Author Interview – Hunter Shea

Welcome to the fifth installment of my monthly Author Interviews! Over the past year, the works of Hunter Shea have pretty much dominated my reading list. It all began by answering a simple call to be part of a Blog Tour in which I’d receive a book, read it, and review it within a given time frame. I was sent Island of the Forbidden, a lovely romp on an isolated island with murderous ghosts! About two days ago, I started one of his cryptid tales, Loch Ness Revenge.  I’m never disappointed when it comes to a Hunter Shea novel. We’ve chatted and emailed on and off, me usually seeking advice, and he graciously giving it. So you can imagine my delight when he quickly accepted my request for an interview!

And so, without further delay … Here’s Hunter!

1. Every writer has a story on how it all began for them. When did you first begin to realize you had a knack for story telling? Was there someone that influenced\encouraged you down the path to being a writer?

HunterShea

Horror Author – Hunter Shea

I’ve always been a huge reader and fan of horror. At one time, I dreamt of being a horror director, back when Jason was terrorizing the silver screen. I wrote awful stories and worse poems and songs, then college came along and I discovered free kegs and ten cent wings and my creativity was funneled into creating party themes. It wasn’t until I got my first horrible, soul-deadening corporate job that I got the itch to write. My good friend Norm Hendricks was writing a horror novel in the cubicle next to me and I got curious. Norm is the one who got me sucked into this, and I thank him all the time. It became an addiction, and I have no desire to kick the habit. Of course, it took me years before I wrote anything worth a damn, but that’s part of the journey.

2. As kids we’re always being asked what we want to be when we grow up. Beyond writing, what other careers did you have in mind for yourself?

From about 9 until 14, if people asked me what I was going to be, I would tell them a Playboy photographer (much to my mother’s chagrin – I think dad was proud). Then I wanted to pitch in the major leagues for a while, until college where I studied to be on the radio, either as a DJ or engineer. I’d secretly always wanted to do that ever since WKRP in Cincinnati came on the air. Once I realized how little the job paid, I gave that up. Funny how everything in radio has changed. Everything I learned back then is now obsolete. I was a master at splicing tape.

3. Really looking forward to reading your latest release We Are Always Watching.  While writing it, you mentioned to me that some of it’s based on real events.  Can you give more details on that?

we-are-always-watching-tour-graphic

Hunter’s Latest Release

Sure. The whole idea was inspired by what’s still happening to this house in New Jersey. A couple bought a million dollar home in a sweet little suburb, only to find out someone who calls themselves The Watcher claims the house and all who inhabit it are his. The Watcher leaves cryptic, terrifying notes all around the house. The family picked up and ran for the hills. They’ve been trying to have the house razed but have been turned down by the town zoning board. They rented it out to someone else, who recently started getting even more sinister notes from The Watcher. Crazy stuff. And it’s scary, because it’s really happening.

4. You and Jack Campisi have a podcast called Monster Men over on YouTube. How did you two meet and what made you decide to create the show together?

We worked together at a technology company. When we found out we both owned and loved the Spider-Man rock opera album as kids, we were bonded for life. We loooove horror, and talked about it all the time. Once podcasting became a thing, we decided to just go for it and let the world watch 2 horror fans, who’ve had a few drinks, talk about the genre. We’re 120 episodes in and counting, which isn’t easy considering it’s a video podcast.

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Hunter & Jack – The Monster Men

5. They say authors often put themselves into at least one of their characters in every book. Is this something you’ve experienced? If so, which of your characters do you feel most resembles yourself?

Oh, hell yeah. Bits of us are scattered like ashes across the pages of each and every single book. John Backman in Forest of Shadows was all me, complete with crippling anxiety (which I beat, unlike poor John). There’s a lot of me and one of my daughters in West Ridley in We Are Always Watching. Strangely enough, I’d go so far as to say you’ll find pieces of me in Jessica Backman in Sinister Entity and Island of the Forbidden. It’s impossible not to take from yourself and imbue it within your characters. It also helps give true notes of authenticity to the work. Readers know when you’re totally faking it and when you speak from experience.

6. What’s next for Hunter Shea? Can we look forward to more cryptid-based tales or are you going to go in a different direction for a while?

Oh, so much. This summer, my series of novelettes will come out through Lyrical Press. They’re based on the crap you could buy in comic books in the 70s and 80s. They’re called Just Add Water, Optical Delusion and Money Back Guarantee, and they’re pure campy fun. Megalodon in Paradise will be released through Severed Press this summer. Sure to be a pleasing beach read. I have a few other special releases up my sleeve. Folks need to stay tuned and see what’s in store. Hope you all hop on over to www.huntershea.com and join my Dark Hunter Newsletter to get the inside scoop. Oh, and I give lots of free stuff away to subscribers, too. 😉

Thanks so much, Hunter for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions! It was great learning just a bit more about the man behind the monster madness!

