John F Leonard- Author Interview (2019)

Hey guys, Jaye here again to bring you another amazing author for you to go check out: horror author John F Leonard. John hails from the England and is an author who can spin an incredible read from the usual and the mundane by turning the topics on their head. Beautiful character crafting and scenarios that will have chills running up and down your spine and leave you thinking about them long after you are done reading. A dash of social commentary, a morsel of suspense, and a huge dollop of terror will have you clamoring to read more! So let’s get to the questions for him:

Why horror? What got you interested in writing in that genre?

The simplest answer is that I like reading horror and I think you’re best writing something you would like to read. That was all I ever really wanted to do when I started out – write something for myself. A book I’d see and think, yeah, I fancy reading that. I’ve still got the same ambition.

It also depends on your definition of horror. For me, it has clear cross-overs with science fiction – apocalyptic and dystopian stuff – and yet goes beyond that. Elements of horror are found in a lot of the ‘mainstream’ genres. I wouldn’t want to tackle a romance, for example – believe it or not, I have been asked – but a horror romance, now that’s not entirely out of the question. : )

Who are some of your favorite authors, or inspirations or who inspired you?

Too many to list them all. Some of the earliest include James Herbert, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Stephen Donaldson, A.A. Attanasio, Robert McCammon.

It’s a toughie – the early ones are the easiest and still difficult – how far back to go, how do you identify/isolate influence?

I’m holding off on mentioning newer writers because I haven’t read enough recently. That’s a sad admission, but it’s the truth. There are only so many hours in my day and I’m spending most of them writing/working – that’s set to change, once I’ve got through my backlog of work/rejigged my schedule.

Your art work is amazing, any formal training?

I had an excellent education, and it included art. Your strengths (to whatever degree) are invariably your interests – Art, English, History. They were all subjects that fascinated me. Of course, that was a long time ago.

As far as art goes, I sold quite a few sculptures and paintings and came to the awful realisation that it wasn’t going to pay the bills. I drifted away, like you do. Got lost in trying to survive the world.

Sometimes you go back though, rediscover your first loves. Sculpture, drawing, painting – I wasn’t sure what I had left in me for those.

Language, the written word, was a different matter.

It felt like I’d never really explored what I could do there. I think the desire to write is probably the last great motivation I’ll have in my life. When that urge is spent, I’ll be happy to watch the grass grow.

johnfleonard_gallery_icon1-300x300

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere and anywhere. I have a list of ideas – it grows nearly as quickly as my To Be Read books and To Be Watched movies list. Reality and its subversion is something currently grabbing my interest. The Scaeth Mythos/Dead Boxes have their foundation in that concept.

JMH_Bad_Pennies_1200[5332]

What frightens you?

Mortality – my own and that of my loved ones. There’s a terrible fragility to life. It wasn’t something that concerned me when I was younger, but I worry about it a lot these days.

There are other things. Stupidity, for one. That scares the brown stuff out of me. Not being able to intelligently reason is a surefire recipe for bad decisions and worse outcomes. It’s great friends with greed, you often find them skipping hand in hand through the wastelands they’ve created.

Heights is another, more prosaic one. Not in and of themselves – nothing wrong with simply being up high, its height combined with a feeling of vulnerability. Standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower is an amazing experience. Beautiful and breathtaking. Stuck at the top of a stepladder trying to fix your roof is insane!

Thinking on it, probably doesn’t count – comes under mortality.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Nothing very exciting. I love to read when I’m not knee deep in my own writing.

Television – I can vegetate in front of the box with the best of them. My viewing mostly consists of horror, science fiction, comedies. Some drama, although a lot of it is dross. Some sport, football and snooker. Current affairs (when you can filter the truth from what the networks want to give you).

I like a drink and relaxing with family and friends. Don’t do enough of that.

Sleep! I know that sounds factitious, but there’s nothing like a genuinely restful spell under the duvet.

JMH_Call_Drops_1200[5333]

Do you have a writing muse or mantra?

I don’t think so. Not sure I actually subscribe to the idea (on a personal level). I believe the need to create exists in most of us. How it comes out is down to the individual – art, writing, learning how to fix the plumbing. Whatever.

