If you didn’t realize it at this point, let me assure you that John Wisniewski is a machine when it comes to the interviews. He aligns these encounters himself, assembles his question lineup himself and executes. The man needs no push whatsoever. On the chopping block today? Luthor author Pol McShane.
John Wisniewski: Could you tell us about your first published writings Pol-were they of the horror genre?
Pol McShane: The first book I published was “Blue Moon” back in 2000. It is of the horror genre. It’s my favorite genre. “Blue Moon” is a book that is written in 1st person by a man named Adam Keel, who is a werewolf. It is primarily a suicide note, written on the night of a blue moon, the only night when a werewolf is able to take its own life. But before he does, Adam wants to tell his story and express how sorry he is. I thought of concept because I wanted to convey that side of someone who had been cursed. The remorseful and guilty side.
In September of 2012, I published my first eBook, the sequel to “Blue Moon,” “The Rise of the Son.” The third and final installment, “The Son and the Moon,” will be released next year.
JW: What inspired the story “Luthor”?
PM: The inspiration for “Luthor” . . . I love to talk about “Luthor” because it is one of my favorite books. I wrote it many years ago, actually before I had written “Blue Moon,” but I was always waiting for that “big break” to come along, so I never published it.
When I started the book, I had intended Luthor to be a monster. He was supposed to be a killer gone mad. The original tag line for the book/idea was “Frankenstein-Dracula-The Wolfman . . . That was then. Luthor, this is now.”
I had the premise for the book down and began writing. I put in all the horrific ingredients to create Luthor: the brother and sister as parents, as to explain the deformity, the violence in the parents’ history, the spooky mansion.
But the moment I got to the part when I started writing Luthor into the story, something happened that had never happened before or since; the story took on a life of its own. It was as if the character Luthor was writing his story. He became funny, kind, sad, and lonely. He wasn’t a crazed maniac storming the town. He was someone who didn’t ask to be the way he was. He was someone who longed to be normal. And eventually, he was even someone who fell in love. The story had taken on such a different aspect (for the better), that the final tag line for the book ended up being, “Within the eyes of darkness, there hides a child.”
I was so enamored with Luthor, that my husband and I named our 1st golden retriever Luthor. (Have to say, there were a few odd looks when people asked the name of the eight-week-old puppy and were told Luthor. But when he grew up, it fit him perfectly.)
I finally decided last year that it was time for the world to meet Luthor, and I self-published it. It is amazing to hear and see people’s reactions to the book, and Luthor’s story.
JW: Did you wish to write a different kind of horror story with “Luthor”? Are you touching on emotions usually not read in horror?
PM: Yes, initially, I did intend to write a different kind of horror story with “Luthor”. After it had taken a different turn, I knew that the story could still have those horrific elements in it. Even though it was about a suffering child, the world around him was filled with horrible things and horrible people.
The emotions in the story aren’t ones that are usually found in a horror novel. But why can’t they be? I think that’s part of what makes “Luthor” so appealing to readers; alongside those images of death, murder, and blood, they have the tears and heartache. The emotional elements in Luthor’s story are intense and have quite an affect on some.
JW: What would you say to critics who may say well this isn’t really a horror story?
PM: To the critics who might question the validity of “Luthor” as a horror story? I would tell them to talk to the readers who weren’t able to finish the book, not because they didn’t like it, but because it was too painful. I’ve had several readers write to me and say that they felt badly that they just couldn’t read anymore. They loved the book, but just couldn’t handle it emotionally. I think that’s horror on a whole different level.
JW: “Blue Moon” is a werewolf story-do you identify through horror with outsider characters, Pol?
PM: Not 100% sure of what you mean by identifying with “outside characters”, but I do like to have the characters in my books convey more than just the horror or frightening side of the story.
Luthor was filled with so many more emotions than just rage. Adam Keel from “Blue Moon” was a werewolf, but he was more than that. The whole point of the book was so that he could apologize and show the pain and anguish he went through. Showing his human side. Even the character Satan from “Inanimate Objects”, yes he’s horrific and terrifying, but at the base of it all is that very human desire for love. My next book “Squish-Squash” comes out late August, and the swamp creature in that story very much has a human side. In many more ways than one.
JW: By “outsider characters” I meant that both the main character in Luthor and the main character in Blue Moon maintain separate identities. Do you see this in your characters lives?
PM: On some levels, yes, I do. Some of my characters, through who they are or what they’ve become, have to maintain some type of separate identity. This is also true with the teenagers in my new YA series, “Serpenteens.” They’re demigods, running around trying to save the planet; but when they can, they still try to maintain as much of their teen-hood as possible.
JW: Speaking of new projects, Pol could you tell us more about “Serpenteens” and other projects that you are developing?
PM: ‘Serpenteens’ is a really exciting venture for me. It’s my first YA series. In total it will be a four-book series. The first, ‘Nature’s Forces,’ came out a few months ago. The series follows five teenagers, half brothers and sisters, who are all demigods. Their father is the snake god Shesha. Each kid has the ability to change into a different kind of snake. The main character, Kody, can change into a king cobra. His brothers and sisters change into a Western diamondback, a coral, a boa, and a sea snake. But more than their snake changing abilities; while in snake form, each one has the power to control various aspects of weather. Kody can make it rain, or make it stop, if the situation calls for it. The others control wind, another can make the sun come out, while the other two can cool it down, and control flood waters. The Serpenteens travel around helping to control some of the horrific weather conditions that have been occurring. But they soon find out that there may be more to the crazy weather than global warming.
I came up with the idea when my husband approached me one morning and suggested I write a story about a person or people who can change into snakes. I loved the idea but didn’t know how to do it. As I spun the thought around in my head, the title came to me almost instantly, and the idea of teenagers changed the spelling of serpentine. That enticed me even more to figure out a story. As I researched snakes and snake lore while figuring out how to make it work, I discovered how much folk lore there was connecting snakes and the weather. Everything fell together after that.
I’m currently finishing up the second installment, ‘The Nest of Good and Evil,’ which is due out in January of 2014.
My other projects, well, at the end of August I have a book coming out called ‘Squish-Squash.’ It’s about a five-year-old boy that is bitten in half by an alligator on a family camping trip in the Louisiana bayou, and is presumed dead because his body was never found. But the boy survived, and over the next twenty years has become a legendary swamp creature, covered completely in hair, known as Squish-Squash, a sound associated with it because it walks around on its hand and stays along the muddy shore of the river. The squish-squash sound is what’s heard as it pulls its hands in and out of the mud.
We thank Pol McShane for giving a few minutes up to talk with HNR. Support the man, visit his Amazon page and make some wise purchases!