Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview with Horror and Dark Fantasy Author Patrick Rahall

Here’s my interview with the talented horror and dark fantasy writer Patrick Rahall, author of Cycle of the Hunter and Mist and Shadow:

Tamworth Grice: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Patrick Rahall: Well, I was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts and currently live just outside the city with my fiancée Ashleigh.  I’ve been writing stories for most of my life due to an overactive imagination. But I always thought my ideas were too far-fetched or stupid to be of any interest to anyone but myself or maybe close friends. 

Then I read “The Mangler” by Stephen King, about a haunted laundry machine that kills people.  After that I didn’t think that anything I wrote would be any more far-fetched than that.

TG: How would you describe the genre you’re writing in? Speculative fiction? Fantasy? Other?

PR: When Mist and Shadow came out I was informed that it was “contemporary urban fantasy,” which I didn’t know was a genre.  I refer to myself as a horror and dark fantasy writer.
Patrick Rahall in a Festive Mood
TG: What inspired you to write in this genre?

PR: Believe it or not it was Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. 

When I was a kid my brother and my dad and I watched the “Making of” video probably a hundred times and I got wrapped up with zombies and werewolves and the like. 

I made it my goal to publish a vampire, werewolf, and zombie novel. 

Cycle of the Hunter is the vampire novel, and I am currently working on the other two.  I like to take the genres in different directions than they have been taken in before.  Like in Cycle of the Hunter, in which vampirism is passed on as a genetic trait, like blue eyes, and most people don’t even know what they are.

TG: What is your latest book called? Tell us briefly what it’s about?

PR: The newest ones are untitled at this point but I am thinking of Reckoning for my zombie novel, which I am co-writing with Alyn Day (@Z0mbieGrl on Twitter). She’s doing the prologue, called “Onset Apocalypse.” It focuses more on the struggle people have adjusting to both zombies and the real danger—other survivors.

The other is a story that Jack Ketchum thought was a great idea; when I asked him what he thought he signed a book simply “write the book.”  I don’t want to get into too much detail but it is a werewolf novel involving a series of murders, a young boy, and his dog.

TG: What inspired you to write these books?

PR: I am so tired of seeing the same ideas paraded by Hollywood over and over.  I am trying to bring some originality into the world. 

It seems that writers are the ones who have to good ideas, but movie producers only want to show us the same damn things over and over.  It’s frustrating.
Patrick Rahall with His First Novel
TG: How or why did you go the selfpub route?

PR: I went the selfpub route because I couldn’t afford to pay anyone.  I got a few offers from publishers who wanted anywhere between $750 and $14,400 for publishing packages.  I can’t come close to affording that.

TG: Your publisher, PublishAmerica, has gotten a bit of a bad rap in the publishing world. For example, Wikipedia says: “Disgruntled authors told Publishers Weekly that PA did not pay royalties owed to them, sold books it no longer had any rights to sell, set unreasonably high list prices and lower-than-average discounts for authors to buy their own books, and either neglected or failed to place books into bookstores.” But Wikipedia also says, “Other PublishAmerica authors have spoken out in support of the publisher.” Would you care to comment briefly on this controversy?

PR: The one good thing I can say about them is that they will publish without charging you.  It was that philosophy that allowed me to get my work out there.  And they did a really good job on the cover art for Mist and Shadow

As far as the other stuff, yeah it’s true. 

They pushed the price of my softcover books from $19.99 to $24.95.  Then they said they were discontinuing the softcovers and that I had one last chance to order some before they were discontinued forever.  So I did. Then a week later they announced that they were NOT discontinuing them but now offering a new format.  Instead of the 8x5.5 inch format, they would look more like trade paperbacks, but in order to get them in that format you had to pay something like $49 per title, and I had to order some books as well. 

Then they offered to turn the book into an eBook, but that was going to cost $199 per title.  It’s ridiculous. They say they will do PR work for you, but then they charge ridiculous amounts of money in order to do so, and they are no longer offering discounts on the books I order myself.

TG: Your books are hard copies and not eBooks. Do you have any plans to go the eBook route in the future?

PR: I plan on doing both.  I know the eBooks are very popular, but I also know that people cannot have those signed by the author.  I love signing books! 

TG: What are you working on now?

PR: Like I said above I am working on both my zombie and werewolf novels as well as a couple of other minor projects that may or may not end up being a collection of short stories. 

And I am always looking to collaborate.  And I’m not afraid to ask people who are way more successful than I to team up!  I asked Jack Ketchum and director Adam Greene (Frozen, Hatchet, Hatchet 2), but they said no.  I was not surprised, but I still felt confident with my skill and talent level that these guys would be impressed.  Jack was very impressed with my werewolf story idea.  That gave me a confidence boost.

TG: Where can we buy your books?
PR: Amazon, Books A MillionBarnes & Noble, and Borders.
To read one of Patrick's intriguing stories, click HERE

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