An Interview with Horror Bites Author, Adam L. Bealby

An interview with
Horror Bites: Alice’s Scars author,
Adam L. Bealby.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always loved writing! When I was about ten I was obsessed with thinking up zany characters and concocting outlandish situations for them, plotting be damned. Political correctness and copyright also be damned. I lived in a fairly closed-minded ex-mining community, and I was as naïve as a barefoot pilgrim. So in the mix was a crippled baby clown, an Indian taxi driver called Curry (ooff!); as well as a couple of characters from an obscure British Marvel comic book I liked, and a lengthy character-jamboree sequence stolen from (we’d call it ‘parodying’ these days) the third Star Trek movie, entitled The Search for Bogart.

 

Actually, there’s something to be said for liberating yourself from social (and literary) mores and graces when you’re writing. I don’t think poor Curry will be making a comeback any time soon, though…

Who were the biggest influences on your writing?

I’m a huge fan of Michael Moorcock. I like the idea you can write about anything, and that there’s really no barrier between high literature and genre writing. Be bold and brave and go where your imagination leads you!

I’m also very impressionable and tend to be influenced by whatever book I happen to be reading. I have to make a concerted effort when I’m writing to find my own voice, or a voice that suits the story, and not appropriate the stylistic traits of other writers. Although I was impressed with a rather nasty little story I wrote off the back of my time with a Chuck Palahniuk anthology! It won’t be seeing the light of day any time soon, but as a taboo-breaking exercise it was very therapeutic!

What is “Alice’s Scars” about?

It’s about a guy who meets a gal and they fall in love. Only the gal is all messed up and leads him down the rabbit hole into her abusive past – one in which she retreated into a Wonderland-inspired fantasy.

What inspired “Alice’s Scars”?

The first book I ever bought my wife was the collected Alice works. It was the first year of Uni and I even wrote a loving dedication in the frontispiece. That was over twenty years ago. So when I heard the call for Clockwork Wonderland, the HorrorAddicts.net anthology “Alice’s Scars” was originally written for, I knew I had to mine the first few months of our burgeoning relationship for inspiration.

I’ll say now that my wife isn’t Alice/Katie, the main character in “Alice’s Scars.” She’s much more together than that! When I asked her what was in her drawstring purse that first night, it proved to be money, not a rabbit’s foot – which is clearly completely different.

Many of the scenes in the story do riff off people and situations from my Uni days, including an episode in which I merrily chased a distraught girl through the night. But enough of that.

Did you have to do any research for the story?

Just a quick flick through the Alice books, really. The same collected works I bought for my wife all those years ago! As I said, there’s a lot of real life in there, jumbled up with the stuff-I-thunk-up, and that feels like a good compromise for a story about the grey areas between reality and fiction.

What are your favorite things to write about?

Psychological horror, especially the type of story where you can lead the reader to question what’s real and what’s not. I also like writing rollicking adventures for kids – it makes a nice change of pace.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing a book about a suicide cult, alternating between research and drafting short ‘suicide vignettes’, which will be interspersed between the chapters of the main story. My internet search history makes for worrying reading. Let’s see: ‘I want to commit suicide’, ‘slitting your wrists’, ‘suicide bag’, ‘I want to drink anti-freeze’, ‘experiences of depression’, ‘suicide and reincarnation’…

I really hope I can do the subject justice. I’m very proud of how some of the vignettes are turning out.

Where can people find you online?

Many of my stories are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Adam-L. -Bealby/e/B01EE49YWW.

You can also catch up with my sporadic ravings at @adamskilad.

Advertisements

HorrorAddicts.net, 146 #NGHW Guest Judge: Stacy Rich

This week, we welcome guest judge, Stacy Rich. Stacy will be helping us judge the author interviews!

Stacy Rich

stacyBlog Editor, HorrorAddicts.net
From growing up in a sleepy 19th century town to discovering Poe before double digits, Stacy has a deep seeded interest in ghosts, true crime, horror, and macabre. When she isn’t reading HorrorAddicts.net content before it is published, (the best perk of her job bwahaha) she is spending the limited amount of time she has left of her sons’ childhood with them, going to awesome punk, noise and acoustic concerts or festivals, traveling, and listening to podcasts. She is a big time podcast junkie. What’s her favorite podcast? HorrorAddicts.net of course!

