Clark Kent thing without all the perks of wearing the cape.

I’d also been a huge consumer of thrillers and crime novels since an early age, and about this time I had discovered people like David Morrell, F. Paul Wilson, and John Sandford. I kept thinking: place the werewolf in that kind of environment, like McCammon had done with the wartime espionage.

Lastly, I was always fascinated by Talbot’s tragic character in Universal’s “The Wolf Man,” and I wanted Lupo (whose name signaled his destiny) to be a tortured soul. Of course, the puberty metaphor was just starting to be explored in the genre, and I grabbed onto that, too, because I had an interesting and not always positive childhood – some of Nick Lupo’s reminiscences and flashbacks to his time as a kid parallel mine in some ways (not in all ways, of course). I started to “see” the major characters during a period in which I vacationed a lot in Northern Wisconsin’s heavily wooded landscape, and the pieces came together. The serial killer in Wolf’s Trap is also based on somebody, though very loosely. The rest was just shaping the clay into various shapes until it rang my bell.


Your fourth novel in the series, WOLF’S EDGE just released with Samhain Publishing’s new horror line this October. And your novel that kicked the series off, WOLF'S TRAP, will re-release through Samhain in March 2012. Tell us about what’s in store for Nick in this series.

 

Wolf’s Trap was always intended as a one-off novel. In an early draft, I actually killed Lupo at the end. An editor changed my mind! Trap went on to grab a Bram Stoker Award nomination in its small press version, which helped me finally land at Leisure Books – where I’d always wanted to be, based on all the great writers published by them, and based on the legendary editor, Don D’Auria, who had gathered them together. I had met Don at conventions, but his waiting list for getting a reading was huge… the award nomination, I believe, made my novel stand out just enough, and he took it for publication in 2006. It sold better than expected, and a sequel was requested in 2007. I was in the middle of another novel, so it took me some extra time, but Wolf’s Gambit was finished in 2009 and published in 2010.


The reason I mention all this is that when it was time to plot the sequel, I had nothing. Lupo faced down the serial killer and his hired minions in Trap, and there was nowhere for him to go… But then I got the title WolfsKlan in my head and it wouldn’t let go. What if there were other werewolves and they were militaristic, and somehow Lupo had to face this new danger while also facing a more standard opponent? Well, Don hated my title! But that was when I started the loose gambling connection with the rest of the titles (gambit, bluff, deal, and edge are all gambling terms). I’m a lifelong fan of the band the Alan Parsons Project, and their album The Turn of a Friendly Card had found its way into Wolf’s Trap along with a lot of other progressive rock I favored. Suddenly I had a series! Gambit did well, and Don was enthusiastic for another book – which was great because I’d started to drop a lot of hints that there was more to those rogue werewolf mercenaries (whose employer, Wolfpaw Security Services, was based loosely on Blackwater).

The thing was, Wolfpaw had more than just a few werewolves in its rank – it turned out it had a long and sordid history, too. Wolf’s Bluff almost wrote itself. I’d taken nine years to write Trap, maybe eight-nine months for Gambit, but now I was down to about seven months for Bluff. I realized that Gambit and Bluff had started a story they couldn’t contain. I knew a third book would have to finish the Wolfpaw arc – and Wolf’s Edge was born when Don gave it the go-ahead. The Dorchester/Leisure problems hit with a thud and… Wolf’s Edge was later reborn as a Samhain title, purchased for the second time by Don D’Auria, who is absolutely the best! Edge mostly concludes the loose Wolfpaw trilogy, though it also ends on something of a cliff-hanger. Probably more than you wanted to know, but it’s fascinating to me because the story arc seems to have spun itself, and I just wrote it down. Now I need to head in a different direction with the next Wolf book, but the ideas have been flowing…

With four books out, you must be super rich. Is writing your full-time job now or do you still have to work a day job? If so, how do you balance working for somebody else and writing as a second profession?

Ha ha ha! Excuse me, but I have to laugh so I can keep from crying. Neither is a pretty sight, believe me.

I don’t know many writers who can afford to write full-time. I’m definitely not one of them. Balancing a day job and writing makes for very long days, nights of less than five hours’ sleep (and, therefore, constant exhaustion), weekends taken up by long writing marathons instead of movie or TV marathons, ignoring family and friends, eating too much junk food, and sometimes making really bad choices.

But I can’t seem to be able to stop…

The horror genre is new to Samhain Publishing. What drew you to them as a publisher and how has the experience been?

As I mentioned, Don D’Auria was hired by Samhain after the near-implosion at Dorchester (who still hold the rights to Wolf’s Gambit and Wolf’s Bluff). It was only natural that I would approach him and ask if he was interested in my writing more for him. Fortunately, I had pulled Wolf’s Edge for nonpayment, so it was ready to go and Don graciously bought it again.

