Author Interview… Jonathan Janz, author of “Wolf Land” + Giveaway

IMG_9005 (6)

“One of the best writers in modern horror to come along in the last decade. Janz is one of my new favorites.” –Brian Keene, best-selling author

 

author-interview

Thank you so much for hosting me today! I’m a husband, dad, teacher, and writer. My wife and three kids are extraordinary, and I love both of my professions. That might be a dull answer, but it’s the truth.

 

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

 

I took my first crack at writing after I got into a near-fatal car crash during my senior year in high school. The book was horrid. I took my second shot at it when I was twenty-six. That book was less awful, but it still wasn’t good. About seven years ago, I got serious about writing, and though I finished the book (it was called STARLIGHT), no one wanted to publish it. That’s because even though it was better than anything I’d written at that point, it still wasn’t good. So I rewrote it seven more times. In the mean time, I wrote another book called THE SORROWS, which sold in 2011. Then, the one first one sold, as well, this time under the name HOUSE OF SKIN. Since then, things have been growing steadily.

 

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

 

THE SORROWS was a Gothic horror novel that showed both the influence of Peter Straub and Richard Laymon. Though that’s a strange combination, I think it worked really well for the book. The novel is about a pair of horror movie music composers who travel to a haunted island in the Pacific to find inspiration for the horror film they’re scoring. Readers seemed to dig it at any rate, so I wrote a sequel called CASTLE OF SORROWS of which I’m also very proud.

I also have another pseudo-series called SAVAGE SPECIES. That book is one of my most popular ones; it’s a brutal survival thriller along the lines of the film THE DESCENT. Since people enjoyed it so much, I wrote a prequel of sorts called CHILDREN OF THE DARK that’ll be published in early 2016 by Sinister Grin Press.

 

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

 

This will undoubtedly sound cheesy, but I’d say that horror chose me. I grew up between an old graveyard and a deep, dark woods, and I spent my childhood terrified of the spirits and monsters that I was convinced resided in those shadowy realms. I write in other genres, but horror will always be my favorite.

 

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

 

In my most recent novel WOLF LAND, I loved writing the werewolf transformation scenes because they were uniquely compatible with my “approach.” Essentially, I love to subside into the background and allow my characters to seize control of the story, which means the books kind of write themselves. What more natural a scene to write then, than a transformation scene in which an irresistible impulse grabs hold of a character and changes him/her into something else? As liberating as most of my writing feels, those transformation scenes flowed so rapidly out of my fingertips that I could scarcely keep up with the words. There’s one scene in particular in the bathroom of a drive-in movie theatre that exploded onto the keyboard as violently as the blood exploded onto the cinderblock walls of the bathroom. WOLF LAND was a total blast to write.

 

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

 

Tons of both. I forget who said this, but someone once called a writer “a person on whom nothing is lost.” I like to think I’m that way, watching the world closely, storing away details, and then allowing them to gush forth onto the page. At the same time, there are things I write that have no connection to anything I’ve ever done, seen, or heard. So yeah…both.

 

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

 

Stephen King’s THE TOMMYKNOCKERS made of me a reader and a writer back when I was an adolescent, so that one will always have a special place in my heart. A recent book that influenced me was Gillian Flynn’s DARK PLACES. I loved how bold she was and how willing she was to follow her characters into their most depraved thoughts and behaviors. She has a great deal of guts, and I deeply admire that.

 

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

 

Not yet, though I’ve heard enough about it to know how real it is for some writers. Personally, my only problem is having so many ideas and so little time to write them that I get frustrated at having to place wonderful projects on the backburner.

 

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

 

Stephen King. I would kill to meet Stephen King. Okay, maybe not kill, but I’d at least maim. I’ve met many of my writing heroes, but King is the one who showed me the way and is the single most important influence on my writing life. He can have no idea how much influence he’s had on the world, nor could I ever repay the debt I owe him. But I’d still love to meet him.

 

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

 

I have three coming out in 2016 (and maybe more). The first will be CHILDREN OF THE DARK in March. I’m really jazzed about that one because it’s my first “coming of age” book, and one that I think blends tenderness and savagery really interestingly. The second is EXORCIST FALLS, which is a novel-length sequel to an extremely successful novella called EXORCIST ROAD. The third will be an updated, improved version of a novella called WITCHING HOUR THEATRE, which was the first thing I ever got published.

 

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

 

Not really, because I’m thankful for the way it has all happened. If I did go back and change anything it would be spending less time on query letters and worrying about breaking arbitrary writing rules, and spending more time on studying books the way I do now. Reading and examining a story by one of my favorite writers teaches me far more than any other method I’ve tried.

