Epeolatry Book Review: In the Wolf’s Lair

Disclosure:

Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: In the Wolf’s Lair: A Beastly Crimes Book
Author: Anna Starobinets
Genre: Children’s Mystery Books
Publisher: Dover Publications
Release Date: 17 October 2018

Synopsis: Life in the Far Woods tends to be tranquil because the animal denizens are strictly forbidden to kill (or eat!) one another. An elderly detective, Chief Badger, oversees the community and solves its petty crimes, from stolen pine cones to plucked tail feathers. His restless assistant, Badgercat, longs for some excitement — a desperate crime, a beastly crime! The brash youngster’s hopes are realized when some croaking frogs reveal the shocking news of Rabbit’s murder. Wolf appears to be the most likely culprit, because — duh — he’s a lone wolf without an alibi, but Badger refuses to jump to conclusions. With the help of Vulture the crime scene investigator, Mouse the psychologist, brave witness Beetlebug Buck, and other curious creatures, the woodland detectives set out to discover the truth.  
Newly translated from the original Russian, this fancifully illustrated volume is the first of a Beastly Crimes Books to come from this imaginative mystery series geared toward middle-grade readers. Look for the sequel, A Predator’s Rights, also available from Dover Publications.

In the Wolf’s Lair is the first installment of Dover Publications’ “A Beastly Crimes Book” series. The novel was written by Anna Starobinets and is also illustrated by Marie Muravski. The illustrations here really make the story and as Dover is well known for putting the extra work into making their releases stand out and this helps to do just that.

In this novel, we’re thrown into a world of animals where foul play is afoot. This is a mystery that could be for older children and young adults with the darker humor you’ll find in these pages. Honestly, this can be fully appreciated by adults as it could easily feel at home for fans of A Nightmare Before Christmas.  

If it couldn’t be enjoyed by most of our readers, you wouldn’t be seeing a review here! In another year or so I will absolutely be re-reading this with my older son when he can fully appreciate the humor in it! 

The book follows the police chief who is a badger and his depute who thinks he’s a badger. He isn’t, and you’ll come to appreciate the humor of that as you read the story. The animals in this story are all vegetarians, even the meat eaters. However, we soon find that Mr. Rabbit has been murdered.

Actually, he’s been eaten.

Now an investigation is running full steam as to who took him out. The main suspects are the predator animals but as any good mystery will show you – things aren’t what they seem.  

There are twists, turns, and humor in this murder mystery and you’ll be flipping pages to figure out this whodunit!

4 out of 5 stars.

In the Wolf’s Lair can be found on amazon here.

The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with P.J. Blakey-Novis

Stacey – Hi Peter, it’s great to have you here on the Horror Tree! Alright, so in the spirit of getting the mundane questions out of the way first, tell our audience a little about yourself and where you’re from?

 

Peter – Hi Stacey. My name is Peter Blakey-Novis (although I write under P.J.), and I’m a British writer living on the south coast of England. I’m also a co-founder of Red Cape Publishing, and the editor there. I have released, so far, four collections of short horror stories, one novella, two novels, and a children’s book. I have also had stories included in a number of anthologies.

 

Stacey – When did the writing bug first bite?

 

Peter – I’d always written little stories and bits of poetry (mostly teenage, depressing bits), but it wasn’t until 2016 that I made my first real attempt to get a novel written. I had no plan as to what to do with it when it was finished – it really was just a hobby at the time.

 

Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

 

Peter – Writing has always been a great outlet for me, allowing me to say things which would be hard to verbalize. The stories that I write always seem to take on a life of their own, and I never really know where they will go until the events unfold.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Peter – People! I don’t have any fears of the supernatural, but psychotic killers, home-invasion type situations especially, are quite terrifying.

 

Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

 

Peter – Since I began writing horror stories, I also began reading a lot more in the same genre, particularly from independent authors. I’ve been really impressed by the writing of many, but in particular I’d have to highlight the work of D.J. Doyle, Toneye Eyenot, (who have given me the confidence not to hold back when it comes to blood and gore) and Lou Yardley is incredibly talented at mixing true horror with elements of comedy.

