Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interview with Jim Cherry-The Doors Examined

Why the Doors?

A few reasons actually. There’s always been a mystique surrounding The Doors they were a bit out of time in the peace and love flower power of the 60’s but even after 40 plus years of not being an active band that mystique still surrounds them, maybe even more so, as we move away from them in time and the 60’s become more of a golden age that exists as a modern mythology of gods and heroes.

The Doors are one of the few bands whose recordings don’t sound dated. A lot of 60’s bands sound exactly like what you would expect self-consciously psychedelic and using a lot of hooks and gimmicky things that instantly date the material. The Doors sound like they could’ve been recorded recently in a modern studio.

Lastly, The Doors aren’t nostalgia their influence still reaches out to us today in many different ways. The most obvious is that they continue to influence up and coming musicians and genre’s you can make the case for The Doors being the first punk rock band, the first gothic band (as a matter of fact it was in an article about The Doors that the term ‘gothic rock’ was first coined). But there are much subtler influences as well such as Matthew McConaughey’s recent Academy Award “alright, alright, alright, alright” speech, which he explained in an interview came about because of his listening to The Doors right before shooting his first scene, in his first movie.

 How did the idea for the Door's Examiner come about?

 I was unemployed a few years back and a woman I knew online, who knew I was a writer and a Doors fan told me about this online newspaper called The Examiner. They were looking for writers in all areas and she suggested I could write about The Doors. I didn’t have anything to lose, I thought they probably already had someone writing about The Doors but I could still send in a writing sample and if they liked it we could figure out what I could write about. They liked the sample article I wrote and to my surprise they didn't have anyone writing about The Doors, so I became The Doors Examiner starting in late August of 2009 and I’m closing in on writing the 1000th article as The Doors Examiner.

 The cover looks a bit reptilian. Where did the idea for the cover come from?

I stole it from Jim Morrison! The Doors third album was originally supposed to be titled “Celebration of the Lizard” and Morrison wanted the cover to be snake or lizard skin, so when the original idea for the book cover became unviable I remembered that Morrison wanted a snakeskin album cover so I thought that would really resonate with Doors fans, and that it would look really cool to the more casual fan.

The Doors Examined is a collection of The Door's Examiner articles. Where did the idea for the book come from?

 A long time ago I read Harlan Ellison’s “The Glass Teat” which was a compilation of articles he wrote about TV for the L.A. Free Press in the late 60’s and when The Doors Examiner opportunity came along I wrote the articles with an eye towards someday being able to compile them into a book. I thought that since I’m primarily a fiction writer I could add some flourishes that might not be there with a strictly journalistic approach, and I’ve tried to write articles that would be of interest to fans in years to come.

The shorter term answer is that I wrote a review for a book and the publisher liked it so much they contacted me and said “if you ever want to write a book let us know” so I told them my idea and surprisingly they said okay!

Inside this collection is so much trivia that most people would not know about. For instance, Did Jim Morrison Name Alice Cooper? That seems like a fascinating concept.
Can you tell the readers more about this?

 Vincent Furnier who became the character Alice Cooper, was in a band in L.A. right after The Doors hit it big, and Furnier, for various reasons was looking for a name for his band. He also hung out with Morrison and the other Doors. One of Jim Morrison’s interests was the occult, and when he was in high school had lived in Alexandria, Virginia and regularly visited the Library of Congress and read quite a few esoteric books. Reputedly, Alice Cooper was a 17th century which who was burned at the stake. Once you bring together all these factors it’s not hard to discern that a young Jim Morrison had run across the story in a book about witchcraft in his readings at the Library of Congress and when Furnier was looking for a band name it’s also not hard to imagine Morrison telling Furnier the story of Alice Cooper over a beer or ten. There are a few different versions of how the band Alice Cooper got its name and this isn’t one of them, but knowing a little of all the characters involved seems a likely scenario, and I present it as that, a little food for thought.

What was your most favorite article out of this book?