 

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

 

Yes. While talent matters, and while there are a great many factors involved in writing, nothing is as important as persistence. I met F. Paul Wilson this summer, and one thing he said really resonated with me. He had a great quote about it, but rather than butchering it, I’ll just paraphrase him: “Everybody wants to succeed, but most writers don’t have the discipline to actually do it and stick to it.” I think that’s the biggest divider; there are tens of thousands—maybe even millions—of people with the talent to write. But the vast majority of those will never succeed because they simply don’t have the discipline, the humility, and the stomach to do it. If I could give any advice, I’d say to disabuse yourself of the notion that you’re owed anything by editors, agents, or readers and that you have to work your tail off consistently for a long time to earn your success. That might not be sexy advice, but I believe it’s true, and knowing that, you can buckle down and do the work. For me, it’s a reassuring thought because I love working for what I get. It makes success that much more rewarding.

 

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

 

Jonathan: I am truly grateful for your support, and it means the world to me that you take the time to read my books. I work tirelessly to craft the best stories I can, but that effort wouldn’t matter without readers. So thank you. I deeply appreciate you!

Wolf Land tour graphic

Purchase Links

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Land-Jonathan-Janz/dp/1619231166

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolf-land-jonathan-janz/1122266491

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5624/wolf-land

giveaway banner

Giveaway!!!

Enter to win ONE (1) print copy signed by Jonathan Janz of WOLF LAND! Click the link to enter. There are several things you can do to get multiple entries each day. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI2/?

wolf land

Click on the book to see my review!

Author Interview…Brian Kirk, author of “We Are Monsters” + Giveaway

brian kirk

Well, aside from writing fiction, I’m a father of five-year-old identical twin boys: the rarest form of human offspring (a very technical term for kids). Only fraternal twins are hereditary; identical twins are a random anomaly. So it came as quite a surprise. In fact, the first thing I did when I found out was Google search the phrase, “The best thing about having twins.” I needed a pep talk.

Actually, it turns out I didn’t. We were blessed with wonderful boys. Raising them has been a special privilege.

we are monsters

author-interview

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

 

Reading and writing have been the two things I’ve enjoyed above all else for as long as I can remember. In fact, I’d say that learning how to read is one of my favorite memories. I’ll never forget begging my teacher to let me take my lesson book home to show my parents what I had learned. What I had unlocked. Because that’s how it felt, as though I had broken some kind of seal. One that allowed me access to all the stories in the world.

 

And I realized I had somewhat of a talent for telling stories early on, as students started looking forward to hearing my stories read aloud in class. My English teachers all encouraged my writing, and I won a poetry contest in 5th grade from a homework assignment that my teacher submitted on my behalf.

I took a brief detour after college when I set out to start my “big career” in advertising. But the urge to tell stories never left, and I soon returned to writing in the evenings and weekends, or whenever the bosses weren’t around. At some point I started submitting my work for publication and, after accruing a massive stack of rejections, finally sold one. Then another. After a while I decided to quit my full time job at the ad agency to work freelance and write a book. That’s how We Are Monsters came about.

 

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

 

We Are Monsters is a story about a brilliant, yet troubled psychiatrist named Alex Drexler who is working to create a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as one may expect) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.

 

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

 

I’d say it chose me. Since as early as I can remember, my imagination has always veered into dark places. Which is strange, as I’m generally a cheerful and optimistic person. In fact, most authors of dark fiction are. Conversely, many comedians tend to be somber and depressive. There seems to be some counterbalancing agent at play. Maybe we’re so cheerful because we exorcise our demons, and comedians are depressive because they export all their joy.

 

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

 

My favorite part was writing, “The End.” I’m not sure anything beats that feeling. My favorite chapter was probably the first chapter, which I actually wrote last. This was my first novel-length work of fiction, and I was intimidated by the scope of the project heading into chapter one. Despite having already written and published several short stories, I found that I had inflated the importance of writing a book so much that it suddenly seemed insurmountable. I had made it a seminal moment in my life, setting the nonexistent stakes unreasonably high. And so I started out tentatively, on shaky knees that were threatening to buckle under the weight of such a heavy load.

Rather than give in to this early desperation, however, I just kept going. I was struggling with the first chapter, so I skipped it, and started writing the second one. This one began to flow better. My word count increased, and I fell into a rhythm as the story started to take form. By the time I finished the first draft, I had a clear idea of the story I was trying to write and was able to return to the beginning and write the first chapter with the confidence that eluded me when I started out.

 

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

 

We Are Monsters takes a close look at the world of mental illness. This is not only a subject I find fascinating, it’s an issue I personally face, having dealt with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) my whole life, a condition that, for me, produces chronic anxiety, physical tics, negative thought loops, and bouts of depression.

While I conducted a great deal of research to understand the mindset of someone suffering from a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia, I was able to pull from my personal experience in dealing with panic attacks and so forth when describing what certain characters were going through.

Nice to turn those delirious nights where you irrationally think you’re going to die into something positive!