 

Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

 

Peter – There isn’t all that much of a process. This may be why I have three half-written books on the go, and I’m already about to start a fourth. For short stories It’s quite straightforward – I get an idea of a scene and flesh it out from there. Once the rough draft is down, I leave it for a week or so before going back over it. When it comes to novels, I do plan it out a little, but only very vaguely. I usually have an idea of a beginning, a middle, and an end, but this often changes as the story comes together.

 

Stacey – Have you ever used a word or said a word aloud so many times it’s lost all meaning?

 

Peter – I don’t know about losing its meaning, but I’ve certainly written a word so many times that it begins to look as if it’s spelled wrongly.

 

Stacey – Why do you think Horror and Halloween go together so well?

 

Peter – Halloween, as far as I’m aware, is supposed to be the night that the wall between the spirit world and our is thinnest. This potential for supernatural encounters, however frightening that may be, of course fits well with the horror genre.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

 

Peter – There have been a few, but I won’t name them. If I don’t finish a book then it has to be something that I find boring, or if it is riddled with mistakes. I do make an effort to finish as many books as I can, though, but my TBR list grows longer by the day!

 

Stacey –The first movie I saw at the cinemas as a child was Hocus Pocus. It’s stuck with me ever since. Name one horror movie that’s stuck with you?

 

Peter – At the cinema it would have been the first Scream movie. I was underage by a few years and hadn’t watched anything like it before. It really did scare me at the time, but I couldn’t wait to watch more like it. I also watched The Exorcist alone, in the dark, when I was in my teens and that was pretty terrifying.

 

Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

 

Peter – ???

 

Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

 

Peter – Get the book written, of course, but make sure it is as good as it can be before you release it. Publishing a book doesn’t need to be hugely expensive, but it isn’t free either. A professional cover and a decent editor are essential. Interact with potential readers and other writers in the same genre as you, be willing to take advice and criticism, and ultimately enjoy it.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

Peter – This is the beginning paragraph of a short story which is included in the anthology Elements of Horror Book Three: Fire.

The flames had surrounded the only viable exit points by the time the smoke had pulled me from my slumber. My wife, Jessica, just beginning to rouse, spluttered wet coughs. Dark plumes of noxious smoke billowed from beneath the door, filling our bedroom, stinging eyes and throats. I knew not to grab at the metal doorknob, as it would certainly be too hot to touch, and kicked at the door half-heartedly. The door refused to budge, and I knew we were finished. I could see in Jessica’s eyes that she understood as well.

“The girls…” she murmured, fearful for the safety of our twelve-year-old twins. “You need to save them.” I smiled sadly.

“No, I don’t. This is for the best.” I uttered the words too quietly for my wife to hear, knowing she wouldn’t understand things the way I did. It was too late for any of us now.

 

Thank you so much for your time Peter! If you would like to find out more about the author, check out the links below.

 

Website: www.redcapepublishing.com/book-shop

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pjbnauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/pjbn_author

Instagram: www.instagram.com/pjbn_author

Amazon page: https://author.to/pjbnauthor

 

The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Isabella Hunter

Stacey – Hi Isabella, it’s great to have you here on the Horror Tree! Alright, so in the spirit of getting the mundane questions out of the way first, tell our audience a little about yourself and where you’re from?

 

Isabella – I’m a British Author currently living in Manchester. I have been published in several horror and fantasy anthologies over the last few years. My writing it heavily influenced by Japanese myths and folklore with my personal favourites being the Kitsune and Jorogumo.

 

Stacey – When did the writing bug first bite?

 

Isabella – I started writing fiction in primary school, sending stories to my father and teachers. My dad loved it, but the teachers got a bit worried after the fifth horror story in a row. I’ve written consistently ever since then, posting on online blogs, and more recently publishing in anthologies.