Author Interview: Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson

1) You currently have two trilogies and other books published. The Van and Enigma of Twilight Falls trilogies. Can you tell us a little about both?

The Enigma of Twilight Falls is a little more formal than the Van trilogy, though the books comprising each vary in their individual stories and characters. Enigma is a nonlinear trilogy that encompasses a wider narrative, and a wider mythos. The town of Twilight Falls lies in a lush, Redwood Valley in Northern, California, acting as an eerie beacon not only for artists of all stripes but also unexplained phenomena and bouts of terrible violence. The reading order is to your choosing, but each book illuminates more of a mysterious “scheme” percolating in the shadows of the town, as well as the greater mystery of what makes the town unique.

The Van trilogy, on the other hand, is connected in a looser way by the key presence of a certain VW van in all three books, one of which, “Negative Space,” overlaps with The Enigma of Twilight Falls. The van belongs to an eccentric, nomadic paranormal investigator named Dwayne, who uses it as his office-on-wheels — complete with a UFO air freshener and Bigfoot bobble head doll on the dash.

2) I read in an interview that you wrote a bit of Enigma of Twilight Falls in 6th grade. What made you enjoy writing?

The seed of what would become the flagship Twilight Falls story, The Green-Eyed Monster, was indeed a short story written for 6th grade English. I’d been writing happily and consistently, though, for about five years prior. I always say it was (and is) my brain’s way of going to the bathroom, though ideally with more publicly-pleasing results. From a young age, I loved to read and watch movies, and my mind has always been partially running on “musing mode”. Wherever a breath is taken, there might be an idea lurking.

3) I believe your first book published was Skunk Ape Semester, can you tell us a bit about this book, and how you felt when you were finally a published author?

Skunk Ape Semester, in fact, one of the titles of the Van trilogy, was my first traditional publication. The acceptance was certainly a great feeling, though I will be honest in admitting I’d hoped for greater reach and resources not permitted to many smaller presses. I was also a bit of an outlier in their catalog, as their focus was predominantly mystery and paranormal romance. Of course, this undercuts nothing of my gratitude for them seeing the book’s potential and taking it on. They also commissioned an audiobook, which I really like. As I often call the novel On the Road meets  The X-Files, it’s apropos that road-trippers in real life can now follow the story by ear.

The story itself is consciously separated from the deluge of Bigfoot or cryptid yarns that are either outlandishly humorous or cheesily horrific. Rather, “Skunk Ape Semester” covers the human and social consequences of strange encounters, and, while it’s fiction, the “cases” involved are based on real phenomena and real testimony.

4) Dreamshores is about a girl who finds a fascination in monsters during her youth. It wasn’t until her early adulthood, did she start to discover who or (what) she is. You have done a similar task in The Prince Earth, a more paranormal book. Both take place in different parts of the world. Since you don’t choose your topics, rather they choose you. Do you specifically choose to separate time frames in your books?

As it does many, the nature of time and growth — both physical and emotional — fascinates me as key aesthetic devices of storytelling. The contrast of childhood and adulthood, or younger and older, innocence and wisdom, seem to spring up for me when constructing many stories and the characters they feature. The character is the story, often, so in understanding the universe I’ve placed them in, and how they relate to it, or will, my efforts tend to take me back to their younger years. To see the beginnings of their universe. Much of my work involves reconciling inward strangeness with outward strangeness.

5) If you were to choose to live as one of your characters for only one day (hopefully they are having a good day when you make the Leap) who would you choose and why?

 I think it’d depend on which scene I was living in their skin (*wink*). But it’s probably a toss-up between Dwayne, the aforementioned paranormal investigator, and Adrian Foster, star of  Waking Gods (part of the Twilight Falls trilogy), who can travel his consciousness into others’, and can, in turn, toggle how immersed he becomes in their emotions, sensations, memories, and thoughts. Unsurprisingly, those aware of his ability nickname him the Human Master Key. As a writer, it’d be hard to pass up a peek into something like that.

 6) You have a short story, “How I Killed the Drama”, in an anthology called Prime Time. This is about a traveling salesman who discovers the secrets of every man’s sadness and troubles. How many short stories you’ve written been published?

I’ve written quite a number of short stories, and have published about 15 of them. There are a good lot I don’t care to pursue any longer (and haven’t for years), but some of my recent unpublished work I’d love to see in print. Just a matter of submitting regularly.