Next month I’ll be grilling author Jason J. Nugent – low and slow with just a touch of lemon pepper!

Until then … Write On!

 

 

ISO: Questions

I’m taking questions over on my Facebook page for a future ‘Ask The Author’ blog post.

Come on over, like my page, and ask me something (preferably writer-related, but not necessarily). One question per person, please.

https://www.facebook.com/PamelaMorrisBooks/

Author Interview – B.W. Morris

As part of my New Year’s Resolution to reach out to more of my fellow authors and stop being such a hermit, I will be presenting you with a monthly author interview. The majority are of the horror genre, but I’ll slip in at least one YA and one Sci-Fi author just to mix it up a little bit.

For the month of March, I bring you an interview with B.W. Morris, a YA Author whose first novel, Six Pack: Emergence, comes out later this months. And no, Bob and I  are not related – at least as far as we know we’re not.

1. Every writer has a story on how it all began for them. When did you first begin to realize you had a knack for story telling and as there someone that influenced\encouraged you down the path of being a writer? bobheadshot
Well, I’ve always liked writing. And I’ve always been a creative person, but I don’t think I realized it as much as I probably should have. When I was younger, my imagination tended to wander about, but as I got older, I realized the gift I had for writing, I thought more about writing for the school newspaper and that’s when journalism entered my mind. But after I entered that field, I found that I had a knack for creative writing, which I explored in my spare time. Further into my adult years, I became more true to myself of who I really was — a comic book geek.
So as I watched multiple TV shows and movies in the superhero genre, I came across a series called Young Justice and really liked how the storylines were woven together and how the characters developed and interacted with each other. I had ideas brewing in the back of my mind about my own superhero team, but wasn’t sure about a setting or what challenge they would face.
Then I came across The Hunger Games… saw the first film before I read any of the books, but once I read the book, I was drawn into the story. I went back to thinking about my superhero team up, thought about the dystopian environment in which The Hunger Games is set, and that’s when I realized I had a story idea.
So I sat down on several occasions, writing about character ideas and plot points. A few months after I settled into a new job, I put together a first draft, sent it to a friend for feedback and got some positive remarks (and plenty of critiques about what I needed to do to get better). That’s when I finally realized I had that knack for story telling, too. From there, I explored more ideas about the writing process, editing, critique groups and other things, and it grew from there.
I think I always had the knack for storytelling… I just needed to embrace my inner geek, my overactive imagination and put both to good use!
2. They say author’s often put themselves into at least one of their characters in every book. Is this something you’ve experienced? If so, which of your characters do you feel most resembles yourself?
All six of my principal characters have a little bit of me in them, but the one who most resembles myself is Tyler. He’s curious, he likes to read, and while he has leadership skills, he’s reluctant to apply them. But I did take my other personality traits and put a little of each into my other characters… Jessica has my stubbornness, Brad has my skepticism, David has my shyness, Stacy has my “try to keep perspective” vibe and Linda has my impulsiveness. And, yes, when you combine those traits, it makes for an odd personality, but that’s what I’m like.
3. Authors tend to also be avid readers. What kind of books do you enjoy reading and who are some of your favorite authors?
I really liked Suzanne Collins and her work with The Hunger Games series. She’s so good at pulling you into the story, making you sympathize with not only Katniss Everdeen but a few of the supporting characters, and she’s great at building tension and suspense. Stephen King was somebody I first read in college and have recently gone back to reading and he has some very good work… I hadn’t read The Stand before, but when I came across his “original cut” in a used bookstore, I bought it and found myself drawn in. Plus I was impressed with how accurately he described Boulder, Colorado, a city I grew up near (I grew up in Longmont) and visited many times. Douglas Adams was somebody else I liked… his wit really comes through in his writing. And I still remember the books by Judy Blume and S.E. Hinton when I was younger… in fact, I still have my copy of The Outsiders that I bought through a school book club. I’m sure I might have a copy of Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing hiding somewhere, too!
SixPackEmergence1400x21004. Once you’re done with the Six Pack Series, do you have any ideas for something different further down the line?
I have an idea for a spinoff book from the Six Pack Series, but I don’t know if I’ll do that immediately after it (I’ve planned a trilogy for Six Pack, though I’ve thought about follows up to it, but that’s further down the road). Because I have an idea for a mystery that keeps coming back to me. And I’ve had a couple other ideas cross my mind but they haven’t stuck with me for long. Perhaps I need to start writing these things down more often!
5.  The general train of thought is that to be a writer you should be writing 1000 words a day. I personally find that impossible to accomplish. How about you? What’s an average writing day for you and is there any one place you prefer to write in.
I write for a weekly newspaper and those stories can be anywhere from 500 to 1,500 words, so in a sense, I’m getting in that amount! Seriously, though, when it comes to fiction writing, my mindset is to get an entire chapter or scene finished in one sitting, which can go as little as 2,000 words to as much as 4,000 words. On the other hand, my work schedule means that sometimes I can’t sit down to write something for a planned book every day, so it tends to average 1,000 words per day on some weeks. I also try to schedule my first drafts for the spring and summer months when I have more evenings and weekends available. The fall is when I sit down and watch Denver Broncos games each Sunday and winter is when the holidays come along and I’m covering a lot of basketball games for the local paper, so I try to focus on editing previous drafts in those months.
As for where I prefer to write, because I sit at a desk in my office all the time, when I’m at home I sit down in front of the coffee table on the floor in my living room to write. It’s true the TV is in the living room, but I don’t watch much TV and tend to focus more on what’s going with the characters on any shows or DVDs I watch. I find that sometimes helps with learning how to develop characters, as much as reading books will teach you.  And, yes, my preferred writing spot is most unusual, but then again, I may be a most unusual person to begin with!
6. Where can readers find out more about you and where can your work be made available?
My blog is at relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com. My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/bwmorrisauthor/. My Twitter handle is @sixpackwriter, though I’m not on that account often because I have a second one that I use for my job and that’s linked to my smartphone. I also submitted a short story to the Kansas Writers Association anthology last year and hope to do one this year. You can learn more about last year’s anthology, Kansas Dreams, here: https://www.amazon.com/Kansas-Dreams-Sonny-Collins-ebook/dp/B01KKYKMSK. As for my upcoming novel, Six Pack: Emergence, it’s set to be released March 28 through Clean Reads and available through Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Nook and iTunes. Clean Reads is revamping its website, but you can check my blog for more details about the first book in the series.: http://relaxingwithsixpack.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-six-pack-and-underground-network.html