 

Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

 

Isabella – I’m a creative person and I love to share that with other people. I enjoy writing as a way of expressing the ideas and images that I have, but I also hope people do enjoy what I write as well. I love all forms of story telling though, I’ve done script writing, and even had a go at game development. I will do anything to tell the story I have imagined.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Isabella – I have a massive phobia of vomit, that I’m currently going through therapy for, but that leads into a whole host of other fears. I’m scared of a lot of things including; hospitals, zombies, and the dark to name a few. I do love watching and reading things I know will scare me though.

 

Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

 

Isabella – I have to say Kelley Armstrong is probably the person who has inspired me most. It was her work that made me want to write my own work and a particular scene in Dime Store Magic was one of the first times a book had terrified me. Her YA series Darkest Power is more supernatural horror than her adult series and they are some of my favourite books. I generally write in a second world fantasy setting though and I think Trudi Canavan and her Black Magician Trilogy was who made me fall back in love with it.

 

Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

 

Isabella – I am a big fan of brain storming to get my idea. As I normally write short stories I can do a summary of the plot and write it just based on a paragraph or two of information. Although I am working on a novel at the moment which is a much harder task for me. I came up with an idea and then kept hitting dead ends where I ran out of information on where it was going. I have to stop and do a bit more brainstorming when that happens to help me get back on track. Luckily I seem to be on the home stretch but this is new territory for me, so fingers crossed.

 

Stacey – Have you ever used a word or said a word aloud so many times it’s lost all meaning?

 

Isabella – All the time. At the start of this I was convinced British wasn’t right. Once I forgot the word town, I knew what it was and how to describe it, but the word had been almost erased from my memory. I had to ask my partner ‘what is the place that’s bigger than a village but smaller than a city?’

 

Stacey – Why do you think Horror and Halloween go together so well?

 

Isabella – Halloween is all about the weakening of the barriers between the world of the living and the world of the spirits. It’s only natural that it would pair perfectly with horror, that’s why so many horror movies take place at Halloween. Plus it is like a modern day masquerade, everyone is wearing masks, allowing people to reveal their true selves.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

 

Isabella – I’m a bit stubborn so even if I don’t like a book I have to finish it. I do this with TV series as well. I feel like it is a cope out but when I was quite young I picked up Eragon, didn’t even make it past the first page. I couldn’t deal with books with glossaries of fantasy words at that point. I’ve been thinking of going back and trying to finish though. I even finished The Hobbit with a six year hiatus (I’d dog eared the page!)

 

Stacey –The first movie I saw at the cinemas as a child was Hocus Pocus. It’s stuck with me ever since. Name one horror movie that’s stuck with you?

 

Isabella – The Grudge. I watched it when I was nine when my dad rented it from Blockbusters. It terrified me. I was convinced I was going to get attacked whenever I turned the lights out (hence my fear of the dark). It was also my first run in with the On-Ryo myth which I’ve since written about as well.

 

Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

 

Isabella – I would love to meet Angela Carter. She is one of my favourite authors and The Bloody Chamber had a massive influence on many of my short stories. It was my first experience with magic realism and opened up a whole new style of writing I hadn’t given the time of day to.

 

Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

 

Isabella – I know it’s said all the time but it’s true. Keep writing. Keep submitting. I’ve been writing for pretty much my entire life and I’ve published for two of those. I have had countless rejections to getting more acceptances than rejections in the year. Also, just because one person doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean everyone will hate it. I’ve had the same piece rejected, saying I clearly don’t know my subject matter to others thanking me for submitting to them and allowing them to publish it. Keep at it.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

Her muscles clenched and she curled up on the chair as pain ripped through her back. She reached around and felt something moving under her kimono, under her skin. It pushed hard and she pulled her hand away. It punctured her skin and ripped through the back of her clothes. She let out a long screech as her claws scraped across the wooden table.

 

There is a paragraph from The Spider Sister which is my first ever published horror story. The entire story is free to read on the Tell-Tale Press Library.

 

https://telltalepresshorrorlibrary.blogspot.com/2019/05/creatures-short-story-13-spider-sister.html

 

Thank you so much for your time Isabella! If you would like to find out more about the author, check out the links below.

