>John Presscott An Interview
>Hi John how are things with you?
Busy, Busy Jim with the release of Pray happening in 7 short days. Very hectic around here but a good hectic.
Can you give us some background information on your good self?
Well, let’s see…I’m a southerner, easy going and very laid back kind of guy. I do many things, Art Director for a gaming company, umpire girls fast pitch softball, and write. Love all kinds of movies, but sci-fi and horror are my true loves. I’ve ventured the world for about 13 years and had my fill. I moved back home to the South and have been there now for 10 years.
The multi author collection M is for Monster has just been unleashed.
Can you give us some insight into how you put this collection together?
I had wanted to do this one myself, but the more I thought about it I found I didn’t have the time to do it. I put out a call on Facebook for anyone interested in the project. Needless to say I was swamped with requests. I also did this for the other friends on Facebook so they could add another publication under their belt. There are just so many talented writers these days that don’t get the proper attention or credit they deserve, so I wanted to help with that. I have a background in layout and design so it was pretty easy to put this collection together. The real magic though was the other authors who leant their time and effort that made it possible and with the ease of self-publishing these days it was basically a no brainer. I am very pleased with the end result.
How do you set about writing? Do you plot out every aspect of the story or do you go with the flow?
I never plot anything. I find that it kills the creative flow for me. I know plenty that do though and have it done chapter by chapter, that way is too restrained for me. I basically start out with an idea for a short story and go from there. Some of the stories I wrote in my first short story collection Before Sunrise happened by chance like they just wanted to be told. The Box is one such example; I sat down to write and had a completely different story in mind for the title and all of a sudden Chloe Harrington appeared out of nowhere and I just started writing.
Pray was a little bit different. I had the basic story arc in mind for over seven years, just all the pieces weren’t there especially one of the main characters until I came across a photograph on an online site. I saw the picture and everything fell into place. I have to say I wrote, pretty much by feel on Pray. I am doing the same thing with Hell, and the ending book, The End of All Things. So I guess to sum this up without going overboard which I seem to be doing. I usually have a point A and a point B whatever happens in between happens when I’m writing, so B may be get shifted down to D and there might be a new B and then a C and eventually winding up at D. It’s a fun process and even more fun when you’re in the zone and a character does something or says something totally unexpected. I will use Roxi Parks as an example. You’ve read Pray so you’re the only one who’s going to understand this but it was her thought: ‘Aeriss is not going to let me drive anymore.’ That one was out of the blue sky and several others during Pray.
What is your pet hate about writing?
That I wish I had more time to write.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding that emotional depth of a character and portraying it to the reader so that they care and feel for the character. I honestly think that’s what pulls people in and makes them want to read more.
How do you feel about the current state of horror fiction?
I think it’s making a strong comeback. It won’t be too long I think before the big guys see this and welcome it back into the fold and not let ‘horror’ be the dirty was that it has been for the past 10-15 years.
There is a section of the horror community who would be crying out for blood at the mention of self publishing, what do you say to those people.
I would say they need to look at the changes in the publishing industry for one, and they need to look at what other well known authors are doing in regards to this. Michael Stackpole is a well published author and he dove in to the point it’s almost scary with self publishing, and I must say he is doing awesome.(I do want to plug Michael’s blog here, it’s the most informative blog on self-publishing out there. Aspiring authors could do worse by not reading it and subscribing.) Others too are heading off in that direction. The Rambo author has decided that all of his books will be done digitally as well along with many other well established authors, Seth Godin is another. The times are changing and if we authors don’t adapt we will surely get left behind.
You are a founding member of Dark Continents Publishing, can you enlighten us as to how this came about?
Well, it was all David’s idea. He started it all. With the state of the publishing industry and Adrian and I getting plum sick of hearing you’re first novel should only be 75k words..we decided to give this a go. It’s never been done before, but I do love a challenge and we have some really great titles coming out next year at World Horror Con in Austin. I think everyone will be quite excited once we are up and running with full steam. We also have a short story collection from the founding members coming out in December called The Spectrum Collection, to give the public a little taste of what we are all about.
Why do you choose to work in this genre?
The Horror Genre is my first love. There is nothing quite like being scared by reading a book. It’s the best adrenaline rush there is.
