A: “Voodoo Mayhem” was created mainly because I wanted to get “Beneath the Mausoleum” out to my fans because it was a sequel to “The Mortician’s Daughter.” As I concluded “Beneath the Mausoleum,” I thought I had enough ideas left for a third book, so I created a cliffhanger ending. Recently, I combined the two under the title “Voodoo Mayhem” and am awaiting word from a publisher.
Q: Still in the darkly delightful arena is your latest release: “Waverly Hills Incursion.” How did this book come about? And, have you ever visited the Waverly Hills Sanatorium?
A: The idea for this book started when I watched the film “Session 9” and later heard that the building featured in that movie, Danvers State Hospital in Massachusetts, was being transformed into apartments. I started wondering, what if a place like that was haunted? What would happen to the people living there? I wrote a rough draft about an asylum in Northern Kentucky that had been abandoned and later turned into apartments. I ran out of gas on that one, and revisited it several times, and then eight years later, I thought about visiting a place in Louisville that my students at Northern Kentucky University had introduced to me. Waverly Hills Sanatorium had been an abandoned tuberculosis hospital for years. I decided to make a trip to the Hill with some friends and do some ghost hunting. Mainly, I wanted to see the place a get a sense of it and so I could describe it in a complete rewrite of my original rough draft. The history and the paranormal activity of Waverly Hills gave my novel the specific details and background information that it was originally lacking.
Q: Many popular television shows have attested to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium being haunted. What are your thoughts about the possible hauntings? And, if so, by whom?
A: I’ve watched many episodes on YouTube about Waverly Hills, and walking through the building gave me much to consider about possible hauntings. I got strange feelings in certain areas like when I entered the solarium and the surgical room. I heard the faint sound of children screaming like they were on a playground, and only one other person in a room of fifteen could hear it. I saw the dark images of what is proposed to be the Shadow People who seem to live on the fourth floor. One of the Shadow People even seemed to transform into a large black mist that grew slowly, taking up most of the hallway. Upon leaving Waverly Hills, I was convinced that many souls and entities made this their home. I even believed what the tour guide said about it being a portal to the “other side” where entities can come and go. But, I remain skeptical, because nothing we heard or saw could be proven as evidence of paranormal activity. Seeing the Shadow People relied upon seeing them at the end of a dark hallway and from the corner of your eye. As eerie as the total experience was, we came away with no convincing evidence. I did, however, capture an image on my digital camera that shows what looks like someone with a skull-like head walking across the hallway and looking directly at me as I snapped the shot. I had to zoom in on the shot to see it, and it is so faint that you can only see it in near or total darkness. A photographic expert couldn’t do anything to enhance the image and refused to declare it as evidence of paranormal activity. That picture still challenges my skepticism.
Q: Amazing! Changing the subject, what have you learned from being a nontraditionally published author? What are your thoughts about being traditionally published in this day and age?
A: I know that many people are trying their hand at self-publication, and this angers many traditionally published authors. I don’t think it hurts traditionally published authors. People will purchase what they want to read. In my case, I wasn’t having luck with publishers, so I decided to try self-publishing to see if anyone found my work interesting. I was surprised and overwhelmed by the response to my first novel, “The Mortician’s Daughter,” so I decided to keep on trying. The most difficult aspect of self-publishing is marketing. I have not put much money into marketing, but I have relied upon social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. For “Waverly Hills Incursion” I decided to create my own book trailer on YouTube and share it on social media as an ad for my book. I used images, video footage, and sounds from my trip to investigate Waverly Hills, and I created a simple, creepy soundtrack with my iPad and my computer. I reversed some of the video footage sound to make the sounds of entities trying to communicate from the other side. The video has been a big hit and has helped to advertise my novel. I am still sending work out to publishers, because I want to see what that experience is like.
Q: Great work! Readers can view it here . Changing the subject again, I know that you and I share a love of music. So, did you listen to any of your favorite bands/musicians while writing your “Waverly Hills Incursion?” If so, then which one(s)?
A: While brainstorming and writing, I listened to Gary Numan’s newer gothic/industrial works such as “Pure,” “Jagged,” “Exile,” “Dead Son Rising,” and “Splinter.” The atmosphere and sounds of the music put me in an eerie and otherworldly state of mind but also influenced my writing to a certain degree. In a couple of his albums, Numan mentions a little black box as a kind of metaphor for a place to hide your fear, or as something to store bad emotions in and to give them to someone else as a kind of evil present. I liked the idea so much, I used it in a couple different ways and it became part of the central image for my novel. It also made it onto the book cover. I used it as a kind of Pandora’s Box which the character Scarlet Snow gives to the main character Ben Clausen and tells him to open. Upon opening it, Ben tells Scarlet that there’s nothing in it. She replies that it doesn’t have anything in it, now that he’s opened it—implying that whatever was in it has now escaped. Later, another character, Kayla, claims to have seen Scarlet conjuring a fiery entity from the box. Sometimes the music I listen to can directly influence what I’m writing, but I let occur consciously so that I’m creating something new from the idea and not just copying someone else’s idea.
Q: Now for a random and fun question: Have you ever gone through a period of binge- writing?
A: Yes, when a scene gets really good, and when I don’t want to stop writing and forget to write something down, that’s when the white-heat writing kicks in. Also, when I get close to the conclusion of writing a novel, I get so excited that I can’t stop writing. During the conclusion of “Waverly Hills Incursion,” I used this kind of writing to increase suspense. Hopefully, the reader will sense the conclusion approaching and feel the suspense increase as the novel comes to an end.
Q: I know that I did with “Voodoo Mayhem.” What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2014? And, do you plan on attending World Horror Con in 2015?
A: I want to go back to writing short stories for a while and send some out to publishers. Then I want to start working on another novel. I have many ideas for it already, and I know it will encompass conspiracy theories and government control. I am hoping to attend the World Horror Con 2015 in Atlanta. I’ve been to Horror Hound Weekend in Cincinnati and Scare Fest in Lexington, KY. I’ve always wanted to go to the World Horror Con so I could meet some of my favorite authors and publishers.
Q: Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work?
A: My author page at Amazon (which includes my book trailer) can be found at:
You’re welcome, Bryce!