Monday, 19 September 2022

An Interview with Jason Fischer

Our next edge-of-your-seat anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock, will be released in time for Halloween, and is available for Kindle pre-order today for just $1.99 instead of $3.99. While the suspense is building, we're interviewing the contributing authors so you know a little more about what makes them tick...

Hi Jason, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Let’s get started!

The first question is inevitable...which Hitchcock film is your personal favourite, and why? Which actor or actress do you think was the best he worked with?

Psycho. The reason is for the uniqueness of the plot and the skilful way in which Hitchcock keeps you
in suspense from the first to the last scene. For the overall body of work, it's Jimmy Stewart. However, the best single performance is by Anthony Perkins. Specifically, the parlor scene in Psycho for the subtle decisions he makes as an actor to show the depths of Norman's character.

What is it about Hitchcock's films that makes them so timeless, or is it just the opposite, that the appeal lies in that bygone era?

I believe they are timeless. The emotions he evokes are universal and no other director is as gifted at
drawing you into the character's plight.

Do you have a favourite director, other than Hitchie himself, of course?

Steven Spielberg. He is the only other director who can pull you into the story and hold your attention for the entire length of the film as well as Hitchcock could.

Without giving too much away, how did you come up with the idea for your story in A Hint of Hitchcock?

Like most of my stories, the inspiration came rather quickly after reading the request. I was thinking about all the Alfred Hitchcock movies I’ve watched and how I was always drawn to plots that had characters isolated in a foreign place and with no typical resources to aid them.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

I’m an avid cyclist. Last year, I rode the equivalent mileage from Anchorage, Alaska, to Salvador, Brazil, using the trails around my home. In my spare time, I build furniture, including my library. In that library, I have perhaps the largest private collection of Alfred Hitchcock anthologies. Writing is in my blood as the nephew of the late crime novelist, Eugene Izzi. At a very early age, he introduced me to literature, and I immediately loved it.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

I’d like to take them away from their daily lives for a few minutes to experience a different world.

What are you working on now?

I’ve just completed my first book, The Haunting of Brementowne Mall and I am working on
completing my first Rex Hanning novel.

Where can we find you online? 

jasonfischerauthor.com

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

An Interview with Paulene Turner

Our next edge-of-your-seat anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock, will be released in time for Halloween, and is available for Kindle pre-order today for just $1.99 instead of $3.99. While the suspense is building, we're interviewing the contributing authors so you know a little more about what makes them tick...
 
Hi Paulene, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Let’s get started!
 
The first question is inevitable...which Hitchcock film is your personal favourite, and why? Which actor or actress do you think was the best he worked with?
 
It’s hard to choose out of so many great films. Of course, I love To Catch a Thief – a cat burglar on the French Riviera, a mystery, romance, action – what’s not to like. But I also loved the James Stewart films Rope, a psychologically thrilling game of murder, and Rear Window. But one which stayed in my mind and wasn’t a thriller, was a survival film called Lifeboat, made in 1944. The premise was that, after a boat sinks, passengers crowd onto a lifeboat. But as they hit rough seas, it’s clear that some people will have to go over the side in order for the rest to survive. It’s a brutal choice. Everyone on board has a say about who should jump. I always remember that a frail famous artist, sweet and modest, had to step into the writhing water while a loathsome, bullying man kept his place, because they’d need his strength to get through it.
 
What is it about Hitchcock’s films that makes them so timeless, or is it just the opposite, that the appeal lies in that bygone era?
 
The way he filmed, that sense of claustrophobia and neuroses he created with the way he shot, was trail-blazing and is still watchable today. Though the music of the era does tend towards melodrama, you can forgive the films as they have so much of style and pace, and always a thrilling script with twists and turns. Plus, there is the fun of playing Spot the Director as he makes a cameo appearance in all his films.
 
Do you have a favourite director, other than Hitchie himself, of course?
 
Peter Jackson is number one! And I love Guy Ritchie as a director and writer. Ridley Scott has made some of my favourite films, Christopher Nolan, Ron Howard. With Mark Mylod and SJ Clarkson in TV drama. Gosh, they’re mostly men! I hope that changes in future!
 
How did you come up with the idea for Paranoia?
 
I read a biography on Hitchcock and heard about how he had avoided/snubbed/cold-shouldered Doris Day on the set of The Man Who Knew Too Much, to get a more unhinged performance than usual from her. It struck me as a cold, directorial thing to do. So, it was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the call for stories. I created a character who styled himself after Big Al and tried that same technique, ostensibly to get the best performance out of an actress, but really because he liked to wield and abuse his power. It’s meant to be a thrilling and mysterious Hitchcockian piece, particularly for fans (making special reference to our editor’s favourite Hitchcock films).
 
Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.
 