 It’s hard to say which is a favorite, but there are a couple articles that cover some little known people in The Doors world Linda Eastman and Tom Baker. Baker because he is known through a couple of incidents in Jim Morrison’s life but outside of that not much is known despite his writing an autobiography before he died. It was hard to write a profile on him because information is so scarce but I actually found an excerpt from his autobiography and I think the profile in “The Doors Examined” is one of the fullest you can find on him. Linda Eastman, who people better know as Linda McCartney, she had an affair with Morrison and although it’s known I had to pull together information from varied sources to get an account of the relationship.

 What do you hope readers will get out of reading this?

 I hope they find new perspectives on a band they think they know about. I have a lot of material on The Doors pre-history and unlike most books the articles don’t stop at Jim Morrison’s death but follow the other members and The Doors as a whole into the 21st century through reviews of current projects and their working with newer artists such as Skrillex and Techn9ne among others.

 Any future projects in the works?

 A couple I keep juggling. I’m finishing up a short story about an Indian shaman who brings the dead back to life to fight against the cavalry. I also have a screenplay titled “The Third Day” and an assistant producer at a movie company said it read like a novel so I’ve decided to turn it into a novel. It’s a pretty cool story about childhood friends who grow apart and in adulthood one discovers that he must kill the other so many others may live.

Where can readers get a copy of The Doors Examined?

 It’s available at Amazon physical and Kindle  Also on Barnes and Noble’s website as well as Nook Books, and I have a website at

Where can readers get in touch with you? or

Monday, March 17, 2014

Interview with Pembroke Sinclair-Appeal of Evil

How is writing YA novels different than other novel types for you?

YA is different from my adult novels because most of my teen characters don’t have as much experience with the world as my adult characters do, so they’re a little naïve.  As they gain experience, they usually get a little wiser and less whiny. 

How much of you goes into each story?

You know, there’s probably some, you can’t write anything without part of you being in it, but for the most part, I try to imagine situations that I have never been in before.  It gives me and my characters a chance to figure out how to react and what the consequences of those reactions could be. 

This is not your typical teenage romance novel. Where did the idea for Appeal of Evil come from?

The idea for The Appeal of Evil came from thinking about Twilight and how women, especially teen girls, go about deciding who to be in a relationship with.  I was thinking about the notion that women gravitate toward the “bad boy” and why that is.  It got me to thinking:  what if that bad boy was really bad, like demon-from-hell bad, what would happen then?  This story is me trying to figure that out.

Tell us about the character of Katie. How did she come about?

As I thought about relationships, I knew that my main character needed to be a little naïve and perhaps a bit jaded when it came to boys.  She needed to have been hurt before so that her judgment would be a little clouded.  She thinks she knows what’s going on in the world, but she really doesn’t, and she has to learn how to live and love in a world that is different from her expectations.

There are some twists and turns and of course teenage drama, how long did it take to write this?
I believe it initially took me three months to write, then probably six to nine to revise.

What is the one thing you wish readers to get from The Appeal of Evil?


Is there any work in the future you can tell readers about?

Currently, I am working on a nonfiction book about zombies entitled Eww-Eek-Aah!:  The Science of Zombies.  It looks at how zombies are metaphors for societal fears about science.  I am also working on the sequel to The Appeal of Evil, which is entitled Dealing with the Devil.

Where can readers pick up a copy of The Appeal of Evil?

Where can readers get in contact with you?

Twitter:  @PembrokeSinclai


Email:  pembrokesinclair [at] hotmail [dot] com

Friday, March 7, 2014

Interview with Mark Phillips- Beneath the Mask of Sanity

Where did the idea for Beneath the Mask of Sanity come from and how much research was put into writing?

The idea came to me in the shower.  I had a vision of a guy picking up a hitch-hiking teenager and then being killed.  The rest of the story just kinda flowed from that idea.

I don't normally do a whole lot of research in my writing, but I did do a ton on this book.  I realized that if I was going to do a book about the psychology of a serial killer that I needed to understand a lot more about it.  I read several accounts of past serial murderers and I read many texts on the psychology of serial killer profiling.  One of the most helpful books was The Mask of Sanity by Hervey Cleckley, who was a pioneer in the field of psychopathic disorders.  It was also the inspiration for the title of my book.  