Do you consider yourself a genre writer, or do you want to try other modes?
I have another story arc I want to tell but it’s in the fantasy genre. Hopefully I will be able to tell it one day. As far as the other genre’s go, I will leave that up to other writers. I know for a fact my heart wouldn’t be in it and I have plenty more stuff I want to write about to keep me busy for the next ten years.
Your Novel Pray, which I loved by the way, is down for a limited regional release on Black Friday. Can you tell us why you decided to go with only a limited initial release?
Thanks, Jim I’m very happy you loved it. Happy Chance is basically what it boils down to. We were planning on debuting it along with the rest of our titles at the World Horror convention next year. But it was ready to go and we decided to give it a go and test the waters so to speak.
Can you tell us about Pray?
Pray is an apocalpytic novel set within the boundaries of the book of Revelation with some very unique twists added in. In all honesty, I can’t believe someone hasn’t done what I’m doing with it before.
What were the challenges, in terms of research, in brining Pray to life?
I have spent over 500 hours doing research. I know that sounds nuts but it’s the truth. I read and compared numerous books and watched umpteen videos and seminars about the book of Revelation. Ultimately I chose what I believe in and put it in the story. It’s amazing stuff mind boggling stuff to get engrossed in, and it will make you think!
Pray has some very Christian themes running through the narrative, was it ever your intention to write a book that, knowing some of the folks out there, might be misconstrued as a Christian horror book?
I knew I would get that from some readers and that they would think that but first and foremost it’s a horror novel. To me it would be quite hard to write a novel about the book of Revelation and keep it any but Christian, and that is of course if you plan on sticking to what Revelation says.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, there is. There is one sentence in there that sums up the whole book and thus gives it its title. I just hope I did my job right and people can see it pretty easy once they read that one sentence.
Thankfully the vampires in Pray are good old fashioned evil SOB’s, how do you feel about the humanisation of vampires?
I think it’s down right horrible and a dedragation to one of the best horror genre icon’s. They are cursed, they are evil and they are one of the most perfect killing machines horror literature has given us.
Can you give us any idea as to the timescale for the release of the sequels to Pray?
Well, I’m almost done with Hell, so it should see a release a little bit earlier than Pray was this year. I am aiming for a late Summer release and then a Spring release for The End of All Things. I will have another short story collection coming out during this time as well titled, Dark Roads on Dark Nights. Then I will pick from about 5 novels I want to write, and I am currently working on a childrens series with another author that I’m extremely excited about. Not to mention another M is for Monster book Volume 2.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
How much space do I have to write? There are plenty of great horror author’s out there. I really don’t like naming favorites, but I will say all of those involved in the MAB need to be looked at further. But there are plenty more. I will say the Simon Kurt Unsworth has the ‘creep’ factor mastered. Man, that guy can get under your skin and make it crawl. But that’s really not far to the other’s… I’m reading two novels that we are releasing at the World Horror Convention by Adrian Chamberlin and Serenity Banks both are outstanding pieces of work. Like I said this is really an unfair question! =)
If you could pick one author to be your mentor,who would it be and why?
LOL, people can answer this one before I do. Hands down, Stephen King. Don’t believe me read my reviews on Before Sunrise my first short story collection. All joking aside I finally got to meet him on his Under the Dome book signing tour and I had dedicated a short story to him in it. Unbelievingly he knew who I was when I told him about the story and that he liked it. So that right there was a HUGE confidence booster for me.
What would be your desert island book?
Wow, hmm can I have two? hehe..if I had to choose one it would Stephen King’s IT. That book showed me what a good novel can and should do. IT along with the Lord of the Rings trilogy is the two books I read every year.
If you were allowed to rewrite any book by another author, what would it be and how would you change if if at all?
The Return of the King, I would have added a chapter of 2 when Frodo arrives with the elves and Gimli’s and Legolas’s arrival there as well, but that’s just a love for the books speaking there. The ending is fine, but I just didn’t want the story to end.
I do want to say thanks, Jim for the interview and allowing me to ramble for a bit. It is appreciated more than I could ever say. Thank You.
Don’t mention it John it’s been a pleasure
Pray is available for a limited time on Black Friday at Dark Continents Publishing, before a full release next year