For me, the process isn’t always easy. It’s often hard work. Putting in the effort and hours. What makes it worthwhile is the end result. Well, sometimes anyway. Now and again, you finish up, wipe your hands on the oily rag, and find out you’ve written a turkey. Or the damn tap is still dripping : )

Whilst I love it, writing doesn’t belong on any sort of pedestal. It’s an admirable ability, but ultimately just another skill.

Where did the Scaeth Mythos come from?

It began with me asking family and friends to suggest a name for an Irish vampire (I’m of Irish heritage and very proud of the fact).

I was inundated by ideas – seems my folk can’t resist taking the pee. ‘Mick the Biter’ was one suggestion that made me howl with laughter.

Anyway, I cogitated and researched and eventually got to ‘The Scaeth’.

The vampire side of it also morphed into something else. Broadened into a bigger concept. The Scaeth is a kind of cosmic vampire. A parasite infesting the walls of reality. It’s hollowed out a space for itself and no longer resides in any universe, just plunders those it can access. Dips into them to interfere and feed. It loves to feed.

If you could have dinner with any 5 people, living/dead/real/fiction who would it be and why?

That’s a killer question! Can’t even begin to factor in fictional. This would change with my mood, but here we go:

  1. R. Giger – The mind that created Alien, that’s all I need say. Plus, I’d try to persuade him to get me a Harkonnen chair.

George Best – knew how to enjoy himself and my favourite footballer.

Peter Cushing – a gentleman, part of the Hammer Horror crew so lots of gossip/insights.

Siouxsie Sioux (from the Banshees) – a punk presence.

James Herbert – ignited my love of horror and struck me as a bloke with hidden depths.

We’d need an extra seat – my wife is usually at my side for big events.

What are you currently working on?

I’ve been busy lately with some shorter fiction, novellas of varying lengths. I may put together a collection of what’s already out there along with new, unpublished stuff. After that a novel is most likely.

My latest is A Plague of Pages – another story from the Dead Boxes Archive. In the same territory as Bad Pennies and Call Drops. Old school horror, to my way of thinking anyway, about the perils of writing under diabolical influence.

What happens when a normal guy wants to redefine himself and become a horror writer …it doesn’t work how he plans. Not surprising, there are supernatural, cosmic forces cooking the books, so as to speak : )

I want to thank John so much for taking the time to answer my questions and may I say his dinner guest list was inspiring. If you would like to know more about John, read his works or connect with him on social media, just follow these links:

A Plague of Pages:

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07N7MPMGN

AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N7MPMGN

Get in touch with John on Twitter – https://twitter.com/john_f_leonard

John F Leonard Author Pages:

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01BHUE6Z6/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/John-F-Leonard/e/B01BHUE6Z6/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14953570.John_F_Leonard

 

Gary Scott Beatty: Webcomic Designer Interview (2018)

Gary Scott Beatty has been coloring comics since 1999. He also writes and designs his own comics and books and has designed the Webtoons Webcomic the Gods of Aazurn. He also has does  book cover art along with digital painting illustrations and Jazz illustrations. I was very fascinated to find out about online comics being a comic book lover myself. So let us get to the questions so you can go out and start reading these amazing comics also!

Why a horror comic?
~When I began the Gods of Aazurn stories in the Indie Comics #1, #2 and #3 anthologies they were dark fantasy, positive myths cynically turned to despair.
There are horror elements in every genre of entertainment. Where would Shakespeare’s Shylock be without his demand for a “pound of flesh?” Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” without Cobain swearing he doesn’t have a gun? “Game of Thrones” without winter coming?

Horror is drama, that place in a story when you see that the dark places gaining the upper hand. Why not horror? It’s everywhere.

Who are some of your favorite comic artists and writers?

~I recently got halfway through a top 10 list of comics that most influenced me before writing and drawing Gods of Aazurn weekly on Webtoons.com took over my time.

That list included Enki Bilal, Philippe Druillet, Moebius and (later) Richard Corben in Heavy Metal Magazine #1; Barry Smith and Roy Thomas on Conan the Barbarian #7 (1971); Robert Crumb on Big Ass Comics #2 (1971); Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez on Love and Rockets (1982-1996); Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins, Warren Ellis, Brian Azzarello, Mike Carey, Peter Milligan and more on the original run of John Constantine: Hellblazer (Jan. 1988).