So far, the experience has been outstanding. But I’m biased, because I know how much better Don makes my writing – so I’m surely judging everything based on getting to work with him again. Don is a fantastic editor who manages to have a light touch while at the same time turning your potentially terrible sentences into great ones. That’s not easy to do. He genuinely loves the horror genre and it shows in every book he’s touched. Samhain’s other genres all flirt with horror anyway, so I can see why they wanted to make it official – and they got the best person to make it happen! I’m proud and thrilled to be a part of the horror line’s launch this October!

Brian: W.D., I’ve enjoyed working with Don myself and can’t say enough good things about him.

Writing a book takes a lot of focus and discipline. Can you share your writing process and tell us how you get into the creative frame of mind to write fiction?

It’s called desperation. I desperately want to continue writing, so I force myself into the frame of mind. Believe me, it’s not easy. I love reading other people’s books, I love movies, and I love music. There’s a whole lot of other stuff I could be doing, so writing fiction sometimes feels like torture… when I’m starting. But when I hit the groove, if I’m lucky, then it’s great. I try to write every day, a little, but on weekends I spend about 12-14 hours at my nearby Starbucks office so I can avoid all that other distraction. Unfortunately, the internet’s still available. I try to put in a couple hours at least three other nights, too.

I don’t do focus or discipline very well at all. It’s all put-a-gun-to-my-head kind of stuff to get me into a project, and sometimes other ideas try to crowd out the one I’m working on. I like to say I have many more burners than I have stove! But when that groove happens, when the action starts rolling, or even better, when characters start to do things on their own, ignoring the paths I set out for them, then it’s sweet indeed. I’ve been fortunate in that quite a few of my characters have rebelled against me and done their own thing, some of them lived and died against my wishes, and the fact that they surprised me has also hopefully surprised readers.

Brian: I can totally relate. There are days I have to force myself to sit down and write. But when I hit my groove, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

Also, I’ve collaborated enough with my friend David Benton, and found that projects we work on together flow a lot more smoothly because it’s two writers carrying the burden of plotting and writing scenes. You get more stamina, fresh eyes, and a partner who’s not afraid to tell you something’s not working. All this can have a good effect on your solo work, too.

As many people will know, Samhain Publishing is named for the ancient tradition that became every horror fan's favorite festival of Halloween. What would make for your best ever Samhain celebration?

Hard to say. I’m much more of an observer than a participant. I love the holiday and all its ancient and modern trappings. But you’ll never get me into a costume. But I so like to watch…

I find Halloween very intriguing, scary, kind of sexy, kind of dangerous, kind of illicit, kind of taboo. I take it all in. And I love chocolate…

W.D. trying his luck against the Casino Beast.

You live up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I once visited Green Bay and toured a cheese factory. All I know about the state is cheese, the Packers football team, and Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. Besides watching sports and eating cheese curds, what else do you do for fun in Wisconsin?

Fun? What’s that?

We dig ourselves out of tons of snow, shiver through 20-30 degrees below zero days (with windchills even worse), and watch our Packers and Badgers and Brewers doing very well this season! I’m looking for a Packers Super Bowl Re-peat, since that’s my game. And the Wisconsin Badgers are looking big-bowl bound, too. The Brewers, who knows, maybe it’s the Series for them after many years’ drought.

I love a good Friday fish fry, I do declare. And a good brew to go with it.

And yes, we put cheese on everything. What of it? (Am I being too defensive?)

Oh, and we’ve sure created our share of serial killers in this general area… wonder why?

W.D., thanks so much for being here. I’ve really enjoyed having you as a guest on my blog. Book lovers, check out W.D. Gagliani’s werewolf series. The Leisure editions of WOLF’S TRAP, WOLF’S GAMBIT, and WOLF’S BLUFF our out of print, but you can buy autographed copies directly from W.D. Gagliani's website. You can now buy a copy of his fourth Nick Lupo novel WOLF’S EDGE, which just released from Samhain Horror. And be on the lookout for a re-release of WOLF'S TRAP through Samhain (March 2012) and the novella WOLF'S DEAL (summer 2012.)

Thanks a million for having me here, Brian! Let me return the favor, okay? And good luck to you with your own Samhain release, Dead of Winter. I’m looking forward to reading it.
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W.D. Gagliani is the author of WOLF’S TRAP, WOLF’S GAMBIT, WOLF’S BLUFF, WOLF’S EDGE (Samhain, 2011), WOLF'S DEAL (novella), SAVAGE NIGHTS, SHADOWPLAYS, and MYSTERIES & MAYHEM (w/ David Benton), plus THE GREAT BELZONI AND THE GAIT OF ANUBIS (novella). WOLF'S TRAP will be reissued by Samhain in March 2012. Most are available on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats. He has also published numerous short stories in various anthologies, and nonfiction in ON WRITING HORROR, THRILLERS: THE 100 MUST READS, and THE WRITER magazine (October 2011 issue), among others. Gagliani is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and the Authors Guild. Visit him at www.wdgagliani.com, www.facebook.com/wdgagliani, http://www.williamdgagliani.com/, and on Twitter: @WDGagliani.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Radio Podcast Interview with 5 Horror authors