1) I met James Bond – Daniel Craig – outside the Sydney premier of Quantum of Solace. He had the most beautiful blue eyes, and I told him he was my favourite Bond (but I hope Pierce doesn’t hear!).
2) I have two pugs, called Holmes and Watson.
3) I wrote and directed short films myself for a few years, for the 48-hour film festival, with my family in the lead roles. The difficulty of putting those 7-min stories together gave me a new respect for any story on screen.
 
What are you working on now?
 
I recently wrote two magic words THE END at the bottom of the 6th and final book in my YA time travel series. After more than a decade! Two Aussie teens travel through history in a time machine. As they use modern ideas to solve ancient problems, the changes ripple through the timeline with devastating effect. I’m currently editing all six books with a view to a 2023 release!

 

Saturday, 10 September 2022

An Interview with Rebecca A. Demarest

Our next edge-of-your-seat anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock, will be released in time for Halloween, and is available for Kindle pre-order today for just $1.99 instead of $3.99. While the suspense is building, we're interviewing the contributing authors so you know a little more about what makes them tick...

Hi Rebecca, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Let’s get started!

The first question is inevitable...which Hitchcock film is your personal favourite, and why? Which actor or actress do you think was the best he worked with?

That’s an unfair question! Obviously I’m partial to The Lodger, since that was the source of inspiration for my story, but I enjoy almost all of his films. He had a certain flair for the reveal that not many other filmmakers have mastered. Other movies I particularly like are Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, and Rear Window. Add in to that The Birds which my father let me watch way too young. As for the actors and actresses in Hitchcock’s films, I think it’s important to recognize up front how terrible Hitchcock was, especially to the actresses. He was prone to randomly locking people to sets with real handcuffs, throwing them into an attic full of actual birds without warning, and even worse. Sure, their reactions are real on screen, but holy hannah was it inappropriate. That being said, I especially enjoyed Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, and Tippi Hedren on the actress side of things, and Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant on the other.

What is it about Hitchcock’s films that makes them so timeless, or is it just the opposite, that the appeal lies in that bygone era?

It’s a little bit of both.The glamor and elegance of his movies is achingly beautiful, and Hitchcock has a real talent for expressing true horror in everyday things and people. This dichotomy is one of the things I most admire in his movies, and something that transcends the dated set design, camera work, and editing. The draw is different depending on the viewer, I think. For me, I enjoy the wardrobe and the cars, while still finding the meat of the movie to be the staying factor. No matter how much the world around us has changed, there are still murderous people out there, and that terrifies us.

Do you have a favourite director, other than Hitchie himself, of course? 

I have to admit I don’t seek out movies because of their director, and only sometimes because of the actors. For me, it’s more about the story than anything else. However, there are a handful of directors that, after I enjoy a movie and credits role, I say “Of course I loved this! [That guy] was the director!” So... If we want to talk about similar era and content, I very much enjoy Stanley Donen’s work; Charade is one of my all time favorite movies (don’t watch the remake, it’s a travesty). If we want to talk about more modern directors, I will watch anything Taika Waititi is involved in, that man is amazing. For another, I was introduced to Kenneth Branagh first in high school with his production of Hamlet and fell in love and am still surprised when I pull up his filmography and go, “He directed [that movie]? No wonder I love it!”

Without giving too much away, how did you come up with the idea for your story in A Hint of Hitchcock?

I enjoy diving into research around media I enjoy, especially older films, and the story around The Lodger is a fun one, full of interesting reinterpretations and classic Hitchcock sulking. Originally, The Lodger was a novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes, which Hitchcock reworked for his movie. However, Hitchcock didn’t like who the murderer was in the book, so he wanted to change it to [redacted]. However, the censors at the time didn’t like portraying [redacted] as villainous, so they ordered him to change it. That’s why the final climax and reveal of the movie feels so...stilted and disappointing. Hitchcock threw a hissy fit, and still refused to use the original villain. That’s where I come in. Not only do I use the villain he never got to, I also incorporated some of the rumors around the actors’ personal lives to add depth to the characters, and fulfill the promise of this story in a way that is much more satisfying than the movie was allowed to be. Plus, it’s a fun commentary on policing, and who can pass that up in this day and age?

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

Hmm...I fell off a 20-ft waterfall and landed on bedrock but walked away only with lacerations from sliding on shale as I fell. I have a talent for finding what other people are looking for at resale shops in excellent condition. I am hyper-mobile, which means I’m a mutant, but not really a useful one. It means I can dislocate my joints super easy but at the same time I can wriggle into weird tight spots. So...plus/minus?

What do you aim to give your readers?

A fun ride through interesting terrain with a satisfying ending that sticks in your brain.

What are you working on now?

