Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Guest Author Interview: Stephen M. Irwin + Giveaway
Please welcome today's guest author Stephen M. Irwin! Stephen is the author of The Dead Path aka The Darkening.
EJ: When did you begin writing?
Stephen: I think the hints that my writing had a bit of promise began in high school (which feels around the late 1850s it was so long ago …). My English teacher used to ask me to read my fanciful essays to the class (my stories were, in retrospect, a fairly awful blend of the absurd and the bloodthirsty – kind of Monty Python meets Kill Bill – but maybe to my classmates they were preferable to reading Ring of Bright Water). For a shy kid, being asked to read my own work to my peers was both terrifying and exhilarating, and no doubt planted strange seeds. I went on to study film and tv production, and learned my chops writing documentaries. About five years ago I reinvested myself in short stories, and was fortunate enough to win a few national and international competitions. These wins encouraged me to try something longer form. The Dead Path was hatched in an intense but pleasant three-month gap between consultancy jobs. It’s been amazing to see a novel I wrote really just ‘to see if I could’ now being read and enjoyed around the world. I’m currently writing my next book, entitled The Broken Ones.
EJ: What brought you to the paranormal genre?
Stephen: I owe my father a debt of gratitude – it was he who took me as a boy to the council library and patiently waited while I scoured the shelves for anthologies of ghost stories. I wasn’t the bravest kid in the world, but when it came to reading there was nothing too scary for me. I started by enjoying the ghostly explorations of Robert Arthur’s The Three Investigators (whispering mummies, haunted castles, you know the drill) and quickly moved onto heavier stuff by Lovecraft and Wyndham and Bradbury. I think it is Ray Bradbury who was (and probably remains) my great hero – a master of the short story, the novella, and the novel, able to create achingly beautiful prose in one paragraph, and disturb you to the core in the next (his mechanical hound in Fahrenheit 451 troubled me greatly as a teenager, and having seen clips of Boston Dynamics BigDog, it worries me even more today). There is a pile of ‘to read’ books on my bedside table, but somehow stories of the ghostly always creep their way to the top. I’ve experienced a few events in my life that are most easily explained by a belief in spirits, so I guess I am just writing out my own fears and fascinations.
EJ: If you could be any paranormal or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?
Stephen: Oh, tough question. I think it’s a toss-up between invisibility and the power to freeze time. (I think I’ll go the latter because the first could make me sound like a closet voyeur – but really, I would only use it for good, not evil, I swear.) I became fascinated by the idea of freezing time (or at least slowing it) when I read somewhere that we humans see a flickering fluorescent bulb as ‘stable’ at around twenty Hz, but a fly can perceive visual information ten times faster (around 200 cycles per second) so buzzing under a fluorescent bulb for a fly would be a strange, strobe-like alternating of light and dark. How cool to be able to see the world so differently! But I agree with Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, that with great power comes great responsibility, so instead of spending my ‘frozen’ time racing around setting people into awkward and embarrassing poses, I’d feel obliged to save baby prams from rolling under subway trains and rescuing kittens from Rottweilers. Drag. So maybe I’ll opt for the ability to walk through walls; for a guy who is always losing his keys, this would be a great time-saver.
EJ: Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.
Stephen: You know, I was quietly amazed when publishers first started calling The Dead Path a horror novel. I was thinking, ‘But it’s a supernatural thriller! It’s a crime story with ghosts!’. Maybe that’s why so many new fans are writing and saying either they are long-term fans of horror and The Dead Path gave them the chills of classic King or Straub; or they write and say they aren’t usually fans of horror, but this book drew them in because of the characters and the detective-like crime story. What’s also wonderful is when readers who are well versed in esoteric knowledge of wicca think that I’ve treated magic and the mythology of The Green Man with respect (I certainly tried to). In short, I guess the book appeals to anyone who likes a good mystery thriller, anyone who likes to enjoy a good fright, and anyone who enjoys seeing ancient mythology and magic brought into the present. But I wouldn’t recommend The Dead Path to anyone genuinely scared of spiders … this book would be the stuff of nightmares for them!
EJ: If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?
Stephen: This is exactly the kind of question I ask myself on those rare days when I’m feeling right at the top of my game and that the world is in love with everything I’m writing! (These are inevitably followed by 364 days of terse self-criticism and pragmatic perspective-taking.) If The Dead Path was cast in Australia, I think Brendan Cowell (Beneath Hill 60) would make a fabulous Nicholas. If the film were cast in the U.S., a friend of mine suggested the amazing Edward Norton, who brings truckloads of truth to every role he takes on. I also think Sam Rockwell would make a superb Nick – he’s smart and funny, and can play self-deprecating or egotistical as needs dictate. I think the ethereal January Jones would make a dangerously attractive Rowena Quill.
The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin.
Do you remember the last time a book gave you the chills? The Dead Path is the ghost story we’ve been waiting for.
A haunting vision in the woods sets off a series of tragic events, leaving Nicholas Close lost amid visions of ghosts trapped in their harrowing, final moments. These uniquely terrifying apparitions lead him on a thrilling and suspenseful ride to confront a wicked soul, and will leave an indelible mark on lovers of high-quality suspense and horror alike. Nicholas Close has always had an uncanny intuition, but after the death of his wife he becomes haunted, literally, by ghosts doomed to repeat their final violent moments in a chilling and endless loop. Torn by guilt and fearing for his sanity, Nicholas returns to his childhood home and is soon entangled in a disturbing series of disappearances and murders—both as a suspect and as the next victim of the malignant evil lurking in the heart of the woods.
Check out my review of The Dead Path here.
Thank you Stephen for joining us here today at From the Shadows!
To learn more about Stephen M. Irwin and his books, please visit his website.
** The Dead Path International Giveaway **
We are giving away a glow in the dark hardcover of The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin!
To enter, please leave a comment on this post including your email address (so we may contact you if you win). You do not have to be a follower to enter (though I always appreciate a follow!). This giveaway is International! Giveaway ends November 18th midnight EST.