As part of the Spook House virtual book tour via Seventh Star Press, here's a little interview I did with the author himself, Michael West. Enjoy!
Gef: Harmony, Indiana seems to be turning into your Castle Rock, so to speak. How does such a backdrop for recurring stories affect your storytelling? Does it act like an anchor or touchstone, or is there something else to that universe that draws you back?
Michael: It has become a place where I really feel at home, so to speak. I know it like the back of my hand, so it is easy to set a story there and know the geography, the people, the history. It has become a refreshing well that I can go to again and again. I've done stories and novels set in all corners of the world, but since they are removed from my every day experience, they require much more research (in other words, they're a lot of work). Harmony is a place where I can kick back and relax.
Gef: One of the hallmarks to being published by Seventh Star Press is the artwork of Matthew Perry? How much collaboration is there with regards to the cover art and other pieces created with each of the novels you've published with SSP?
Michael: It really is a collaboration. Matt will ask me what I'm thinking of for the cover, and I will give him the basics. For instance, on Spook House I told him that I was seeing a classic looking haunted house with a skull in the sky above it and tentacles draping down over the roof. I also wanted a glow in the door and fog spilling out. Matt gave me that, but the way he did it...WOW! And then with the interior illustrations, he asks for passages that I think might lend themselves to artwork, and then he uses my words as the basis for his illustrations. I'm always blown away by what he gives me in return. Sometimes it's really scary, like he walked into my brain and took a picture of what I was imagining, and other times it's even better than I had envisioned. I've loved all of Matt's artwork for my stuff, but I really think he's outdone himself with the cover and illustrations for Spook House.
Gef: Since you've got such an affinity for haunted houses, is there a haunted site somewhere in the world that you consider a dream vacation destination?
Michael: I would love to stay at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. It's the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, and they actually filmed the mini-series there. It has also been featured on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures and is considered to be one of the most haunted places in America. Would love to one day say that I've been there, done that, and bought the coffee mug.
Gef: It's the World Series of haunted tales, America Vs. Great Britain. Who are you putting your money on?
Michael: Oh my! Well, Great Britain has some really good ghost stories, plus they have castles, but we have more towns and cities to draw from...I don't know if I could pick a true winner in that match-up, but I know I feel more comfortable writing about small town America.
Gef: I've got three loves in genre fiction: monsters, ghosts, and robots. You've got two out of three covered with Spook House. Any chance of a robot run amok making an appearance down the line?
Michael: Anything is possible. Harmony may be a small town, but there are still a lot of stories to tell there.
Thanks, Michael. And as for the rest of you, I suggest you pay a visit to Michael via Facebook or Twitter, or check out his site/blog: www.bymichaelwest.com/
And you can find Spook House at Amazon.com or anywhere books are sold.