 7) You have written about Cryptids, Aliens, and the supernatural. Which is your favorite to read/write and learn more about?

My interests are varied and weird, but I would say that my umbrella interest(s) lie with the dynamics between the natural world and the metaphysical world, which, as I see it, make for one whole cosmic organism. This fascination is evident in the title of my story collection, “Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray.” Some misunderstand that title as referring to the book’s dark themes or content. Not exactly.

I love natural history, mythology, cosmology, and metaphysics. If I had to pick out a favorite off-kilter subject, I’d say it’d be cryptids; one could argue they touch on three out of the four areas (not so much cosmology, after all). I’m always a sucker for “monsters”, cinematic or real, and for wildlife both known and unknown.

 8) You write very creepy descriptions and situations. When you are working on these scenes or descriptions, do you get scared?

Thank you! I don’t get scared, really, though I do channel situations and sensations that have frightened me in the past, or theoretical situations that would. For instance, in The Prince of Earth, the protagonist is lying alone in a hotel bed, when around 2 AM she feels a soft tap on her exposed shoulder. That’s a thought that still crosses my mind when curling up in the dark. So in that sense, I suppose I do unnerve myself. But in-the-moment fright as I’m writing? Not as much. I’m too distracted finessing the scene.

9) What do you have for us as fans to look forward to in the next book?

Right now, my agent’s been shopping around my recent novel Walking the Dusk, a slipstream dark fantasy about an intellectually-gifted child who braves otherworldly realms to help his older sister, the victim of a strange force that comes to haunt them for years — even when the boy grows up to be an active and admired particle physicist.

In much earlier development is a Hawaiian-set horror novel, Ancient Tides Ashore.  As a screenwriter and producer, I’m also co-writing a half-hour supernatural dramedy called  Black Tea that we hope will find some financial legs in the coming year. In fact, his show dovetails with another one in development: “Dwayne”, concerning, you guessed it, our lovely Fortean investigator.

10) Where can we find your work, and stay up to date on tours and releases? Falls trilogies. Can you tell us a little about both?

My website is: www.mikerobinson-author.com

You can check out my personal and author Facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/mike.robinson.758

https://www.facebook.com/MikeRobinsonAuthor/ 

Or find me on Goodreads

Author Interview: Lily Luchesi

 

Who doesn’t love a good vampire novel? If you enjoy reading horror stories with strong female characters, lots of action and maybe a little romance, then you should check out the books of Lily Luchesi. If you’re not convinced then check out our interview with Lily:

When did you start writing?

I started writing with the goal of making it my career when I was eight years old. I had a teacher who inspired me and made me want to pursue it. I’ve always been creative, though. When I was little I used to draw quite a bit, and act out scenes with my “imaginary friends”. As I got older, I just started writing them down instead!

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Well, I will always love writing about monsters and creatures. They’ve been an obsession for me since I was a toddler and saw a vampire on an old Scooby-Doo rerun on the Cartoon Network. But I write about many deeper subjects, disguising them in between horror and action. I write about unconditional love, xenophobia, racism, LGBT+ issues, women’s rights, and the growing violence in America (particularly in my home city of Chicago).

I like strong female leads who don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models, and male co-stars who support and encourage them. Real people are flawed in many ways, so I believe characters should be as well.

What do you like best about vampires?

You know, that’s harder than you might think for me to answer. I don’t know what initially attracted me to vampires, but now that they’ve evolved so much, I think it’s an unnatural allure for danger. Even if a vamp is sexy, they’re still deadly. They might be the deadliest creature of them all, yet humans are undeniably attracted to them. I love that power they have over the human heart.

What was the first horror movie or horror novel you read?

The first horror movie I watched could be considered the cartoon version of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, or possibly Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Non-animated, that would be Carrie (the original version) when I was twelve.

My first horror novel was YA horror when I was ten, and that was The Cirque Du Freak Series by Darren Shan (also about vampires, you can see where my tastes ran). Adult horror was also Stephen King, I got a used copy of Rose Madder for free and fell madly in love with his writing.

What are some of your influences?

Stephen King is definitely a big influence. I love how so many of his books are interconnected (like with towns, characters, even plots) and that he can bring fear over seemingly innocuous things like those wind-up monkeys with the cymbals, or a painting, or even your own grandmother. It takes great talent to be able to do that.

