Hunter Shea is the author of the novels The Montauk Monster, Tortures of the Damned, Sinister Entity, Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, and The Dover Demon. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the Cemetery Dance anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. He’s currently working on or completed a few more manuscripts set to come.
His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.
Hunter is proud to be be one half of thevideo podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors, and anyone else living in the horror lane.
He lives in New York with his family and vindictive cat. He waits with Biblical patience for the Mets to win a World Series. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com or find him on Facebook and Twitter.
The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.
In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence. But their lives were changed forever.
Decades later, the town of Dover has been hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Samhain.
Gef: There is no corner of the world it seems without a story about an alien encounter. In the U.S. in particular, Area 51 and Fire in the Sky seem to have a lot of the hype out in the south west. So what was the hook for you to write about the Dover Demon, which is set in the northeast?
Hunter: You know, as my brain pan was formulating the story, I thought of the Dover Demon strictly as a cryptid, an earthbound creature that popped up in Massachusetts over two nights and was never seen again. I read Loren Coleman's account of the encounters and was thrilled with the idea of tackling another mysterious 'monster'. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this could have been an brush with something not of this world. What if it was just something that happened to touch down, pay a quick visit and take off to a place we couldn't fathom existing? I've been very interested in UFOs all my life. I have shelves of books on the subject and will watch any movie about aliens, no matter how terrible. Monsters and aliens are my wheelhouse. How could I resist?
So now I had a dilemma. Just what the hell was the Dover Demon? I live in the northeast, so I'm very familiar with the terrain and the legends. The hard part was finding a way to meld all of these possibilities into a narrative that would not only terrify my readers, but make them question their own reality. The Dover Demon is a true enigma, and I realized trying to fictionalize the story was going to be a big challenge. I like a challenge.
Gef: When I was a kid, the idea of aliens freaked me out. Even E.T. was the stuff of nightmares for me when I was little. So how did you take to them in your formative years? With wonder or terror?
Hunter: I'm not going to lie, I was totally fascinated by them. If a spaceship landed in my yard and aliens came shambling out like they did in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I was ready to go with them. Then I read Whitely Streiber's Communion, his account of being abducted multiple times in a place not far from my house. It was terrifying, and my views on aliens and UFOs changed. I dove into books by Budd Hopkins, J. Allen Hynek and John Mack. Maybe aliens weren't so benevolent. I was enthralled, but I had my reservations. I didn't want them in my house and I wasn't going to run into a waiting spaceship. It's such a fascinating subject, and if one percent of what abductees says is true, it's the most frightening thing in our world.
Speaking of frightening, I've had one instance of sleep paralysis in my life and it involved aliens. I was pretty sick with a summer flu. My girlfriend came over to take care of me, getting me Tylenol, something to drink, a cold washcloth, the works. I drifted off to sleep and she went downstairs to watch TV. It seemed like I woke up immediately because my room was filled with a green light. I couldn't lift my head off the pillow to see what was causing it. Next thing I know, my bed was surrounded by what we call tall, thin gray aliens. I wanted to scream but was frozen. One of them reached down to put its hand over my mouth. Mercifully, that's when the whole thing broke. I finally pulled out of my sleep paralysis and the light and aliens went away. It was totally a product of my mind, but if people actually experience that, I pray for their souls and sanity.
Gef: Any tidbits in your research that you thought were great but didn't make it into the novel for whatever reason?
Hunter: Because the Dover Demon was only spotted by a half dozen teens over two nights, there isn't a lot of meat to the story. I pretty much put it all in there. My concept was this - what if other teens saw something but didn't tell anyone about it because what they saw was so disturbing, they were too terrified to speak of it. That gave me free reign to add other aspects of aliens and unknown creature lore to the tale.
Gef: I'm not sure exactly how long the whole UFO phenomenon has been going on, but it has certainly been something that has latched onto the human psyche. I mean, even with our awareness of how handily a pic can be photoshopped or a video given the ol' Lucas Arts treatment, a new UFO sighting or such will become water cooler talk in no time flat. Are we just predisposed to believe or want to believe in alien encounters?
Hunter: Mankind has had encounters with unknown creatures and has been seeing odd things in the sky for thousands of years. From Ezekiel's flying chariot of flames in the Bible to tales of wee folk in Ireland, we've been trying to make sense of our strange world. In the 20th century, they became UFOs and extraterrestrials. There's more to our world than we can think of, and the way we perceive it changes as our culture changes. Plus, it's a whole lot more fun to believe that there is something out there, an intelligence far beyond our own, and hopefully someone that can lead us better than we've led ourselves.
About UFO pictures, it's because of the advances in technology when it comes to manipulating them and video that we put less and less trust in what used to be considered solid avenues of proof. We have to look back at older pictures and 8mm videos as more concrete evidence.
Gef: What's your favorite alien-related flick? Something recent or one of the classic B-movies?
Hunter: I watch Communion at least once a year. It's about Whitely Strieber's experiences. I love that it's set in New York, stars Christopher Walken (more cowbell!) and has a soundtrack by Eric Clapton. I'm not saying it's a great movie, or even a good one, but it's one of my go-tos. I just love the vibe of that flick. Alien is my all time favorite horror and sci-fi movie. Dear God, please don't let real aliens be anything like them! Invasion of the Body Snatchers is one of my all time favorites, as is Invaders from Mars. I could sit here listing alien movies all day.
Gef: Aliens and horror seem like a perfect fit, but for every good execution, there must be two or three that miss the mark. What's the trickiest thing about creating a horror story that involves alien life?
Hunter: I think a lot of people either tread ground that's been trampled to death (yes, you got abducted and probed and the mean aliens left you on the side of the road) or too ambiguous for a reader or viewer to get a sense of what the hell just happened. You have to make the threat seem plausible. Your characters have to be relatable. Put them in vulnerable positions. Meld the familiar with something fresh and terrifying. It's not easy, but it can be done.
Gef: What projects are you cooking up that folks can expect in the near future, and how can folks keep up with your shenanigans?
Hunter: I've written four books this year, so readers have a lot to look forward to. First up will be a brutal little novella called I Kill in Peace! It's a total departure from anything I've written before. No monsters in that one, but something far scarier. Next will be my first sea monster story called They Rise. That was a blast to write. I have another cryptid novel coming out with Pinnacle next fall and my last book, tentatively titled We Are Always Watching will either come out later in the year or early 2017. You all can keep track of my insanity at www.huntershea.com. While you're there, sign up for my newsletter because I tend to give a lot of free stuff to subscribers. Thank you so much for having me today. You hit on one of my favorite subjects to talk about - aliens, not myself!
On this tour, win one signed print copy of The Dover Demon if you are in the U.S.! Just sign-up at the Rafflecopter link below:
Hunter Shea’s other summer smash hit, Tortures of the Damned, was featured in Fangoria magazine. He’s giving away 2 signed copies that Fangoria. How do you win? Anyone who signs up for Dark Hunter Newsletter (http://huntershea.com/newsletter/) before the end of today and lives in the US is eligible. Already signed up? Refer a friend and if they win, grab it from their mailbox.