 

 

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

 

While I read broadly, and have been inspired by a spectrum of authors, the biggest influence has been Stephen King, who I was fortunate to meet a few years ago. I literally ran into him at the entrance of a hotel in Atlanta. I was so stunned that, without thinking, I reached out, took his hand and said, “Mr. King.” Equally stunned, he shook it. If I were thinking clearly I would have left it at that. But I wasn’t, so I started to blab, “I’m an aspiring horror writer who has published a few short stories and just started writing my first novel. I owe all my inspiration to you.” More gratuitous praise followed, I’m sure.

He received the praise graciously, untangled himself from my grasp, and started to stroll away before a crowd could form (it was just the two of us). Then he stopped and turned. “Hey,” he said, catching my eye. “Good luck with your work.”

Not story, not book. But work. That was a fine moment.

 

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

 

I’ve experienced times when I felt like it was more difficult to write than others, and/or that my writing was not as fluid or precise. I feel like there are ebbs and flows in all things. The best pitcher in the major leagues can throw a no-hitter one day and not find the strike zone the next. That’s why showing up every day whether you feel like it or not is so important. You never know when you’ll have your best stuff.

When I’m blocked for longer than a week or so I find that it’s usually because I’m trying too hard, or because I’ve allowed for my inner critic to become too loud. Trace it back, and the blockage is often caused by fear. The best remedy for that, in my opinion, is to try and express whatever it is you’re trying to say as plainly as possible, without worrying about the outcome or quality of prose. Turn your mind off and open your heart and sooner or later the blockage breaks and the words begin to flow.

 

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

 

While I enjoyed meeting Stephen King, as described a couple of questions ago, I prefer to let an author speak through their work. We often paint a picture of what we think a certain person is like, especially someone we idolize, when the reality may be quite different, which can be disappointing. I’d hate to have an unpleasant encounter with an author taint the way I view his or her work.

I think it would be cool to meet Helen Keller, though. Writing can be so hard with all of today’s modern conveniences. I’d love to hear her talk about overcoming obstacles and the power of perseverance.

 

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

 

I have a new short story titled Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave coming out in the anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, alongside two of my idols: Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. When one of the editors, Doug Murano, announced the story he said, “This is the kind of story that starts book burning parties,” which leads me to believe the story works. I’m honored to be part of this project, and can’t wait for the anthology to come out.

In addition, I am currently working on the second book in a trilogy of dark sci-fi thrillers. The first book is complete and currently in the hands of a literary agent whom I’ve recently signed with. We are putting the final touches on the book and plan to submit it to publishers early next year.

 

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Ah, hindsight…

No, to be honest I’m pleased with the way things have gone so far, and feel very fortunate for the opportunities afforded me. I’m happy to have worked with one of the legendary horror editors in the industry, Don D’Auria. I’m blown away by the praise the book has received from authors whom I’ve long admired like Brian Keene, Mercedes M. Yardley, Jonathan Moore, and John F.D. Taff. And I’m thrilled by the generous reviews and kind feedback I’ve received from readers.

While there may be some structural changes I’d make to the book through the lens of additional experience, that would negate the clumsy rawness that comes with a debut novel.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

 

First, don’t listen to me, as I don’t know shit. But, if forced, I’d say the following:

Never settle for something that feels safe. Always strive to surprise yourself. Try and make yourself laugh, gross yourself out, make yourself mad. Write stuff you’d never want your parents to read, then send it out. Write what you fear is way too strange or personal to be published and then make it as good as it can be. Know that everyone secretly believes their work sucks but they keep doing it anyway. Rebel against your inner critic.

 

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

 

To anyone who has read, or is considering reading my debut novel, We Are Monsters, I would love to say, “Thank You!” I hope it was, or will be, a great ride.

In addition, I would love to connect with folks through one of the following channels. Don’t worry. I only kill my characters.

Brian Kirk

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

We Are Monsters tour graphic (1)

Best-Of-2014-The-Giveaway-Banner

Click the rafflecopter link below and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card from Brian Kirk! You can perform several tasks for entering each day here or at each stop that posts the giveaway link. Best of luck!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/MjMxYWEzMGI1ZDE2MGYyYTgzYjk4NzVhYzhmMTdmOjI1/?

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Monsters-Brian-Kirk/dp/1619229803/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/we-are-monsters-brian-kirk/1121694935?ean=9781619229808

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5494/we-are-monsters

 

Author Interview…Jason Parent, author of “Seeing Evil”

12219460_1225440804149114_1082259235133841293_n

 

There’s not much to tell, really. I work, I read, I write, I go to the gym, and I dream of eating IHOP pancakes. I wish I could tell you I also work for the CIA cracking encoded messages while racing Lamborghinis down narrow mountain roads to lavish villas where I host the world’s biggest shuffleboard tournaments where losing could mean your life. Well, I could tell you that, but it wouldn’t be true. My real life just isn’t that interesting. I have a dog. And I suck at shuffleboard.

