Hey Hunter, welcome to my blog – it is a pleasure to have you here for this interview.
JP: I read on your blog that Evil Eternal was originally intended as a graphic novel and not a full-length literary piece. How did it go from one incarnation to the other? Do you think you’ll ever create a graphic novel in support of the book? (and if you do, sign me up as the first to grab a copy!)
HS: I grew up both a horror and a huge comic book fan. Back when Evil Eternal was a fledgling idea in the dark recesses of my brain, I wanted to find a way to combine my two passions, and I thought the characters of the undead Father Michael and the demonic Cain would be the perfect vehicles. I wrote a couple of short stories, then fleshed it out a bit more and a good friend started some wicked cool artwork. But, life and other responsibilities derailed the idea. I was still hooked on the story, though, so I kept at it until it was a novella. When Samhain showed interest, I was so jazzed that I wanted to add more to the story to expand on it and make it even more sinister. I would love, love, love to see this as a comic. You’ll see that the writing and pacing is very much designed with a graphic comic mentality. If anyone’s interested, call me!
JP: The imagery you’ve woven of the stranger in the fig grove in your excerpt is magnificently done. Can we expect to read more of the same throughout the book, or does the stranger become a more violent and aggressive being?
HS: That beginning chapter was one of the newer additions to Evil Eternal. I wanted to give some back story to the villain, Cain. He’s a complete badass who gets progressively empowered and violent as the story progresses. He is trying to unleash hell on earth, after all. Cain also has a wicked, dry humor about him, adding a bit of flare to the mayhem. He’s in direct contrast with Father Michael who is a tortured, but committed soul.
JP: The cover art for the novel is spectacular! Do you conceptualize your own artwork for the book?
HS: When I saw the cover, I was blown away. Samhain has a fantastic art department. They worked with me on getting the spirit of the book and asked for ideas on how I felt it should look. But in the end, it’s in the hands of the artist. They totally nailed it. If you look at the Samhain website, you’re going to see some of the best cover art in the genre. Yet another reason I’m thrilled to be part of the family.
JP: Monster Men Podcast – “Monster Men Hunter Shea and Jack Campisi take on all things horror with their special brand of graveyard humor.” The podcasts are great; I really enjoy the casual conversational tone between you and Jack Campisi. How did you guys decide this was something you wanted to do, and how do you go about picking the topic for each episode? And I have to ask, Hunter, but I’m sure you’ve gotten this before…whose (ahem) purse is hanging in the background of the later episodes? Hey, I’m making no assumptions here, I’m just asking lol…
HS: Jack and I used to work together, and what you see on the Monster Men is a normal conversation that we would have in the office or the bar. We have the same mind-set when it comes to horror, and for years we kept saying, “We should really do a show where we just ramble on about horror and have some fun.” We talk about topics a few days before we film, but a lot of it is just flying by the seat of our pants. We’ll shoot several episodes in a day and we like to cover a current topic, a classic and make sure we throw in a monster or two. There’s a running joke about how often we get the facts wrong, but Jack always corrects us in post-production. Glad you noticed the pocketbook. Jack just can’t let it out of his sight. Hahaha! Actually, it belongs to my daughter (who made an appearance in an episode). Sometimes we hang my straw hat up there to cover it, but what the hell. We like it when people notice some of the out of place things around us.
JP: What’s up next for Hunter Shea? Anything new in the works at the moment? And how are you juggling that along with your promo’s for Evil Eternal?
HS: I’m very excited that Evil Eternal has risen and will be promoting my tail off for the rest of the year. My first book, Forest of Shadows, hasn’t even been out for a year, so I’m still in ghost mode with that one as well. Right now, I’m finishing up a novel that is a sequel to Forest of Shadows but can be read as a standalone. Really ratcheting up the ghosts and scares with that one. That should be out next spring. I’m also working on a novella that deals with a well known monster in a very, very different way. With luck, that will be out this fall. And then it’s onto the next novel, which my subconscious is currently keeping a secret from me.
by Hunter Shea
The demon leapt into the air, mouth and arms wide open, attempting to land on the priest and tear him to shreds. Father Michael rolled to his left, yanked the trident from the dried husk of the girl-beast, and hurled it at the demon. One of the trio of blades caught it in the base of its neck, shattering it to bits of ragged flesh and bone. An orb of gold light exploded from its skull before it dropped onto the floor, lifeless.
The impaled demon was still wriggling to get free and shrieking like a prehistoric swine. Only a blade with the exorcist’s engraving could free Joseph Carron from his demonic imprisonment. Slowly, he limped to him, retrieving a crucifix from the floor.
“God be with you, you are free,” he said before plunging it into his deformed chest.
He spent several moments staring at the desiccated corpse. Tonight had been proof that it had been too long since his last encounter with the likes of this mayhem. There was a time when he had an army behind him in the fight against such evil. Now, only madmen would believe such a thing truly existed. Evil had become a fairy tale, something you told the kids to scare them into doing the right thing. What was in this barn was the stuff of make-believe, the dementia of uncivilized man.
Turning to go back outside to his gunnysack with the necessary tools for his next task, Father Michael was caught square in the chest by a flying pitchfork. The force of it lifted him off his feet and nailed him to a wooden post.
He howled in agony. Syrupy rivers of blood seeped from the wounds. The pitchfork had hit him so hard his feet were inches off the ground. He was too weak to even grab the handle and free himself.
The sound of measured clapping distracted him from the extreme pain.
A man in his early forties with salt-and-pepper hair and a workman’s build descended slowly from the rafters like a feather. He smiled when he saw the impaled priest.
“An excellent performance, if I do say so myself, Father Michael.”
His voice had a distinguished lilt. He softly touched down on the ground and approached Father Michael.
Despite the white-hot agony that now rippled through his chest, Father Michael’s rage grew.
He was here. The dark master’s favorite minion, the cursed one banished to walk the earth for eternity, a carrier of blight and misery.
Cain had returned.
About Hunter Shea
I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. Luckily, I’ve managed to make a love of all things ghostly and beastly into a career. It’s nice not to have to write for free anymore.
I’ve published several books and a slew of horror short stories over the years in magazines like Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, The Harrow, Tabard Inn, Deadline & Ethereal Tales, just to name a few. My latest novel, Forest of Shadows, is available through Samhain Publishing and their new horror line. Evil Eternal, what’s been desribed as Gran Guignol at its best and bloodiest, will be available in May 2012.
I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men podcast, where my partner in crime Jack Campisi and I talk about all things horror with our own, sarcastic twist. All horror and no humor makes Hunter and Jack dull boys.
Feel free to contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Writing is lonely work.