Author Interview: Bruce Brown of Lovecraft for All Ages!

Today I am very happy to introduce an interview with Bruce Brown, creator of two graphic novels (so far) which chart the misadventures of young Howard Phillips Lovecraft and ‘explain’ how he became mixed up with the monsters of the Necronomicron. 

Howard Lovecraft & the Undersea Kingdom by Bruce Brown

The latest graphic novel by Bruce and co-written with Dwight L McPherson

Bruce lives in Springfield, Illinois and you can keep up with his latest work and news through Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. His co-author, Dwight L. MacPherson’s site can be found here.

The Haunted Eyeball’s recent review of the two graphic novels, ‘…Frozen’ and ‘…Undersea’ Kingdom are here.

Starting ut

Haunted Eyeball: Welcome to the Haunted Eyeball, Bruce. Tell us, which authors did you enjoy as you were growing up?

Bruce Brown: I had so little interest in reading as a child because it was a struggle for me. It was my mother who introduced me to comics in an effort to spur my interest in reading. So, when I was young, all the early comic writers of my childhood drew me into comics but more importantly the joys of reading.

What do you like most about the horror genre?

I love the unknown in horror. I am not a big fan of the scare with the gory payoff.  The horror genre taps into the depths of the mind that lets you fill in the blanks on what is the scary thing lurking in the shadows is; Lovecraft was the master of this.

Do you have a favourite horror film?

Lately I have been watching the old Dark Shadows television show. Granted, I know it’s not a film (but soon will be – HE), but it had stuck with me so, because it was so elegant and subtle in creating this eerie mood. The horror is just right out of your sight, but you feel it. So, at the moment, that is my favorite horror.

Do any graphic novels or comics influence you?

I would say that Christopher Priest’s run on Black Panther. It was so unique and mesmerizing to me. I had never read anything like it and it showed me comics could tell stories in an incredibly unique way.

What’s your favourite H P Lovecraft story? (or top three!)

I would have to say “The Colour out of Space” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth”. They were the first Lovecraft stories I ever read and I was absolutely awed by Lovecraft’s work.

Lovecraft and the ‘Howard’ Graphic Novels

What inspired the creation of the ‘all ages’ novels?

Honestly, I have done other books that weren’t all ages, so I let the story I want to tell dictate whether it is all ages or not.

What part of H P Lovecraft’s work would be too dark to touch in these
graphic novels?

I think nothing is too dark if it is handled right. There are some extremely dark elements in the Frozen Kingdom but all of them are treated off panel.  There are things in the Frozen Kingdom I remember thinking about after the book was done and I was surprised how truly dark it was in certain parts.

Would you be interested in ever doing more adult versions of Mythos
stories?

I actually did co write an adult mythos story with my co-writer of the Undersea Kingdom, Dwight L MacPherson. I really enjoyed working on that story, but as far as Lovecraft mythos, I will probably only stick with my boys Howard and Spot.

The art is very lush, did you consciously go with a less ‘cartoony’ style, especially for the more epic scenes?

Absolutely! Both Renzo (Podesta) and Thomas (Boatwright) have such unique styles that they added to the eerie quality of the story. A cartoony style would have been totally wrong destroyed the mood of the whole story. Plus I wanted to mention the beautifully subtle interior cover art of Nicholas Brondo.

How did you decide what parts of Lovecraft’s real life to leave out, and why?

There are so many elements to Lovecraft’s work to play with. I wanted to blend real life things in Lovecraft’s life along with his work.   There are key elements to Lovecraft himself I wanted to include in these stories.

It is difficult to choose what elements of his work to use in the stories; just too many wonderful characters and stories to choose from.

Do you hope this will encourage kids to grow up and get into Lovecraft
and other horror stories?

Absolutely! I truly hope this will encourage younger readers to check
out Lovecraft’s work when they are older.

The Future

Can you hint at what lies in wait for young Howard and his faithful
friend Spot?  

The next installment, if sales allow for another, will really ramp things up for Howard and Spot. I think it is important to expand their universe in ways that also explain the real Lovecraft himself; of course done with a unique twist.

Name of the next instalment?

Well it will always be Howard Lovecraft & The……..Kingdom. But the words, Middle, Hidden, and Underground have been tossed around.

When are you expecting it to be released?

Hopefully it won’t be as long as a wait for the next book as there was for this one.