 

author-interview

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

 

Jason:  I first started writing in middle school, but none of that could be taking seriously. I tried again in college, and that couldn’t be taken seriously either. Then came law school, where I wrote an as yet unpublished novel on summer vacations (and during boring classes). Hopefully, someday, that will be taken somewhat seriously. Ah, life’s too short to take me too seriously. I tried that once. Didn’t work out.

 

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

 

Jason:  To date, I’ve written five novels, I’m deep into my sixth, and I have several novellas and novelettes in my possession. I have only published two of those novels at this time and am in no rush to publish the rest (though two are out for consideration). I start with that because although I have not written any series, my first novel (written, unpublished), my second novel (What Hides Within), and my fourth novel (Seeing Evil) feature a recurring character. They are all completely stand-alone books and are genre mashers in different way. Whereas What Hides Within is a horror/mystery/dark comedy mix, Seeing Evil is more horror/psychological/supernatural thriller mix. I think my readers have come to expect one thing from me at least: what I write will be dark and, I hope, always enjoyable.

 

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

 

Jason:  I don’t. I kind of let the story and characters decide for me. For example, Seeing Evil definitely as some horror elements to it, but primarily we have a detective, a killer, and two kids stuck in the middle. To me, that screams for action, for dangerous situations, for kids in trouble, and (if I’ve done my job right) for readers needing to turn the page to see if they get out of it. Fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Then again, most of my horror works also thrillers, so maybe I am defining my genre after all. Horror-thriller, with a reasonable helping of mystery and dark comedy.

Oh yeah… and then there’s the science fiction…

 

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

 

Jason:  For Seeing Evil, the ending. It contains a sentiment not often found in my work, but somehow seemed fitting here. Other than that, I thought the third chapter worked, a particularly horrendous bullying scene told from the victim’s perspective. It was horrible, but I think holds a mirror to society. I hope I manage to shock readers with the action depicted, but more so with its susceptibility to reenactment.

 

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

 

Jason:  Yes, what happens to Jimmy in the above-mentioned scene happen to someone I went to school with. Seeing Evil also addresses the issue of gun violence in schools, a topic that unfortunately appears in the news all-too-often these days. Little scenes here and there, bits of dialogue, etc. sometimes are pulled from personal experiences.

 

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

 

Jason:  On one novelette, I straight out tried to emulate Poe. I want people to say it sounds like Poe, to have sort of a fond recollection of their times spent reading Poe when they read my story. I am no Poe and don’t claim to rival his greatness or even his last bowel movement’s greatness, but he has influenced me in my desire to write, and I hope to honor his memory by paying homage to him.

 

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

 

Jason:  On a story, yes. Usually at the halfway mark. But there is always another work to work on or a later scene to address. I never have the sort of writer’s block where I have nothing to write.

 

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

 

Jason:  Well, Poe would have been nice. Meeting him now would be creepy, like something out of his stories. King would also be amazing to meet. I grew up reading his books, so he pretty much defined modern horror for me. The body of work he has produced is just unbelievable – hit after hit after hit. He’s definitely the King.

 

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

 

Jason:  I should have a new novelette coming out very soon. It is a horror/dark fantasy tale that deals with Scottish folklore, but turns it into something completely Jason Parent. I can’t wait for my readers to get their hands on this one!

 

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

 

Jason:  Yes. I think I would like to re-cover What Hides Within and fix some minor pesky issues that have bothered me since publication. Reviews of the book are many and have mostly been great, and I thank all reviewers (good and bad) for them. I lucked out in that the book has achieved success despite those minor issues, but for my own perfectionist peace of mind, I want them fixed and plan to fix them.

 

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

 

Jason:  Find a support group of editors, proofreaders, beta readers, critical reviewers, etc, that you trust. Rely on them. Be there for them too, so they may rely on you. There are good and bad people in all walks of life. Find the good ones. Be a good one.

 

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

 

Jason:  Yes. I may not have the most readers, but I certainly have the best. Those who have followed me since the beginning and those who have joined since, I value your feedback and criticism and will do my best never to publish anything that does not meet (and hopefully exceed) your expectations. I thank you for your support and hope that you will always feel free to contact me for any reason you wish at any of my social media sites.

And thank you, Sierra, for including me on A Simple Taste for Reading! I hope your fans have found this entertaining.

25269277

Click on the book to read my review!

 

 

Author Interview…Glenn Rolfe, author of “Blood & Rain” + Giveaway!

glenn bw profile

I ‘m a father of 3, loving husband, and a horror writer with a rock-n-roll heart. When I’m not busy giving readers the creeps, I like to make people laugh. I have a hard time being serious and this makes my wife all the more amazing for putting up with me.

author-interview

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Glenn: I started writing in May of 2011. I finished that story (which was the original draft of Blood and Rain) in late August of that year. It was an amazing feeling. It feels good each time you get to write THE END.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

Glenn: Blood and Rain is about a small town Maine sheriff, Joe Fischer, who runs into a bunch of wild killings at the hands of a beast. He quickly realizes that it’s a monster and is successful in putting an end to it—or so he thought! Seven years later, more killings done in the same grisly manner happen under a full moon. Sheriff Fischer’s worst nightmare is happening. He’s held secrets from those who trust him most, now he must decide what is best for the town and his teenage daughter.

