Desmond Reddick lives on Vancouver Island where he teaches, writes and podcasts. Bred on a steady stream of comics, horror movies and books, he enjoys writing a gruesome, thrilling tale. When not working, he spends time with his indulgent wife, two vicious children and a dog named Kirby.
Dread Media's website: www.dreadmedia.com
Author website (which isn't up yet, but I'll be doing that this weekend: www.desmondreddick.com
Amazon author page (also has cover images for my other works mentioned) : http://www.amazon.com/Desmond-Reddick/e/B00P1NM9H8/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Awesome Mark Maddox cover for MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS: http://postimg.org/image/fk8uc8al7/
Your book Mother of Abominations just came out, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Well, the book begins on the morning of April 3rd, 1982 when the British Parliament was meeting in a special session to announce their entry into the Falklands War. Our protagonist, Bree Kenny stands watching from a park across the street as she waits for the bomb her and her IRA associates planted to explode. It would be the biggest act of terrorism in history, and it would be an act of revenge. Her twin brother was captured and imprisoned after killing an MP, so Bree was going to up the ante by killing ALL the MPs. The bomb doesn't go off, though and Bree is arrested.
A British Intelligence officer tells her she has two options: she can refuse to work for the British and rot in jail for the rest of her life, the rest of the world never knowing about what she had tried to do, or she can work with the government and on successful completion of the mission, free her brother and disappear somewhere far away from the Commonwealth. The mission? Go to Boleskine House and stop Aleister Crowley from awakening and harnessing the power of the Loch Ness Monster. From there, Bree has to figure out if the enemy of her enemy is her friend, or if an entirely different opportunity will rear its head. It's a mixture of military intrigue, occult ritual and kaiju action in a world where the world superpowers developed giant monsters as weapons instead of nuclear warheads.
Mother is a kaiju and pulp horror blend featuring Alistair Crowley and a bomb threat on parliament. What inspired you to write it?
Well, Mother of Abominations is the first novel in the Monster Earth series from Mechanoid Press. There are two anthologies available, but publisher James Palmer and Monster Earth creator Jim Beard really wanted to branch out and have novels set within their shared universe. They asked me to pitch something and, not to try and employ a cliché, but the story sprung almost fully realized from my brain in one moment. They liked my pitch and asked for a plot breakdown of the whole book. They liked that and asked me to write it.
I love films like The Devil Rides Out and other stories about cults. I also have a fascination with my Irish and Scottish heritage. In the 90s, there was a glut of Irish terrorist movies made in Hollywood, among them Blown Away, In the Name of the Father and The Devil's Own. Most of those movies never really looked at things from the Irish side, and, while I don't support terrorist activities, I thought exploring that would be interesting. You're putting the main character behind the eight ball with a lot of readers from the get-go when she starts the book by trying to murder hundreds of people in cold blood, but I felt like I could tell both sides of that kind of conflict in this book, all buried in the framework of a giant monster story. I like to say this book is The Devil's Own meets The Devil Rides Out in a world with giant monsters.
What are your favorite parts of the book? Favorite character or parts of characters?
One of my favourite parts of the book is a practical look at how a government manages the existence of giant monsters. In this world, by 1982, monsters have been around and used by nation-states for almost fifty years. So, I asked myself, what goes into the raising and housing of such a thing? How does the public react to this kind of thing? What kind of government bureaucracy exists around it? So that's when I came up with the British side of things. Her Majesty's Giant Monster existed already in the story bible of the shared universe, but I created the organization that managed her. I won't go too into it so as not to spoil it, but I tried to put a British spin on it and it ended up being a part of what I really liked about the book.
My other favourite thing about it is the general goings-on at Boleskine House. I researched Crowley and the house a lot, and I knew the basic lay of the land, having been to Loch Ness, so I really got into that. The section at Boleskine House started out as a bit of a stopping point along the way in the plot of the novel, but it organically became its own thing while I was writing it. The dissidents and weirdoes there all birthed their own personalities and roles. In particular, Doucette (who I based off of my best friend) is a favourite character. He's a nasty piece of work and was a hell of a lot of fun to write.
Mother of Abominations isn’t your first brush with horror, can you tell us a little about some of your other writing past and future? Favorite topics to write about?
I've had a half dozen short stories published in anthologies over the past few years. Strangely, they are ALL historical horror stories. Three weird westerns and a vikings versus zombies story. I guess I have to say that I liked weird westerns! I do like the iconic imagery present in westerns. It's more all-pervading than other genres. The visual shorthand is so strong that you can get across a lot of meaning in very few words.
The connecting tissue in a lot of these is Lovecraftian fiction. I love the cosmic horror stuff and will definitely be writing more of it. My last short story publication was my first professional one that combined Lovecraft and fairy tales. I wrote a modern day coming of age story for a young First Nations man on the west coast of Vancouver Island who comes across Shub-Niggurath. I'm very proud of it, and it was a feather in my cap to be in the same book as JF Gonzalez and Mary SanGiovanni, both influential writers to me.
