Today’s entry into my “Friday 5 Questions with…” series comes from K. Anthony Pagano. With his Lion in the Dark series, Pagano is helping bring back the lost art of serial novels. K. Anthony Pagano has a lot to say about the art of writing and the challenges of being an independent author, so instead of wasting time with a bulky interview, I’m going to let his answers to my questions do the talking. So, without further ado, I give you K. Anthony Pagano!
I’ve been friends with Joseph Williams for a little over a year now. I met him when I found out about his short story collection, Detroit Macabre. I tried to bring it into the local stores, but I couldn’t because I could only get it non-returnable through Ingram (luckily, Joe was able to get some at his store without us). We kept in contact after Borders shut down, and I even picked up his book before the Novi store closed down.
In September of last year, I did a “5 Questions with…” feature with him for Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. Then, Joe came back to my blog in October to contribute to my 31 Days of Halloween Hijinks blog challenge with a blog about the best Horror films.
We also have plans to start a writing group and a horror blog one of these days.
As it just so happens, Joe released his latest novel, The Hunt, and it’s a free Kindle ebook download until tomorrow. If you want a great read in the horror genre, consider giving The Hunt a chance. I’ve read lots of Joe’s short stories, but this is his first novel. Support independent authors.
Unless of course you want to take Grumpy Cat’s advice.
New York Times Bestselling author Michael Spradlin is most known for his books for younger readers and zombie song and poem parodies. This week, with the release of his latest novel, Blood Riders, Spradlin can now add accomplished adult novelist to his resume as well.
I’ve been friends with Michael since 2004 during my time with Borders, and through that time, I’ve been able to see how passionate he is about the book world. Spradlin is a book person’s person and it shows every time I talk with him.
Enough about Mike though…onto Blood Riders!
Blood Riders, set in the late 1800s,tells the story of Civil War vet Jonas Hollister, a man who was falsely accused of perjury when it comes to the disappearance of his 11 men. His group was ambushed by a band of “flesh eaters” and Jonas was the only survivor. The only problem is that there is absolutely no trace of a scuffle or his team anywhere, so Jonas is sentenced to prison at Fort Leavenworth.
After four years of prison, Jonas is pardoned by real-life detective Allan Pinkerton because another attack had occurred and as the survivor of the previous attack, Jonas is uniquely talented for the task of hunting down the perpetrators in exchange for a full pardon. From there, Jonas is paired with the likes of Pinkerton, Oliver Winchester, and a familiar face to all horror fans, Van Helsing. Aside from Jonas, another person is also pursuing the vampiric Archaics who joins Pinkerton’s hunt. Her story just makes Blood Riders even better.
Spradlin’s novel is an intense blend of horror and western (with a little steampunk thrown in for good measure). If Borders were still around, I would be the buyer for this book and I would have definitely promoted it because I want everyone to know about it. Since I can’t do that, I can do the next best thing. Mike has decided to give away THREE Amazon Kindle eBook copies of Blood Riders!
Stay tuned after our 5 Question Interview for details on how you can get a chance to win a free copy of Blood Riders.
So, without further delay, here’s our interview.
Before Blood Riders, your main writing focus has been with books for young readers. What was it like to switch gears and start writing books for adults – especially a novel that blends so many genres?
Obviously writing for children is different in terms of language and themes. But the essentials of the novel are the same. You still have to tell an entertaining story. Paying too close attention to the who the audience is, can sometimes get you in trouble. It’s better to think about making the story as fun and interesting as you can.
The narrative weaves real-life people like Allan Pinkerton with famous literary figures like Van Helsing. Do you feel some sort of responsibility when using them in your book?
I try to be as accurate as I can to who they were and how they are described in my research or in Van Helsing’s case in Dracula. But it’s also fiction so I get to ‘make up the rules’ to a certain degree. Obviously it’s a little easier with a character like Van Helsing as there is only one source. But Pinkerton was a very interesting man and digging into his life added a lot to Blood Riders, I felt, even though he’s a relatively minor character.
What is it about vampires that make them so ingrained in popular culture? What are the vampires in Blood Riders like?
I think they’re ingrained in popular culture because they’re scary and we like to be scared. There is an element of the idea that a human being is taken over and only the darkest side of us remains. That’s a pretty frightening proposition. In Blood Riders my ‘vampires’ are a bit of a hybrid of a couple of different myths. I wanted to explore the idea of an early race of vampires. I wondered if, in the fictional realm, did vampires and werewolves and other monsters evolve and adapt to their environment the way humans did? And what would happen if this group of vampires made a conscious decision hundreds of years ago, to isolate themselves from humanity? In order to insure they were not overwhelmed by the sheer mass of human beings and humans greater use of technology, their cleverness, their ability to band together in a way that a race of beings whose soul purpose is to hunt and feed. They don’t invent, they don’t ‘civilize’ beyond a basic tribal structure. In order to ensure their survival they must remain hidden. That becomes a double edged sword. By remaining hidden they don’t grow, if they don’t remain hidden they risk decimation. It was an interesting question to delve into.
With Halloween just around the corner, do you have any recommendations for scary reads to get us in the mood?
I highly recommend the Richard Kadrey Sandman Slim series. And I’m constantly amazed at the number of people of who’ve never read Dracula. One of the truly scary novels of all time. And it’s always a good idea to read or reread ‘Salem’s Lot around Halloween. You know, just so you’ll be scared to take the trash out in the dark.
Any last words?
None except thanks for giving me a chance to speak to your audience and I hope they’ll buy and read Blood Riders and tell 10,000 of their closest friends!
If you’re like me, that interview grabbed your interest to see what Blood Riders is all about (thankfully, I’ve read it already so I know exactly how much fun you’re in store for). Well, now’s your chance to get an opportunity to win a copy of the ebook in Kindle format directly from the author himself!
Interested in winning a free copy of Blood Riders?
Here’s how: From now until 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, September 30th, 2012 all you have to do is comment on this post and let me know what your favorite horror novel is. Simple, right?
BUT, if you want some bonus entries, here’s what to do:
For one extra Bonus Entry, like Michael Spradlin on Facebook
For two extra Bonus Entries, follow Michael Spradlin on Twitter
For three extra Bonus Entries, follow me on Twitter
For four extra Bonus Entries, share this blog with Facebook and Twitter (there are easy to use sharing buttons below)
That’s right, you could potentially have five total entries into the free Blood Riders ebook contest.
I will randomly select three winners based on the above criteria on Monday, October 1st, 2012. If you are going for the bonus entries, please don’t forget to mention which ones you’ve completed in your horror novel comment to this blog.
Good Luck Everyone! Let the games begin!
Also, Blood Riders is currently available now at all major bookstores and online book retailers.