 

Facebook –
https://www.facebook.com/writerisabellahunter/

 

Twitter –

https://twitter.com/EvanovaLev

 

Blog –

https://isabellahunter.blog/

 

The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Ruschelle Dillon

Stacey – Hi Ruschelle, it’s great to have you here on the other side of the Horror Tree interviews! How’s it feel being the interviewee rather than the interviewer? Are you nervous?

Ruschelle – Ya know, when I interview authors, I can’t wait to see what well-crafted and thought-provoking answers they have for me and their fans. And I’m never disappointed. The authors we showcase here on the Horror Tree are so damn talented. So, when I am asked to give an interview, I do get a bit nervous because I think back to all my amazing interviewees and I hope I can sound as interesting and eloquent.  But unfortunately, this is never the case, so my main goal in every interview is to try not sound like a complete dipshit. And again…unfortunately…I can’t always help myself. Oh, and be forewarned…I make shit up.

 

Stacey – Alright, so in the spirit of getting the mundane questions out of the way first, tell our audience a little about yourself and where you’re from?

 

Ruschelle – I’m from Johnstown Pennsylvania, which is steeped in tragic history. Google the Great Johnstown Flood, 1889 or the one from 1936 or the most recent one in 1977. I garnered inspiration and penned a story entitled A Grand View, about the 1889 flood.  It appeared in the new Sanitarium Magazine this year.

I used to wrestle alligators for money but as you can probably guess, I had to quit. Alligators are notorious cheaters. Those dirty bastards grease up their scaly bodies! So not fair…

I have a day job that has nothing to do with the Bachelors and Masters in Education that I went to school for. Let’s see…I am a musician in a band or two as well as a writer which means I’m really broke. My husband, Ed plays in the bands with me. AND he’s usually the unwitting brunt of my rantings on Blogger’s, Puppets Don’t Wear Pants. He should have read the fine print when signing that marriage certificate. We are both animal advocates and rescuers with a house crammed full of critters, so to those of you who refuse to care for anything but your damn selves in this world, “yeah, you’re welcome.”

 

Stacey – When did the writing bug first bite?

Ruschelle – That little bastard bit me when I was in second grade. The horror bug bit me even younger. I loved reading scary stories, and I, as most kids are likely to do when they first learn to write, penned rip-offs of all the stories and poems I read! I still remember one of the first stories I ‘wrote.’ It was called The Mummy Brothers. That’s all I remember about it…other than it was written in number 2 pencil. I’m positive it was lifted from a paperback my folks let me pick out from the Scholastic Book orders we would get in school. Loved those books.

 

Stacey – You write dark humor, which is something I’ve not come across before. Do you find humor and horror compliment each other well?

Ruschelle – The only way one can get through something horrific, is with humor. It’s a coping mechanism. Gallows humor comes to mind. It may not be appropriate but it’s what’s needed to cope with a situation or it’ll swallow you up. When it comes to books and movies of the humor/horror vein, it’s the perfect combination. They’re two great tastes that taste great together, like a delicious chocolate peanut butter cup. Only with squishy brains and some giggles.

 

Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Ruschelle – It’s like birthing and raising a kid. You give it everything you believe it needs to grow-up and become a kick ass doctor or lawyer, but instead, it chooses its own path, quitting school, experimenting with drugs, and busking through Saudi Arabia knowing only one shitty song. But in the end, you’re still proud and love it to pieces, even though it’s not what you envisioned when you looked at that adorable little bundle of words.

AND…

The weirdo in me likes taking a sentence a seeing how many ways I can re-word it. Yeah. Weird.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

Ruschelle – Driving by myself at night on a long, lonely stretch of road, being unable to peek into the rearview mirror because of what might show up in my backseat. I blame Creepshow 2. “Thanks for the ride, Lady.”

 

Stacey – I was looking through your amazon titles and came across Bone-sai. Now I can’t get it out of my head. It’s quite clever really. What inspired the project?