One Night can–and will–change it all

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Glenn: I’ve always enjoyed spooky stories over anything else. When I was a kid, my favorites were the Bunnicula stories.  As an adult, I fell for the Leisure Book Horror line and Rice and King. When I started writing, that’s what I wanted to do.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Glenn: I really enjoyed the werewolf attacks. Maybe that makes me strange, but I made sure to go for it.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Glenn: I’ve thrown in names and pieces of all sorts of places and people I’m familiar with. As a writer, that just happens. There’s probably a little bit of me in each of these characters.
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Glenn: Reading King is always a lesson in how good storytelling should be done. He makes everything seem interesting. That part also tends to kill new writers who try to copy it. Not everyone can write interesting backgrounds and side treks.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Glenn: Not yet. I have too many crazy thoughts.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Glenn: That’s a funny one. I interact quite often online with two of them, but I’d love to chill out and hang with Ronald Malfi and Brian Moreland.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Glenn: The next project is a novella called, Things We Fear. It is supposed to be out in March of 2016.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Glenn: No. I like where I am and that wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t walk the path I chose.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Glenn: Take your story one line at a time. Have faith that the story will tell you where it wants to go (and who it wants to kill). Take your time between drafts. Let the story percolate a bit. Know that not everyone is going to love your story, so make sure that YOU do. I’d avoid self-publishing unless you already have an audience. Once you land with a publisher, don’t be afraid to try to land more work with a different publisher. It’s never safe to have all of your eggs in one basket.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Glenn: Thanks for reading my work. Thanks for telling your friends. And thanks for being honest with me when something doesn’t work for you. I appreciate your time and your voice.

Stay tuned for much more of my madness!

bood and rain

Click on the book cover to read my review!

Blood and Rain tour logo

Purchase Links

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Rain-Glenn-Rolfe/dp/1619229854/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1443335652&sr=8-1&keywords=blood+and+rain

Barnes & Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blood-and-rain-glenn-rolfe/1122198363?ean=9781619229853#productInfoTabs

Samhain

https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5587/blood-and-rain

Best-Of-2014-The-Giveaway-Banner

Giveaway!!!

For a chance to win a print copy of Glenn Rolfe’s short story collection, Slush, or a chance to win your choice of any of his titles in e-book format, go to the link below for the Rafflecopter sign-up. Good luck! The print copy is only good for those in the United States. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b22/?

Author Interview…Hunter Shea, author of “The Dover Demon”

Hunter-loren-museum

A trip Hunter Shea made to the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine two years ago sparked the idea for THE DOVER DEMON. While he was there, he met famed cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman and talked about creatures he’s personally investigated. It turns out, he was the man on the scene in Dover, MA in the late 70s when the uber strange biped was spotted by several people over the course of two nights in April, Hunter reported. He also gave it its name, Dover Demon.

author-interview

First, thanks for having me here. It’s good to get out of my cage every once in a while. I’m a writer, husband, father and full time monster man. I live just outside of NYC, which is why a lot of my books take place down here (just like Stephen King is all over the Maine map – we know the horrors lurking within our home states). I do have a day job where I’m the director of a global company. I absolutely love writing and still can’t believe there are books out there with my name on the spine. I read a ton of books and watch movies all the time. Thanks to Netflix, my wife and I do a lot of binge watching. Right now, we’re in the middle of Breaking Bad. I share my home with 2 cats – one who is more like a dog. If I won the lottery today, I’d either dive into full time archaeology or become The Dude from The Big Lebowski.

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Hunter: I dabbled with stories and poems all through grade school and high school, but I didn’t get really serious about writing until the mid-90s. A close friend was working on a book of his own and he inspired me to try my hand. I started with awful short stories, then a really bad novella, and back to stories. Only after I’d practiced my butt off did I try to write a novel. It was, of all things, a romantic comedy. I believe I wrote and finished it in 1998. I recently re-read it and though it has flaws, it’s actually pretty funny and touching. Getting to The End was such a milestone for me. I proved to myself that I could do it, and I started to learn the cadence of novel writing.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

Hunter: My first published book with an honest to God legit publisher was Forest of Shadows. It’s a novel about ghosts and a man who lost his wife in her sleep the same day they won a big lottery. I set it in Alaska because I’d always wanted to go there. This was my way to live in Alaska for a while, at least in my mind. It was meant to be a one-and-done book, but readers asked for more and I had an idea for one of the characters that I just had to try out. The next books in the series were Sinister Entity and Island of the Forbidden. They’re very unique takes on haunting and interactions with the dead. I hope to write another one next year.