My next novel, which I'm only a few thousand words away from finishing, is a superhero noir story. I'm very excited to get the first draft out to my beta readers for feedback. After that, I'll be doing something more traditionally in the horror realm.
While I love horror more than any other genre, I think I come more from the Joe R. Lansdale school of writing. I think it's best to be a genre rather than write within one. It probably means that I'll have a tougher time growing a reader base with such diverse output, but I write what I want to write. I hadn't intended to do a superhero novel, but the idea came to me and I had to jump on it.
Are there any subjects you won’t write about? What are your taboos?
I don't think so. I haven't come across it yet. Though, I have no desire to write explicit rape or animal/child abuse which must be something that a lot of people write about seeing as most submission calls I see say not to submit those kinds of stories.
That all said, I'm not entirely against it. If I write something so brutal and explicit, it would have to be for a reason. Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door comes to mind. It's sickening and hard to read, but it is one of the best and most visceral things I've ever read.
When did you bridge the gap between horror fan and writer? Was it a good experience?
I've always written. It sounds stupid, but even as a kid. I have a bound book of my terrible stories my grade two teacher put together for me. Most of them are ripoffs of The Monster Squad, Princess Bride and the G.I. Joe cartoon, but I was writing them.
I would have to say I became more serious about it a decade ago when I started writing my column Reel Dread for www.earth-2.net. I wrote mostly about horror cinema, but regularly writing about it re-energized me into writing when I had only really written essays for university or lyrics for my band for several years before that. I wrote fifty Reel Dreads over the span of three years, and I keep meaning to polish them up and publish them all together as an eBook. So, that was mostly fan writing, which I've continued, as I have contributed to two of the three Monster Serial anthologies (essays on horror cinema).
From then on, I have decided to push forward with a career in writing, working up from short stories to short novels. It's a work-in-progress.
You also run the Dread Media podcast, can you tell us a little about putting that together and what sort of subjects you like to tackle there?
I was already writing the column at Earth-2.net and Mike Sims, the webmaster there, offered to publish a podcast of mine if I wanted to do it. Dread Media was already a short-lived segment on his podcast at the time, so I said yes.
I never wanted there to be a set format, and I wanted to cover the whole genre. So, while I review mostly horror films, I also cover comics, literature, music and more. Sometimes I'll have interviews as well with people involved in the genre.
I'm very proud of the community we've built at Dread Media, and we've been going for 444 weeks straight at this point without missing an episode. I don't plan to stop anytime soon.
Do you enjoy working with other authors and reviewing movies and books through the show?
Absolutely! It started as a very solitary experience, but I've since introduced co-reviews with a revolving cast of cohosts and I have regular segments contributed on an almost weekly basis as well. It's become a bit of a crowd-sourced podcast by this point, and I think that's very cool. I even have a spinoff called Dread Media Presents where longer form segments get their due. Though that's been on the backburner as I've been concentrating on the writing. I have a backlog of stuff to get through when I do get the time.
I've made friends with these cohosts and even some authors I previously admired through the show. It's been a lot of hard work in some aspects, but it's incredibly rewarding. Not monetarily, mind you.
Any especially good experiences through Dread Media? Any dream guests you’d love to have on the show?
Dread Media has offered me the opportunity to talk to authors like the aforementioned Joe R. Lansdale and Jack Ketchum and many more. I like to think that I soak in a little bit of their advice or method in every conversation. Authors are fun to interview because they're often very good at talking about themselves, as the length of this interview may attest. I've been able to talk to bestsellers right on down to the indie guys and every single time, I've been able to pull some really cool information or advice or stories out of them. I've also been extremely lucky to chat with other influential people like the late Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) from Gwar who did his interview in character. That blew my mind. Talking to legendary comics artist Gene Colan was a completely transformative experience for me as well. I believe that was his last ever interview. I recently talked to Fabio Frizzi who composed music for some of my all-time favourite films, so that was a complete blast. Speaking to young people who are absolutely killing it in their chosen field like The Soska Twins and music video director Phil Mucci among many others is always energizing and powerful for my creative engine. Musicians, filmmakers, authors, artists. It's great company to keep. If you live in an isolated place like I do, I've found it so completely rewarding to be able to pick these peoples' minds for my own process.
As far as dream guests go, I would love to talk to Clive Barker and Stephen King. Both of them were, and continue to be, hugely influential to me. Elvira would be amazing. She was my first crush. Film composer Angelo Badalamenti, Glenn Danzig, Alice Cooper. They would all be amazing.
Do you have any other projects you’d like to mention?
I'm working on a comic book with an artist friend of mine (a weird western...shocker!), but that's in the very early stages. I'm almost finished with my second novel and I'm not sure if I'll self-publish it or try to find a publisher, so keep on the lookout for that. My friend and I made a horror short film called The Killing House one afternoon a few summers ago, so go and check that out on Vimeo: http://player.vimeo.com/video/103446672. That was fun. I got to star as the killer. I also composed the score and you can buy that here: http://dreadmedia.bandcamp.com/releases.
Basically I'm just getting started with this writing thing, so keep an eye out for me.