Other horror authors who have influenced me are Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Thomas Harris, and Darren Shan.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The fact that there are so many ways to scare people! And that fear doesn’t just come from gore and violence. It comes from the shadow outside your window at three in the morning, or the scraping sound you hear inside your walls when it’s quiet, or a strange car following you down a deserted road. Fear is the core of humanity, because fear fuels every emotion. Fear spiders? Kill them. Fear losing someone? Hold them. Fear failure? Work harder. Fear is everything and to be able to bring it, even a little, is power.

What are some of the works you have available?

I am the author of the Paranormal Detectives Series published by indie horror/UF great Vamptasy Publishing. The story follows mortal detective Danny Mancini as he discovers that monsters exist and are everywhere. In the first book, Stake-Out, he finds a vampire murdering a human and it sends his life into a tailspin. Angelica Cross, my female lead, recruits him to help the FBI apprehend the offending vampire and the series goes from there.

It’s not strict horror: there is a romantic subplot that plays a big part that readers discover slowly as they go through to book five, Last Rites. It deals with destiny and humanity and the true meaning of what constitutes a monster.

There are four books: Stake-Out, Miranda’s Rights, Life Sentence, Right To Silence, and Last Rites. The series is complete as it is, with book five being the “end of an era”, so when the series picks up again next year with book six, Skin Deep, it will be set further into the future after book five ends and won’t affect those original five books.

What are you currently working on?

Well, I just released my fifth book, Last Rites, on June 14th, and am now working on editing my December WWII urban fantasy release Never Again, which is a standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series. It follows male siren Sean Wireman (whom you’ll meet in Last Rites) as he discovers his powers, and moves on from 16th century Israel, traveling over Europe, and eventually fighting for America in WWII, where he finds terrifying monsters being controlled by Nazis. It will feature some cameos of other PDS characters, too, for faithful readers, but will hopefully appeal to an entirely deeper demographic.

Where can we find you online?

You can find my books at http://smarturl.it/LilyLuchesiAmazon (I have plenty of other stories in anthologies, all of them horror)

You can find me on social media or my official site:

http://lilyluchesibooks.wix.com/lilyluchesi

http://facebook.com/lilyluchesi

http://twitter.com/LilyLuchesi

http://instagram.com/lilyluchesi

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7369101.Lily_Luchesi

Artist Interview: Njaydee

Recently, HorrorAddicts.net had a great opportunity to interview another artist: Njaydee. We enjoyed the opportunity to get to know him better, and hope you find this interview as fun to read as it was to do!                                                          