Any final message you’d like to give to the lovely readers of the Haunted Eyeball?

First, I wanted to thank the Eyeball for allowing me to talk about Howard and Spot and their adventures. Also, I wanted to ask its readers to please check out the Howard Lovecraft series! If you are a fan of Lovecraft or never heard of him, to give it a chance; you won’t be disappointed!

Many thanks for your time and best wishes Bruce!

Also of interest:

First look: You Know, For Squids

Innsmouth PressFuture Lovecraft

Real Ghostbusters:Call of Cathulhu

Lovecraft Week: Two bite-sized stories by James Pratt

To kick off this week’s Lovecraftian theme, The Haunted Eyeball proudly presents two short but effective Lovecraftian horror stories by James Pratt.


There’s A Light On At The Old Sutter Place

Despite feeling his age, Goodman Elder must leave his wife and supper and go into the night to investigate a light burning at the abandoned homestead of some long-missing neighbours. What he finds there might not be a surprise, at least to him, but it must be taken care of. Borrowing its shadows from H P Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror, this is a highly effective tale of dark family secrets and the strenuous efforts of those trying to keep the gates between earth and eternal darkness closed, no matter what it takes.

 


“A clown with an axe walks into a church…”

When the world is being torn apart by inter-dimensional monsters, and the person sitting next to you could turn into a tentacled horror at any moment, it pays to be a little cautious. Five survivors, perhaps the last people still alive anywhere, have taken final refuge in a church, but tempers are fraying. As things hit boiling point, there’s a loud but unmonsterly knock on the door. So just what is still out there? Played with deliciously deadpan humour, and daring to end on a high note, this is a masterfully skewed-up post-apocalyptic story. Yes, there’s a clown, too. Don’t freak out.

If you’re seeking a quick dose of Lovecraftian terror to set you up for the week ahead, these two bites are an excellent way to start down that dark, infinite path. Highly recommended.

Coming up tomorrow – Tuesday:

The Haunted Eyeballs takes a look at the ‘Collect Call of Cthulhu’ episode of the Real Ghosbusters!

 

Also of interest

Interview with James Pratt One  Two Three

He’s been reviewed on the Haunted Eyeball before!

When Dead Gods Dream by James Pratt

5 Stories That Bite by James Pratt

More Lovecrafty goodness on the Haunted Eyeball

Innsmouth Magazine Issue 8

Author Interview: James Pratt (Part 3 of 3)

Black Scarab picture, James Pratt,

Meet James Pratt (disguised as The Black Scarab)

Welcome to the final part of the Haunted Eyeball’s interview with horror author James Pratt. Today we discuss Inspiration & Publicity.

Part 1: Writing Process

Part 2: Inspiration and Publicity

Part 3: Lovecraft and Horror! – TODAY

James Pratt likes to create realistically flawed but basically decent characters and have them cross paths with serial killer angels, redneck vampires, slithering horrors from other dimensions, and the end of the world. He also likes to write stories that demonstrate how the ever-present darkness threatening to wash over the world like a wave of endless night can be held back with a little courage and a big shotgun (assuming one hasn’t already used both barrels, of course). Some take place in the distant past, others in the far future, and still others somewhere between eight minutes ago and twelve minutes from now. Whether sci-fi, adventure, or straight-out horror, the running theme is that the universe is very, very big and we are very, very small.

His books are available on both Smashwords or on Amazon. You can also follow James on Goodreads and Twitter.

Lovecraft and horror! 

Haunted Eyeball: What’s the first H P Lovecraft story you remember reading?

James Pratt: The Shadow Out of Time. I found it confusingly fascinating.

What drew you to Lovecraft? Why are you still a fan?

I was drawn to Lovecraft by the vast scope of his imagination and ability to convey an absolute sense of cosmic wonder and dread. I now read his works with a more mature and critical eye, but I’m still a humongous fan. His contribution to modern horror is undeniable and the sheer ambition of his stories has yet to be matched.

What do you most enjoy about mixing up genres and mixing in Lovecraft and horror?

I like the idea that the Cthulhu mythos has always been there, subtly infiltrating and influencing history and providing the foundation upon which many myths are legends were unknowingly built. The desolation of the mythic Wild West is a perfect setting for Lovecraftian horror. And the mythos’s fluid nature and resistance to continuity makes it extremely flexible for use in unconventional settings and genres far removed from traditional horror, like say for instance Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood. Not that anyone would be sick enough to write a Lovecraftian Winnie the Pooh story, of course.

