Hey there, and welcome back. The month of May marks TWO YEARS here at Author Interview Corner. Yup, you heard right. AIC is entering its TERRIBLE TWOS! Watch out, because you never know what might happen next! 🙂 This entry marks the 55th author interview I’ve conducted for this blog, along with some just-for-fun posts/ guest blogs, and let’s not forget the giveaways! Sure, there are other blogs with bigger numbers, but it’s not about the size of the boat; it’s the motion in the ocean… or so they say. 😀 In any event, we’re still going strong, so thank you, thank you, THANK you dear readers!
How long have you been writing?
I started taking my writing seriously about 10 years ago, and I owe getting bit by the writing bug to author Clive Cussler. My wife had bought me his Dirk Pitt novel Treasure of Khan for Christmas. I like action-adventure, but I wasn’t one to read strictly military themed novels or police novels… The Dirk Pitt series happened to combine action-adventure with something I hold a fascination with–the ocean and an agency like NOAA. I was hooked and started to write fan fiction.
One of the stories turned into a short story I self-published through Lulu.com, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles titled The Man Beneath Lake Union. It was very rough and really shouldn’t have been put out there, but I enjoyed hearing from some of the readers and found that they liked the story. I later took the same main characters and wrote a full length novel… It sits in a 3-ring binder and I doubt I’ll ever fish it out to publishers. But the experience of writing something that big and completing it was worth it.
Have you always been interested in the horror genre?
I’ve always been a horror fan, and as I wrote more, I found myself slowly writing more and more horror-themed short stories. This interest got me reading in the genre as well and I’ve been reading horror regularly ever since.
But I started out writing action-adventure type of stuff. I also enjoy entertaining younger audiences and began writing children’s picture books (as author CL Vaughn) and was published by Meegenius with my first picture book The Hiccup Mummy.
What I find interesting is that you’re not the first author I’ve met who writes both adult horror and children’s picture books. Perhaps writing juvenile fiction helps balance out a horror author’s dark side. How many children’s books have you written?
Writing for kids is great. They’re a great audience because they are brutally honest and they also have such a vivid imagination that you can easily share your imagination with them.
At the moment I have 6 children’s book published with Meegenius, The Hiccup Mummy and a 5 book series, Owen the Pirate. I also have my 7th picture book in the contract phase with them at this time, If We Served Traffic Jam on Toast.
My goal with my children’s literature is to not only have several picture books out there, but I’d like to get published in the middle grader horror market as well. I have a collection of short horror stories similar to Goosebumps and David Lubar’s Winnie series titled Mom’s Mean French Toast and Other Terrifying Tales that I’m currently pushing for a publisher.
You have a novella awaiting publication with Blood Bound Books. So many amazing authors have worked with BBB. I’m a huge fan of what they do, so I’ll be eager to check out your novella. Can I get a short synopsis?
Would be my pleasure. The few people who’ve read advanced files of the story said that it was very Stephen King-ish with the feel of his Night Flier story.
Jonathan Pierce is a detective who is hellbent on following the leads and pursuing his gut instinct, even if that means risking it all. He’s spent years piecing together the disappearances of loss prevention officers across Washington State and has come to the conclusion that an elusive serial killer is stalking the isles of department stores.
The case takes on a supernatural twist as Jonathan gets closer to his suspect, and he soon learns that the man in the fedora is not just a murderer but a monster. A monster who wants just one thing… Jonathan Pierce.
Wow, that sounds like a fun book to read! Now I’m wondering about your influences. If you could invite any five authors from any time period to dinner, who would they be?
Man, this is a tough one. The obvious choice would be Stephen King. But I’d also invite Clive Barker, Clive Cussler, R.L. Stine and last but not least I think I’d invite Stephenie Meyer… but only so the guys and I could leave her the bill for creating sparkling vampires in her Twilight Saga and damaging the image of one of histories greatest monsters.
Your fiction just appeared on Season 3 of the NoSleep Podcast. How does it feel to hear your work read aloud?
I love it. Hearing your work come to life like that puts a whole new spin on your story and in the case of horror, it can take a frightening story and make it truly terrifying! My favorite out of the two that aired on the podcast is The Cecil Hotel. They did an amazing job with it; it spooked me and I wrote the thing.
What is your writing process like? Do you need silence and seclusion, or do you prefer the bustle of a busy coffee shop?
I can write just about anywhere and carry a notebook in each vehicle. But I do best with a quiet spot to do my writing. I don’t outline. It works for some writers and many will swear by the outline, but it just feels too constrictive for me. I enjoy seeing where the story takes me and I never know what will spark a story.
As for story ideas, sometimes it’s a character name I really like, sometimes it’s as simple as a title I like. But often times I use news stories as writing prompts.
You have two screenplays currently in production with Seraph Films, an independent film company with a ton of very impressive short films under their belt. You must be so excited! Can you tell us a little about each story? When can we expect to see them up on Youtube?
Yes, I’m ecstatic about having two of my scripts selected for their next season. I believe their season starts in the fall but don’t quote me on that. I’m a huge fan of their Youtube channel and watch their stuff regularly, so when they announced that they were holding a script writing contest for their Horror Haiku series, I jumped on it… I think I sent in 30+ scripts in one month!
The first script, Camp Coverup, follows the cellphone video of two campers who are killed by a Sasquatch. It ends with the park rangers investigating the campsite and deciding to look the other way to avoid wide-spread panic.
The other script, Bald Barber, is about a man who stops by to get his hair cut at his usual barber shop. Only the regular guy isn’t there, a strange man who hums the “I’m a little teapot” song is there. Our character learns too late that the man isn’t a barber, he’s a violent mental patient who has escaped.
Cliched as it might be, I love to ask this question of horror authors: What scares you?
Hmmm, I haven’t really found one specific thing that scares me. There’s the obvious fear of something happening to your kids or wife… but as for a Boogie Man fear, the closest I can share is an experience I had while on my honeymoon. My wife and I visited Maui and I did a little snorkeling. I’ve been diving more times than I can count, never have had an issue. But for some reason on this one snorkeling trip I kept getting this fear of a shark attack. It was enough to compel me to head back to shore and find something else to do.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been adapting a feature-length screenplay into a novel for a while now. It’s titled Vengeful Leads and is about a detective whose daughter was kidnapped and killed. Several years later, sex offenders begin to be brutally murdered and he’s put on the case. As the story progresses he learns that the murderer is actually an evil entity brought on by the murdered girls of a mysterious man who acts as the photographer while the girls are molested. The case forces him to choose: avenge his daughter or uphold the law.
I’m also in the process of building a whiteboard video business, Blurbeo.com, and I’ve been spending a lot of time marketing that.
Where can we find you on the web?