  1. HorrorAddicts: What is your name? Professional name?                                                                         Njaydee: I go by a lot of names, tall guy with the afro, fly boy, whatever you want. But my birth name is Nicholas Jay Delgado- or my artist name is Njaydee (pronounced: EN-JAY-DEE). They are just my initials all mashed together- thought it was pretty clever.                                                                                                            
  2. HA: Where do you come from?                                                                                                                                                                                                                            NJ: I am from the California, East Bay area- born and raised actually.                                               
  3. HA: What is your first memory of horror?                                                                                                                                                                     NJ: My first memory that I have of horror was actually reading and trying to watch those damn Goosebumps stories. That intro- when it got to the dog part when his eyes turned evil red- that always freaked me out. The puppet was the worst. But after growing up a bit I now find all those things ridiculously hilarious- especially since Jack Black was a reboot for it.                                                                                                                                                                         
  4.  HA: I saw this photo, and it looks like a maze! What was your inspiration for this piece?                                                                         NJ: Its funny you say that- because I always use to draw mazes. I absolutely adored drawing mazes- and with a pen to, not even with a pencil. And as a kid, I rarely messed up. I actually miss doing those and want to incorporate mazes a little bit more with what I do now.                                                                                                                  
  5. HA: Who was your inspiration as a child?                                                                                                                                                              JA: Nobody truly inspired me when I was a child, to be honest. No one in my family- no one around me- nobody really did any art for a career- it was just a hobby. There was other things that inspired me as a child though- books of mazes, tv, music, movies, video games, video games, and especially video games.                                                                                 
  6. HA: Have you always wanted to be an artist?                                                                                                                                                            JA: I wanted to be an artist when I was a kid- maybe in the 5th grade or so when I had a thought. But as school got harder- I started growing up doing teenager things- I never really wanted to be an artist. Because I had completely forgotten all about it- or I wanted to repress it. It was only until I was pretty much done with school and couldnt leave the school campus for some stupid reason- I took about 3 to 4 study hall classes during my senior year. That is of course when I started to draw religiously straight out of boredom. Remembering then what I wanted to do with my life and how I forgot about it years ago. It sounds bad, but if I wouldn’t have taken those study hall classes, I probably would have a decent regular job by now.                                                                                                                               
  7. HA: What is your favorite medium?                                                                                                                                                                              JA: I like to work with ink for the most part. Although I am finding myself mixing ink with watercolor right now- and I love it.                                                 
  8. HA: Who is your current favorite artist?                                                                                                                                                                     JA: I have A LOT of favorite artist. I’ll name a few and if you havent seen their stuff, you need to be butchered: Godmachine, Charles Lister, Dave Correia, Alex Pardee, Dan Mumford, Skinner, Coki Greenway I can go on.                                                                                                                                                                                       
  9. HA: How would you describe your style?                                                                                                                                                                 JA: It sounds like a cliché, I know- but the only way I can actually make sense of it is if you tell me, I love what people have to say. But for the most part, I have a very grim style with a little bit of what I like to call creepy cutseyto it. I try to be as uninviting as possible with my work to make the viewer feel more like a rebelliously comfortable little creep the longer they stare at it.                                                                 
  10. HA: Do you make videos of you creating all of your pieces?                                                                                                                        JA: I am guessing you are referring to the one I did back in 2014 haha- that was a fun piece. I was really into the walking dead/zombie scene and I wanted to make some sort of video of the process I go through on photoshop for all the people who were curious about the steps- turns out I made more videos after that and enjoyed doing it! (You can find this and all my other videos I did on my Facebook linked below!)                                                                      
  11. HA: How do you start your pieces?                                                                                                                                                                            JA: I either sketch out all of my stuff on photoshop or just in my sketchbook of any ideas that I have leeched off of regarding musical lyrics, surroundings, other art or artist, video games, and much more- those are just the some of the main ones.                                                      
  12. HA: Do you approach the same steps to create works, or are they specific to what type of medium you are using?                                                                                                                                                        JA: I have different steps for different mediums. For paintings- I first finalize all of my sketches on Photoshop or make them look the way I want. I then project that onto a canvas and trace the line work. After that it’s just all up to the paint- then ill layer ink over the line work. For digital pieces- it’s all on my Facebook and Instagram that is linked below. But when getting ready to make anything, that’s what you have to do in order to make everything- I am a lazy person sometime. But as one of my favorite mentors once said, “Just do it!-Shia LaBeouf.                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  13. HA: Where does your inspiration come from?                                                                                                                                                           JA: A very personal and confusing question. I believe inspiration comes from the crazy decrepit mind as well as everybody elses around you- no one and everyone understands you. And cats are a big inspiration. Take that as you will. Regarding the second part of the question, I always listen to music or podcasts in the background of creating art- no tv or movie background noise. I would probably procrastinate SO MUCH if I wasn’t listening to anything.                                                                                                                                                           
  14. HA: What is the hardest part of being an artist?                                                                                                                                                          JA: I think it is fair to say that every artist knows the hardest thing about being an artist- money makes the world go around, and pays for my damn paint and bills.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  15. HA: What are you working on next?                                                                                                                                                                            JA: There are so many things to create- it would be impossible to say what I want to create next. And because I probably dont know it yet haha. As for mediums- I like where I am right now and never really thought of any other mediums that seriously. But who knows- I am still learning and could go full on acrylic the next day.                                                                                                                                                                      
  16. HA: What is your favorite piece?                                                                                                                                                                                 JA: There are pieces currently under disclosure that I really adore just based on the fact of all the work that went into it and how it turned out- if you follow me you will see what it is eventually- But I know for a fact I will have another favorite tomorrow.                                                                                                  
  17.  HA: What advice would you give to another artist?                                                                                              JA: This doesn’t have to be directed towards artist- but to anyone in general. You have to follow your heart because you love what you do- not because of anything else- even though the side stuff that comes along with it is good and bad- that is just life- it has its pros and cons. NEVER EVER do art to become famous. It is INSANE how many young people want to become famous! A famous musician, artist, actor, YouTuber, whatever it is! If you want to be famous use a bullet, but if you want to be happy, do whats in your heart.                                                                                                                  
  18. HA: What are you working on right now?                                                                                                                                                                    JA: I am currently hanging up some pieces at Raquel Amaral Studio/Art Gallery until may 13th. I will also be there on the 13th if you want to personally meet me for a beer.                                                                       
  19. HA: What do you have planned to work on next?                                                                                                                                                      JA: The next thing I have planned at least, will be Mama De Luna Art Gallery for their upcoming Sinshow. I have heard a lot of praise, and if you are interested in meeting up with me there or you want to show off some art you have locked up in your the basement lets show these creeps our artwork.                                                                                                                                 
  20. HA: Is there anything you would like to say before we conclude?                                                                                                                        JA: I just want to thank every creep for being a part of my life and I am so humbled to have met any other creep to push me along the road so far- and it is a long road. I also want to thank Emerian Rich for my very first interview based on my art! I can not thank Emerian enough for picking my art out of the crowd and realizing a common but twisted ground we both and all share. So thank you again. P.S. Hi Mom.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Facebook: facebook.com/Njaydeee                                                                        Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/njaydee/ or @Njaydee

