Tag Archives: cosmic horror

Interview with Author Bill Richardson

  1. Congratulations on the release of your novel, Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft!  For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?

Professor Max Heller stumbles upon a remote area in the woods that challenges everything he thought he knew about the world. There is an evil in this place that defies logic. An evil with murderous intent. An evil that can destroy the world. Heller then joins a self-proclaimed group of Hell Fighters who wants to defeat this evil. Together this ragtag bunch of misfits embarks on a journey to save the world from an evil that is so great that it can barely fit into the human mind. The story has cults, giant monsters, otherworldly beings, doomsday preppers, survivalists, ancient gods, mystical technologies and more. It will shock you, scare you, challenge you intellectually and awe you. 

I wrote the book for several reasons, but one was that I wanted to play in the wonderful world that Lovecraft created. The evil in HP’s work is so foreign and otherworldly that it is difficult to even conceive of a way to combat it. In most of his stories the evil either wins or the main character escapes it. No one ever really defeats it. 

When I was a boy reading Lovecraft, it often left me unsatisfied. I wanted more. I wanted more detail. I wanted to see the monsters and understand the evil. The forces he shows us are on this grand scale but he always wrote about them in these very short works. It was like a mosaic that revealed different parts but never the whole. I wanted to gather up all those fascinating threads Lovecraft created and weave them into a big, cohesive tale that is accessible to a modern reader. The story features the Quantum Resonator, Arkham, Miskatonic University, an aspect of the Elder Gods, malformed monstrosities and many other elements of Lovecraft. But it’s also book you can enjoy if you’ve never read any of Lovecraft’s stories. 

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  1. The novel deftly combines fantasy and Lovecraftian horror.  What can you share with us about your creative process in weaving these narratives together, and what have been some of your creative influences?

As to influences, I read horror, sci if, fantasy, crime, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, classics and literary fiction. How that becomes what I write is something of a mystery to me. I’ve always leaned toward dark stories and most of what I write has a dark edge to it. But I also do a lot of humor, so go figure. As to process, I keep cramming stuff into my head until something comes out. I go to bookstore and browse covers and titles. I’m also a visual artist and sometimes I’ll create an image that will spark a story idea. I read, listen to audiobooks, watch movies and daydream about stories. Every waking minute, I’m either immersing myself in creative content or trying to create it myself.

  1. At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums.  How do you feel that Heller’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?

Heller is a person who has always used his intellect to solve his problems. But he comes face to face with something so foreign and otherworldly that it defies all logic. So it requires him to use other skills to take on the enormous challenges he faces. He has to get out of his comfort zone and become something of a man of action. I’m interested in the idea that there is a hero in all of us. If put in the right situation we can all rise to the occasion and be heroic in our own way. Churchill was a mediocre politician before the war and after it too. But when the challenge of the Nazi invasion came, he was able to rise to meet it and become something more than he was before, or even after. What is a hero? A hero is someone who takes on a challenge that they think is too big for them and meets that challenge. We can all do that in our lives. I want people to realize that they can be more than they think they are. 

  1. Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books, if given the opportunity?

I would like to continue Heller’s story and the Hell Fighters as well. Another thing I explore in the book is how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. How a group of people with different skills and failings can come together and do more than any of them could do alone. It’s like how the Beatles or the Stones or any other musical group you can name is better together than they are separately. I would like to explore that more with these characters. I have entire story arcs for each of them in my head. I leave the book open for the possibility that there can be more and I have several ideas. But I really enjoy exploring new worlds and new characters and at this point I’m more comfortable with that. Honestly it will come down to what fans want. If they want more, I’ll give it to them. 

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  1. In addition, you also have the audiobook version of More Than Evil coming to Audible.  What can you share with us about the premise of this book, and how would you describe your creative process in bringing it to life?

In More Than Evil a group of coal miners release an evil force that has been trapped in the earth for millennia. It begins to spread through their isolated town, overtaking its citizens and turning them into virtually unkillable monstrosities. Harlan is the local sheriff and he has to figure out a way to stop these unstoppable creatures before the evil spreads to the wider world.

More Than Evil and Hell Fighters are very different in tone. More Than Evil is quite visceral. It’s not gore for the sake of gore. The blood is central go the plot and the nature of the evil we encounter but there is plenty of it. It’s kind of like Clive Barker’s early writing in that way. 

I wanted to make the audiobook for More Than Evil a different experience than reading the novel. As a result, I used my years of filmmaking experience to create what I like to call, a movie for your ears. I created a rich 3D soundscape with tons of music and effects. The audiobook has both dark and light humor in it that the prose version doesn’t. This was done with music and effects, not by changing the text. The idea is that you can enjoy each version in a different way. Horror really lends itself to the kind of audio treatment I used in this audiobook but it rarely gets it. That’s what sets it apart and elevates it. It’s a very different listening experience than you’re used to.