My current book is right in line with my obsession over cryptids. The Dover Demon takes the real story of a strange creature spotted in 1977 and turns it upside down.

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Hunter: I grew up addicted to horror, so it was a no brainer that I was going to write horror. Seriously, no one who knew me growing up is surprised that I do what I do. J

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Hunter: In The Dover Demon, I loved the bond between the father Sam and his son, Nicky. The man ended a lucrative career so he could be with his son more, even buying a comic book shop together. I lost my own father a couple of years ago. This was my way of reuniting us.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Hunter: The Dover Demon was an actual bizarre creature spotted by 6 teens over the course of 2 nights in the town of Dover, MA in 1977. It truly scared the bejeezus out of them and was investigated by the police, MUFON, cryptozoolgists, you name it. Some people thought, later on when the concept became more ubiquitous, that it was an alien. Most thought it was some kind of strange creature or animal, though one that could walk on its hind legs and had a humanoid face with enormous, black eyes. The accounts, when you consider the time it was spotted, are chilling.

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Hunter: It’s probably cliché by now, but Stephen King was an enormous influence. I looked forward to his books and movies like they were Christmas and my birthday wrapped up in one. Reading him led me down paths to exploring other authors like Lovecraft, M.R.James, Wilke Collins and modern masters like Clive Barker and Robert McCammon.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Hunter: So far, no. I think if I sat back too long and got lazy about writing, I’d find it hard to jump start my brain. I haven’t taken my foot off the pedal for the past 10 years, so I haven’t hit that roadblock yet. I hope I never do.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Hunter: Going to conventions since about 2000, I’ve met so many of my literary heroes like Jack Ketchum and Joe R. Lansdale. If I could sit at a bar with one author, I would pick Robert McCammon. When I read his stuff, I wonder why I even try, it’s so good. And he’s had a very interesting history with publishing and writing horror, some of it great, some terrible. I want to hear his war stories, get into his head, learn his process. Oh, and hopefully get rip-roaring drunk while we swap tales.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Hunter: It was a crazy summer, with 2 books coming out within a month of each other (Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon). My next book, I Kill In Peace, will be out April, 2016 through Samhain. It’s a nasty little novella that takes some scary leaps of faith.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Hunter: No way. I didn’t take the traditional approach, but somehow, it worked. I wrote it for one publisher and editor in mind, and I sent it to them only. No querying agents, no shopping it around. If they didn’t want it, I was either done altogether or would write another for them and see what happened. I’m proof that miracles do come out of the slush pile. And it’s led to book deals with 4 other publishers over the past 5 years.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Hunter: Read. Read until your eyes are sore. Learn the music of writing. If you want to write genre fiction, make sure you read the best that genre has to offer. Get familiar with the authors, publishers, editors and agents who live in that world. When you sit down to write, keep at it until you finish and don’t be afraid to send you manuscript into the world.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Hunter: Thank you all so much for the support you’ve given me. I really couldn’t do this without you. I know my publishers wouldn’t let me keep plugging along if you didn’t buy my books. J I’ve written 4 books in 2015, so there’s a lot of scary new stuff coming your way. You can follow along at www.huntershea.com. I’m also doing something new with my latest book. As I write it, I’m sharing what’s going on with it daily. I’m posting updates on Twitter with the hashtag, #HunterWrites. If you’ve ever wondered what goes in to writing a novel, this is your chance to experience the daily grind.

Dover Demon tour logo

Author Interview…Scott Hawkins, author of “The Library at Mount Char”

8446300

         I’m forty-five, and I live in the Atlanta suburbs with my wife and our largish pack of rescue dogs.  My day job is computer programmer.  When I’m not writing I like to cook and do woodwork, I think because it’s a nice change of pace to work with my hands.  My main recreation is movies.  I’m one of the dwindling minority of people who likes to go out to a theater—I love the dogs, but sometimes it’s nice to get away.

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing semi-seriously when I was maybe eleven or twelve.  I got my first rejection slip a couple of weeks after Reagan got shot (April-ish 1981) from, I think, Asimov’s.  Well…that is to say, I thought it was a serious effort.  I imagine that whoever was doing the slush pile the day the short story from twelve-year-old me came in may have had a different opinion.

I finished writing my first novel in the spring of 1994.  Mount Char was my fourth novel, but the first one I ever got published.  For you aspiring writers out there, I’ve heard from several industry sources that it usually takes a couple trunk novels to get the hang of it.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

The Library at Mount Char is a blend of genres.  It’s set in the modern world—I heard someone describe it as ‘suburban fantasy,’ which I like.  There’s some mystery, a lot of fantasy, some horror.  When the story opens the librarians of what is for all intents and purposes a magic library are trying to figure out what happened to their adopted father, who may or may not be God.  Father has been known to disappear, but this time he’s been gone for several months.  Possibly he’s off on business or perhaps this is some sort of test.  But it’s been long enough that they’re also starting to worry that he might be dead.