 

Horror Artist Profile: J.E. Richards

One of the benefits of being on the HorrorAddicts.net Staff is you get to talk to some talented creative people that have a love of horror. Here is an interview I recently did with artist J.E. Richards. J.E. is someone who was inspired to draw by the comics and magazines he grew up with and when he got older he used that passion for art as a way to express his feelings about the area he grew up in:

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Milwaukee and grew up there until I was 11. Our family then bought a 7-acre farmstead in Fon du Lac Co., just north of Auburn Lake and east of Campbellsport. We stayed there until I was 17, then moved back closer to the Milwaukee metro area living in Menomonee Falls, which is where I graduated HS in 1985.

When did you start drawing?

I started drawing about the age of 3 or 4 if I remember right, about normal for children I would guess. I just never gave up! My brother and dad were collectors of the magazines at the time, early to mid ’70’s, there was always a lot of Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella and the Savage Sword of Conan laying about and of course, I read them mainly for the artwork. I collected a lot of Spiderman, Conan the Barbarian, John Carter Warlord of Mars and various other titles and spent countless hours at the kitchen table with loose leaf paper and pencils. The magazine Starlog and then later Fangoria were influential as well, along with Star Trek, Quark, Space 1999 and of course Star Wars. Pretty much a very fertile ground for imagination. Halloween and vintage black and white horror movies were a mainstay, and I spent hours building Aurora monster models besides the PMC line of Pirates of the Carribean series (these things had rubber bands you could attach to the arms of the skeleton pirates, they called it Zap! Action, it was great because they could swing a cutlass or pop out of a treasure chest.) In HS I took several classes on basic art and drawing and learned how perspective, shadowing, shading and composition worked

What inspired you to draw?

I was inspired to draw because I really liked and respected the way an illustration could augment a paperback story or tell a tale in sequential art. Comic artists are among the most talented yet underrated individuals because they have to command anatomy, facial features, landscapes, vehicle, buildings, equipment and everything else in between and be able to organize those images in a way that would flow and make sense even without the script and writing. I have always loved concept art and rough storyboarding as well (Starlog always had good features on those), and the ink drawings that Frank Frazetta accomplished were inspiring. Somewhere along this timeframe, I decided I liked black and white ink work.

What do you use to draw with?

When I draw I start with a basic #2 pencil on white paper, do a thumbnail, and once it’s good I’ll move onto 11 x 14 or 11x 17 Strathmore Bristol and take it from there with either Micron markers or even Sharpies. I tried the Kohinoor Rapidograph pens for a while, but though they are an excellent product, I ended up taking too much time cleaning the tips out, replenishing ink, cleaning up spilled ink and so on, so I’ve streamlined it a bit now.

How long does it take for you to do your art?

On the average, it will take me about 3 to 4 hours to complete a piece. The images that are on the Deviant Art website were all about that time span once I knew how it was going to look. That’s the most time-consuming aspect, meaning I can have a nebulous idea that I want to make a reality but I’ve learned that if I force it, it will turn into a labor and will look wrong. However, if someone approaches me with a rough idea that they have I can create a few options fairly quickly.

