Thursday, 27 October 2022

An Interview with Mark Blackham

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

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

Rear Window. The story bangs together the emotional distance of close quarters apartment living, with our curiosity in the messy lives of others. These messy lives we watch are contrasted with the stable intimacy of James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The tension and frustration is almost unbearable in the final moments, when Kelly is discovered in the apartment of the murder suspect – and all we can do, along with Stewart, is watch.

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

I’m not clever enough in my movie watching to always differentiate between actors I enjoy and those that are good. I like the on-screen presence of Cary Grant and James Stewart because they make a lot out of the small stuff of behaviour. Similarly, Doris Day portrayed the courage of everyday people in extraordinary circumstances.

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?

There’s a quirkiness to his presentation of twisty stories that lives well out of the time they were made in. In some cases it’s the extraordinarily small canvas that human relationships like Rope and Lifeboat, and even Vertigo at its most tense. In others, it’s the insightful portrayal of ordinary people and relationships when responding to extraordinary challenges, such as North by Northwest or The Man who Knew Too Much.

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

Ridley Scott for the physical dirt, sweat and grit he found in the real-life future of Alien and Blade Runner. Terry Gilliam for conceiving and presenting a future of inanity in Brazil. John Huston for his early flamboyant and rebellious film noir.

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

I absolutely hate the thought of being watched; I would prefer to go moldy in my own home than live in a retirement village, and I give a joyous finger to security cameras. So I wrote a murder mystery about these things, inspired by Rear Window.

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

1)      I raced my wife’s first car, a Nissan Sentra, in a demolition derby.

2)      I boxed competitively in midlife and now referee amateur boxing.

3)      I founded the world’s first natural burials organisation outside of the United Kingdom.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

Something rough, something sordid, something new.

What are you working on now? 

A novel about a jaded music journalist who finds love where it was all along, a short story about the person who writes the last words of humanity, and a novella about a teenager who saves the coddling of the Western world with the aid of an old computer.

Where can we find you online?

I’m at www.markblackham.com and my alter ego is at www.carlingtonblack.com

Tuesday, 25 October 2022

An Interview with H.K. Stubbs

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 Helen, 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?

My favourite Hitchcock film is North by Northwest, for all the twists and turns, the on-the-edge-of-my-seat confusion, and humour, as I tried to work out what was going on and marvelled at the storytelling, trusting that it would all make sense in the end. It’s a very immersive film. I really empathise with Roger Thornhill because Cary Grant plays the role superbly. Grant is definitely one of the best, there’s something special about him.

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 think they’re timeless in that they’re well-written, powerfully executed and styled, but also, there’s something about that era which is captivating. There was a chance of getting away with things. Communication was more restricted (no mobile phones) and there was less surveillance. It makes it more exciting; there were knowledge gaps, and there was a better chance of getting away with crimes! 

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

I struggle to pick favourites, but I’m going to say Sophia Coppola for Marie Antoinette, it’s a very fun film with gorgeous sets, wardrobe, and cake.

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

I wanted a heroine in an occupation often taken for granted and underestimated; I wanted mystery, confusion, murder; I wanted the big American house, the noir feel, some super-feminine women. Shiny hair, fine coats, guns. I wanted adventure!

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

I’d love to get one of my novels into a publishable shape one day. I live with my partner, two kids, a French Bulldog, a cat, a quail, and some fish. Birds, lizards, and green frogs live in our yard. I recently escaped on a three-night rock-climbing trip to the Blue Mountains and am pretty sure I brought Covid home with me. The climbing was great, as was catching up with a school friend and seeing the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House for the first time in a while.

What do you aim to give your readers?

Entertainment and a page-turning good time. A story to remember. I definitely write with my reader in mind. I don’t want to bore them.

What are you working on now? 

Why, this interview, of course! Oh, you meant more generally…well I’m editing my climbing fantasy novel, called Starstone, or maybe Starcrags. It’s an adventure story aimed at adults/young adults. A bit of romance. A quest. A lot of climbing.

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @superleni
Instagram: @helenstubbs
YouTube: Helen Stubbs
My blog: https://helenstubbs.wordpress.com

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Tales from the Ruins: The Line-up

Here's an earth-shattering newsflash if ever there was one! Ready, set, go...

Black Beacon Books is proud to announce the table of contents for Tales from the Ruins, an anthology of post-apocalyptic fiction. You're going to lose yourselves in this literary wasteland...hmm, does that sound right? We mean that in a catastrophically good way.

So, without further ado...