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

It just seems to be the way my imagination works.  My first (unpublished) novel was a straight crime thriller, kind of in the same ballpark as Richard Stark or David Mamet.  But I noticed while I was writing it that I kept wanting to throw in fantasy elements, to have the scheming partner come back from the dead or something.  For the next book I didn’t fight it.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

My favorite chapter was probably the big showdown between the hero and the main antagonist.  By the time I got to that point, I was thoroughly caught up in the story.  It was all I could think about.  I was burning vacation days at work, waking up at three a.m., just totally obsessed.   That chapter in particular was probably the peak.  When I was working on it, it felt like the floor had dropped out from under me.  Writing isn’t always easy, but when it’s going well there is absolutely nothing better.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I’ll be a bit vague here to avoid huge spoilers, but there’s a section in the book where a guy goes out for a jog and gets attacked by some dogs.  That part actually happened to me.

In 1993 I was living in a neighborhood in north Georgia that bordered on a pretty significant stretch of woods.  In that area there were a lot of stray dogs who had been dumped by their owners.  They had gone feral, and joined up into a pack.  They’d raid the trash cans at night, and kill deer.

One day me and my non-feral dog were out jogging.  We went down a stretch of road I wasn’t familiar with, and it turned out to be undeveloped lots.  Apparently the feral pack thought of this as their turf.  They took offense.  About half a dozen of them came charging after me and my dog.  They were big dogs, most of them, and they seemed quite sincerely irritated.  It turned out they were just trying to run us off, but there was about fifteen seconds there where I seriously thought I was going to get mauled to death in a completely normal suburb, almost within sight of my house.  It was surreal.

Later, after I changed my shorts, I thought “you should use that in something.”
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Oh, wow, there were tons.  It’s probably not coincidence that I decided I wanted to be a writer right after I read Salem’s Lot.  (If you haven’t read it, the main character is a writer.)  I read a lot of Heinlein growing up, so I absorbed a respect for engineering and math kind of by osmosis.  I doubt I would have become a computer programmer without Heinlein.

In terms of the craft of writing, I spent a lot of time reverse engineering Pat Conroy books to see what made them tick.  No one does bad guys better than Thomas Harris—I know Hannibal is his most famous, but Francis Dolarhyde, the guy from Red Dragon, was an absolute masterpiece as well.  I read a lot of Joe Haldeman, John Varley, anything by Neil Gaiman or Stephen King.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

I can pretty much always get something on the page, but I go in knowing that most of what I write will be thrown away, that it’s a means to an end.  More often than not I’ll rewrite a chapter from scratch two or three times before I ever start revising.  Sometimes that’s for mechanical reasons, because I’m trying out a new point of view character or changing the events, but I also do it when a book is starting to come together.  I think you should have a picture of the whole thing in your mind when you’re working on a part, and in the early stages I often do not have that.  It’s a lot of duplicated effort, but no one said this was going to be easy.

In the early stages, just to get rolling, my rule of thumb is to write whatever I’m in the mood for that day, and not spend too much time trying to force something that doesn’t want to come.  Whether or not that something will ever show up in the final product is very much an open question.  But I’m not often completely blocked.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Stephen King is my childhood hero, but I think he’s probably the childhood hero of half the writers my age.  It’s occurred to me that probably the best way to show my appreciation for the man would be to leave him in peace.

Joe Haldeman is another biggie.  I get all fanboy every time his name comes up.  Every now and then he’ll do internet Q&As.  Twice now he’s answered a question of mine.  Also, about two months ago I was at a writer’s conference where I ran into a fishing buddy of his.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

I’m working on one now that’s also a fantasy set in the modern world.  It’s centered around a school shooting, and structured as sort of a detective story.  Something happened twenty years ago, it’s not completely clear what, but it’s starting to have far reaching repercussions.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

A couple of internet reviewers have mentioned that the first couple chapters of the book are tough to follow.  I think there might have been a little bit too much weird a little bit too quick.  My editor mentioned that as well.  That’s a tough balance for me to strike.  I think a lot of the tension in the work comes from me, the writer, not giving away information before I must, but at the same time you don’t want to be too confusing.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Do as much as you can to educate yourself about the industry and the craft.  I will buy and read any “How to Write” book that I see.  Some are obviously better than others, but I always find something in every one that made it worth the purchase price.  Attend workshops.  Participate in critique groups.

Also, if you want to be traditionally published, it is very important to learn how the industry works.  Even if you’re business savvy, you need to read up on publishing.  It has lots and lots of little quirks.  Some of them are historical, some of them are due to the vast number of aspiring writers trying to break in.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to approach an agent.