The last year I dedicated myself to working solely on short stories and poetry, which has been super refreshing. I think I’m finally getting a handle on writing interesting poetry, i.e., not the drivel that fills two journals from childhood. Several of the pieces have been picked up for publication, which is very nice, and you can find out where they are living from my website. Now, though, we are coming up on NaNoWriMo and I think I’m going to jump back into the novel ideas I have sitting in front of me. Specifically a sci-fi romp which includes a young ship engineer, an accidental symbiote, and a technomancer communing with the ghosts in the machine.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me at rebeccademarest.com

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

An Interview with Joseph S. Walker

Our next edge-of-your-seat anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock, will be released in time for Halloween, and is available for Kindle pre-order today for just $1.99 instead of $3.99. While the suspense is building, we're interviewing the contributing authors so you know a little more about what makes them tick...

Hi Joseph, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Let's get started!

The first question is inevitable...which Hitchcock film is your personal favourite, and why?

I have to go with Rear Window. I love the way the film creates a rising tide of suspense without ever leaving this one, very confined setting. It’s a small world, but a beautifully detailed one. And of course, the performances are all great and the story holds up—it sucks me back in every time.

Which actor or actress do you think was the best he worked with?

Jimmy Stewart. In every one of his Hitchcock performances he’s a character with levels that we don’t perceive at first, depths that emerge as the story develops. He does an amazing job of slowly revealing everything that’s there.

What is it about Hitchcock's films that makes them so timeless, or is it just the opposite, that the appeal lies in that bygone era?

The surface details age, of course, some more so than others. But the essential stories and emotions retain their power, and there are a lot of factors contributing to that, starting with the fact that Hitchcock was an exceptionally talented filmmaker with an understanding of how to exploit the medium’s potential. I think the most important thing, though, is that we can still identify with the way his world is saturated with dread. All of his films have moments where the everyday suddenly becomes terrifying.

Do you have a favourite director, other than Hitchie himself, of course?

The Coen Brothers—who, obviously, know their Hitchcock!

Without giving too much away, how did you come up with the idea for your story in A Hint of Hitchcock? 

When I head about the anthology, it was shortly after my wife and I had watched Suspicion as part of our pandemic movie binging. It was the first time I’d seen it, and I was immediately struck by two things—the way the ending feels so forced and artificial, and the presence in one scene of Phil and Izzy, two women coded as a lesbian couple in a way that was very unusual for the period. Doing a little reading about the film, I learned that it was released just a few weeks before the attack at Pearl Harbor. I started to get an image in my head—two characters, in a world newly at war, talking about these strange elements in the movie they just watched. The story grew from my investigation of who these two characters were, and what brought them to that conversation.

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

I met my wife in high school, and we’re together thirty-four years later; Harlan Ellison is the writer who made me want to be a writer; I have been to Major League Baseball games in twenty-one different stadiums.

What do you aim to give your readers?

If I’m doing my job right, an emotionally engaging experience that makes you want to read straight through to the end. If I’m really doing it right, something that will still be remembered in a week, a month, or a year.

What are you working on now?

I’ve always got a couple of stories bubbling along at some stage in the process. I recently finished a novella about car thieves and blackmail that should see publication next year. Among my recent publications, Hitchcock fans might also be interested in Black is the Night: Stories Inspired by Cornell Woolrich, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Woolrich, of course, was the originator of the story that became Rear Window. My story in the volume is A Shade Darker Than Gray.

Where can we find you online?

On Twitter, @JSWalkerAuthor, though I take frequent breaks from Twitter for the sake of my mental health. I keep an updated list of my publications at https://jsw47408.wixsite.com/website

Sunday, 4 September 2022

An Interview with Josh Pachter

Our next edge-of-your-seat anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock, will be released in time for Halloween, and is available for Kindle pre-order today for just $1.99 instead of $3.99. While the suspense is building, we're interviewing the contributing authors so you know a little more about what makes them tick...

Hi Josh, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed. Let's get started! 

The first question is inevitable...which Hitchcock film is your personal favourite, and why? Which actor or actress do you think was the best he worked with? 

Oh, gosh, how do you pick one favorite out of such a cornucopia of wonderful films? If I absolutely have to pick only one, I’d have to say Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, Strangers on a Train, and North by Northwest. Why? Because they rock, that’s why! And I’m also picking two actors, each of whom he worked with multiple times: James Stewart and Cary Grant.

What is it about Hitchcock's films that makes them so timeless, or is it just the opposite, that the appeal lies in that bygone era? 

To my taste, yes, Hitchcock’s films are timeless. I just retired from a long career of teaching film appreciation to American community-college students, though, and for the most part their interests are limited to superheros and anime. Sad. They miss so much!

Do you have a favourite director, other than Hitchie himself, of course? 

Frank Capra—and it’s probably not a coincidence that Hitchcock and Capra each worked with James Stewart and Cary Grant…

Without giving too much away, how did you come up with the idea for your story in A Hint of Hitchcock?