The Aftermath - Claire Davon 
Hell Takes All Prisoners - Karen Bayly
Chasing the White Limousine - Kurt Newton
An Interlude in the English Civil War - David Turnbull
Kissidougou Christmas - Michael Picco
The Fields - Mark Towse
Cast Upon the Water - Joseph S. Walker
Help, Scotland - Malcolm Timperley
The Deep End - Cameron Trost
End of the Line - Louise Zedda Sampson
The Death of a Raccoon - Adam Breckenridge
Darkness at the Edge of Men - Stuart Olver
Sailors' Delight - Claire Fitzpatrick
Homecoming - L.P. Ring
 
Please note that the order is not necessarily final.
 
As for the release date, you're going to have to stay tuned, but early 2023 is the aim...if the apocalypse doesn't hit first.

Thursday, 20 October 2022

An Interview with Andy Rausch

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 Andy, 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?

I hate to give such an obvious answer, but Psycho is my favorite Hitchcock film. Rear Window is probably my second fave. But I love Psycho. My favorite thing about Psycho is that the film switches POV midway through. That would be interesting enough, but the fact that the new POV is the killer of our original protagonist is pretty amazing. I have long considered trying that in a novel myself, but I'm not sure it would work. That it works in Psycho seems like one of those one-in-a-million things. Also, the audience members were pretty much stuck and invested by the middle of the movie, whereas they could just decide to DNF the book.

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 think the appeal, for me, is that Hitchcock was a first-rate director who generally worked with quality screenwriters and performers. He also had a keen eye for a good twist, and generally chose solid scripts and source material. I'm also a big fan of the TV series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Although Hitchcock was mostly dead when I was a child (he died when I was seven), there were still records with Hitchcock narrating scary stories on them available at our public library. There were also anthologies of short stories bearing the man's name, as well as a Hardy Boys-like mystery book series called Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators that I liked quite a bit. So, for better or worse, I have always been a fan of Hitch's work.

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

My favorite director is Quentin Tarantino. I have written three books about him (two published, a third forthcoming). I realize Tarantino has his detractors, but I don't care. Other people's opinions have nothing to do with my enjoyment for, and appreciation of, his work.

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

The story was inspired by Hitchcock's film, Lifeboat. I tried to come up with a story that was, on the surface, very different from the film but still maintained the film's essence and the core of what I felt made it work. I'm also a crime writer, so I thought, I want to make this a crime story. I thought hard about it for a couple of weeks before I finally came up with a combination that intrigued me and I thought would work.

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

1. I had a heart transplant in 2019.
2. I've interviewed more than 500 celebrities, including Quentin Tarantino, Ian McKellen, and Ethan Hawke.
3. I once spent the night in an adult film actress's home, which, weirdly enough, had originally been built for Clark Gable. (Nothing steamy happened, by the way. I was a guest there in a journalistic capacity.)

What do you aim to give your readers? 

I want the reader to be entertained. I also want to keep them on their toes, where they aren't sure what's going to happen next.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on several projects, including a sequel to my novel, Layla's Score, and a biography of crime writer Max Allan Collins.

Where can we find you online?

authorandyrausch.wordpress.com or on Twitter @writerrausch1

Friday, 14 October 2022

An Interview with Roger Johns

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 Roger, 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?

Narrowing it down to just one is too difficult, so I’m cheating and picking one along with a runner-up: The Man Who Knew Too Much (the 1956 Jimmy Stewart/Doris Day edition), and The Birds as runner-up. As to the actors, again it’s too difficult to name only one so I’m cheating again, and picking two: Jimmy Stewart and Tippi Hedren (her performances in The Birds and Marnie have stuck with me for decades). 

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?

Hitchcock’s ability to expose the disturbing potential lurking inside the ordinary makes it seem like his stories could plausibly happen to anyone in any era, which makes his themes universal and timeless. And his actors’ performances are so pitch-perfect they reinforce the sense that what’s happening on the screen could happen to me, in my house or my neighbourhood or my town.

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

Mark Romaneck, who did the near impossible by bringing Never Let Me Go to the screen in a beautifully understated fashion that nevertheless made the movie as powerful and affecting and haunting as the Kazuo Ishiguro book on which it was based. Coming in a close second are Oliver Stone, for most of his movies, and Ridley Scott for the astounding, chilling vision of the future he created for Bladerunner, which was based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

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

Years ago, I read a news story about a man who’d engaged in what he believed was a legally justified act, but the authorities contended he’d committed a crime. The years-long court battle that followed destroyed the man’s marriage and his psychological well-being, and the legal fees practically bankrupted him. So, Ioften wondered whether there might not have been a cleverer way for the man to have dealt with the situation that prompted the act that got him into trouble in the first place—in a wrong-action-for-the-right-reason kind of way. Also, I’m fascinated with the idea of a character being outfoxed by the web of circumstances he’s woven to outfox others, and how the slow, steady, suffocating squeeze of consequences can drive a person to take increasingly desperate measures. The open submission call for this anthology seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn how this set of ideas would work itself out on the page.

