I am delighted to welcome the awesome Hunter Shea as a Dark Reads guest today! His upcoming novel Ghost Mine is a cracking Horror/Western you need to check out this month!
OK, enough from me, without further ado I give you, Hunter Shea..
A VERY STRANGE FAMILY AFFAIR
By Hunter Shea
Several years ago when I was writing for Samhain Publishing, I had just finished a novella and needed an idea for a put-your-big-boy-pants-on novel. Finding story concepts has never been an issue for me. The hard part is deciding which one to plunge into for several months.
This time around, I wanted to do something a wee bit different. My parents were thrilled that years of writing alone in my room had paid off, so I wanted to write something for them. My father was a huge fan of westerns. He grew up when most of the shows on TV were set in the old west and John Wayne and Clint Eastwood loomed large in his movie viewing life. Okay, so I was going to do a horror novel set in the old timey west. It had been done before, most notably by some of Joe Lansdale’s weird western books, which set the bar higher than a barn roof. But I was up to the challenge.
My mother has long told everyone that Teddy Roosevelt was her favorite president – not that she was around to see the man. Got it. I need T.R. to be a character, which meant it couldn’t exactly take place during prime cowboy time in the wilds of unexplored America. No matter, I’d find a way. First things first, it was time to do some research. I boned up on cowboy culture and Roosevelt, and found myself immersed in Rough Riders lore. Oooh, I had to add them into it, too.
I could have researched the book for a year easily because what I was finding was so darn fascinating. It took incredible effort to stop myself and get to the business of writing. I’d also found the true tale of an abandoned mining town in Wyoming called Hecla. That had to be my destination! At the time, I was listening to Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast just about every day (still do), so my head was swimming with stories about Bigfoot, black eyed kids, ghosts and mysterious portals.
The big question was : how am I going to fit all of these seemingly disparate ideas into one book? It didn’t seem possible.
And then a little voice inside my noggin said, “Dude, just have fun with it.”
Believe it or not, that calmed my pre-book jitters and I just got to typing. In the middle of chapter one, I also decided I wanted to make this a kind of tough guy buddy book, ala the Spencer novels by Robert Parker. Sure, why the hell not?
Ghost Mine (originally titled Hell Hole – cue Spinal Tap) was a book that literally wrote itself. No matter what bizarre character or concept I threw at it, the book absorbed it like a dry sponge and wove it into the narrative. I don’t think I ever smiled as much when writing a book. What I thought would be tougher than a two dollar steak flowed like fresh cream from a cold mason jar.
I finished the book in the spring and was anxious for my parents to see the finished product when it came out the next year. The only regret I have with Ghost Mine was not letting my father read the completed manuscript. Sadly, he passed away before it came out, which is why the book is dedicated to him. But I know he would have loved it. Mom sure did. As far as Hunter Shea books go, it’s a definite outlier, but in all the best ways. Best read with a shot of rot gut whisky on a dusty afternoon, the soft whinny of horses on the dry wind and the smell of sawdust on the floor.
Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself.
Hunter’s novels can even be found on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum. His video podcast, Monster Men, is one of the most watched horror podcasts in the world.
He’s a bestselling author of over 13 (lucky number!) books, all of them written with the express desire to quicken heartbeats and make spines tingle.
Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to gobble down Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.
To really get to know of the monster behind the man, join the Dark Hunter Newsletter and revel in the terror!
Ghost Mine will be published on May 30th 2019 by the fabulous Flame Tree Press. You don’t want to miss out on this one, trust me!
Check back in on Tuesday 14th May for my Dark Reads review of Ghost Mine for the Random Things Blog Tour!