For some authors, being a writer was something they felt they were born wanting to do. For others, it was a certain event in their lives that made them want to write. What is your Genesis story? When did the writing bug hit you and what was the first story you wrote”?
The writing bug hit me for the first time in 1981, but I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Halloween II had just hit the theaters and I went to see it. It was an instant hit with me, but I could not stand the thought of the movie ending, not then, not that way. I bought a new 40-sheet notebook and a pack of Bic pens and started writing Halloween III. That’s right John Carpenter. It’s time to move over.
I took up where the movie left off, Michael Myers chasing Laurie Strode deeper into the hospital. Before I knew it, the notebook was full. I had totally zoned out for a couple of days. That was the first time I’d ever had my mind leave my body, so to speak.
The writings in that notebook are gone forever. I have no idea what happened to it and I can’t remember anything I wrote in it. I’m sure that if I found that story today it would make a good script for an Abbott and Costello film.
It took twenty years before that writing bug returned, and this time, I hung on for the ride. It came to me in a nightmare back in 2001. I shot straight up in sweat soaked sheets, eyes darting around the darkness until I realized that I was safe in my own room. This was the worst and best nightmare I’d ever had, and being a horror lover, I couldn’t risk going back to sleep and allowing those horrific images to escape my mind in a fog of dreamy forgetfulness. It was 4:30am. I got up, went to my computer and begin typing it all out in full detail while it was still fresh in my mind.
After reading through my draft of the nightmare the next day, I realized that this dream was scarier than most of the stuff I had been seeing in most of the recent films. The notion hit me to create a foundation of characters and a plot to pull the broken images together.
Once the writing started, the words flowed like a river. I based the plot and characters around the band I was playing with, and the story took off. It took me a few weeks to complete the story. It was my first original piece. I titled it Glasswalker.
After Glasswalker, I was hooked. I immediately started writing Little Red Socks, The Witches’ Post, then another, and another. These are the stories that you will find within the covers of my first book, Nightly Visits.
You run a page on Facebook called “Author’s Bus Depot”. Can you tell us a little more about what the page is about and what gave you the idea for it?
Author’s Bus Depot is a group designed to help indie authors to promote their books without the high cost of hiring a mainstream promotion company to do it for them.
When I released my first book, I had stars in my eyes. The book was available around the globe, so of course there would be sells. There would be so many sells I would be a big-time author within a year. Well, it didn’t take very long for reality to show me otherwise. New authors need help pushing their books to the public, and unfortunately, promoting doesn’t come cheap. So what do you do if you don’t have a stack of money to invest in promoting your book?
Facebook is the first free means. Place your book on your timeline so all your family and friends can see that you have published a book. You will sell a few copies, but then what? Your friends who are interested have already bought your book, and now you are back at the drawing board. How do you get out there where the numbers are, those people who would love your book if they only knew it existed? How do you introduce yourself as an author when you are trapped behind a wall of open palms, promising you the world, but at a cost you can’t afford to pay?
Author’s bus Depot uses the Facebook timeline to promote, not only your book, but also all of our books, not only for your personal friends and following, but all of our friends and followings combined together. We are simply sharing our timelines with each other so that rather than only having your small private group to offer your book to, you have all of our followings to offer to as well. Author’s Bus Depot is designed to get your book seen by thousands of people across Facebook without having to spend one cent on a promotion company.
I understand you are also a musician. Tell us a little bit about the music you love to play and are there any songs or bands that inspire or help you while you’re in author mode?
Glasswalker, a story from Nightly Visits, was based all around my band, House of Flies. Things that have happened over our years together, venues that we’ve played, and even the members, though their names have been changed to protect my skin, much of that story is true. Each character in Glasswalker is characterized after a musician that is either in the band, or has been in our band in the past. The things they say and do as a band, are things that we’ve said and done.
As for the music I enjoy playing, that depends on the audience in front of me. If I am with our band, House of Flies, Hard Rock is my favorite to play, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc. There are no rules in Hard Rock. You do what you want, when you feel like doing it. I love looking out and seeing our crowd having a good time. When their blood starts flowing, it makes our adrenaline start pumping, and when they getting into it, screaming and jumping to the music, the top of our heads go, BOOM! Then it’s game on! No one knows what’s going to happen after that. There is nothing like doing a great show and waking the next morning with your ears still ringing and a hangover from Hell. And the best part about that is that I don’t drink!
Don’t get me wrong. I am not a pure head-banger, no, not at all. I am an all-around lover of the art. I listen to anything and everything: heavy, soft, good dance beat or no beat at all. If it makes me feel good, then it must be good. Give me an acoustic and a small audience that loves to sing along and I will go on for hours playing classics from artists like America, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Nash, Bob Seger, Sammy Johns, and the list goes on forever. Music always has been, is, and always will be in my soul.
You have two books under your belt already. Could you tell us a little bit about Nightly Visits and 12 to 6 and if you have any other works in progress you’d like to share info on.?
Nightly Visits was my first release, and the second, From 12 to 6 (More Nightly Visits) is the sequel).
Both of these books are loaded with short stories and novellas, each one coming from a completely different direction from the last. The thing about the Nightly Visits series is that most of the ideas come from dreams, which is where the title, Nightly Visits, comes from. Because the stories in these books are dream-based, they go where they want to go, do what they want to do, and show you what they want you to see. All I do is sit and watch these characters interact in my head, and write it all down. I didn’t create most of the stories in my book. The characters did it for me. I am the writer, but they are the authors. I am not the pilot. I’m just the plane that takes you into these worlds of the imagination. When I am writing these stories, I can’t wait to get to the end so I can see what happens.
You can expect a lot more from me in the near future.
At the moment, I am working on two new projects. My editor and friend, Lisa Binion and I are teaming up for my first full-length novel, which has not been titled yet. The foundation is complete and the story is well under way, however, the release date is still too far away to predict.
As for the other project, you guessed it. Nightly Visits III (The Trail of Dreams) is coming. I am planning to release it late in the year or perhaps early next year, depending on the characters. They are the ones in charge. It’s going to be a wild ride, so keep an eye out for that.
Where can people learn more about Stephen Helmes and how can we get a hold of your books?
At the moment, I have no actual website, but you can find me on Facebook at the following link… https://tinyurl.com/StephenH-Author Drop in and say hello.
You can find both of the Nightly Visits books at Amazon.
Nightly Visits – myBook.to/NightlyVisits
From 12 to 6 (More Nightly Visits) – myBook.to/From-12-To-6
If you would like to get a taste of From 12 To 6 (More Nightly Visits) you can read two of the stories in their entirety by clicking the links below.
The Longest Day in the World: https://tinyurl.com/LngDayWrld
Ashlyn came to me in a dream Christmas Eve 2013. She wanted me to tell her story. I woke on Christmas morning with this little girl in my head and tears in my eyes. This little girl won my heart that night, and I couldn’t wait to get this story started so I could share her with all of you.
Jacob is only one of many who suffer from Mysophobia, (fear of germs) and those around him will never truly understand why he is so obsessive with cleaning his apartment and staying closed up inside. But they don’t see what Jacob sees. The germs are not only everywhere, on everything, and transferred by everybody. They are actually coming to get him!