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

In late middle age, I studied medicine for three agonizing semesters, then promptly resumed my teaching career. I’ve been held at gunpoint, more than once. And, I’m a huge fan of old-time radio, especially the detective and adventure shows from the 40s and 50s.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

An immersive experience from inside the head and heart of my main character.

What are you working on now? 

I’m writing a stand-alone novel about a young man who disappears, utterly and forever, on his way home from college, as well as several short stories, some of which are crime fiction, some of which are science-fiction, and one of which is my first foray into writing fantasy.

Where can we find you online? 

My website is: www.rogerjohnsbooks.com, and, along with several other crime fiction writers, I co-author the Murder Books blog at: www.murder-books.com.

Sunday, 9 October 2022

An Interview with David Carroll

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 David, 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'm a Psycho person, which is a perfectly constructed chiaroscuro nightmare, with a structure that remains effectively askew.

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

Can I say Vincent Price, since he was in one of the TV shows? Okay, Kim Novak.

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 seems little known that one of Hitch's early jobs was in 1920s Berlin, the era of Dr Caligari and Metropolis. Discussions with FW Murnau (the director of Nosferatu) seem to have had a strong influence on how he looked at film as a visual medium, and he used expressionism throughout his career. Psycho is one example, and his mastery of the camera in Vertigo is another. 

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

There's always the "Italian Hitchcock", Dario Argento! Not quite as consistent perhaps, but certainly a master of visual style and twisted psyches.

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

I literally dreamed the main premise of Relish, and then had to go and make a proper story of it. Some of the ideas in Donald Spoto's biography "The Dark Side of Genius" were an inspiration.

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

I won a state-wide maths competition in high school. I wrote a combined Doctor Who/horror 'zine back in the day (that got mentioned in the DVD commentary of my favourite story, Ghost Light). I designed a map for Sunnydale California (home to a certain vampire slayer) that became the basis for some official work.

What do you aim to give your readers?

"When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, 'It's in the script.' If he says, 'But what's my motivation, ' I say, 'Your salary.' "

What are you working on now?

My co-written novel Prismatic (written as Edwina Grey, winner of an Aurealis award for best Australian horror novel) has just been re-released in digital form, so I am spreading the word.

Where can we find you online

https://twitter.com/theunamiable





Saturday, 1 October 2022

An Interview with Cameron Trost

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 Cameron, 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?

If I had to pick one in terms of pure cinematic prowess, I'd have to agree with the experts and say Vertigo. Do yourself a favour and look up "the Hitchcock Zoom" or "Dolly Zoom". As for sheer suspense and the ability to tell a gripping story from a limited perspective, Rear Window probably gets the prize as my go-to Hitchcock film. Neither of these, however, provided the inspiration to my contribution to this anthology. As for his actors, I'm going to be unoriginal and say Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

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 has to be a bit of both. Suspense is timeless and Hitchcock's films remain relevant today because modern audiences can still relate to his characters and put themselves in their shoes. At the same time, while progress has been made and is being made in areas such as gender relations and social attitudes, a lot has been lost since the days of Hitchcock's films, particularly when it comes to aesthetics and style. I mean, have a look at this screenshot! 

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

One suspense film that really impressed me for its directing almost as much as Jake Gyllenhaal's outstanding acting is Night Call / Nightcrawler, which was directed by Dan Gilroy. Kubrik, Scorcese, and Shyamalan are definitely on the list too, even if there were some misses among their hits.

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

As the editor of the anthology, I decided to choose a film none of the contributors had chosen and then work a story around the title of that film. I'll let you work the rest out.

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

I live in marshland in Brittany, and it's a great place for a mystery writer. I have part of a toe missing so mustn't escape along a beach after committing murder or I'd be easy to identify (marshland is perfect for me), and...I haven't hidden any bodies in the marshes...yet.

What do you aim to give your readers? 

I want to make them think, feel, and most of all - check that the doors and windows are locked!

What are you working on now? 

Black Beacon Books anthologies, and then I have two novels and several short stories to get back to!

Where can we find you online? 

camerontrost.com and all over social media