Brian Paone

Author // Musician

Special guest, author C.E. Rickard

Today’s special guest on my page is author C.E. Rickard, whose short story, “The Hangman’s House,” was just published in the anthology A Contract of Words, which features 28 authors from all over the world, including my new short story, "Two Gunslingers." Here is what she had to say about life, writing, and her story:

1. Besides writing, which is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
The answer to this question is easy for me. My family. Without a shadow of a doubt they are the one thing I could not live without. They are support and motivation in every aspect of my life. This fabulous writing journey would not be happening without them.

2. What was the inspiration for your story?

Nathaniel Locklie, the hangman in my story was inspired by a real hangman, William Calcraft. A cruel and sadistic executioner whilst alive, the idea of encountering him after his death was truly terrifying.

3. If a genie could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?

As I am writing this, I am on holiday with my family. I am looking out the window at the beautiful Welsh countryside and it is pouring with rain. My first wish for today would be that there is a break in the weather so that we can go for a long walk. A waste of a wish maybe, but that is my wish right now. Simple things!

Okay, my second and third wishes might have to get a little soppy I think. I would wish for the health of my family. My family has the hereditary condition R.P. (Retinitis Pigmentosa) R.P. slowly takes away the peripheral vision, gradually closing in until it has all gone. As yet there is no cure and no way of slowing it down. My second wish would be for a cure.
I am lucky to be blessed in many ways. My third wish would be to continue to write, (this is a dream,) whilst always having my family close by. I am one happy horror writer!!

4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?
I have loved to read ever since I was a child. I remember having a tall pile of books beside me and that feeling of excitement as I was about to embark on the new adventures contained inside or returning to familiar and much-loved characters and places. If I can create this for even just one person then I would be very happy.
I don’t think there is one particular book that made me want to write but many that ignited my love for books and reading and this developed into me wanting to write.

5. How would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean towards outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?
I most often write at our family’s dining table looking out into our garden, surrounded on two sides by bookshelves. I prefer to write in silence if possible but having two children, one dog and a husband often makes this tricky. So, if the house is a little noisy I listen to music. Usually classical without words, (or I will just sing along.) There are some great film and T.V. soundtracks. I am listening to The Game of Thrones soundtrack at the moment and music by the 2cello’s who are amazing! When coming up with ideas I listen to many types of music, rock is my all-time favourite. “Here Comes Revenge” by Metallica helped inspire my story The Hangman’s House and features on the companion soundtrack to A Contract of Words available from Scout Media.
I generally start with a rough idea, often just a particular scene and let the story unravel. I don’t tend to outline in too much detail just a few key points. I am often surprised how the story turns out, I love being surprised!

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?
For me, “writers block” tends to have very little to do with actual writing and more to do with what is happening in my life outside of writing. It is as though my mind gets too crowded and there is little room left for words. Going for a long walk, listening to music and reading often help.

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?
I did know how “The Hangman’s House” would end. It was important to make sure the contract element was fulfilled, so, I had this worked out from the beginning.

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?
I would choose Jennifer Lawrence to play Melissa, Chris Pratt to play Karl and Gary Oldman to play my hangman, Nathaniel Locklie as I am big fans of each of these and I feel they would portray the characters how I have imagined them. There are no actors that I can think of that look at all like them though.
I would choose Alfred Hitchcock to direct as there is no one better at building suspense and tension!

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in mind?
I had the conclusion to “The Hangman’s House” set from the beginning with a couple of scenes planned along it’s way. There were no real changes made.

10. What book were you reading when you thought, this stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…
I admire and aspire to many writers, Stephen King, James Herbert, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson to name a few. But I don’t think I have ever thought I could do that.

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story?
The majority of the research I conducted for “The Hangman’s House” was about the real hangman, William Calcraft. Disturbing maybe but less odd than the research that has been necessary for some stories!

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?
The perfect place for me to write would be in a large library of an old and secluded mansion. Sat at a large wooden desk beside a roaring fire. Preferably with a glass (or two) of wine.

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters?
In the past I have worked in various old English pubs and I have always loved that work. Meeting the vast variety of characters. So, I can relate to Melissa in that kind of work and how she is trying to find her place in the world.

14. What do you consider your all time favourite novel? One that you would read again and again?
I think that for me Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting of Hill House” is one of my all time favourite novels. I love a classic ghost story and this is about as perfect a ghost story as I have ever read. Shirley Jackson’s Characters are so believable and relatable I feel as though I know each of them personally.

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is pantsed or written on the fly?
I tend to have a few main scenes and a rough outline. I like the story to develop naturally on its own. What happens came often be a surprise, even to me!

16. What are you favourite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you-write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?
I always have a bowl of Liquorice Allsorts nearby when I write. I love them. I don’t think they help my writing (or my waistline!) in any way.