Ruschelle – In 2011, a devastating tsunami brought on by a seismic earthquake disabled the nuclear reactor in Fukushima Japan. At the same time, I remember reading a story online about an ant in the rainforest zombified by a fungus. I decided to do a mash up of the two. But it became a body horror novelette- depicting the cataclysmic vacation of a nameless character, who, while traveling through Japan, gets bit on his…ahem…junk by an ant mutated but the radiation seeping around Fukushima. His ‘package’ takes on a ginormous life and murderous personality of its own and attempts to kill everyone it can get its newly sprouted teeth on- including its host! Horror and hilarity ensue! It’s pretty low-brow, but so am I. And guess what? It’s inspired a puppet! Wanna see my penis….puppet?

 

Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

Ruschelle – The usual: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Robert McCammon, Anne Rice, Dean R Koontz. A very lack luster answer from me. Sorry about that.

 

Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Ruschelle – I need a process???? Aww hell. I knew I was doing something wrong.

 

Stacey – Have you ever used a word or said a word aloud so many times it’s lost all meaning?

Ruschelle – Are you talking about my love of curse words? Because as far as I’m concerned, the ‘F-word’ can be a noun, verb, adverb or adjective and it still has meaning.  Unfortunately, police officers that pull you over for speeding don’t always feel that way….

 

Stacey – Why do you think horror and Halloween go together so well?

Ruschelle – How could they not? Halloween IS horror. It’s not fluffy bunnies and sappy rainbows. It’s about celebrating our darker bookmarks in history. And besides, any month where one can be weird, creepy and downright scary, and it’s CELEBRATED, is “Damn-Skippy” in my book!

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Ruschelle – There have been many. A book needs to grab me in the first two chapters.  I don’t mind a slow build but there has to be SOMETHING that grabs my eyeballs and keeps the vitreous humor stuck to the page.

So in other words…yes…I’m a quitter.

 

Stacey – The first movie I saw at the cinemas as a child was Hocus Pocus. It’s stuck with me ever since. Name one horror movie that’s stuck with you?

Ruschelle – An American Werewolf in London had horror, gore and humor! Every time I hear Moondance by Van Morrison I think…werewolves…and sex. That tune jazzed up the shower scene. Some people wish they could be vampires, this movie made me wish for the ability to change into a werewolf. Yeah, it looked painful with bones cracking and skin ripping but… no pain no gain!

 

Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

Ruschelle – Never meet your heroes. They will never be able to measure up to the person you believe they are in your mind.

 

Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

Ruschelle – If you write because you have a soul satisfying NEED to constantly create other worlds and characters, then by the Shrubbery God, write. And never stop. But, if you do it because your ultimate take-away is to rake in the big bucks and buy a mansion next to Stephen King while beating off hordes of undead fans with an ill-gotten Bigfoot femur…let me ‘splain something to ya…DON’T.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Ruschelle – Death turned his attention to Pestilence, who was furiously scratching his nether-region and investigating the myriad of insects adhering to his slight frame. They scurried and darted under his robe as if he were transforming into another sordid creature. Death slipped a skeletal finger under Pestilence’s robe and spoke in nothing more than a whisper.

“And what have we here brother? What makes your skin reject your infestation and has you clawing at your organ? Speak to us Pestilence. Better yet, show us. There are only your brothers present.”

Pestilence slapped Death’s invading finger, preventing him from further exploration under his robe.

“It is none of your concern brother. As Famine has affirmed,  these humans are a shrewd race, a curious race, a hearty race. Not the race we once knew.”

— Excerpt of Four Men On Horses from my collection entitled Arithmophobia. Check it out!

 

Thank you so much for your time Ruschelle! If you would like to find out more about the author, check out the links below.

https://www.facebook.com/ruschelledillon.author/

www.ruschelledillon.net  or ruschelledillon.blogspot.com

On Twitter — @RuschelleDillon

https://www.amazon.com/Ruschelle-Dillon/e/B0089LM1MC%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

https://youtu.be/nbq6hB_Jlu4

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Bruno Lombardi

Stacey – Hi Bruno, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Bruno – Thanks for having me!

I was born and raised in Montreal but currently living in Ottawa.