Author Interview – Jon Frankel

As part of my New Year’s Resolution to reach out to more of my fellow authors and stop being such a hermit, I will be presenting you with a monthly author interview. The majority are of the horror genre, but I’ll slip in at least one YA and one Sci-Fi author just to mix it up a little bit.

For the month of February, I bring you an interview with Science Fiction-Noir author and poet, Jon Frankel. I’ve known Jon for a number of years, but never made the time to get to know more about him as a writer until now. So, without any further delay, let’s get to it!

Pamela: Tell me a little bit about how you became interested in writing. Have you known since an early age or is this something new you’ve recently started to get involved in?

JonFrankelJon: I guess for as long as I can remember I’ve been a writer. I didn’t think of myself as a writer until my senior year of high school, when my poetry teacher, John Perlman, said I was a poet. But long before that I was writing stories and poems and planning novels that I never wrote. I collaborated on comic books, co-authored a play, stuff like that. I started as a poet, but was also writing short stories that I hoped to turn into novels. When I was 28 I decided to write an experimental literary novel based on a story and utterly failed. I was reading Charles Willeford’s Pick Up, a hard boiled noir novel of the early 60s, and realized I could write one of those. I turned to another short story and banged out a 140 page near future noir. That became Specimen Tank, my first novel, after years of revision.

Pamela: I know you work in a library so you must be a fan of the reading as well as writing. Do you read the same sorts of things that you write about and who are some of your favorite authors?

Jon: My reading and writing are intimately related of course, but I read much different stuff than I write. I love nothing more than novels of the late 19th and early 20th century, especially from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I really read pretty indiscriminately though, lots of non-fiction, history and philosophy, and novels of all types and all periods, as well as poetry of course. A list of my favorite authors would be so long! Djuna Barnes, James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Thomas Hardy, Ralph Ellison, Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Emily Bronte, George Eliot, Bohumil Hrabal, Jaroslav Hasek, Robert Musil, Charles Willeford, Elizabeth Hand, Raymond Chandler, Edmund Spenser, William Blake, William Shakespeare, China Mieville, Philip K. Dick, Marianne Hauser, DH Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Joseph Roth, Anna Kavan…..

Pamela: Like you, for a while I wrote under a pen-name. Why did you choose to use a pen-name in your earlier works and what made you decide to start using your real name instead?