How do you feel about ‘torture porn’ and other labels ascribed to modern horror films and books?

Unfortunately, in many cases it’s an accurate label. Personally, I find horrors movies that are essentially pretend snuff films extremely boring. I like monsters and supernatural weirdness, not women being raped with chainsaws. Being explicit for its own sake isn’t the same as pushing the envelope. That being said, I have to admit I was fascinated by the wonderful grotesqueness of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood.

What’s the last horror film or book you read or watched?

I’m ashamed to answer this one. I think it was ‘The Convent’, a movie about demonic nuns. It was pretty cheesy, but on the plus side Adrienne Barbeau was in it.

Horror writers can get jaded! What film or book (or picture!) last really scared you?

I found the first ‘Paranormal Activity’ movie genuinely creepy. ‘Insidious’ also had its moments. I loved the demon. And I can still watch ‘The Exorcist’ and feel a bit uneasy. I really wish it was possible to ‘delete’ experiences so you could see a film or read a book for the first time over and over again.

Do you have a survival plan for the end of the world? Which end of world scenario – zombies, bunny overcrowding, owl infestation, would you rather end up facing?

I’ve mapped out which neighbors would be easiest to handle in case I have to resort to cannibalism. My favorite end of the world scenario would of course be the return of the Old Ones. I won’t have to face it though. As a worshipper of Cthulhu, I’ll have the honor of being eaten first.

Which character you’ve created is your favourite (so far)?

I really like my version of Elvis in ‘Cthelvis’ but he’s based on an actual person and to be honest it didn’t take much work to turn the real thing into a wonderfully weird character. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Horton the rockabilly vampire from ‘Horton Hits a Ho’, closely followed by the brothers Sanjay and Umesh from ‘Incident at the 24-7’.

Are vampires losing their bite? (y’know…Twilight…) or is more variety a good thing?

As fictional creatures, vampires can be whatever a given writer wants them to be. That said, I HATE what vampires have become. Dracula wasn’t a love story, it was about ego and obsession. And what happens when you piss off Vengeful God (as opposed to Loving God). When the monster becomes the cool kid, he’s no longer the monster. Or maybe he’s just a different sort of monster, and definitely not the kind you want to root for. To me, Christopher Lee’s Dracula was the quintessential vampire. He wasn’t a hopeless romantic trapped in an immortal body but a monster whose human appearance was just a disguise. Vampires are supernatural parasites. They can’t give, they can only take. But that’s just my opinion. If somebody can make a living writing schlocky romance stories about star-crossed (undead) lovers, more power to them.

The future!

What are you currently working on (scary, I know)?

Trying to finish a fantasy novel with Lovecraftian overtones, sort of a cross between The Lord of the Rings and The Shadow Out of Time.

Are there any other writers you’d like to work with?

Yeah, but they’re all dead. I’m sure there are plenty of writers out there, indie or otherwise, that I would love to collaborate with but like I said, I haven’t even begun to tap the full potential of social media and connect with any of them. I’ve got to get my act together.

And finally…

 Any message you’d like to give to the lovely readers of the Eyeball?

If you wish there were more non-conventional books and films out there, then support what you like. YOU determine the market, not the other way around. If you want to make a living doing something creative, don’t wait for the world to come knocking at your door. Go out and create.

Thank you for reading this interview with the wonderful James Pratt, you awesome Eyeballers.

Don’t forget, all of James’ books are available right now at Smashwords, Amazon and check him out over on Goodreads and Twitter.

Also of interest:

Part 1 of this interview.

Part 2 of this interview.

James Pratt’s work has already been reviewed right here on the Haunted Eyeball!

5 Stories That Bite by James Pratt

When Dead Gods Dream by James Pratt

Other Author interviews:

A recent Eyeball Interview with urban horror writer Chris Davis

Author Interview: James Pratt (Part 2 of 3)

Black Scarab picture, James Pratt,

Meet James Pratt (disguised as The Black Scarab)

Welcome to the second part of the Haunted Eyeball’s interview with horror author James Pratt. Today we discuss Inspiration & Publicity.

Part 1: Writing Process

Part 2: Inspiration and Publicity

Part 3: Lovecraft and Horror! 

