Thursday, May 12, 2011
Guest Author Interview: Peter Labrow + Giveaway!
Please welcome today's guest author Peter Labrow! Peter is the author of The Well.
EJ: When did you begin writing?
Peter: I’ve been writing non-fiction for over twenty years. Much of my work has been copywriting for brochures, websites and so on. I’ve also written literally countless articles for publications, often in the training industry – and I published a non-fiction book about training, over a decade ago. The last time I saw it on Amazon, it was selling second-hand for less than 50 cents. Sobering. I started writing fiction about ten years ago – but bailed after writing a novel that was projected to be 160,000 words when I hit 120,000 words. I’d just set up my own website development business and I couldn’t focus on both goals. And, truth be told, the novel had become unwieldy – I’d literally written myself out of my depths. But, writing fiction is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child and the dream persisted. I started to develop some different ideas for a book – and one of these was The Well. I started writing that on 1 January 2010 with the goal of releasing it on Kindle by the end of the year. I think I made it with a week to spare.
EJ: What brought you to the paranormal genre?
Peter: Good question. A few things. The first is natural gravity. I’ve thought about writing lots of different genres, but once I sit down and write, that’s where my mind takes me. I recall a friend suggested I write some ‘guy-in-touch-with-his-inner-feelings chick lit’ – I drafted and plotted an idea, but it soon turned from the story of a man looking for love into that of a haunted serial killer. I also find that the paranormal gives me more scope to explore ‘the normal’. I want to write intimate and affecting stories right now, not global catastrophes. Terrifying tales about real people and supernatural events, but with more emotional depth than you typically find in horror stories. I’m interested in the duality of people; in how many people have contradictory character traits; how even nice people can have a dark side. The paranormal provides a better vehicle for this – there’s more scope, more latitude. People are faced with greater extremes so can become more interesting to write. I also want to write in such a way that the paranormal isn’t taken for granted, or lacks jeopardy – I want my characters to really feel the fear, that what’s happening to them is extreme. Then, just for good measure, I want to keep a lot of what’s going on really normal. Buddha said something like, “first the laundry, then enlightenment”. That’s the way life is – terrible, unimaginable things happen – and then people still need to eat, drink coffee, go to the toilet, comb their hair. Normal/paranormal – it’s an interesting place. I especially don’t like the way that (ahem!) some modern fiction has made the paranormal a cuddly, misunderstood phenomenon. Falling in love with vampires and werewolves, it’s not for me – I want to reclaim that territory.
EJ: If you could be any paranormal power or have any one supernatural talent, what would it be? Why?
Peter: You really expect me to answer that?! No woman would look me in the eye again. Actually, I’d like to be able to manipulate time. There’s never enough time and there’s always buckets of pointless stuff to do. I feel I have hundreds of stories in me, but I don’t have time to tell them. I’d like to pause time, write a novel on a desert island somewhere, then unpause time to get it printed. I’m not sure I can be trusted to use my power for good, though. If you feel a slight hiccup in time and the Mona Lisa is missing, that might be me.
EJ: Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.
Peter: I think I can tell you only what readers have told me. I set out to create interwoven stories of normal and paranormal terrors. The kind of thing you sadly see on the news every night twisted around something much darker, older and more evil. I wanted to see these come together. Readers tell me that they like that. The book is also a very fast read, despite being a pretty decent length – I remember Dickens used to write in the newspapers, so every chapter had to have a cliffhanger. That’s The Well. Although there is some let-up, it’s mostly a rollercoaster with quite a few “oh my God did that just happen” moments. I also like the way that in Greek tragedies the Gods throw thunderbolts just for sport, shaking the plot up for no reason. Life is like that – everything hangs by a thread. The Well is like that too – it will keep you guessing. And it will wrong-foot you. It’s also emotional, although that’s in the heart of the reader. One of the great things about writing today is that you can get feedback directly from readers – I’m a very accessible writer and I always respond. It was wonderful to get a message from someone saying she’d cried in the office at one point; and from someone else who had nightmares three nights on the run. That’s me, bringing misery to the world, one paragraph at a time. So, The Well is fast-paced, unpredictable, populated by characters with complex motivations that we won’t always agree with – people who aren’t given a choice between good and evil, but between evil and slightly less evil; then they have to make the best of it.
EJ: If your book(s) were being made into a movie, who would you cast for the leading roles? Why?
Peter: Well, The Well is set in a small town in Northern England. That’s important; I’d not like to lose that feel. I’d cast predominantly, if not totally, English. So Tom Cruise is out. (Actually, Tom, if you read this and want to fund it, I’ll write you in.) I’d like to choose actors not because they are showy, but because they are real. I want the people to feel normal, small-town people. And I’d also choose actors who are ‘less obvious’ choices. What this means to American readers of this website is that they may not recognize the names I propose. Google them – they’re good. Another thing is that The Well is an ensemble piece – I keep you guessing as to who’s good and bad, who lives and dies. Leading roles are less clear-cut. For Randle, I’d choose Brian Cox – despite not being the right build, he has real depth and presence and can move from charming to darkly evil in a second. For Helen, I’d choose Clare-Hope Ashitey (Children of Men) and for Helen’s partner, Abby, I’d like say Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later) – but she’s too darned pretty for Abby, so the make-up people may have to rough her up a bit. Key lead roles in The Well are teenagers. I’m not so sure I can choose those, but for the girl who’s actually trapped in The Well, I’d say perhaps Chloe Moretz, though I’ve clearly just broken my ‘all-English cast’ rule – and she’ll have to dye her hair dark. If I were casting an English actress, I’d probably go for Dani Harmer, though she’s possibly a little too old for the part now. Danny Boyle should direct it, definitely. I’d like a walk-on cameo – man in bar, drinking beer. I’ve been rehearsing it.
The Well by Peter Labrow.
Trapped. Missing. Cursed. Fourteen-year-old Becca Richards and her stepbrother have fallen to the bottom of an ancient well. Their parents are away; they won't be missed for days. The predatory man who had been stalking Becca now switches his attentions to her best friend. Two women who know where Becca is trapped are desperate that she should never escape. Over the course of a week, family, friends and strangers are drawn together by a terrible shared fate - from which not all will escape. 'The Well' is a darkly gripping tale about how we respond to the hand fate has dealt us - and the consequences of our choices. The Well deftly intertwines a story of supernatural horror with a tale of one of the greatest fears of modern life. As the book progresses, the two stories become one - driving relentlessly towards a single, thrilling finale. The Well is a fast-paced, riveting story that will grip you - and keep you guessing - until the very end.
Don't miss E.J.'s review of The Well by Peter Labrow here or the new trailer for The Well on YouTube here.
Thank you Peter for joining us here today at From the Shadows!
To learn more about Peter Labrow and his books, please visit his website.
**The Well Giveaway**
We are giving away a signed paperback copy of The Well by Peter Labrow to one lucky winner!
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 to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway ends May 31st midnight EST.
(Original end date was May 28th, however due to Blogger being down, I have extended this giveaway).