Jon: My first book was a really violent, nihilistic near future noir. I guess I was embarrassed my family would see that all my talk about being a poet and writer had resulted in that. Sort of like if you were studying to compose symphonies and joined a thrash metal band. It was so long between the publication of my first book and my next (20 years!) that I had in the interim established a tiny, but searchable, online presence as Jon Frankel. It was a tough decision to retire Buzz Callaway, especially since GAHA: Babes of the Abyss, is a really violent, nihilistic far future noir. With literary stuff.

Pamela: Tell me a little bit more about your poetry. What inspires you and do your poems share a common theme or are they pretty much all over the place genre-wise depending your mood and the inspiration?

Jon: I think I’ve written the same poem over and over in some ways, but my methods have evolved a lot over the years. I used to write highly improvisational, stream of consciousness poems with strong rhythms and a lot of assonance, but no regular meter or rhyme. I read deeply and wide in the poetic tradition, and always have, but my work was very much New York School if not Beat. Language poetry and the various experimental, avant-garde schools of the 60s-the present really left me cold. I’m a romantic, if not a Romantic, at heart. A number of years ago, as I ran out of gas as a poet, I started to wonder why I didn’t write in meter and rhyme. Slowly I began to experiment with that (and I’m really not great at regular meter, rhyme I can manage) and found I was getting inspired to write, using methods opposite to those I was accustomed to. This essentially meant I could re-explore everything. Which is really exciting. I’m 56, and feel like I have a new sports car, the formal poem. I love to write short, cryptic, intricate rhymed pieces. I think my most basic concern is alchemical, sublimation and metamorphosis, and my methods are playful. The biggest pitfall for me is pompous, pretentious, glaring big statements. But I really hate timidity in poetry. No one reads it, so why not go for the big kahuna?

Pamela: I know you just had a new release back in September 2016. Tell us a little bit about “The Man Who Can’t Die”.  Can you give me the quick, elevator pitch for it?

MANcover Jon: The elevator pitch has always defeated me! Maybe if we were riding to the top of Sears Tower or something, with a stop for a second elevator of the 50th floor. MAN is a really complicated story, about a scientist who invents a drug that cures unhappiness, but kills 10% of everyone who takes it, and a man who wants more than anything to die, but can’t. It takes place 180 years in the future, and the world has been utterly transformed by global warming, and America is a corporate dictatorship. The characters are searching for freedom, but lack the vocabulary and concepts to articulate it. It has beautiful cars, fast women, ray guns, hovercraft and a sexual paradise. It’s a bulging valise of noir and sci fi romance. Sex, drugs and rock and roll as they say.

Pamela: Where can people find out more about you and keep up-to-date your writing?

Jon: I have a website, lastbender.com. My publisher, Whiskey Tit Press, also has a website. I’m on Facebook, too. My poetry is on lastbender.com, as well as essays, reviews and articles about cooking and food. One thing everyone notices in my fiction is the abundance of food, cooking and restaurants. On my website, the most searched thing I’ve written is on how to roast a wild boar ham!

Thank you, Jon. It was great getting to know more about you and your work as a novelist and poet.

Folks, if you want to learn even more about Jon, check out these websites.

Jon Frankel’s WEBSITE
Jon’s Publisher Whiskey Tit Press

20 Questions with B.W. Morris

I was blindfolded and led to an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town. It wasn’t a pretty place, but it gave Bob the privacy he needed. I sat on an old wooden grate under a glaring bright light. He yanked off the blindfold, but all I could see of my interrogator was a shadowy outline. I had the feeling others were watching, listening, judging, but I wasn’t about to back down. “Give me your best,” I sneered.

But seriously… here’s a fun 20 Questions Interview I had with B. W. Morris, a fellow writer who will be finding himself on the other side of things in March just before the release of his first novel.

20 Questions with B. W. Morris

And no, we aren’t related … at least not that we know of!

 

 

Author Interview – Thomas S. Gunther

As part of my New Year’s Resolution to reach out to more of my fellow authors and stop being such a hermit, I will be presenting you with a monthly author interview. The majority are of the horror genre, but I’ll slip in at least one YA and one Sci-Fi author just to mix it up a little bit.

ThomasGunther

Let’s get the ball rolling with horror author, Thomas S. Gunther who specializes in short stories.