  1. Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

I have a book on Kindle Vella called Two Girls Save the World. It’s basically YA adventure/horror. You can read almost half of it for free on that platform. And the appeal of that book is broader than the title or genre might lead you to believe. Guys will like it and adults will too. I have a lot of other stuff in the can and I’m trying to figure out which one to release next. The genres range from SF to fantasy to historical fiction. There will be a new release the 2nd half of February for sure. My intention is to have a release schedule of February and September of each year. 

  1. Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Hell Fighters, More Than Evil, and your other work? 

My website is https://bilrichardson.com  and below is a link to my Amazon author page. I’m on Goodreads and twitter @billrichardso10 as well. 

Let me say in closing that I appreciate every person who gives my work a chance and reads it. It is a struggle for every author to build an audience. My number one rule is, don’t be boring. I’ve got a 4+ star rating across all platforms, so a lot of people have liked my work. I feel confident that readers who try my books will enjoy them. 

I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of cool things in my life. I’ve been a film and TV producer, a nationally know historian, artist and writer. I’ve been inside the great pyramids of Egypt, embraced the pillars at Stonehenge, seen the world’s greatest works of art in person. Those things brought me great joy, but not as much as writing does. I hope folks will come along on my writing journey with me. I promise it will be a blast. 

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About the Author

As a filmmaker Bil Richardson has produced feature films, documentaries, commercials and a 16 episode series for the History Channel.

He has appeared on numerous national TV shows including CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, American Pickers, Mysteries at the Museum, the National Geographic Channel’s Diggers and Discovery Networks’ Blood Feuds.  

His films are being used as teaching tools at such prestigious universities as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon and Marquette; and are part of the U.S. Library of Congress holdings. 

Bil has been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, London Times and hundreds of other newspapers.  He was a contributing author on the Random House book, The Appalachians, the West Virginia Encyclopedia and has published both fiction and non-fiction. 

Professor Richardson has been featured as a speaker both nationally and internationally and his work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Among his many other creative ventures Bill has done covers for books, magazines and graphic novels. 

Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft by Bill Richardson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A chance at finding some semblance of security and newfound purpose in his life takes a dark turn when Dr. Max Heller must lead a ragtag group of people against malevolent entities in author Bill Richardson’s “Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft”. 

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The Synopsis

21st CENTURY LOVECRAFT

A terrifying evil wants to enter our world, and Dr. Max Heller and the Hell Fighters are the only ones who can stop it. Heller is a man of science but when he stumbles upon something that defies all logic, he must put aside his old ways of thinking and plunge into the unknown.

In the tradition of HP Lovecraft comes a tale of cosmic horror that will have you on the edge of your seat. There are things in the universe beyond our understanding, malevolent entities of immense power. Can Heller and a ragtag group of townspeople prevail against such beings? Find out in this gripping tale filled with horrors more frightening than any nightmare.

The Review

This book hits readers immediately with a punch! The author brilliantly alternates the pacing according to the atmosphere of each chapter, slowly introducing readers to the protagonist before unleashing all hell on him and forcing him into a shocking fight for his life. Honestly, some of the most compelling reads and even films/shows that have drawn me in over the years tend to be cosmic horror. From classic H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King’s The Mist and even more modern tales like Stranger Things, the combination of exploring what lies just beyond our universe and the fight for hope and life in the face of overwhelming horror is so highly creative and vastly open for new stories, and this author has found the perfect take on this iconic storytelling device.

What really stood out to me was how much humanity the author was able to infuse into this cosmic horror adventure through such strong character development. A truly great horror story infuses the narrative with emotional storytelling through personal character growth, and the author did this brilliantly, especially with protagonist Max Heller and supporting characters like Lydia and the Hell Fighter Club. These personal and emotionally-driven character interactions not only opened up the mental and emotional journey they were on but also did a great job of bringing thought-provoking concepts and scientific theories such as other dimensions/universes into the conversation while delivering a chilling and haunting atmosphere. 

The Verdict

A chilling, horrifying, and entertaining Lovecraftian-style horror thriller, author Bill Richardson’s “Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft” is a must-read horror story this fall season, and one of 2021’s best horror reads overall. Brilliant character development, shocking twists, and turns as the mythos of this haunting world is developed, and an open-ended finale that both closes a chapter in the character’s lives and leaves open the possibilities for more, this is a novel readers do not want to miss. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Most people want you to be just one thing, but unfortunately I’m not. I work in many genres, many media and many voices. I’m an award-winning filmmaker, an artist, playwright, poet and author. I do humor, horror, poetry, history and more. I create work that is serious, uplifting and explores important questions and I do things that are just pure entertainment. Some of the things I’ve done have been deep and thoughtful, and some just plain silly and fun. If there is a unifying thread, it is that I am a storyteller. And one of the main functions of stories is to aid us in making sense of the world. Stories help us deal with things we are frightened of – whether that’s a creature in the night or death. Stories also help us deal with the cares of life by understanding them or just being distracted from them. Our lives are varied and complex. At times we are happy or sad, challenged or victorious, high or low. So it is not surprising that the things we create should reflect that complexity and diversity. That’s how it is with me. Now if you want information on some of my specific accomplishments then just keep on a readin’.