As for a bit about myself – remember that guy in university who everyone agreed was really bright but was also really, really unfocused? The guy who could get straight B’s in courses by writing a 15 page paper the night before it was due but couldn’t get an A no matter how hard he tried? The guy who switched his major more often than most people switch jobs? The perennial ‘professional student’?

Yeah—that was pretty much me during most of the 90’s.

It wasn’t a complete loss, mind you; I ended up with a double major in psychology and anthropology, with a certificate in addiction studies thrown in for good measure. I also ended up with an amazing collection of friends, as well as an equally amazing collection of stories and adventures.

After bouncing around in the ‘real world’ for a while, I ended up by pure dumb luck getting a job working as a civil servant for the Canadian government in September 2001. Been working in various positions in the civil service since then.

 

Stacey – When did you start writing?

Bruno – I’ve been writing fictional short stories for seemingly forever – I recently rediscovered an absolutely unreadable science-fiction story I wrote almost thirty-five years ago back in high school –  and I’ve been regaling friends and family since my university days with my many misadventures that often sounds comically fictional. They even came up with a term to describe them – “Bruno-esque” stories.

It was weird having your name become an adjective in your twenties.

But it’s only been since 2012 or so that I’ve actually become published. My writing career seems to have taken off quite a bit since then, with one published novel and almost two dozen published short stories since then.

 

Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?

Bruno – When I was a kid, my sister had a large collection of Amazing Stories, Analog, Fantastic Stories and other magazines of that nature, as well as a collection of Ray Bradbury anthologies. When she moved away to university in the late 70’s, I inherited all her stuff. That was pretty much my mainstay reading material for most of the 1980’s. Thirty plus years later, I still have some of those magazines on a shelf on my bookcase.

I suppose, as a result of that eclectic upbringing, I have an eclectic collection of genres I like to write in. Most of my stories are science-fiction, but I’ve done urban fantasy, horror and even a bit of alternate history.

 

Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

Bruno – That moment when a vague idea that has been bouncing around your head finally catches fire and the story that you didn’t know you had in you comes out.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

Bruno – Believe it or not, people. Or more precisely, interacting with them. I love people-watching and it’s one of my favorite activities while eating out. Interacting with them, however? Scares the crap out of me.

Oddly enough, despite being very shy and introvert, I tend to attract the oddest collection of people towards me.

 

Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Bruno – Everywhere, to be honest. Inspiration for some of my stories have come from nightmares, but a few others have come from watching my cat’s behavior or just people-watching. Some were inspired by an oddly worded sentence or observation that someone pointed out to me. It happens so often to me that when people ask me ‘What inspires you?’, I feel the need to respond ‘What doesn’t inspire me?’.

 

Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

Bruno – Aside from Ray Bradbury as mentioned earlier, two major influences are Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.  If the 1980’s consisted of me devouring of all those old magazines, the 90’s consisted of me plowing through everything they wrote.

 

Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

Bruno – When I sit down, I usually have a vague idea of what the story is going to be like. Not in crystal clear details, like some writers, but more like broad overall strokes. Then I just keep at it. More often than not, I get surprised by how the story develops, with a scene or even the ending being completely different from how I initially imagined them.

 

Stacey – What was the first story you had published?

Bruno – ‘A Thursday Night in Doctor What’s Time and Relative Dimensional Space Bar and Grill’ in The Temporal Element anthology in 2013. Believe it or not, it missed out at being the story with the longest title by just one word. The premise of the story revolves a bar filled with time-travelers – who end up complaining about all the unsuccessful times they tried to kill Hitler.

 

Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Bruno – Quite a few! I think quite a few writers end up treating some of their characters like old friends. They deserve a good revisit. There are a few characters in some of my published works that I think deserve to be revisited as well – if only I could come up with a suitable story for them.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

Bruno – Quite a few. I don’t remember the names of most of them, to be honest, either the title or the author’s name. I suppose my brain decided that it’s too busy with so much other stuff that it doesn’t have the time to keep track of stuff like that.  But I do remember the reason why I couldn’t finish them:  the main characters were just too unreadable. Too annoying, too dumb, too Mary Sue-ish – the reasons were different, but the end result was the characters that the author wanted me to invest in ere characters I really didn’t care about. When you’re rooting for the villains rather than the heroes, you messed up somewhere.

