Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Interview with Horror and Fantasy Author, Jason Barthelemy



A couple years ago, I was writing book reviews for the website, Horrornews.net and during that time, I was introduced to a new author by the name of Jason Barthelemy. He had just released his first novel, "Doguhn" and it sounded like something up my ally. Well, when I read it I was blown away by the world he created and the characters (in fact, you can read my review of Doguhn at the Horrornews website). Thanks to social media, he and I have remained in touch (during which I also discovered him to be a fan of H.P. Lovecraft). He has new works in progress to look for soon and in this interview, he discusses his stories, writing rituals, and Lovecraft! Read on and check out his works.




TA: A little while back, I reviewed your book, Doguhn and enjoyed it immensely (it's actually among my favorite reads). Tell a little about it and how it came into fruition.

JB: First of all, I want to thank you for the kind words and the opportunity of this interview. Feedback like yours is a large part of what keeps me writing.
As for Doguhn, it was a passion project for me, my first full length novel, but it didn't start out as such. I'd started writing fiction shortly after reading Imagica by Clive Barker. That epic novel showed me that there could be far more to horror/fantasy than anything I'd ever read up to that point, and inspired me to try to tell my own stories. So I started with short stories and novellas, then when visiting a church for an (ex) family event, I found inspiration to write Doguhn, which is ironic being that I’m not a believer myself.
This started as a simple short story idea, about an evil church in a small PA town. But when I had a dream one night of another world and the creatures known as the Doguhn, that short story evolved into the multi-world, full length novel it is today. It's the only book I can say came to me in a dream, and even though I feel I've evolved as a writer since its completion, I still feel very passionate about this story, the world, and its characters.


TA: Is there a specific character within the Doguhn world that you would call your favorite?

JB: If you put a gun to my head, I'd say Rufus would be my favorite character. He's integral to the story, a very sympathetic character—being an outcast in his own world as well as the new one he becomes enslaved in—and has a personality I fell in love with as I advanced the story.
But my favorite character is not always the one I have the most fun writing. This honor usually falls to the antagonists, as you can get away with any screwed up thing you want, and it's fun for me to occasionally twist their allegiances or to give them redeemable qualities so that the reader can root for the villain as well. Having said that, Rufus is my favorite character, but I had the most fun with Kyerick Bartel and The Man With a Thousand Wounds.





TA: Do you have a specific writing process or "ritual"?

JB: Lots of coffee. I also work far better in the mornings than I do at night. I may not write every single day of the week, especially since I'm working five of those days, but when I'm in full swing I tend to make up for it on the weekends. I know a lot of advice out there will tell you to write a set amount each day and for many I suppose this works, but there are days I know if I touch my manuscript, nothing good will come of it.
I also don't work with outlines. I tried it with Doguhn, but found that once I reach a certain point the story writes itself and the outline quickly becomes useless, as I try to force a free-flowing story to fit within a rigid outline. I don't like forcing anything. After that I turned to a simple "notes" file, which I use for reference, add any ideas that come to mind and track crucial plot points, but it's more of a reference guide than it is a rulebook. Not everything makes it or remains intact. 
I write chronologically, but with some of my more experimental works such as my second novel to release shortly, I sometimes write chapters out of order and piece them together later. This works really well for these types of novels and keeps it fresh and fun for me, but I don't think I'd attempt it with something as complex as Doguhn. 
Finally, while I don't always follow my own advice, I try to stop in the middle of a chapter. It makes it easier to pick up when I start writing again, even if it's just from the first sentence of a new chapter. 


TA: What are some challenges you face as a writer (creatively or professionally)?

JB: To be perfectly honest, the biggest challenge I have is life, which I imagine isn't much different than most writers or creative people in my position. Sometimes it simply gets in the way of writing. The second concern would be the occasional blocks that every writer faces, and I wouldn't have any advice that hasn't been said a million times over.But putting the obvious aside, I'd say finding the energy and time to split between writing new work, and preparing and promoting completed work, then the challenge of getting people to read that work. If it's bad it won't matter either way, and I always hope it turns out enjoyable, but even if it's good, people still have to know it exists and is worth their time and money to read. But even with cheaper options of kindle e-books and the internet to release excerpts and other samples, it's not always easy to find new readers, especially if it needs to be done while balancing a job completely unrelated to the manuscripts I'm striving to get into peoples’ hands, and hopefully, have those same people enjoy the worlds I've created.


TA: Now, I see you are a fellow Lovecraft fan (and I can see a little of that influence in Doguhn). What is your favorite Lovecraft story or character?

JB: Lovecraft is indeed an influence in my writing, along with Barker, Burroughs, and many others, and I'm happy and not surprised that you could pick out a hint of that influence. 
My favorite story from him would have to be Shadow Over Innsmouth. The isolation of the village and the amount of foreshadowing and terrifying information you're given up front, before being hit with the notion of spending the night there, always resonates well with me. It's also one of the few stories he has with faster moving action and tension, with my favorite sequence being in the hotel and the chase that ensues. Other favorites would be The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Pickman's Model, The Thing on the 
Doorstep…I should actually stop, because I could go on forever.


TA: Finally, what's coming up for you and where can you and your works be found? Plug away!

JB: The Lost Pages of Trevor Sunburn is an experimental novel with elements of horror, sci-fi, action, surrealism and dark comedy, and this will be releasing in the spring. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book, as I pretty much did anything I want with no restraint or filters. I also have my third novel, The Skin Collection, releasing by the end of the year, which is a very personal, dark horror novel and is one I’m very excited to release. These works will be available on amazon.com once complete, along with Doguhn, which is available now on trade paperback and kindle.
Information on these books as well as excerpts and links can be found on my website, www.thelivingdread.com.












Check out Jason Barthelemy's work on Amazon and visit his website, The Living Dread    




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