Can you tell us about your book The Last Breath?

The first book, A Last Breath, was conceived one August night back in 2011 when I was feeling that slight chill in the air as autumn was beginning to surface and it reminded me of the years spent on that farm in Wisconsin and all of the memories associated with it. I sat down at my dedicated drawing table ( no more working from a chipped formica and brass legged kitchen table for me) and started to do rough sketches of how those years made me feel : the fields at dusk, the smell of hay in the barn, the shadows between the silos and the splintery wreckage of barbed wire, fence posts and rusted tools, and above all the magic I always felt in a pumpkin patch or rows of endless corn stalks as the daylight faded and I knew there were things that moved about in the dark places while the world slept.

Knife Jack was the first character, soon followed by Chop Block, which kind of gave me the creeps because I had never created something like him, and in the months that followed I kept up the momentum to address every memory and imaginative musing I had out there on the edges of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Unseen things, noises in the night that you were sure was no opossum, deer or raccoon, but at the same time not alarmed because I didn’t pose a threat and so they passed me by.

However, I started to develop the idea of folklorish characters specifically created to balance the scales and make the bad guys afraid of what lives out there, and so the one-page flash fiction began for each of the 13 new entities. (I wasn’t trying to be trendy and cool by having 13 characters, my original intent was to do a set of 20 images because I like even numbers, but after Crone, my creative visualization literally shut off. This was now in Feb 2012, so I had been putting pen to paper for months trying to capture what was trying to be expressed, and it finally ran its course).

So I wrote. I wrote the words and quick vignettes I have always wanted to read but could never find. They were of cause and effect, action and consequences of a sort. If a question is asked or guidance sought, there may be a price to pay or if an individuals’ actions caused harm to others through malicious intent, well, they just might have to face something they only heard about in whispered campfire tales. Thus A Last Breath was born.

The photo on the cover is our house on the hill where I lived for those formative years, right off of Hwy D or DD, I don’t know what it’s called now, I just know I can still find it on Google Earth and it looks pretty much the same, not far from New Prospect and Mauthe Lake.

The stories were fine tuned a bit and I looked for self-publishing options which led me to Amazon and Create Space. This proved to be a good decision and since then we have established our business front of Last Breath Studios. In the last few years, we have participated in local venues, Halloween vendor shows and the fall festivals in Apple Hill, CA.

The second compilation of art and writing has been published under the title of “Cailleach Teine”, translated as Witch Fire in the Gaelic language, and is more traditional with longer stories and less artwork but still retains the feel of the first book with references to the original. In this work, I established the foundation for a third book, now a novel, The Moths Of Autumn.

How long did it take to bring it all together?

To bring all of this together takes a bit of time and effort, but depending on the project size the Last Breath Team can make ideas a reality in record time. The original artwork took 3 months from beginning to end, the flash fiction stories another month. In Cailleach Teine, the process was reversed in that I wrote the stories first and completed artwork later, but there is always a bit of crossover and flexibility.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am working on a project dealing with the Undead in Railroad era late 1800’s
Western America.

A new stylized theme of retro-modern Halloween characters is also on the drawing board and pencil concepts are in progress as of this writing.

In addition, there is a great amount of work being done on a joint venture with Travis Jensen and Jed Lean, co-creators of the newest children’s Halloween tradition, Harvest Jack: 13 Nights of Hallow.

Where can people find you on the internet?

The internet presence is:

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: Stephanie Ellis

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is Stephanie Ellis who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

My story, Hands of Time, takes place in the subterranean world of Wonderland, in the dark dungeons and cellars no one ever really thinks about. Their existence, never referred to, must be real, after all the Queen of Hearts was always arresting her subjects and demanding their beheading. So, where did these miscreants go and who despatched them? This is where the Executioner comes in, a hooded figure shrouded in secrecy … like the world he inhabits. And like all people with a trade, he has his apprentices. These are his hands, one of whom will become chosen as his successor. Together with the TimeKeeper, who is in charge of the Queen’s clocks, he selects Rab as the one to follow his trade. But how is this choice made and what happens to the other hands … well, you’ll just have to read the story.

What inspired the idea?