How did you get into coloring and comic art?

~I just always wrote and drew stuff. I wouldn’t recommend anyone get into this if they intend to pay the rent. For me, it’s always been a compulsion to tell stories.

06-welcome-to-dunwich-webtoons.indd

Do you think there is higher intelligence out there?

~There’s certainly a higher intelligence than me

Where did you get your love for Lovecraft?

~I first remember reading H.P. Lovecraft and other Strange Tales magazine reprints in paperbacks in my early teens, most likely attracted by some trippin’ cover art. I’m not sure where I bought them, but I own a set of Arkham House hardcovers from 1963 that I’ve felt compelled to reread over the decades.

Why do webcomics and not physical copies?

~I have graphic novels readers can buy. They can find them from my publisher, Caliber Comics, by going to http://strangehorror.com/

That website is also a good way to get to the free webcomic. Webtoons.com has a pretty long URL for Gods of Aazurn, I usually just go through http://strangehorror.com/ because it’s easier to remember.

Tenacious readers usually figure out that online reading is just reading, and go back and forth without a second thought. Google Books, for instance, is where I go to read Lovecraft’s contemporaries and influences, like Clark Ashton Smith and Lord Dunsany.

Tell us about the new “Welcome to Dunwich” webcomic.

~They are frightful and dark and divine, and their subjects despair. Earth humans are lucky. So far, the Gods of Aazurn do not care about us, even enough to reach down a mighty hand to be cruel. That’s about to change.

As of this writing I’ve posted nine stories that could be read individually or as chapters. The Rescue is a story that begins to pull the others together.

The Rescue is in actuality a teaser for the bigger GOA story coming after the newly colored and formatted Welcome to Dunwich, beginning September 19.

Welcome to Dunwich is a nicely self-contained story with an eerie beginning and horrifying end illustrated by Mark Bloodworth. Unfortunately for me, I also like the characters, and they won’t leave me alone, so I may have to do more story in the town of Dunwich. After all, the twins have yet to be born.

12-welcome-to-dunwich-webtoons.indd

What do you want people to know about you?

~As little as possible. Mystery makes me interesting.

I’m not one to dwell on past accomplishments. I’ve been producing stories for decades, but the best ones are available to read now! My world is at http://strangehorror.com/

For more background and behind the scenes, people can sign up for my Fan List there. I usually post something engaging and entertaining once a week.

Do you have a personal mantra?

~I’m not a big believer in mantras, Horrormadam. There is so much that is true in the world and it’s the journey that leads to discoveries. There is no formula, other than stay sharp, keep thinking and be hyper-aware. Sort of the same skills it takes surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Such true words, I want to thank Gary Scott Beatty so much for taking the time to introduce me to webcomics and for taking the time to answer my questions. You can learn more here at : http://strangehorror.com/ and http://www.garyscottbeatty.com/

 

 

Doug Ward: Author and Artist Interview (2018)

Next in my interview series is the amazing author and phenomenal Zombie master Doug Ward. Also part of the #horror family on Twitter at @AuthorDougWard, I have wanted to ask Doug some questions because I am so taken by his art and his books are so fascinating! This is a man who can spin a great yarn about the zombie apocalypse as a parasitic invasion and not just a fictional telling of cannibalism. I so appreciate authors that truly answer questions in books, not just insisting upon the suspension of disbelief! So lets get to it!

You have a BFA in Fine Art, how did you get into writing?

~The event that started me writing was a contest that Mark Tufo (Mark is the author of many books, the Zombie Fallout Series and the Indian Hill Series are a few), had set up. I was really into reading zombie eBooks and Mark said that he would publish the best short stories that he received, in an ebook. I actually encouraged one of my students (Yes, I’m a teacher) and we both wrote for the contest. A few months later, Mark emailed the two of us and explained that he didn’t get enough quality submissions so he couldn’t do the book. He did publish them on his website though; both my and my students work. That’s what inspired both of us to write full length books and self-publish. The story I wrote for the contest was Saving Jebediah; Another True Story of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Why write about zombies? What was their appeal?

