Interview – Wes McCloud, author of Gemini
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by Wes McCloud, author of horror novel Gemini. Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, Wes.
Wes McCloud: Thanks for having me aboard, guys.
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
WM: Absolutely. I am a 30 something word-spinner from Ohio. When I’m not writing I’m biking ( mountain and urban ) and hitting the weights at the gym. Mainly write horror, but I do have one young adult book out and one historical fiction. Writing has been a part of me ever since I was young. I have always enjoyed penning and illustrating stories for school projects, This grew into a love for novel reading and led me to the path of novel writing. Fun Fact = I design and draw all my own covers! Hold your applause, please.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
WM: Perfect writing conditions, for me, have always been anywhere that has absolute silence. I hate that I am that way but it is what it is. Writing in the outdoors is great but one of my favorite places to write is in libraries. I get that marvellous aforementioned silence AND the feeling of thousands of books surrounding you, almost coercing you on some subconscious level to keep writing up until closing time….and the smell of the books themselves, that’s an added bonus.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
WM: Ha! Honestly I wanted to be published before I even started the first word of my first book. That would’ve been sometime during freshman year of high school, the same year I started penning Kentucky Moon.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style/genres that you do?
WM: I have always had a wild imagination ever since I was old enough to stand, and thus been drawn into the realms of fantasy, horror, etc. I am not going to sit here and tell you I don’t enjoy true-life style stories, but monsters, demons, action, magic, and the macabre have always had my heart.
SPS: What, if anything, do you feel differentiates your work from others??
WM: If I could think of anything it would be that I simply write. And what I mean by that is an idea comes to me and I write a story. I am not overly obsessed with trying to please anyone but myself or trying to make my work “commercially salable” or even push agendas hidden within my written word. I feel far too many people fall into this trap of trying to please the many instead of writing the book they would want to read.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us all about your latest release Gemini?
WM: Sure thing! The story centers around a young woman, Samantha Paige, who inadvertently opens an ancient book called the Gemini. The book is soon stolen by, Alistair Neembo, a supposed antique dealer who uses it to summon an army of old-world demons known as Necronites. You quickly find out Neembo is not who he seems. He invokes a giant demon to take siege of the mountain town of Harbinger Valley and enact a spell which will bring back the gods of old. The ritual requires the procurement of 40,000 slain humans and the sacrifice of a certain soothsayer. As the town is overtaken by an internal nightfall and the plague of thousands of demons, all seems hopeless. But out of the darkness arises a mysterious telekinetic by the name of Newt Dit Doon. A man so powerful he can literally rip demons limb from limb. He soon finds Samantha and tells her of her destiny in this living hell. He must guide her to the heart of Neembo’s siege, for she is the only one who can close the Gemini and stop the evil that will soon engulf the entire world.
SPS: Would you say the book is more psychological horror or slasher-style?
WM: I would say a mixture of both. The first part of the story you are exposed to the psychological aspect which is Samantha and her odd relationship with the ancient book ( The Gemini ) She slowly begins having an unhealthy, almost mother-child bond with the tome and her mind begins to break down. After the book is awoken, you are exposed to the slasher aspect. Obviously, the emergence of a vengeful army of ancient demons taking over an entire town is not pretty….there is gore aplenty. Some of it was actually hard for me to write.
SPS: You talk of the 20-year-old protagonist’s ‘already fragile state of mind’. How so?
WM: Samantha lost her father to a tragic car accident when she was 11. That in itself would be enough to crush most people for years to come, but Samantha is dealing with even more. Her whole life she has been having “visions” , swearing she could see events before they happened. Most of which involved death, including her father’s. Everyone, including her own mother, believes on some level that she is not quite right in her mind…a fact that only makes her worse. She is finally diagnosed with borderline schizophrenia not long before the events of the story. It is a diagnosis that she knows to be untrue and she stops taking her meds.
SPS: Where did you find inspiration when creating Samantha?
WM: Samantha is one of my favorite characters I’ve written to date. Her characteristics, appearance and personality, are a mixture of several people I know. I will NOT name names on that one, haha!
SPS: Vengeful telekinetic Newt Dit Doon sounds pretty badass, how much fun was he to write?
WM: VERY fun. I actually got goosebumps when I finally introduced him into the story. He is the old protégé of the villain Neembo. He was abused as a child, betrayed as an adult, and left to rot for 157 years in another dimension filled with demons who despise him. He tells a dark story of revenge by his actions. You can feel his anguish with every demon he massacres on his journey to face Neembo.
SPS: We love a good baddie here at The Showcase. What such qualities does Neembo possess?
