Today we continue to shine the bloodlight on the authors featured in Group Hex Vol. 1.
Stephen B. Pearl, whose tale, Abandon Hope All Yea Who Enter Here, shares his inspiration for writing the story and explains how pinpointing universal triggers can bring about more effective horrors in one’s writing.
Take it away, Stephen!
Can you start off by telling everyone about your background – when you first started writing and what you write.
This is a tall order as there is fifty five years of it. How the heck did that happen? I swear I was twenty three just last week. The things that factor majorly into my writing are many, but I’ll give it a go.
First I am dyslectic, with a computer I can function but there you have it. Don’t let it scare you off because I edit more than most folks because of my issues. You take what the universe gives you and make sweet citrus beverages as best you can.
I also was a Life Guard for many years and trained as an Emergency Medical Care Assistant in my youth. I’ve made a study of the sciences and metaphysics and personally believe that you can’t even approximate an accurate view the universe without both. I’m a good backyard mechanic and handyman and have done some sword fighting and historical recreation. I’m also a museum hound. All of these factor into my writing by supplying a backdrop for my world building and characters.
I’ve been writing for thirty years. It is no secret that a woman is to blame. I was dating a hot little number at the time and decided to write a fantasy novel with her as the damsel in distress to impress her. The book was awful but it showed me that I could do it. It also accomplished its primary function; I’ll be fixing the hot little number dinner in a few minutes.
As to what I write about. If it is weird I probably write about it. Post apocalyptic science fiction, my Tinker series, Norse, fantasy, Viking adventures, set during Ragnarok, Horn of the Kraken, paranormal, action, adventure with disembodied heads flying around scaring people to death, Nukekubi, Paranormal Romance, with religious fanatics and witch burnings, Worlds Apart, Military science fiction, romance, erotica, War of the Worlds 2030. That’s for my longer works. My shorter fiction appears in several anthologies including the Group Hex Vol. 1 anthology where I wrote Abandon Hope All Yea Who Enter Here
Tell readers about your story in Group Hex Vol. 1.
Abandon Hope All Yea Who Enter Here is a story about what many would consider Gods. I happen to be an Egyptian path Neo-Pagan. Which means if I have two bucks I can get a cup of coffee. Seriously, my view of deity is probably a little different than most of your readers. I view the Gods as administrators of the natural forces of the universe. They are simply souls at a high level of awareness that have been tasked with making sure that things run properly. Rather like reflexes and endocrine glands do in your body.
My story asks the question, what if a spirit was promoted into the level of godhood but clung to its human pettiness? It also looks at hope not as the positive thing it can be but in a real light of it being the set up for yet another smack down.
Some may think a story like this out of place in a horror anthology but I have to ask, what is more horrifying than realizing that the universe itself hates you and is skewing reality to slowly drive you insane? Think about it.
What inspired you to write the story?
I went to a spring Comicon in Toronto a few years back and… Well let’s just say that the story is written very close to home in some aspects. I have a new used car now. That came about when the alternator on the old one died less than a month after the con. I’d had enough. My sciatica still flares up but it is more under control and I’ve, for the time being, avoided dyeing of a heart attack. Then again, I could be a ghost writing this. Could someone check the obituaries and get back to me? If I’m dead I want a few words with the complaint department.
I also wrote something that scared me. As I said above, a universe that hates you in particular is a frightening place. Rather like being a child with a parent that resents you for things that are outside your control. We often find ourselves in situations where individuals more powerful than ourselves seem to delight in causing us pain, “coughs, middle management”.
I paralleled and exaggerated these fears. I also brought things to a conclusion. Part of why I write paranormal is I am addicted to happy for now endings. No matter the seven kinds of hell I put my characters through something in me just feels wrong without giving the character a bite of the carrot at the end.
For more motivation, I had a chance to be in a “kick donkey,” anthology with a lot of really talented writers. That is motivation enough for any writer.
No donkeys were harmed in the writing of this blog.
What stories or books are you working on next?
Currently I’m trying to market Cloning Freedom, a science fiction, escape, love story and Tinker’s Toxin, a short story set in my Tinker universe. I’m also just wrapping up my first foray into children’s books, Under the Sea, where Herb is being forced by his uncaring parents to move into an undersea habitat in the midnight zone (A kilometer below the surface). His parents have threatened that if Herb doesn’t find a home for his beloved cat, Mouse, they will have the animal put down. The idea is to use the book to illustrate real science as Herb travels to the Habitat and lives there for a trial week during his March break from school. Can Herb save Mouse and what wonders will he see? Will the science he knows be enough to save his father when things go horribly wrong?
Finally, I’m getting back into writing the sequel to Nukekubi, Revenant, a story of supernatural vengeance run amuck. At the same time I’m working on a story for Group Hex Vol. 2. Anybody out there that scuba dives will have a special interest in this one. What is your worst fear when diving? I know mine. After you read this story so will you.
Do you have any parting words to share?
The writing community is great. During the events that I transcribed into Abandon All Hope Yea Who Enter Here my associates kept the books I’d left at the con safe and were preparing to move them to a safe house when I arrived. They proved very decent and worthy and I feel great affection to them all for that kindness. Thanks again guys.
Publishing, it takes me at least three beers before I’ll willingly venture into that subject. Talk about horror!
The Horror Genera, I’d say that horror is very personal. What will leave one person a gibbering puddle of terror will be shrugged off by another. It’s all about pressing the right triggers. Some people are horrified by physical mutilation. I worked in emergency medicine for a short time. I’ve seen the real thing and it is far worse. So slasher stuff and Zombies I kind of go Meh. Suspense, a situation where you can do everything right and still get clobbered, now that is horror. I love the movie, The Changeling; it can still make me jump.
One of the most horrifying things a person can do is find a fear from when someone was vulnerable, childhood is most effective, and then build a parallel to it. Thus the abusive teacher becomes the undead boss. The school bully becomes the goblin or poltergeist. Again this is just hitting triggers. The more universal the trigger the more effective the horror. Theory is easy execution not so much.
Regarding my writing, please buy it. Pretty please, I worked really hard on it. Pleasssse. It’s really good. Truth, do yourself a favor and check out the free samples on my website: www.stephenpearl.com I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If you like the samples you can buy the books on Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/stephenpearl .
A touch more seriously, when you have read a book you are doing the author a great favor if you review it. Just a few words on Amazon can make a huge difference. In the current era reviews are the gate keepers that help filter quality work form non quality work.
The power’s in you, please review.
Thanks for reading.
GROUP HEX VOL. 1
You can pick up a copy of the ebook or paperback at Amazon.
If you are in the Toronto area, there will be a book launch & signing this January. Be sure to visit the HWA Ontario Facebook page or find them at their website to stay up-to-date on all their latest horror shenanigans!