Interview: Ivan Ewert

Yesterday, I reviewed Ivan Ewert’s Gentleman Ghouls Omnibus – out today on Amazon. As I was reading, I jumped at the opportunity to dig a little deeper.

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Ivan, thanks for the interview today. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Thank you for having me! I’m a part-time creative and a full-time woolgatherer from northern Illinois. I write, I speak, I act and I cook. When something interests me I grab it in my teeth and dig in until I’ve learned all I care to learn, or something else interesting comes along. I’m highly inspired by the natural world and landscapes, as well as interstitial arts.

‘Gentlemen Ghouls’ has had an interesting path. How did it proceed from conception to the final omnibus version that’s out now?

Such a long road, but a great experience.

Jennifer Brozek of Apocalypse Ink Productions set up an online magazine called The Edge of Propinquity years and years ago. She asked me to contribute a one-year, once-a-month serial of horror or dark fantasy. Those weren’t my usual genres but I wanted to be a part of this, so I wrote a 12-part story titled Vorare. (This was, by the by, prior to my discovery of the vore subculture, of which I’m still not a part.) *

*Dan sidebar: this is probably a good thing. Let’s just say, don’t make the mistake of Googling it as I did, and leave it at that.

I thought that would be the end of it, but the magazine kept going and Jennifer asked me to keep writing. Vorare lasted for three years before I set it aside. When Apocalypse Ink started up, they approached me about turning the series into a trilogy, but – between us all – what I’d written over three years really only condensed into a single book.

So, two more had to follow. It took longer than I expected, and I suspect longer than anyone involved would have liked, but I’ve learned so much. I’m so very grateful to everyone who’s been a part of this.

Your prose, particularly in the opening, “table-setting” portion of the book could almost be described as lush or sensual. This is more of an observation rather than a question. Kudos to your style selection, it fits the work quite well while tying into the growing sense of dread.

Thank you! Many readers praised the lushness of the first book, Famished: The Farm. We stripped some of the language down in Famished: The Commons, set in more prosaic New England; and that really drew some unexpected commentary from those same readers. I like to think I struck a mature balance between the two in Famished: The Ranch.

I also have to say, this is one of the more unique horror novels I’ve read in recent years. I’d compare it in some sense to “The Troop”, but what I like more about your work is that you focus more on telling the story rather than skipping from scene of body horror to the next. That’s not to say that it isn’t there, but it’s more subtle and not quite so over the top. Was there a point in which you said to yourself, this is a line I cannot cross? And if so – which direction did you choose?

Ooooo. Yes, a few times, I had certain scenes that impacted me strongly. I have a tendency to put myself in the shoes of the victims about whom I’m writing, to empathize more with them than with their tormentors. I think that sometimes puts the brakes on going all-out gonzo with the horrific quality. I prefer a quiet undertone throughout my terrible scenes, though there are obvious exceptions to that rule.

In one of the final scenes of the omnibus, my beta readers (who review and advise prior to publication) kept pushing me to go further. I had made something ugly and scary, but not truly horrific yet. After I think the third go-round, there was a unanimous request that I stop re-writing and get some fresh air, thank you very much.

I think I know what5 scene you’re referring to, and wow. It was pretty impactful, to say the least. Can’t imagine it being punched up more. While the ghouls aren’t necessary classical vampires, they share some of the same traits. There are also intimations toward other things that go bump in the night. How did folklore influence your plotting and story decisions?

Not much, to be honest. Which is funny, because it influences a lot of my non-horror work, and is one of my few lifelong interests. In Famished: the Gentleman Ghouls Omnibus, though, the majority of the background elements came from Goetic* magic or whole cloth out of my head. At least, that’s how it seemed to me. Readers may see some connections I’ve missed.

*Second Dan sidebar: not nearly as bad a Google as the first reference, but definitely spoileriffic. Search at your own risk, or hold off until you’ve finished reading. 😉

And there you have it. If your interest has been piqued over the last few days, and you enjoy reading way too late with all the lights on, give Gentleman Ghouls a shot.

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Pre-release Review – Famished: The Gentlemen Ghouls Omnibus

When I got an offer to read an early release of horror author Ivan Ewert’s upcoming book, I admit that I had to stop and think about it.

