Here's a brief summary of what the book is about:
There is a powerful secret waiting in the forests of Moore’s Hollow. Buried in myths and ignored by history, there are dark things in the woods that laid claim to the land many years ago.
Jason Melhor heard about this secret around summer campfires as a boy. As a child, he came to know the legends well. But as he grew older, these fables disappeared with other childhood things.
Now, as a man unable to escape a past marred by an alcoholic father and his mother’s suicide, Jason has returned to Moore’s Hollow to bring his sordid family tragedy to a close. He has packed only a pistol and a single bullet.
But the secrets of Moore’s Hollow that Jason passed off as myths over the years are still lurking in the forests.
Something knows Jason has returned...and he has returned at the worst possible time.
I had a chance to interview Barry as well, asking him a few questions about his novel and writing in general. Enjoy.
Q: The woods of Virginia strikes me as a place with a lot of folklore. Was there any specific folklore that inspired this story, or was it strictly borne from your imagination?
A: There's this tract of land not too far from the house I grew up in where slaves were allegedly hanged in the wake of slavery being abolished. To this day, people swear that they get turned around and lost when they pass through that spot, even experienced hunters that know the land well. Some will even tell you that you can heard screaming and laughter out there at night. The Masks of Our Fathers was originally set in that location but took a mind of it's own and the location eventually changed. The tract of land in question is still alive in my fiction though, as it serves as the backdrop for one of my longer works in progress.
Q: The protagonist is suicidal, which seems like a unique twist for a character thrown into a life-threatening situation. As you started out with this story was this something you had in mind from the outset, or something that kind of came about as you delved deeper into the subject matter?
A: Yes. I wanted a character that started at one of of the emotional spectrum and was, in a way, transformed and forced into an awakening on the other end of that spectrum. A horror writer at heart, I knew I wanted the cause of this emotional shift to be of supernatural design rather than just some traumatic event. I wanted to tell a story where personal demons and the unknown are actually the cause of a POSITIVE change rather than negative.
Q: Antlers have never struck me as scary--though, some folks might have a phobia of Bambi--but put them on a mask worn by a guy in a dark robe, and brandishing a pitchfork, and suddenly the antlers are pretty damned creepy. Where did the idea for that mask come from?
A: Growing up where I did, there are a lot of mounted deer heads on living room walls. In my own opinion, this is sort of creepy and, in a way, ritualistic in and of itself. But there is an image that always stuck with me from my childhood...falling asleep on the couch at my grandmother's house only to wake up and have my eyes fall on the mounted deer head on the wall, antlers like knives that were certainly coming for me in my sleep. I've always wanted to incorporate that into my fiction somehow and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Q: If I'm not mistaken, this is your first self-published novel? What drove you to take that path rather than seek out a more traditional route like you have in the past?
A: Well, I did sent it to three small presses. Only one responded within a four month time frame. The comments were all positive but I was met with a lot of "this isn't QUITE what we're looking for." I know it's not a traditional horror novel. Calling it HORROR is a bit of stretch, I suppose.
Anyway, as I was waiting for that third response to come in, I really got deep into JA Konrath's blog and saw what was happening in the Kindle world. My friend Jeremy D. Brooks had also just self published his book Amity and made it sound like a fun and educational experience. So I figured what the hell...
Q: How about sharing any other projects you have coming out this year, or perhaps nearing completion? Schill, man. Schill!
The Bleeding Room is coming from Graveside Tales in August. I also have a comic book that will be going live, to be released issue by issue, in a few weeks (aiming at early May) that I have spent the last 2 years or so putting together. I may have one more self published venture going live as well, but it's impossible to tell. With about 4 active projects going on, I have no control over what hits the page...as any writer will tell you, it's typically the other way around.
I'd like to offer a big thanks to Barry for participating in the interview. If you would like to hear more from Barry, be sure to check out his appearance on The Funky Werepig, interviewed by Gregory Hall on April 16th. Or you can visit Barry's own blog at http://barrynapierwriting.wordpress.com/