Interview with Author and Podcaster Alan McGill

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

My father was a third-generation coal miner who grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. My father told humorous stories about life in a coal mining town involving various antics he was involved in as a child. He was a gifted storyteller, but he also taught me to be respectful, polite, and kind. He always talked about helping those who were unable to stand up for themselves. As the president of a local with the UMWA, he represented this type of attitude. The example was also set by my maternal grandfather with whom I was very close. He was a WWII Navy veteran at Normandy with a gift for storytelling and was always there to help anyone in need. 

At a young age I read a lot of comics and admired heroes. Anyone who helped or stood up for those who couldn’t. When I was young, I was bullied for several years until I could defend myself. I tried to help or defend those who couldn’t when I was able. I failed more times than I succeeded, but it was always what drove me. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I had been writing since I was in my early teens. I have written several books but never published any. In the late 90’s I was playing an online war game involving various teams and races of beings including undead creatures. Part of the game involved message boards with teammates. I took to writing elaborate short stories about battles and threw in little romantic elements to round out the stories. A couple of years later I wrote A Cry in the Moon’s Light about undead creatures but centering around werewolves and witches. 

The story sat for over twenty years until 2019 when I decided to self-publish. I had started doing podcasts as a hobby and was receiving positive feedback about my voice. I thought it would be a good idea to start there. I edited the story as an audiobook in the spirit of old radio. I narrated the story, voiced all the characters, bought sound effects, and commission an original score. I edited everything together and released it on Halloween night 2020. 

It took a little while to catch on, but within six months I had over 10,000 downloads and the comments were all positive. Now we have over 27,000 downloads and the people really seem to enjoy the story. That gave me the confidence to self-publish. Because I love artwork so much, I decided to publish an artbook/guidebook alongside the main title as well.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The first is that love defeats evil. That is the subtitle of the book, but it is the underlying theme. It’s a horror/fantasy book with a bit of romance. Despite the magic, weapons, relics that are in the story, the only thing that really defeats the horror and darkness is true love. It the story of two people that love each other so deeply they care more about the other’s wellbeing than themselves. It’s also the story of true heroism. Doing more for others than yourself. 

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

It’s kind of a mix of genres. I bill it as a horror/romance, but it has a lot of fantasy, action, adventure, bit of mystery. Those are generally my favorite things to read or watch, but I have a wide range of tastes in many things. There isn’t one type of genre over another to me. It just needs to be a great story that captures my imagination and that is what I try to do as a storyteller.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Such a good question. I really like Colonel Voelker and in this book you never really know which side he is on. But I probably would pick mi, Lady. She is a bit mysterious at times, but her love for Seth is absolute. I would want to know why she loves him so deeply. What was it that made her fall so madly in love with him? So in love that nothing else mattered to her except his well-being.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Without exception, Twitter. I don’t have a million followers or anything, but it introduced me to Ed Bajek Publishing Services introduced me to Sal Borriello of the Reading List. Sal company provides professional editing services and Ed’s company does marketing and various other author related services. This sparks to expanding readership in other social media, catalogs, bookstores, etc. Sal turned it into a beautiful book and Ed puts it in front of potential readers. Without those two, it wouldn’t go far. Twitter also introduced me to artists and the cover designer which are all necessary elements in making this book be the best it can be for a reader. 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

First, write the story and worry about making it great later.  

Second, you should really love the story. You are probably going to be spending a lot of time there, editing, re-editing, etc. so you might want to make sure you like it. Even if you get picked up by a publisher, you will be involved in editing and re-editing.

If you are self-publishing, hire a professional editing service. I know a lot of people can’t afford this and that is okay. Your story deserves to be out there if you want it to. But make it the best it can be. If you can’t afford a pro editor, take your time and keep going over it again and again until it’s right. 

Watch out for scams. Vetting is important. Do a little research on anyone you will pay to work on your book. There are lots of scams out there. Editing, marketing, etc. 

Keep your expectations realistic. Know your goals. Mine was just to write a good story and produce a beautiful book. Anything after that is a bonus. 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I just finished book two of A Cry in the Moon’s Light. It is about double the size and the world is completely expanded. It has the same elements as the first, horror, romance, and mystery. But this time our characters find themselves in the middle of a war with the undead. There are a lot of previews in the artbook/guidebook that are out now titled Father Daniels Compendium of the Undead. I hope to publish this in 2022 along with season two of the podcast. 

I also have a surprise about A Cry in the Moon’s Light coming in 2022 as well. It has a little bit more and is a beautiful piece of work.

Lastly, I am also working on a historical fiction book which centers around my family immigrating to a small coal-mining town in western Pennsylvania. The main character is my grandmother Rose. We follow her as a young girl growing up in the early 1900s, through the Great Depression, and carving a life in Manhattan. It will also have a lot of action, adventure, and some horror with a romance side. I just haven’t decided yet if this will have any fantasy elements yet or not. 

I’m really excited about all three of these projects and I hope readers are too. 

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About the Author

Alan McGill is an American author who lives in an old farmhouse with a clowder of cats. Alan was close to his grandparents, who grew up during the Great Depression. They were married young and remained together until his grandmother’s passing. His grandfather served in the Navy during WWII and was a gifted storyteller who wove humorous tales about tough events. Alan grew up listening to these stories of right and wrong and watching fictional heroes–such as the Lone Ranger, Adam West’s Batman, and Captain America–stand up to bullies and protect those who count not protect themselves. This inspired him to always do what was right in his own life and shaped his love of storytelling. He is a multigenre author whose debut novel, A Cry in the Moon’s Light, combines horror, romance, and mystery. As with all his books, A Cry in the Moon’s Light centers on characters who strive to do the right thing regardless of the adversity they face. The book focuses on the theme of love–a pure and deep love that defeats all evil.

https://cryinthemoonslight.podbean.com/

https://www.instagram.com/alanmcgill14/

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