I used to be a huge fan of horror. I was the weird kid who got an adult library card in the 4th grade. One of the first books I checked out with my newly found power was Benchley’s Jaws, and I spend most of the book scratching my head as I tried to line up the story on the page with what I’d seen in the movie. And then there’s the ending, which is completely different from Spielberg’s Hollywood climax.

As my reading tastes have matured I’ve shifted more towards traditional science fiction and fantasy, though some of my favorites could be considered horror – F. Paul Wilson’s ‘Repairman Jack’ series is a prime example. Other than that, most modern horror seems intent on crushing any sense of hope or goodness.

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Summer of Conan: The Next Conan Movie Should Look More Like Mad Max

HP at Every Day Should Be Tuesday has been on a Conan kick for the summer, reading through the collected originals and doing the yeoman’s work of watching the film adaptations.

I’m a big fan of the 1982 version. I was surprised to learn just how much the storyline differed from the source material. HP delves into that, and more, while offering a rollicking suggestion.

I for one would love to see something along the lines of what he describes at his blog.

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

We deserve another Conan movie.  One that is more 1982 Conan the Barbarian and less Conan the Destroyer or 2011 Conan the Barbarian.  (I posted short reviews of the three Conan movies last week.)

Making a good Conan movie brings certain challenges.  Not the least of which is the difficulty of finding an actor who can credibly portray a character as physically imposing, athletic, and charismatic as Conan, and the difficulty of finding a director/writer remotely as unconventional and brilliant as Robert E. Howard.  But I am specifically referring to what I call the “Stump Problem.”  Rick Stump lays it out, and says a great bit more, in this blog post.  The gist of what I am concerned with is that the 1982 and 2011 movies are origin stories that revolve around Conan avenging the killing of his parents; this is both non-Conanical and hurts the prospects of…

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Wow!

We did it! “A Place Outside The Wild” is a 2017 Dragon Award finalist for Best Apocalyptic Novel.

Thanks for all your support, and best of luck to all the nominees! There are some great names on there, and every category is full of good stuff.

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If you’d like to request a ballot for the final vote, you can get it here.

If you haven’t read “A Place Outside The Wild” and would like to check it out for consideration, it will be on a Kindle Countdown deal starting Monday. It’s also free every day on Kindle Unlimited, here.

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Dude, where’s your blog?

Yeah, yeah, I know. No real updates in a while. Short and sweet? Had a week off in July, enjoyed it. Came back to the day job, did not enjoy it. In the meantime, I’ve kicked into a higher-gear on “A Place Called Hope” and should be done soon. Depending on cover art and edits, it should be out before Halloween. When I get a spare moment here and there I’ve been storyboarding ‘Night’s Black Agents’. That, on the bright side, should be a quicker task than Hope. I’d like to have it out early next year. And then it’ll be onto “Project X” (muahahahah!) which I’m not going to officially announce until I actually start writing it.

Next few weeks will be more of the same – write, write, write. Although, I will fully admit I am planning on giving myself some time off this weekend to catch The Dark Tower. Expectations are meh at this point, but I’ll have a review up after. On the bright side, at least the saga didn’t end with the gut-punch that was the end of the 7th book in the series.

I’ve also gotten an early copy of an upcoming book that is both well-written and unique. I’ll have more info up on that in the coming weeks, along with an interview of the very talented author.

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I got nothin’

From a quick bit of research, it seems that we’re smack-dab in the middle of the dog days of summer. Oof, it’s hot.

Summer vacation is coming to a close and the kids will be going back to school in just a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, my deadline for “A Place Called Hope” is September 1st and is approaching quickly. I’m planning for a crunch over the next month-and-a-half to get it out the door.

Nominations for the Dragon Awards close in less than a week. If you’re so inclined, you can make your selections here.

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Retro Review: Wildside, by Steven Gould

Steven Gould is one of those authors who writes books that you can just dive into over and over. His first book that I read was “Jumper”, the story of a young man who discovers he has the ability to teleport. That is probably his best-known work as it spawned a (regrettably) bad movie that took quite a few liberties with the original story.

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