My understanding is that I am supposed to answer four questions, and my answer to them will follow shortly.
1) What am I working on?
I am working on an anthology tentatively entitled Hemlock which is part compilation of all the Detective Jame Hemlock stories I have published thus far (including uncollected ones), and part compilation of new Hemlock stories. This will probably be volume one of an undetermined number of volumes.
Detective Hemlock, as my readers will know, is a run-of-the-mill sleuth who stumbled upon a bloodthirsty cannibal cult that aims to take over the world and bring on the Apocalypse. The extent of this organization is such that Hemlock cannot go anywhere without running into trouble. The cult has infiltrated corporations, armed forces, and governmental offices of countries all around the world. As he and my readers often discover, even the most innocent-seeming people can turn out to be the most morally depraved.
While it is true that each new adventure seems to drive a nail into the coffin of the cult, it is equally true that the organization’s resilience makes it a constant threat to Hemlock’s ultimate success.
I anticipate that the book will be out before the end of the year.
Hemlock stories published thus far:
“The Culling of the Damned” in Ghostly Quintet: Five Tales of Ghosts, Apparitions, and the Beyond.
“They Say Heaven is Paved With Gold” in Amazing Adventures.
“Cold Water” on this blog.
“No Crocodile Tears Permitted” in Sinister Sextet: Six Supernatural Stories.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write in many genres, but the Detective Hemlock stories are less mystery than they are horror. What makes my work different in another way is that, as much as it would be easy to write a very long novel detailing the detective’s exploits, there is much to be told, and telling it in something as compact as a novel would mean short-changing the reader. For those people who want to wallow in what Hemlock does, I afford them the chance to do so by reading his adventures in all of their detail, and without cutting anything for a reason so mundane as space limitations.
Some Hemlock stories are short, but the deeper stories are by necessity very long, so that the reader can immerse themselves in the sleuth’s activities. Readers can rest assured that I will let them have a good swim in the pool before I blow the whistle and call them into the clubhouse to rest.
Other writers shoot straight from the hip. They tell a tale and once the tale is told, it’s over.
BTW: It will take a long time before we see the end of Hemlock’s investigations. [And just as a parenthetical, even though I may write dozens of Hemlock stories in the coming years, I am thinking of writing the very last Hemlock story in the next few months, just in case I should die unexpectedly. That way, readers will know how it all winds up, even if they never get any elucidation as to what happens in the intervening time between whatever story I had written prior and the conclusion.]
3) Why do I write what I do?
While it is true that horror stories can have a very negative impact on people, and that many believe that “horror” and “occult” are related to, interrelated, or intertwined with one another, my horror stories have deep moral undercurrents, the central moral being that the choices you make can cause evil to come into your life. A secondary theme is that the ejection of that evil from your life may be more difficult than its entrance into it.
If you view the Hemlock stories keeping these ideas in mind, it is possible to see Hemlock as an exterminator, and evil -and its “carriers”- the vermin.
I write what I do because I like imparting morals to my readers, and because I feel it is necessary for people to be reminded of the fact that what we bring into our lives forms our beings, shapes our souls, and determines what is going to happen to us as we approach our sunset years. We don’t often get that message imparted to us anymore in the cathartic entertainment media we enjoy today.
4) How does my writing process work?
While my ideas are wholly original, they often have a kernel of inspiration. There is a Hemlock story about to be published tomorrow in “Amazing Adventure Stories”, an anthology that was assembled and edited by author/screenwriter Joel Mark Harris. The story is entitled “They Say Heaven is Paved With Gold.” All I needed for that story to be written was the setting and the mood, and the story itself grew from there. Other times, I will see something in real life, and I will want to write something that has my own take on the event.
How much I write is dependent on whether or not I am free from distraction. There are days when I write nothing, and other days where I have written 10,000 words in one prolonged sitting. In the rare cases when I write 10,000 words in one day, it is usually in a rush, and I do not eat or sleep until I feel like I cannot write anymore. Usually, though, I can write a few thousand words in a sitting. As of tomorrow, I will have published 870,000 words in the last three years. By the end of 2014, the number of published words may be as high as a million. I also have a few hundred thousand words put together on the assembly line (but they need some additional verbiage and fine-tuning before I can bring them out into the showroom), and I have hundreds of thousands of words on the cutting room floor.
Usually after I have gotten the introductory portion of the story finished, I immediately go back and revise it as many times as necessary until I have it just right. Then I continue writing until the piece is finished, revising the latter portions once I am down with the main draft. There have been times when a single revision was all that was needed before publication. Other times, there have been five, six, even a dozen or more revisions before I am satisfied with what I have written. In all probability, after Hemlock is published, I will be working on yet another revision of a project started over a decade ago. When finished, it too will be published, but not until I am absolutely satisfied with that revision.
If what I am writing is a story, the finished product gets published, either in a magazine, in someone else’s anthology, or in my own self-published publications. Larger works find their ultimate home similarly.
If you’re looking for more info about what I have written, click on the JPEG below, and it will take you to my Amazon page.