James Pratt likes to create realistically flawed but basically decent characters and have them cross paths with serial killer angels, redneck vampires, slithering horrors from other dimensions, and the end of the world. He also likes to write stories that demonstrate how the ever-present darkness threatening to wash over the world like a wave of endless night can be held back with a little courage and a big shotgun (assuming one hasn’t already used both barrels, of course). Some take place in the distant past, others in the far future, and still others somewhere between eight minutes ago and twelve minutes from now. Whether sci-fi, adventure, or straight-out horror, the running theme is that the universe is very, very big and we are very, very small.

All of James’ books are available right now at SmashwordsAmazon and check him out over on Goodreads and Twitter.

Inspiration & Publicity 

Haunted Eyeball: Who were your favourite author(s) while you were growing up?

James Pratt: That’s a tough one. When I was younger, I didn’t make a point to read any one author. I did discover  Kurt Vonnegut,  Stephen King, and Roger Zelazny in high school. If someone had told me I could only read the works of one of them back then, I probably would have chosen Stephen King because he gave me my first real taste of modern horror.

Favourite author now?

It would be a toss-up between Kurt Vonnegut and H.P. Lovecraft.

Does any art or artist inspire you to write?

Not consciously. I do like the creepy, haunted house vibe of Berni Wrightson’s work though, and the desolate, end of the world quality of Brom’s illustrations.

Any favourite comic books and writers and artists?

Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Berni Wrightson, and Mike Ploog off the top of my head. I really liked Grant Morrison’s run on ‘Animal Man’, and Garth Ennis’s ‘Preacher’ was pretty entertaining.

Do any TV shows or films inspire you?

Everything science fiction, fantasy, and horror TV show and movie I’ve ever seen has contributed in some way to every story I’ve ever written. I was a big fan of the gritty sci-fi of the tragically short-lived TV show ‘Space: Above and Beyond’. That’s the only one that readily comes to mind.

 Publicity

 How do you think social media has helped ‘indie’ writers?

Social media is a great way to market yourself and if you do a good enough job, you can write the stories you want to write and make a living doing something you love on your own terms.

Which ‘social media tools’ do you think connects you most successfully with fans? I.e. from Twitter to Goodreads and Facebook, blogs etc.

I’m not sure. I haven’t done a very good job of using their full potential. Twitter has put me in contact (more or less) with the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time, but I’m not sure just how effective it’s actually been. Each of my tweets is just one among millions.

Explain a bit about your ID picture. Why have you chosen an illustration over a photo of yourself?

My ID picture is the Black Scarab, a pulp superhero-style character from a story I wrote called The Black Scarab in “The Sad, Strange Fate of Evil Eye”. I used that because I think it’s a cool illustration plus I believe that when you get your picture taken the camera can steal your soul. (We think he’s joking… – H.E.)

How do you pick your book cover designs?

A good cover is important, but the amount of thought and effort I put in really depends on how motivated I’m feeling at the time. If the story features a visually striking character there’s a good chance he’ll make it on the cover, otherwise it’s probably going to be just text. I use a program called HeroMachine to create the covers. It’s pretty versatile but primarily for illustrating characters so when designing a cover, its limitations are also a consideration.

How seriously do you take reviews, be they good bad or indifferent!

Pretty serious. I have low self-esteem so I crave validation. Ironically, when someone gives me a good review, I assume they’re just being generous. On the other end of the spectrum, somebody gave all the free stories I had listed on the Barnes and Noble website one star so I had the stories removed. Childish, I know, but if you just want to bash me you should have to pay me first. I also tend to view indifference as a polite way of saying “I didn’t care for it.” I’m a big baby.

Sounds like a reasonable response to us, James. 

Thank you for reading Part 2, you awesome Eyeballers.

Part 3 of this interview, where James discusses H P Lovecraft and Horror, is coming up tomorrow!

Don’t forget, all of James’ books are available right now at SmashwordsAmazon and check him out over on Goodreads and Twitter.

Also of interest:

Part 1 of this interview.

Part 3 of this interview

James Pratt’s work has already been reviewed right here on the Haunted Eyeball!

5 Stories That Bite by James Pratt

When Dead Gods Dream by James Pratt

Other Author interviews:

A recent Eyeball Interview with urban horror writer Chris Davis