WM: Oh Neembo, Neembo. What is not to like about this blithesome chap? I was so excited to write him into the story. You see, he is the very first villain I’ve written that was a “human”. Most of my previous stories have dealt with mindless monsters. But Neembo is as sophisticated as he is boorish and his apparent “stuck-in-Victorian-era” fashion sense only makes him all the more fun. He is the perfect mix of the 1800s gentlemen with a touch of the modern day jerk. I had fun writing him, and even laughed aloud a few times at his mouth, but make no mistake, he’s killed thousands upon thousands of people along his unfathomable life age…he is NOT a good guy. Though he does kill some people that may have had it coming towards the beginning, I am quite sure most of my readers will despise him by the end of the story.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us about Kentucky Moon?
WM: Yep. The story is about two brothers, Carl and Jon Webb, hunting down a creature in the Kentucky hills during the Great Depression.
SPS: What made you decide to take the historical route with this particular novel?
WM: I have always loved historical books involving dogs like “Where the Red Fern grows”, “Old Yeller”, etc. I wanted to write my own but give it something I hadn’t seen before with those types of stories, a supernatural flare.
SPS: How do you find balancing the suspense as the story is told? Do you like to have the reader gripping the edge of the seat?
WM: Yeah, I feel this is a suspenseful story. Most of the action takes place in the forest at night so there is a lot of “running scared” scenarios, dogs on the hunt, and odd sounds to keep the reader guessing and as confused and frightened as the characters. I honestly felt like I was there while writing this book, so I hope that translates to the reader. I have had several people tell me that they were on edge as they read the night time scenes. I like to set the scene with the image of a pristine, summer forest backdrop and slowly remind you that evil lies within as the characters enter into the darkness not knowing what their hunting dogs will flush out.
SPS: Where did the idea for the story come from?
WM: The story came from the aforementioned love of historical novels involving dogs, but it also came into fruition from hearing old raccoon hunting stories from my father and uncle. The stories would always give me chills.
SPS: What can you tell us about the main characters involved? Any favourite?
WM: There are actually very few characters involved, period. But the three main characters are the Webb brothers, Carl and Jon, and there is Carl’s wife, Lila. I would say it would be hard to pick a favorite here. You have Carl, who the story centers around more than most, with his steady head and proud heart. You get to travel into his nightmares with him as he tries to unravel the mystery of the beast in the woods. Then his brother Jon is the wisecracking, fun-loving guy who is always getting into trouble. The guy has the great idea of bringing TNT along on one of the hunts, there’s nothing not to like about him. Then there is Carl’s wife, Lila. She is the loving, pseudo-matriarch that is trying to talk sense into her husband and brother-in-law through the whole ordeal but they never listen, of course. Luckily for them, she knows her way around a gun. I can not forget to mention the hunting dogs in the story – Buddy, Ditch, Emma, Tasca, Shotgun, and lastly, Ghost. The story would not be magical without them.
SPS: What’s next on the self-publishing horizon for Wes McCloud?
WM: The next tale on the horizon is an action/ horror book entitled “Highway Hell”. It centers around a tough-lipped woman named Hutch McCray who goes to Hell on a search for her missing Aunt, Cass McCray. There, she is forced to join in an unholy car racing circuit to find the answers and the freedom she seeks.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
WM: At first, no. I have to admit from jump I always wanted to be a traditionally published author. At that time I thought that was the only way to go. But the further I progressed the more I liked the idea of having my own say in the creative process from rough draft to cover. The options that indie authors have right now are extraordinary, but it is still quite a daunting task to get yourself recognized out there. I am still fighting every day and have faith I will make it.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
WM: No, it has been 10 times more amazing than I ever had thought it would be. Writing has been one of the most self-rewarding journeys I have ever partaken in. It truly is a magical experience, creating something from nothing. Becoming the puppeteer who pulls the strings of fate…the one who makes every intricate decision that affects all the characters both emotionally and physically. The experience of writing is….I hate to say god-like, but no other words find me. You can quite literally create whatever you want. Your imagination is the limit.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
WM: Stay true to yourself, I touched on this before = WRITE WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, not what you believe others will like. Pen the story YOU would want to read. I don’t care how crazy it may sound to others. Even if your story is centering around a talking pineapple that works at a nightclub, WRITE that tale and own it. You are here to break the mold, not continually re-paint the mundane product that comes out of it. Simply put…just write and ignore the naysayers.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
WM: I would love to name drop, but I know so many indie authors that I just would not feel right naming a few and not the many.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today, Wes, and all the best for the future.
WM: Thanks for having me, guys. It’s time for a celebratory beer. Cheers!
SPS: For more information on Wes McCloud and his work, please do visit his Showcase Author page here.