“Off with their heads!” The line that everyone remembers. But whether you read the book or watch the film, you never see much of the Executioner. I wanted to know more about him and his world. I also played around with the different meanings for the word ‘hands’ – hands on a clock, work hands, actual flesh and blood hands (although not for long!!) and linked them all together. And suddenly an idea was born.

When did you start writing?

Several years ago, mostly privately and just ‘scribbling’, I didn’t think about doing anything more serious. Then about four years ago I saw a submission call for a horror anthology, thought it looked like fun, so had a go. It wasn’t successful as it didn’t quite fit but the feedback was positive so I tried again and this time got in. The then editor, Theresa Derwin (now of Quantum Corsets), was extremely supportive, and took other stories of mine for other anthologies. This encouraged me to try the wider market and here I am. Slow but sure.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

The darkness of the soul! Whatever I write, it always ends up dark. Some stories feature a bit of blood and gore but it’s not by any means all ‘slice and dice’ and only a few have standard horror tropes, ie tend to avoid vampires and werewolves. I prefer to hint at darkness, build up a sense of horror in setting and atmosphere, twist what might seem innocent at first.

What are some of your influences?

It goes without saying that Stephen King is one of them, he is amazing at creating such a real sense of place and time. He also shows that horror can be written in many different ways and he is certainly never repetitive. Ray Bradbury, particularly for Something Wicked This Way Comes, again the atmosphere, the characters, and its gothic feel. Then there’s Shirley Jackson, Edgard Allan Poe. But it’s not only these more famous authors. There are other writers I’ve met online, particularly a small Flash Fiction community called the FlashDogs and they have pushed me to raise my own standards. We compete against each other weekly in flash competitions and there are some amazingly dark people amongst them, particularly David Shakes, Mark A. King, Tamara Rogers to name but a few. The latter two have also recently published their first novels.

Another influence isn’t a book or a writer but a place. I grew up in an isolated rural area in a country pub, The Cider House in Shropshire . And something that’s always stayed with me is the atmosphere of that area and the feelings it generated: getting off the school bus and then facing the long walk home along narrow country lanes in gathering dusk; of the stillness before storms when birds stopped singing, branches stopped rustling and everything seemed to be waiting; of fog shrouding the fields and woods around the pub and walking through those mists and becoming totally disoriented. It always made me feel there was ‘something else’ at work around us and that’s an element I try to include in my writing.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The evil man can do, how it could even be considered. I just can’t comprehend how some people can commit the atrocities you hear of in the world today. What is it that drives them? Is it this idea of the Devil, is it a disturbed mental state? Who actually pulls the strings to create the nightmares? Perhaps there is more ‘out there’, a supernatural realm. Horror allows you to explore this darkness, consider the ‘What Ifs’. It makes you think and shakes you up but always delivers you safely on the other side … it keeps the monsters between the pages.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have had a number of short stories published in horror anthologies, all available over at amazon but I would like to mention the following in particular:

The Infernal Clock, co-edited by myself and David Shakes which has a story for every hour of the day. It features two of my stories, The Graveyard Shift-a new take on the Sandman legend-and Whispers which centers on a dysfunctional family in a haunted house.

Weird Ales Volume 1 (edited by the wonderful Theresa Derwin) which includes my story The Yowling, cider-making taken to a whole new level!

Masks edited by Dean M. Drinkel (again, another very supportive editor) which contains my story The Face Collector, a gothic story in which the Devil always collects.

What are you currently working on?

I have just finished my novel Black Switch, a near-future, industrial-type horror I suppose you would call it. What happens when humans run out of fuel, out of electricity but then discover a way of turning the lights back on; a way which could only be described as immoral. If you discovered someone had the ‘capacity’ to become a human battery, would you plug them into a Generator just so someone else could have a hot bath? Would you, could you trade another person just to save a member of your own family knowing what that trade would lead to?
The book is now out with a small group to beta-read before I take any further steps with it. To get over the nerves whilst I await their response I’ve started to mull over ideas for a new novel and since my Hands of Time story featured an Executioner, the whole idea of what ‘makes’ an executioner has stuck in my mind.

Where can we find you online?

I’m @el_Stevie on Twitter and can also be found at http://stephellis.weebly.com/ where my blog is usually only randomly updated. I’m hoping to improve on that slightly this year though.