Here's a Diabolical Radio podcast featuring authors Kristopher Rufty, Ronald Malfi, Jonathan Janz, Hunter Shea, and myself. We discuss why we write what we do, what made us want to write what we do, and so much more.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview with Horror Author Hunter Shea

Today, I'm excited to announce that I am expanding my blog to interview authors and find out how these writers of horror have successfully written novels and gotten published. I also love getting to know the people who write the scary novels I enjoy reading. To kick things off here in October, my first interview is with a new up-and-coming horror author everyone should be reading: Hunter Shea. His debut novel, FOREST OF SHADOWS, is already a huge success, topping the Samhain Horror best-seller's list at #1 several times.

Brian: Hi, Hunter, it’s great to have you as a guest author on my blog. Your debut novel, FOREST OF SHADOWS will be out with Samhain Publishing’s new horror line this October. You’ve written a frightening modern-day ghost story that had me hooked from the prologue. Tell us about the story.

Hunter: Forest of Shadows is about a man whose wife dies in her sleep on the same day they win the lottery. He’s left to raise an infant daughter on his own and struggles for 5 years with crippling anxiety. He becomes obsessed with the paranormal, creating a website that is a basic library of all things odd and unexplained. He also fancies himself a bit of a ghost hunter. In an effort to overcome his anxieties, he moves his new makeshift family to a haunted cabin in the heart of Alaska where he’s met with hostility from the locals (he’s one of now only 2 non Native Americans in the town). The haunting in the cabin at first turns out to be a ghost hunter's dream come true, until the cold season makes an early entrance and all hell breaks loose.

Brian: Great premise! Have you ever encountered any real ghosts or supernatural phenomena? And is your novel based on any true events or do you just have an active imagination?

Hunter: I’ve actually had 2 experiences that I can’t explain. There is a part in the book that is most certainly based on one of them. Back in the 90’s, my wife was very ill and spent a year, at home, on life support. During that year, I kept seeing a boy walk past me into our room where she was in bed. I chalked it up to stress and never told her because I felt she had enough to deal with. When she got better, one day she looked at me and said, “You know, when you left for work, it was nice having that boy sit with me and keep me company.” Needless to say, I was floored and my view of life and death and the beyond has forever been changed. I couldn’t resist adding our phantom boy to the book. Aside from that, the rest is from my overactive imagination. It was an issue when I was a kid, but now it’s finally coming in handy.

Brian: A phantom boy visiting your wife's bed ... now that's spooky and at the same time it makes me wonder if spirits really do guide us to the afterlife. Speaking of children, you also write children's books under a different name. Tell me a little bit about that writing career and what got you into writing horror.

Hunter: I just kind of fell into the whole children’s writing gig. My goal was always to be a horror writer, but while waiting for a deal to come through, my agent asked me to send her any manuscripts I had in the old writer’s drawer. I had written a story for my girls when they were young and to my surprise, we sold it within 2 months to one of the top book publishers in the world. Just crazy, but I’ve found I really love writing for kids. I have several more projects completed and in the works.

Horror has always been my true love, ever since I was a small kid and got to watch scary movies from the back seat of the family car at the local drive in. The first ‘grown up’ book I ever read was Stephen King’s Night Shift. I love how horror can play with your deepest emotions and let your darkest fantasies take flight. And good horror deals with some heavy subjects as well, which is why I tackled anxiety disorder, survivor’s guilt and discrimination in Forest of Shadows.

Brian: My love of horror was first influenced by watching scary movies and reading comic books, then later as a teen I discovered the joy of reading horror fiction. What are some horror movies, books, and/or comics that influenced you most?

Hunter: I was a comic book fiend (I have a Captain America tattoo to prove it) and loved both super heroes and the different horror comics like Creepy, Ghostly Tales, and Man Thing. I read everything by Stephen King and Brian Lumley I could get my hands on. The movies that really hooked me were Dawn of the Dead, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (directed by Bob Clark of A Christmas Story fame) and An American Werewolf in London. Plus, I loved the classic monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula. I made all the famous monster models and had posters, you name it. I’ve been surrounding myself with horror all of my life.

Brian: I love all those classic movies. I saw Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things last year. Funny, I had no idea that was the same director who filmed the classic A Christmas Story. Dawn of the Dead, especially the 2006 remake, is one of my all-time favorite horror movies. In the world of horror fiction, the genre is new to Samhain Publishing. What drew you to them as a publisher and how has the experience been?

