Today my author spotlight is on, Kevin Lazarus, who won the blog fest competition celebrating the launch of my novel, Koicto. To win he had to write a story with a Native American theme and post it on his blog.
First tell us a little about yourself and your current projects:
Well, I’m an L.A. kid, that’s where I grew up, and it was a blast! We did the beach thing all the time. In fact, that’s where my wife and I had our first real date. We did the whole nine yards and dined on the beach; china, classy silverware and candelabra. She cooked me a steak with shrimp over an open fire and I was done like dinner.
The one thing people will realize about me right away is—I’m like a lighting rod for unusual experiences. I have seen things and experienced things that most people have never experienced. Trust me its true—and I plan to use every single one of them in my stories--thus the scary tales. I have no idea why. If I listed everything most people wouldn’t believe me—heck I don’t believe me.
My current projects are: Bone Stalker, which is pretty much done and The Dark Side of Carthage Falls, the Anthology (a play on my book Shadow Followers) which I am sharing on my blog. My next book, which is under construction, is Eye of the Blood Moon, which I’m sure Zombie fans are going to like.
When did you start writing, and how long have you been writing?
I started writing when I was in high school. I loved writing poetry, which is weird for a boy. So I didn’t let anybody know about it. Unfortunately, I doubted myself so much that I never really pursued it until I went to college, where I learned how to write screenplays. That was a wonderful experience for me and pumping out that first 120 page manuscript didn’t hurt either. Unfortunately, I was blessed with a mild form of dyslexia that gets worse when I’m stressed or tired and that has complicated my dreams of writing. All the while I was writing screenplays, though; I secretly wanted to write books. But I still didn’t believe I could do it. It’s a whole different world when it comes to writing books. So it took me nearly thirty-five years to finally convince myself to give it a shot. And that’s when I wrote Shadow Followers; an idea for a screenplay that I had had for nearly twenty years.
You have the coolest background on your blog (BTW, Kevin writes horror *chills*) Where did you find the background, and how did you get that spooky picture of you in it?
Well that’s the handy work of my PR guru Jesse Fisher and my daughters. I told the girls that I wanted to take my press pictures in a cemetery and they kind of went crazy with that. Next thing I know I’m wearing a black suit and a black shirt standing in the middle of this old decrepit cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. After that I gave some of the photos to Jesse and he used some of his magic on them and created this fantasy cemetery that looks like it could be right out of old New Orleans. Then he put me in it leaning against a headstone. Kind of fun I think.
I understand you have a book that you are just about to release. Can you tempt us with a blurb?
Yes, Bone Stalker. Okay, a blurb…
“Something stood directly behind him! The odious smell of death quickly enveloped the air—far more overwhelming than earlier. More revealing were the eyes of Rick and Kara—they were wide and full of terror.
Something was now breathing on him!
The trooper slowly turned to face rows of jagged ivory that appeared numerous and infinite; some broken and sheared off. They were like sharks teeth—saw-toothed razors—rows of them—layer upon layer. Mike was mesmerized. He could see little chunks of pink stuck between crevasses. Instantly, he realized that they were bits of meat—flesh—and blood! Out of the corner of his eye, he became faintly aware of—bones—dangling and clanking against each other—a human skull! The cavernous opening began to expand, widening to a greater view and then just as quickly—it snapped shut…”
Cool, Kevin, Thanks for sharing!!
How did you come up with the story for Bone Stalker?
Of all things to happen on Sunday—I know weird, right? But my sons and I were on our way to a Sunday meeting and—I don’t why—this image of these two newlyweds leaving on their honeymoon popped into my head. The whole thing played out in my imagination; as they get to the carwash and then get trapped in a cemetery. I have things like that popping into my head all of the time. If they’re really good, I write them down in my list of story ideas. Funny thing is—they almost always come with a title.
What scene did you have the most fun with?
Oh man…the carwash where Kara first experiences the Black Beast (the creepy box-truck) and what’s crawling around in the back of the cargo container. I tried my very best to suck my readers into the experience. I wanted them to hear the chains clanking and to see the bloody water pouring out of the back of it. Oh yeah, and the smell. It’s hard to draw upon all of those sensory emotions. But the moment was so visual to me that I deeply wanted to share it with everyone.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors who want to go the self-pub route?
Do it! I think there is a great deal of opportunity available for fledgling writers now. But prepare for it and write well. You always hear writers say, read a lot! I would agree, but I would also say, write a lot. But, the most significant thing you can do is to pay attention to the world around you; experience as much of it as you can. There is no substitute for experience. You could have the best imagination on the face of the planet, but without first hand experience with all of the subtleties and nuances of this world, the characters you create will more than likely lack depth. Of course, that being said, you should embrace life anyway. If you have a pretty good attitude about it, it can be pretty sweet!
You have an interesting background in film. Can you tell us how that has helped you with your online platform?
Yes, I grew up dabbling in the world of Hollywood. I had family there and they would invite me to come out and spend time around the set. When I was sixteen I snuck onto the set of Rich Man Poor Man. Surprisingly, they didn’t kick me out. So I got to spend the day watching Robert Reed (Father on the Brady Bunch) and Peter Strauss act—a lot of fun for a kid. Later I would work stage in L.A. and then I went to film school at Brigham Young University. I spent a lot of years after that working around television. Later I did a little producing—very little. But as to how it has all influenced my online platform? I would have to say that my experiences with the business side of the industry and that showmanship mentality, which was so deeply embedded in me as a kid is having the greatest effect of all.
Would you be willing to name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you?
I think with all of the scary visual themes from my website and the creepy books and blogs, the one thing some might be surprised to learn is that I am a devout Christian. During Halloween I was invited to a Satanic gathering online. I was a little shocked by that. But, of course, my wife reminded me that I write stories with dark overtones, so that is to be expected. She’s right. But the truth is—you can say a lot about good and evil in scary tale. Besides, they’re fun!
Thanks for spending your time on my blog! Best wishes for your continued success. Where can readers find you on the Web?
Facebook: Kevin Lazarus