 

Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?

Bruno – Despite the fact that I must have seen the movie at least a dozen times, I always watch The Thing whenever it comes across my tv screen. I did that a few weeks ago.

Probably a mistake to have watched it at one AM though…

 

Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

Bruno – Just like every kid, I went through a big ‘dinosaur freak’ phase. Unlike most kids though, I never really outgrew that phase, so I would love to go back to that time period and just observe them—hopefully without ending up in someone’s stomach, of course!

 

Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

Bruno – Neil Gaiman said it best and I’ll repeat his words here:

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked… that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

Words to live by, indeed.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

Bruno – Currently working on one story tentatively titled  ‘All Dreams; Reasonably Priced & No Refunds’:

Ten tons of raw, pure dreams and aspirations were in the shape of a perfect cube of white stone three feet to the side.

There were three such cubes in the railway freight car.

“Never seen one that colour before,” said the thin man in black.

“Oh?” replied Detective Yulia Zorya. She had been with Pinkerton for three years now and this was the longest sentence that the thin man had spoken in her presence in the last six months. And that last time was precisely seven words long – “Shame about Roosevelt getting assassinated by Zangara”.

A nod and a grunt was the thin man in black’s response. After a few seconds, he felt the need to modulate this response further, which he did with a shrug. It was a full minute before Zorya realized that nothing more was forthcoming, so, as usual, she took up the rest of the conversation.

“You made sure this delivery is totally off the books?” A nod. “Everything secured at the other end?” Another nod. “Just two of us agents?” A third nod. “This is going to be a pain in the ass.” A fourth and final nod.

“C’mon – let’s go. We gotta keep our cover.”

The Pioneer Zephyr had originally been designed as a promotional tool by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. In May of 1934 – about seven months after The Change – it made a ‘Dawn to Dusk’ dash from one end of the CB&Q railroad line to the other. The train had left Denver at just after seven in the morning and arrived in Chicago just after eight in the evening – a non-stop thousand mile ride done at an astounding average speed of 77 mph.

It was such a success – both from a promotional and financial aspect – that the public demanded that it be kept as a regular train. And since one of the members of the public was President Garner – well, what choice did they have?

CB&Q – having a better than average promotional department – quickly seized on the idea of naming their two trains after mythological gods and goddesses. One was called (naturally enough) “The Train of the Gods” and the passenger cars were named Apollo, Cupid, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, and Vulcan. The other trainset was known as “The Train of the Goddesses” and the cars were named Ceres, Diana, Juno, Minerva, Psyche, Venus and Vesta.

Today’s train was The Train of the Goddesses and Yulia’s seat was in the Psyche car, something that she took as an unnecessarily bad omen, under the circumstances.

Yulia took her seat, while the thin man in black walked to the next car. As she settled into her seat, she caught a movement out of the corner of her eye.

It was Alex Newsome (“Of the Beacon Hill Newsomes”), a moderately wealthy (and extremely annoying, in Yulia’s expert opinion) dandy from Boston. He was in Colorado for unspecified and vague reasons but he was happy to drone on and on about his hobbies, which included bird-watching, golf, theatre, opera and genealogy.

At the moment he had cornered a poor unfortunate elderly gentleman and going in great detail about Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. As he was doing so, he was filling his pipe with shredded dreamstone. Yulia barely suppressed a smirk; Newsome was using black dreamstone, the lowest quality imaginable. The pipe Newsome was using was worth more than the dreamstone he was currently stuffing into it. At best, all black dreamstone would do is give you a relaxing sleep with a few vaguely interesting dreams. Sure – a dream is a dream and even vaguely interesting dreams was, nevertheless, an important luxury – but black dreamstone? Apparently Mr. Newsome’s family fortune was not quite as large as he let on.

 

Thank you so much for your time Bruno!

Pin It on Pinterest