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing?
I mainly write psychological horror, so, “The Hangman’s House” is very typical of the stories I like to write.

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/of-words-series/

Special guest, author Curtis A. Deeter

Today’s special guest on my page is author Curtis Deeter, whose short story, “Clark the Herald Sings,” was just published in the anthology A Contract of Words, which features 28 authors from all over the world, including my new short story, "Two Gunslingers." Here is what he had to say about life, writing, and his story:

1.       Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn't live without?

 

Food. One of my greatest pleasures in life is going on adventures to new places and trying their food.

 

2.       What was your inspiration for your story?

 

Mostly, I like the idea of personifying grand, hard-to-process ideas. “Clark the Herald Sings” attempts to do this in a subtle, yet fresh way. Also, Terry Pratchett. He’s done it the best and the most digestible of any of the authors I’ve read to date.

 

3.       If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

 

I’d wish for enough money to contribute to bills and still go and do things, so I could quit my day job and focus on my creativity full time. I’d also like to ensure my parent’s happiness. My third wish would be for pizza. Lots and lots of pizza.

 

4.       Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

 

Absolutely. I’ve been an avid reader since a very young age. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the first book that made me want to write. It was so vivid and detailed and exciting at times. Then, I started branching out and saw how diverse the universe of story truly was. Needless to say, I was hooked.

 

5.       Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

 

I like ambient music in the background when I’m writing and energetic rock/hip-hop when I’m brainstorming. I am somewhere in between a pantster and a plotter, though I rarely wear pants when I’m actually working.

 

6.       When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

 

Normally, I’d say write through writer’s block or claim that it doesn’t exist. I still try to write through it, but I’m starting to understand where people are coming from more every day. My job sucks the creativity out of me and it’s been a struggle. Writing through has only helped on a fraction of the days. Reading, too.

 

7.       Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

 

I did. I tend to know the beginning and I have a general idea of how a story is going to end. It’s the middley parts that surprise me.

 

8.       If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

 

Tough question. Rory McCann or John Bradley for Walter. They’d have to be hunch-backed, though. Sam, he’s sort of an ordinary, sarcastic kind of guy. Maybe Arthur Darvill? Or Noel Clarke. Yeah, I like nerdy shows. You caught me.

 

9.       How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

 

For once, pretty much spot on. It was a quick write. I didn’t give my brain enough time to completely transform it like I normally do.

 

10.   What book were you reading when you thought, this stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

 

There are a lot of books out there. I don’t like spending too much time on books that I’m not impressed by or totally immersed in. However, I did read the Hunger Game series and I’m convinced my writing is at least that good. My story telling, maybe not… but most of the young adult stuff I’ve encountered has been pretty basic as far as writing quality is concerned.

 

11.   Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

 

Not for this one. Again, it was very quick. It’s more the start of an idea that I’ve thoroughly researched since submitting “Clark”.

 

12.   If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

 

On the front porch of a secluded, lakeside cabin. With a glass of wine and snacks nearby.

13.   How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

 

Part of me can relate to Sam. He’s just an ordinary, anonymous guy who finds himself faced with enormous opportunity. I never really understood the concept of a character “taking over a story” or when a writer says something like, “I don’t know, Daisy just serial murdered those four jocks that she didn’t like. I didn’t see that coming at all.” Come on. Yeah you did. You wrote it…

 

14.   What do you consider your all-time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.

 

American Gods. Or Good Omens. Neil Gaiman is the storyteller I aspire to be, and there’s always something new when I return to his worlds. Same with Pratchett, which makes Good Omens an excellent 2nd pick.

 

15.   How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

 

It’s about 60% pants, 40% outlined. Sometimes, when I’m feeling wild, I’ll sit down and outline entire sections at a time. Other times, it’s pen to paper.

 

16.   What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

 

Pizza. Beer. Both always help my mood. I’m a much better writer when I’m fed and doing happy-food dances.

 

17.   How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

 

It’s typical in the magical, fantasy extent. I’ve always liked imagining different version of our world. It’s atypical by being short, to the point, and dang-near written in one, furious sitting.

 

 

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: A Contract of Words.

Special guest, author David Williams

Today’s special guest on my page is author David Williams, whose short story, “The Main Event,” was just published in the anthology A Contract of Words, which features 28 authors from all over the world, including my new short story, "Two Gunslingers." Here is what he had to say about life, writing, and his story:

1. Besides writing, what is one thing you couldn't live without?

Coffee. There’s nothing more beautiful in the universe.

