Like every Friday so far, I bring you a guest author. Today, fans of horror novels, you’ll have a treat. Alexander Beresford kindly agreed to talk to us about how he got into writing and about his new novel ‘Charla‘. Don’t miss it!
1. What got you into writing?
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, my mother used to read to me, and we always had books around, but what pushed me into wanting to write was seeing Stephen R. Donaldson doing a reading at my high school’s library on his novel “The One Tree”. After listening to him speak, I knew I wanted to become a writer. I have since gotten in touch with him to thank him for the inspiration.
2. Why horror?
For a long time I struggled with what to write. At first I wanted to write something meaningful, an important work, something that would help people. So after winning a short story competition I got a collection of short stories and a novella published with a micro press. These works never went anywhere and were published under a pseudonym. So after a couple of years I decided to forget the struggle with “importance” and decided to write something fun, my passion, which originated as a kid, reading old horror comic books like Eerie, Nightmare, Vampirella … these belonged to my best friend’s older brother. He eventually gave me most of his collection and I treasured them for years.
3. What are some of your favorite books? What is your favorite horror book?
I like all kinds of books, my favorites being The Lord of the Rings, All the Names by Jose Saramago, the Tao of Pooh, Clive Barker‘s Hellbound Heart, and Stephen King’s The Stand which made a big impression on me when I first read it in high school. Until high school I had lived a fairly comfortable, sheltered, upper-middle class life, and “The Stand” gave me a glimpse into a more biting reality, not the apocalyptic reality of course, but the characters, and what people are capable of in certain situations. It really did make me look at people in a different light, it made me more cautious of some, more thankful for others. I grew up a notch after reading that one.
4. What is your favorite type of horror?
I like psychological, paranormal, some erotic horror stuff. Not really into slasher and excessively violent, gory, bloody horror.
5. What is your favorite scary movie?
Omen. The original Exorcist. Jaws.
6. Take us through your process of creating Charla.
I always keep notes on different ideas for books, short stories, screenplays, and Charla was sparked from a screenplay idea I had a long time ago. Originally the story was focused on Amelie, her daughter, but once I started writing, Charla took over, and she was so powerful, I named the book after her.
I like to start with a very loose outline, I can’t work with a tight, detailed outline because it bores me, I feel like the story has already been written, but with a loose chapter outline I have the freedom of coming up with fresh material while following a track. I also don’t like to talk about works in progress because again, I feel like the story has already been written if I spend time repeating it to friends, so usually no one sees what I’m writing until I’m done with at least a first draft of it.
7. How did you get your first horror novel Charla published?
I made a list of agents and publishers, did a basic preliminary research into each of them, followed their guidelines in detail (why alienate them) and started submitting like a machine, every day, and every day I would do a little more research to try and find one or two more. Every submission was dated on my list. Some of them say “you should hear from us in two months” or “three months” whatever it was, I would make a note of that date, and if I hadn’t heard from them, I would submit again as if I hadn’t submitted before. I got some responses, and opened communication with a couple of publishers, one of which became my current publisher. As soon as an agent or publisher requested more material from me, I researched them a little deeper, just so I knew well whom I was communicating with. In the end I had a lot of rejections and four publishers interested in Charla. One of those dropped off because after an internal meeting they felt Charla was not a good fit with their audience. So I was left with three. As a writer interested in being in the business for the long haul, I went with the publisher who would be better for my budding career all around. Publishing is not an easy process, but if you want to be published, you have to keep at it.
8. Where do you get your story ideas from?
Life. Every day stuff sometimes. Asking “what if” questions. Letting my imagination run wild. Daydreams. Nightmares.
9. What’s next for you?
I have another novel coming out in the Fall titled “Doll Face”. I’ll be releasing a Kindle short soon called “Little Thing” or “Sandra” haven’t quite decided yet on the title, and there’s a “Charla” movie project in the works, casting is under way. Very exciting, but I can’t really say much right now. I invite you all to my facebook page where more details on all of this will be forthcoming, in fact there’s already a “Doll Face” coming soon poster up there. www.facebook.com/alexandertberesford
Thank you very much for having me here, sharing with readers and writers, making new friends … I appreciate it.
Here are the links to Charla in digital
Don’t forget to click!
And thank you Alexander for coming to talk to us. And best of luck!