Hunter: Well, I was originally going to publish Forest of Shadows with Dorchester Publishing Leisure horror line. It had always been my dream and it almost came true. But, the company kind of fell apart, along with the deal, and the biggest part of that dream, working with editor Don D’Auria, had to be put on hold. When I heard he had joined up with Samhain and wanted my book, I jumped at the chance. To be able to be on the ground floor of a new horror line with an editor who is a legend in the business is just too good to be true. Samhain horror is going to be huge. I can feel it like a storm coming on in my arthritic shoulder.

Brian: Writing a book is such a complex exercise. Can you summarize your writing process for me?

Hunter: I hear a lot of people say you have to write every day, which is great, if you’re a full time writer with very little in the way of family or distractions. When I’m working on a project, I set weekly goals for myself. It could be a certain number of words or pages, but I always make sure it’s something attainable. What can be worse than missing the bar you set for yourself? On the first pass, I just write. I don’t worry about anything but getting the story out of my head. When it’s done, and I reward myself with a cigar and a stiff drink, I start the rewrites. This is where the hard work comes in. The story is there, and now I have to get it in shape. I’ll do as many as ten revisions before I even let anyone see what it is that’s been taking up all my time.

Brian: I know that you have a family and a day job to balance time with, how do you make time for writing? What are your work habits like?

Hunter: You know, it was very hard when my kids were small because they demanded a lot of my time and heck, I wanted to be with them. That’s part of the reason that Forest of Shadows took 4 years to write. Now that they’re teens, they understand and it’s much easier. I just make sure I set at least an hour for myself on weekdays, and as much as I need on the weekends. It takes a lot of discipline to go in that room and write after a long day, but I have a compulsion to write and I’m not happy unless I’ve gotten it in. When I’m deep into a book, I’ll even use my lunch break to work on it and any other free minute I can find in a day.

Brian: As many people will know, Samhain Publishing is named for the ancient tradition that became every horrorhead's favorite festival of Halloween. What would make for your best ever Samhain celebration?

Hunter: I actually had it a couple of years ago. We took the kids out trick or treating for about 4 hours. The weather was perfect; crisp, clear, with autumn leaves crunching under our feet. My wife and I dressed up, of course. Then we went back to the house to hand out candy and talk to the neighbors, having a few drinks, just enjoying the night. We finished it off by pouring all the spoils onto the floor while watching a slew of horror movies. It doesn’t get any better.

Brian: Hunter, thanks so much for being here. I’ve really enjoyed having you as a guest on my blog.

After talking with Hunter Shea and watching his show "Monster Men" on Youtube, I am certain this author is sure to make a name for himself. Readers, check out Hunter Shea’s new novel FOREST OF SHADOWS.
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Author Bio: Hunter Shea was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines over the years. Forest of Shadows is his first full length horror novel. His next novel with Samhain Publishing, Evil Eternal, will be out next spring. He has been a book reviewer, editor, blogger, op-ed ranter and anything else that can keep him happily ensconced in his room with his keyboard and overactive imagination. He currently lives in New York with his family and savage cat that was rescued from a shelter. He’s working hard on his next novel and can be found at http://www.huntershea.com/ where he’s always happy to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Excerpt from DEAD OF WINTER

For a sneak peek inside my new horror novel, here are the first 3 chapters of DEAD OF WINTER.

The e-book to DEAD OF WINTER releases today!

Today I'm celebrating the e-book release of my historical horror novel DEAD OF WINTER. For those who still love reading old-fashioned books, the paperback will release January 3rd, 2012.

Here are some early reviews:

“It isn’t often that I am BLOWN AWAY by a book. Dead of Winter, by Brian Moreland, is the best book I’ve read all year and I believe that Brian, in terms of talent, is one of the best writers I’ve ever read.”

Reviewer Erin Al-Mehairi, Oh, for the Hook of a Book blog

Read more: http://hookofabook.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/dead-of-winter-by-brian-moreland-is-dead-ringer-for-book-of-the-year/

“Author Brian Moreland doesn’t pull any punches. This story grabs and pulls you back into 1870, at a fort in the vast Ontario wilderness. There is an excellent diversity of characters, and a great understanding of the people and cultures of that time. Indians, soldiers, priests, exorcists, cannibals, and one very sick killer. You think you have read it all when you’re read as many horror books as I have. Dead of Winter managed to shock me over and over.”

Reviewer, Kerrie Crawford, The Rediacs blog

Read more: http://www.thereadiacs.com/dead-of-winter

“Brian Moreland has put together a fantastic book filled with historical significance to Native American Lore and just the right touch of mystery, occult and terror. The first chapter hooked me and I couldn't put it down until I finished it all.”

Rick Gleason, Digital Macabre

DEAD OF WINTER is available where all e-books are sold or buy it for less at this link:

http://store.samhainpublishing.com/dead-winter-p-6507.html