As a filmmaker I’ve produced feature films, documentaries, commercials and TV series. I’ve appeared on numerous national TV shows including CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, American Pickers, Nat Geo’s Diggers, Discovery Networks’ Blood Feuds and America: Fact or Fiction and the Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum. My films have been used as teaching tools at such prestigious universities as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon and Marquette, and are part of the U.S. Library of Congress holdings. I’ve been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, London Times and hundreds of other newspapers. I’ve published fiction and non-fiction through Random House and other companies. I’ve been a featured speaker nationally and internationally. My work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and I’ve done covers for books, magazines, movies and graphic novels. I’ve even appeared onscreen in four internationally distributed feature films.

https://bilrichardson.com/

Author Interview with Craig DiLouie

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

I’d dreamed of being a writer ever since I was very young. Growing up in rural New Jersey, I discovered fiction as a fantastic way to be somebody else and have adventures. After a while, I not only wanted to escape into these incredible worlds, I wanted to create my own for others to enjoy. I produced my first novel back in the 1990s, which never saw the light of day. After lucking out with publication with a small press in 2001, I kept at it until I wrote a zombie novel on a lark before zombies got big, and the rest is history. The success of my zombie fiction got me an agent, which got me into Big 5 publishers like Simon & Schuster and Hachette. I also self-publish series of short, pulpy WW2 actioners, which are a lot of fun and are very popular. It’s been a very long and hard but ultimately gratifying and humbling journey.

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What inspired you to write your book?

The Children of Red Peak is about a group of people who grew up in and survived the horrific last days of an apocalyptic religious group that transforms into a cult. Years later, they reunite to confront their past and the entity that appeared the final night.

I love stories that turn tropes on their head or examine their consequences, and this novel does both, examining a cult from the inside in the past timeline, where the major characters are children, and then showing the pain of surviving a horrific mass death, where it’s now 15 years later. As a psychological thriller with cosmic horror elements, the novel is really about the trauma of survival and how belief can produce a great amount of moral goodness but also madness and evil, with a slippery slope in between.

The original inspiration came from a reading of Genesis, where God tells Abraham to bind his son Isaac on a remote mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Abraham does it, only to be stopped at the last moment. And I thought, what if that story were told from Isaac’s point of view?

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

Thematically, it’s about a number of things—family, faith, memory, belonging—but the the overriding theme is that madness and belief are two sides of the same coin, and we have a tendency to think of our relationship with the divine as being on terms we can control and that favor us. Interestingly—and disturbingly—some of the cosmic horror element in the book is really about that cosmic horror being found in conventional religion, which is treated with utmost respect in the book but also questioned by taking its claims seriously. A significant message in the book is that wherever there is chaos and emptiness, humanity’s hunger for meaning will eventually ascribe that chaos and emptiness with meaning and a story.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always loved speculative fiction—horror, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, apocalyptic, you name it—because it lets you take ordinary people and challenge them with extraordinary circumstances. You push somebody to the limit, you really find out what they’re made of, and that revelation also says something about human instinct, which is real, and human morality, which is the story we tell ourselves about who we are and want to be. In The Children of Red Peak, there is a cosmic horror element, but the real horror is in good people doing evil because they believe it is a path to paradise.

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

I’d ask one of the characters who possibly ascended where they went and what it was like when they got there. I poured my own yearning for meaning and knowledge of any type of existence after death into the story’s aching soul.

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

Probably Facebook. No reason for that other than I’m just more comfortable with it. I don’t like creating a persona, which is what you’re supposed to do as a writer to get people to like you as an author distinct from liking your work, but I’ve never been into that. On Facebook, I decided to just be myself, and I value the relationships I have there because they’re real, or at least as real as you can get on the Internet.

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

Be as prolific as possible, pursue every path to publication with what you do produce, and hope for that X factor in publishing to go your way and create a hit that will lead to more opportunities. The X factor might be described simply as having the right book at the right place at the right time, and there’s unfortunately no way to predict that. Note that success is not an either/or thing, it’s a ladder with dozens of runs, and that there is no objective definition for success anyway. In my view, if you poured your heart out to write a story, you’re a writer and you’re a success, only now you’re ready to challenge yourself to climb the next rung of the ladder.

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

I’ve been very happy producing these “dime novel” WW2 action series, and I love the model so much I’m looking to produce two such series in 2021, one dealing carrier aviation in the near future, the other dealing with carrier aviation during WW2. At the same time, I’m talking to Hachette to see if I can get some fresh and interesting novel concepts percolating.

Thanks for having me as a guest, Anthony!

(It Was My Pleasure Craig! Thank you for sharing your wonderful book with us.)

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About the Author

Craig DiLouie is an author of popular thriller, apocalyptic/horror, and sci-fi/fantasy fiction.

In hundreds of reviews, Craig’s novels have been praised for their strong characters, action, and gritty realism. Each book promises an exciting experience with people you’ll care about in a world that feels real.

These works have been nominated for major literary awards such as the Bram Stoker Award and Audie Award, translated into multiple languages, and optioned for film. He is a member of the HWA, International Thriller Writers, and IFWA.

http://craigdilouie.com/