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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Guest post: Author Darren Pillsbury

Hi everyone,

It's my honor to share a guest blog post with you, by author Darren Pillsbury. He's written the series PETER AND THE VAMPIRES, PETER AND THE WEREWOLVES and PETER AND THE FRANKENSTEIN. They sound like lively reads!

Have a read & get to know a new author :)


Thank you, Rai, for letting me do a guest post on your blog!

One of the questions I hear a lot of readers asking writers is “Where do you get your inspiration?” I thought I would answer that specifically about the ebooks I’ve just published, PETER AND THE VAMPIRES, PETER AND THE WEREWOLVES, and PETER AND THE FRANKENSTEIN.

I’ve always liked scary stories. I remember sneaking into the grocery store as a kid and reading the Stephen King books in the book aisle. (My mom was very conservative, and there was no way she was going to let me read CUJO or SKELETON CREW. So I did it while she was picking out tomatoes and peanut butter a couple of aisles over.)

So, when I decided I wanted to be an author, I always told myself that I would write my ‘vampire’ story. And my ‘werewolves’ story. And my ‘swamp monster’ story. And my ‘evil freak show’ story.

The problem was, a writer expends a lot of pages setting up the characters and situations every time he writes a new novella. If I wanted to write a dozen stories, that would be a dozen different main characters, a dozen different supporting casts, a dozen different settings. Ugh.

Why couldn’t it be simple? On THE X-FILES, you jumped into a new episode every week knowing who Mulder and Scully are. Why couldn’t you –


Problem solved. I would do something in a series, with the same characters, and with character arcs and larger plots that unfolded over hundreds of pages and through different books.

In actuality, the books really do resemble television shows in that each ‘novel’ has four or five different ‘episodes,’ or shorter novellas within it. And basically each story picks up where the last one ended.

What about the hero? Who was he? How old?

If I was going to do a series of supernatural stories, I wanted to do something about a time when everything seemed possible…and maybe even magical. I decided on a younger protagonist. Probably out of nostalgia, partly because the last time I remember feeling that the world might truly be magical (supernaturally magical, that is) was when I was very, very young.

But…it’s quite a different thing to say, “I’m going to write a vampire story,” and then write it. What do you do with it?

Is the vampire loathsome or gorgeous (and sparking, according to TWILIGHT)? Evil or misunderstood? Sociopathic or tortured by a conscience? The hero or the villain?

I don’t really start there, to be honest. I start with an image. In the case of the story “Peter And The Vampires” (the second story in the novel PETER AND THE VAMPIRES), the image was of a little girl in a rainstorm, standing under the ten-year-old hero’s third-story window, calling out “Peeeeeeeteeeeeeeeer” in a soft and mournful voice. When the lightning flashes, she is standing there in the rain; seconds later, when another burst comes, she’s gone.

I think – though I’m not absolutely sure – that the image comes from “The Dead,” the short story by James Joyce, in which the main character’s wife tells him how the love of her life stood out in a rainstorm and called up to her window.

(To be clear, I do not compare anything I have ever written to be in the same league, or even the same sport, as Joyce. If “The Dead” is the filet mignon and lobster tails of literature, then mine is a McDonald’s Happy Meal. But, hey, at least with mine, you get a bright, shiny toy.)

I had a lot of thoughts about that scene when I read the story in college. One that stuck with me was, “If she didn’t want that guy to be there, that could be a really creepy moment.”

BAM. That was the jumping-off point, though it took years to actually sit down and write a story about it.

For my other stories in the series, I always ask myself, What’s creepy? (And not in a gory way. Though there is gore in some of my stories, I try to keep it to a minimum.)

For years as a child, I vacationed at a lake house my grandparents owned. I always thought of sitting on a dock, legs dangling down into the water…and some unseen horror reaching up and dragging me down to the depths.

Bingo. There’s my opening for “Peter And The Swamp Monster,” the fourth story in PETER AND THE VAMPIRES.

One of the creepiest things I can imagine is looking out from a window, and someone dressed all in black – whose face you can’t see – is staring up at your window. Then they slowly lift their arm and point, as though to say, I see you.

Voila. “Peter And The Dead Men.”

As a kid, I saw a Spiderman cartoon that freaked me out. In it, a bunch of mannequins came to life and attacked poor Spidey. For years, I never, ever took my eyes off the mannequins when I entered a Macy’s.

“Peter And The Mannequins,” first story in the book PETER AND THE WEREWOLVES.

So there you have it. Most of my stories start from an initial scene in my head: some bad memory, some dark fantasy, some imagined scenario (often from my childhood) that can form the cornerstone of a story.

If you’re interested in checking out my books, please visit the links below!

eBooks By Darren Pillsbury:

















Thank-you Darren, for sharing with us! I'm always interested in learning more about my fellow scribes & their works.

You can visit Darren online at:

I hope this helps Darren to find new readers :)



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