Another one I don’t see mentioned often enough is that publishing is a weirdly small world.  Word gets around.  Definitely keep that in mind if you’re feeling grumpy at a conference or when blogging.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Honestly, the main thing is that I am extremely pleased and more than a little surprised to have readers and fans.  Thanks to anybody who’s taken the time to try it!

Author Interview….Erika Swyler, author of “The Book of Speculation”

erika author photo bj enright

I’m a in love with learning. I’m happiest when I’m figuring out how to do something new. Sometimes that means I know just enough to get myself in serious trouble. Generally, it means I’m looking at something and thinking of how I could make it myself, better, and on the cheap. That’s probably how I wound up being a writer who draws, bakes, binds books, and does calligraphy.

Sierra:  When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Erika:  I’ve always been writing. I recently unearthed a pot boiler thriller I wrote in the third grade. I didn’t start pursuing writing as a career until my twenties. Final edits on The Book of Speculation were completed in 2014, though you never really stop working on a book. Every time you pick it up to read, you change a word. I’m still writing it, though no one’s paying attention to my little edits.

Sierra:  Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.

Erika:  The Book of Speculation is about a librarian who receives a mysterious book that reveals a curse that’s been killing women in his family for 250 years, including his mother. His sister is poised to be its next victim. It follows Simon as he tries to break the curse, and his ancestors—a mute tarot card reader and a carnival mermaid—who live and work in a traveling circus in the 1790s. It’s a book about the magic of books and families.

Click on the book to see my review!

23014670

Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?

Erika:  I tend not to write in a single genre, instead pulling elements from many. I like the romanticism of fantasy, the pacing and thought that comes with mystery, historical fiction’s escapism, family saga’s emotional intensity, the allegory of fairy tales, pretty much everything magical realism does, and literary fiction’s devotion to language. I read all over the map, so it only made sense to try to use what I like best in what I write. I find the idea of trapping something in a single genre to be more limiting to readers than helpful. The word genre also comes with a stigma. To me, labeling something as a particular genre is the best way to ensure that lots of people who might otherwise enjoy a book won’t find it. That’s a shame.

Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?

Erika:  I got to write some truly terrible weather in this book. Writing bad weather is a joy. When you’re writing terrible weather you know you’re writing something everyone can connect with, because we’ve all suffered through it. Weather spares no one. Essentially, huge storms or weather events are scenery chewing, going-for-the-Oscar moments. Late in The Book of Speculation I decimate a historic building, which was deeply satisfying in a way I shouldn’t examine too deeply.

Sierra:  Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Erika:  The fictional town of Napawset draws heavily from the area around where I grew up. If you drive along Long Island’s North Shore after reading the book, it will feel achingly familiar. The contemporary storyline has emotional roots in my own experience of growing up in a small shore town. The 1790s narrative is entirely imagined, save for the historical details. Much as I wish that I’d run away with a traveling circus, I haven’t. I’d still like to though. Desperately.

Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Erika:  Geek Love is the most influential book in my life. I picked it up in college and was totally smitten. To this day I haven’t encountered another book like it. The voice is fierce, unapologetic, and bawdy. Olympia is the boldest narrator—male or female—I’ve ever read. It’s impossible to read it without having a very strong opinion about it. That’s what I want from every book. I’ve been known to judge whether or not I can be friends with someone based on their opinion of Geek Love. I like to gift it to people and watch them squirm as they read.

Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?

Erika:  All the time. There are plenty of days when I sit down and it just won’t happen. I swear a lot. I try to do other things, draw, read, take walks, anything that will get my brain moving away from feeling stuck. The antidote to writers block is change. And forgiveness. You have to forgive yourself for not being brilliant. That said, working on those two things is as difficult as the writing process itself.

Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?

Erika:  I’d very much like to meet Kirsty Logan. The Gracekeepers was recently published and it’s perfect. I’d love to be able to tell her that in person. In my imagined meeting there is tea, and we get to talk about folklore, fairy tales, and trashy television. Sadly, there’s a large ocean preventing that meeting.

Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?

Erika:  I’m in the very early stages of my next book. I can tell you that I’m exploring concepts of time, that it’s set in Florida, and it revolves around a young girl and science. Everything else will shift as I go. Books have a way of turning themselves inside out as you write them.

Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?

Erika:  I wish I could have worried less. It’s so easy to become neurotic during editing and prepublication. I wore myself out with worry. During revisions, editing, and the period before launch you get these intense fears that you’re letting people down. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that your book isn’t just yours anymore. It belongs to you, and everyone who works with you. The sooner it becomes less me and more we, the better.

Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Erika:  Get off the computer and write longhand when you can. You’ll worry less and write more. You’ll edit when you type it up later. If you write longhand, you’re far less likely to lose a draft to a ham dinner colliding with a keyboard.

Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Erika:  Thank you. May you all one day write books and have people be as kind to you as they’ve been to me. It’s humbling, and I’m profoundly grateful.