What was the hardest part of writing this story?

Getting inside of a serial killer's mind.  Bentley is probably the most vibrant and real character I've ever written about.  At times, he steered the direction of the story himself, even if it wasn't where I wanted it to go.  

Bently Grimes is a different kind of serial killer. It is through his eyes you see the terror of his victims. In this regard, what were you hoping the reader would get from seeing Bently at his worst?

Serial killers have always been fascinating to the public.  I think it's because the way they think is so different-so alien-from the way that we think.  I wanted the readers to see that Bentley had a story to tell and he had reasons for what he was doing.  Were they sane reasons?  No, they clearly weren't, but Bentley isn't just some mindless psychopath like Michael Myers or Jason, he had reasons.  I also wanted to highlight that while there are enormous differences between the normal public and sociopaths, there are also similarities as well.  Bentley asks a lot of questions in the book that there aren't easy answers to.  He talks about God and the nature of existence and what his ultimate place in the world is.  I think most of us have those kind of thoughts.  It's just that most of us don't have the violent urge that Bentley does.  He feels that his questions can be answered by terror and violence and most of us know that violence doesn't open any doors, it just closes them forever.

Most serial killers don't feel a lot of emotion. How important was it for you to show
Grimes trying to experience any kind of feeling?

A lot of the research I did for the book indicated that one of the reasons that serial killers turn to murder is to try and experience some kind of emotion.  That there brain's emotional center was so dulled that only extremes could trigger some kind of feeling.  I think that desire to experience emotion (and to fit in) is a big driving force behind Bentley.  He hates society because he feels that he's better than other people, but at the same time he wants to fit in with society because human beings, by and large, do not like to be outsiders.

How important is it for readers to feel something for this mass madman?

As important as it is for any other character in fiction.  Emotional attachment is the key to good storytelling.  If your readers don't care about your characters then you haven't done your job as a writer.  The book is ultimately about Bentley, he is the star, so it's vitally important that the readers feel something for him.  They don't have to like him (I don't even like him and I don't expect the readers to) but if he inspires dread or, even better, hate from the readers that is a win for me.  Hate is a powerful emotion when it comes to storytelling and it's not easy to illicit.  I think there is room for some sympathy there as well.  Bentley is a person wasted.  A smart character-a genius almost really-who is trapped by the nature of his own existence.  He can't help what he is any more than a person who is born blind can help that they can't see.  But ultimately it's the hate that I'm after.  Bentley represents an aberration.  A human being that does not fit into our civilized society, and humanity has always hated what doesn't fit in.

If there was something you would want readers to know about you as an author what would it be?

When I was eleven-years-old my sister gave me my first Stephen King book, Pet Semetary.  It was my introduction into adult fiction.  Before then I had read the standard fair: Hardy Boys, The Indian in the Cupboard, etc... Stephen King's book transformed me into a world where I was lost for the three days it took me to read it.  When I was done with that book I knew that I wanted to give other people the same feeling that I had just experienced.  That was when I began writing.  I write for myself, first, but it's with the audience that I get my greatest joy.  If I can take you away from our world for a little while and put you in mine then I am a happy man.

Is there any other works in the future you would like to share?

I had an idea for a sequel to Beneath the Mask of Sanity (titled Beyond the Mask) almost immediately after I finished the book.  I was hesitant about whether to write it or not (and I have several other ideas on the back burner right now) because I am usually not a big fan of sequels.  However, I do believe I have a great idea for this one and I have begun writing it.  I expect it will be finished sometime before the summer and likely available around August.

Where can readers purchase Beneath the Mask of Sanity and find out more about you?

Beneath the Mask of Sanity is available on  If you don't have a Kindle (I'm told) that a free Kindle app is available for older versions of the Nook as well as for the Ipad and other android tablets.

You can follow me on twitter:  @phillipswriting.  I am quite active on there and I update progress and special promotions often.