My stories usually begin with a title, and I keep a list of titles I want to use when I can come up with story ideas to fit them. “Better Not Look Down” was on the list for years—it’s the title of a song Will Jennings and Joe Sample wrote, B.B. King recorded, and I love—and eventually I integrated the lyrics of the song with my take on Hitchcock’s Vertigo and wound up with the story that’s in A Hint of Hitchcock. 

Time to get more personal. Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

(1) As noted above, I just retired from college teaching, after fifty years in the classroom.

(2) I’ve been writing professionally for even longer than I’ve been teaching: my first published short story was in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in 1968; I was sixteen when I wrote it, and I remain the second-youngest writer ever to appear in EQMM.

(3) In addition to writing and editing, I translate crime fiction by Dutch, Flemish, Italian, Romanian, Argentinian, South African, and Chinese authors. 

What do you aim to give your readers?

In Edgar Allan Poe’s phrase, “surcease of sorrow.”

What are you working on now?

Every year, Crippen & Landru Publishers releases a limited-edition pamphlet containing one new short story for its subscribers. Publisher Jeffrey Marks invited me to write the 2022 story, and I’m sending my series PI Helmut Erhard—an American whose German father was incarcerated at a POW camp in Hearne, Texas, during the Second World War—north to Grapevine, the Lone Star State’s Christmas capital, where he will solve a murder on the North Pole Express.

Where can we find you online? 

www.joshpachter.com and on the Book of Faces.


Sunday, 10 July 2022

A Hint of Hitchcock: Halloween Release

The suspense is over...well, it hasn't really begun yet has it? We can now announce that our next spellbinding anthology, A Hint of Hitchcock, will be available in time for Halloween!

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One name springs to mind when we think of classic suspense films; Alfred Hitchcock. His silhouette is instantly recognisable as no one else has quite the same pouty lips and round, chubby face. The way he posed for photographs and his penchant for making cameo appearances in his films bear witness to his larger-than-life personality, but it was his ability to tell a spellbinding tale coupled with his technical brilliance that earned him the epithet of "Master of Suspense". His groundbreaking use of camera movement and the way he framed shots to maximise anxiety and fear place films like "Vertigo" among the very finest examples of creative achievement ever produced within the seventh art. In "Rear Window" he builds edge-of-your-seat tension by placing us in James Stewart's wheelchair and making us watch events unroll through his eyes, and the use of cutting-edge special effects in "The Birds" is almost impressive as the fact that more than three thousand were trained for the film. What else do these three films mentioned have in common, along with "Psycho" and "Rebecca" and so many others? That's right...they were based on novels or short stories; the written word. In "A Hint of Hitchcock" we turn our attention back from the screen to the page, and bring you, the avid suspense reader, modern tales that chill and surprise, all inspired by the work of the master of suspense. 

  • Better Not Look Down - Josh Pachter
  • Golden Curls - Rebecca A. Demarest
  • More Than Suspicion - Joseph S. Walker 
  • Paranoia - Paulene Turner 
  • The Suitcase - Jason Fischer
  • Rebecca Redux - Elizabeth Elwood
  • Highwayman's Hitch - Cameron Trost
  • Relish - David Carroll
  • Karma is a Thief in the Night - Roger Johns
  • Scallion's Head - H.K. Stubbs
  • Closed Circuit - Mark Blackham
  • Vault - Andy Rausch

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Submissions Open: Tales from the Ruins

Black Beacon Books is accepting submissions for our post-apocalyptic anthology, Tales from the Ruins. 

Please read the specific guidelines below and refer to our submissions page for general guidelines.

a) We're looking for post-apocalyptic tales with a focus on the struggle of one character, couple, or a small group to survive in a ruined world. We want action and atmosphere, but most of all, we want to feel for the protagonists. Preferred length between 5,000 and 10,000 words.

b) The deadline is the 31st of July.

e) Rates are 20€ for original stories and 5€ for reprints plus one print copy.



https://unsplash.com/@danny_lincoln
NB. This is not the cover.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Introducing our Monthly Fiction Contest on Patreon

Black Beacon Books now runs a monthly fiction contest on Patreon. The competition is open exclusively to patrons who subscribe to one of the four highest tiers: Moonlight Smuggler, Sea Witch, Assistant Keeper, or Lighthouse Keeper. The winning story from each month is published on Patreon and is available only to fellow patrons. At the end of each year, our monthly winners will be invited to have their stories included in our "Tales from the Black Beacon" e-anthology which will be free for patrons and sold to the public on Amazon.

Other advantages (according to which patronage tier you choose) include being invited to provide guest posts and answer interviews for our website, having a promotional mention or quarter-page ad in each edition of the e-anthology, and receiving ebook or print book copies of each publication. Full details about tiers are available on our Patreon page and you can find the entry details for the monthly competition in this post.