Pamela – Every writer has a story on how it began for them. When did you first begin to realize you had a knack for storytelling? Was there someone who influenced/encouraged you down the path of being a writer?
Thomas – Storytelling usually got me in trouble as a kid! But, seriously, I think it was an admiration for other storytellers that inspired me. My parents are both avid readers, and were diligent in reading to me as a kid. They introduced me to various classics. The adventurous pictures writers like Kipling and London painted engendered new stories in my own imagination. I started out as more of an artist than a writer, though, and my parents originally tried to discourage my writing–they wanted me to be a commercial artist. I wanted to draw dragons and talking animals, and hash out ideas stewing in my brain. If I had gotten serious earlier I’d have been more likely writing fantasy stuff now, which I might someday, anyway.

Pamela – It’s been said that in order to be a writer, you must be a reader.  What genre(s) do you enjoy reading and what was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
Thomas – Because of my folks I learned to read at an early age, and read quite a bit, myself. I’ve read all kinds of stuff: the classics, science-fiction and fantasy,  horror, etc. If it hooks me from the start, I’ll usually read it all the way through, though sometimes I’ll lose interest and move on to something else. I am currently reading James Clavell’s, King Rat, and it’s fairly intriguing. But the last book I read that truly had an impact on me was Nabokov’s Lolita which was the driving inspiration behind my short story, Deviant. It’s such a taboo subject, and while it’s not one of my better stories, it was a lot of fun writing it. I’ll admit I rushed the ending, a fault I’m eternally working on, but it was an experiment of sorts, as I want to know just how far I can push the most disturbing subjects.

Pamela – Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. In general, what aspect of a story comes to you first? Do you have a powerful image of a setting, or maybe just a title?
Thomas – Titles are tricky for me. Sometimes I like the ones I come up with, and sometimes I struggle. But, I doubt I’ve ever written a story around a title, though I tried that when I was younger. My story ideas typically come to me as abstract thoughts. They might come to me at any time, regardless of what I’m reading, watching, or doing, and they will be incredibly vivid, but without form or shape. It’s like something I just know in my gut, but can’t quite put my finger on it. I think trying to do so is what I love most about writing, especially writing horror and anything macabre. Maybe it’s a way of pinning down specific fears. I don’t know. That’s a tough question.

Pamela – I’m often asked which of my novels is my best or favorite. Which of your own stories are you most proud of, and why?
Thomas – I dream of being able to say that. I can’t imagine what it’s like to actually complete a novel. But, to answer your question, I would have to say To Catch the Tears of Darkness. It still feels very different to me then my other work, and it wasn’t an easy story to write. I hate predators that prey on children. I tried to imagine what it was like for Chloe, and I had to put myself in a dark place. How awful. People seemed to really like that story, though, and I got a 5 star review from another writer. I liked that because it was non-biased, from someone I don’t really know. That encouraged me to keep going. That story began years ago as something completely different, and it’s undergone several phases. But, I think what I am proud of, and what I think other people like, is that I think I touched on that awesome element that makes a story great.

IcarusRising_Gunther

Pamela – I know one of your short stories was recently accepted by Jason Nugent’s blog page, (Almost) Average. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? Where and when will we be able to find it?
Thomas – Yeah, that was pretty cool. He just asked me out of the blue. He said he was going to start featuring unknowns like myself on his page, and asked me if I wanted to contribute something. I thought my story, Icarus Ascending was the best fit, the best way of introducing my work. If I recall what Jason told me, it should be featured late this month, within the last week I believe.

Pamela – Where can readers find out more about you and where can your work be found?
Thomas – I have a Facebook and Twitter account. The curious are often afforded some insight into what drives me there. As far as my actual work goes, you won’t find me on Amazon at the moment, though I hem and haw about publishing there, simply because Amazon is so dominant. But I’m far more comfortable publishing on #Smashwords–I feel I have more control of my work. But, I am relegated to the adult section, and that sort of makes my stuff difficult to find. However my stuff is available on several different eReader platforms like NOOK, Kobo, and I’ve even found myself listed on iTunes. Once I found one of my stories translated into German. I never did find out if it was anyone authorized to sell my work. I figured, right now, it’s more important for me to get my name out there then worry about making any money. But, on second thought, I need money. Give me money.

Thanks a lot, Thomas. I really enjoyed learning more about you and your work and I hope 2017 proves to be a super successful year of writing for you.

Folks, if you’d like to know more about Thomas and his work, I’m sure he’d love for you to visit and like him on Facebook, give him a Follow on Twitter, and check out his books over at Smashwords. Be sure and read his short story that will be appearing over at Jason Nugent’s website later this month. If you like what you read, look into his other short stories and post a review!

Thomas Gunther on FACEBOOK
Thomas Gunther on TWITTER
Thomas Gunther on SMASHWORDS
Jason Nugent’s – (Almost) Average