 

2. What was your inspiration for your story?

My story is inspired by and loosely based on the true events of the murder of a wrestler known as Bruiser Brody. He was prolific during the 80s and wrestled all over the world. He was wrestling for a promotion in Puerto Rico and had a disagreement with another wrestler. The other wrestler called him into the shower area to discuss ‘business,’ carrying with him a knife. Brody was murdered. I decided to put my own spin on the story and developed a  character who was trying to climb the ladder of success within wrestling but didn’t want to wait around for an opportunity.


3. If a genie could grant you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

Money would probably be one. It would give me the stability and security to be able to write full time. I would probably wish for a house with an office or a specific writing space too. My third wish would be for the UK to say in the EU. #Remain.


4. Has reading influenced your decision to be a writer? What book(s) made you want to write?

I’d say reading Stephen King made me decide to be a write but in terms of influence, I’d put that down to Lee Child and his Jack Reacher novels. I read through 16 or 17 of those novels in the space of a few months.

 

5. Would you describe your writing process? For example, do you write in a specific place, have music playing or is that a no-no, lean toward outlining specifics, or are you a pantser?

I find music, unless pertinent to the story, can be distracting. However, I have found in the past that listening to white noise videos on youtube helps me focus and concentrate.

 

6. When faced with the dreaded “writers block”, how do you push through and find inspiration? Is there a ritual or process you have to get yourself back on track?

When I’ve struggled with the Block in the past, I’ve taken a step away from the story and tried to write something else. I’ve also found trying to brainstorm ideas around it to help. Stream of consciousness writing has also helped before, to just write for the sake of writing helps to get the juices flowing.

 

7. Did you know how your story would end when you started writing it? If not, did plans change while writing or did you improvise when you arrived?

I’d say I knew around 75% of the story, but the end was a part I struggled with a little. However, as the theme was a contract within the story, I thought it’d be cool to include a bit where the contract had been breached and then gets ripped up. I figured a way to work that into the story and thought the consequences would be unspoken but eluded to.

 

8. If a movie were to be made of your story and you were in charge of casting, who would play your characters? Who would direct?

Difficult question. I’d say it’d probably be cast by wrestlers, rather than Hollywood actors. Maybe Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin would probably be good as Andre Steele, young and cocky. Perhaps Goldstein would be played by one of the older wrestlers, Kevin Nash or Scott Hall. If I’m fantasy casting this gig, I’d definitely want Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to play Butch, and probably ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin to play ‘Cowboy’ Dean Anderson. As for the director, I’d like to take on that job for myself!

 

9. How close did your story end up being to the original concept you had in your mind? What were the biggest changes? Why did you make them?

The story ended up being what I hoped it would, I’d say 75% of the story was straight forward to write. It was the last part of the story that I had to work for. Any changes made were to simply accommodate my idea for the ending; an extra sentence to explain this, or justify that, near the end.

 

10. What book were you reading when you thought, This stuff sells??? Oh, hell, I can do that…

I wouldn’t say there was a particular book which made me feel that way. I loved reading King and wanted to write but nothing really came of it for a long time. A moment of inspiration in the shower changed all that.

 

11. Did you have to do any odd research for your story? How did you conduct that research, and then how was it used in your story?

Before I started writing the story, I did want to learn as much as possible about the death of Bruiser Brody. I watched a few things on YouTube, read a few articles and accounts of other wrestlers who witnessed it. What I found out, served as an inspiration for the story and some of the characters.

 

12. If you could pick one place to sit and write, where would it be?

I would love a cabin in the middle of nowhere, sort of like Paul Sheldon in Misery, where I can isolate myself from everything and everyone. But suffice to say, nowhere near that crazy, dirty birdy Annie Wilkes.

 

13. How closely do you relate to/identify with your characters? What inspired them? Did they take over your story or did you direct them?

I’d say I relate to Andre Steele a little, I’d love to be able to skip a few steps on the ladder of my job, but I wouldn’t kill for it, so I guess not so much.

 

14. What do you consider your all-time favorite novel? One that you would read again and again.

I’d go as far as to say The Dark Tower series, is and always will be, my favourite novels. Specifically, within the series, Drawing of the Three or Wizard And Glass.

 

15. How much of your writing is outlined from the beginning and how much of it is ‘pantsed’ or written on the fly?

I’m actually usually more of a pantser than I am an outliner, however my story was definitely mostly outlined than it was pantsed.

 

16. What are your favorite snack-as-you-write or eat-as-you write foods? How do they help your creative flow or process?

As long as I’ve got coffee, maybe some pringles or bourbon biscuits, I’m a happy writer.

 

17. How is your ACOW story typical or atypical of your writing in general?

My other published story is nothing like ‘The Main Event.’ However, my on-going novel project is a crime thriller, which I guess you could say is similar to this story.

 

You can order on Amazon (worldwide), Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, or get a FREE companion soundtrack CD if you order through Scout Media’s online store here: A Contract of Words

 

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