~I really thought I’d never read a zombie book. It’s not that I didn’t respect the genre. I watched a lot of zombie movies and loved them. I was also a Halloween kind of guy. What it took was a friend of mine sending me a zombie novel for my birthday. I guess I read it to appease him. Then I read six more… That was only the beginning. I was obsessed. Before that I used to read a lot of history and science. You can see their influence in my work.

sU5CkyJK

Your parasitic comments are very intriguing, where did you learn about all of them and their ramifications?

~My dad loved science and had a book on parasites called Animals without Backbones by Ralph Buchsbaum. It was all about parasites and their effects on humans. I loved flipping through this book. I didn’t read a lot of it for reasons I will get to in one of your other questions, but the pictures and what I did read was fascinating.
When I started Parasite; The True Story of the Zombie Apocalypse, I wanted explain how it all started, so adding a concrete explanation to the outbreak by using a parasite just seemed a natural fit.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

~I loved Mark Tufo, but some other authors were Brian Keene and J. L. Bourne. Scott Lee has some really cool ideas in his Zombie Off series. It is one of those books that I was actually mad at myself for not thinking about that concept.

In regards to your art, do you have a favorite medium to work in?

~Oil paint is life. I really mean it. It is creamy and blends so well. I’ve tried every other media but with what I can achieve with those buttery oil paints, they are all I want to use. I use the seven layer technique just like the old masters did. It gives a greater feeling of depth and a heightened sense of realism.
I am also doing a lot of computer art lately. I’ve always rendered all of my paintings in Photoshop before drawing them on the canvas, but I can totally understand the digital craze. I like drawing on a Huion digitizer when I do the covers for my eBooks.

M6BwIE_i

What are some of your favorite styles of art, and any favorite artists?

~I love realism. I can respect the early abstract art movements, but Photorealism is, in my opinion, a true test of craftsmanship. I live for the challenge of creating life-like images. When muscles and bones feel like they jump off of the canvas, it is truly rewarding. That’s why I love the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Probably my favorite artist is Peter Paul Rubens. His compositions are so dynamic and the way he rendered the human form… spectacular. I was walking in the Philadelphia Museum with a friend when I came across my all-time favorite painting by him, Prometheus Bound. I didn’t know it was there. I just stood in that spot and stared at it. Finally, my friends just left me there. Sure, they eventually came back but I could’ve stayed there for much longer.

Favorite art period?

~ Baroque art is so fun and fluid. The way the subjects twist into such dynamic poses creates very dramatic compositions. Because I paint mythology as my subject, it may not come as much of a shock that they also did that. It was a rebirth of mythology and science.

How did you start with mythology and then go into how mythology fell to science?

~The rebirth of mythology and science, as well as the seven layer technique, just screams to be done again. As technology replaces our primitive beliefs, old gods fade from our minds. We no longer knock on wood to drive away spirits but we do put black tape over computer cameras to block peeping hackers. Through technology we have a wonderful future ahead of us unless our inventions prove to be our undoing.

Love your blog comments, remind me a little of Stephen Wright or Carlin. Any favorite comedians?

~Thank you. Steven Wright is one of my favorites. I think he’d love my Ward’s Words. I also liked Sam Kinison. He was so funny. When I first got on Facebook, many years ago, I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t think people wanted to hear about my breakfast or that I was going to work so I started writing jokes. And suddenly, Ward’s Laws and later Ward’s Words was born. I’ve written over 3000 jokes and may have slowed down, but they are still coming.

Lastly Doug, what would you like people to know about you?

~I have dyslexia. It was discovered when I was young but I never let it hold me back. Some people have said my books could use one last edit, and they are probably right, but at least I am out there doing it. I’m writing books. To have a full and rich life, I believe, people should do extraordinary things. Don’t play video games, make them. Don’t read books, write them.
I know, I said not to read my books, but this is what I tell my students. I try to inspire them to go outside their comfort zone and try to do something they only dare to dream of.

I really wish to thank Doug Ward for his very valuable time in speaking with me it has been a true joy! If you would like to learn more about Doug about his works please got to:

https://www.dougward.space/

and at https://fineartamerica.com/art/doug+ward

 

 

 

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