You can find our review here: Incantations
Every time you pick a book and start reading you enter a whole new world of imagination. Today we have Mr Erik Straker, author of Incantations who is fan of horror and mystery genre. He is 38 years old, and lives in Western Maryland. He has two years of film school under his belt from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco (major in screenwriting), and he is a new author. So let’s hear from him directly:
1) Tell our readers a little more about yourself? How did you begin writing?
I’ll avoid the standard author bio info as that can be found on all my media. I’m simply a guy who loves books and movies and stories way too much. I always wanted to be a part of that world of story creators.
I’ve always written in some form or fashion, but the fiction bug really took hold in my teenage years. I started with poetry and short stories in high school. I tried a novel or two, but always abandoned them halfway through. I wasn’t quite ready for longer works and didn’t have my process down yet. I wrote screenplays and made short films with my friends. I went to film school for two years and studied screenwriting.
2016 was the year I decided I’d take the plunge and begin self-publishing after finding out all I could about it. In January I released a book of dark poetry entitled Fairy Tale Destruction, and in February,2016 I released Incantations, my first real book. I write every day, and there are many more stories I have to tell.
2) Where do you take inspiration for your characters from? (Friends/Family)
My characters always come to me half-formed, and I have a bare inkling of who they are. I know the role they serve in the story, but it’s not until I’m writing their scenes do they start to come alive and talk to me. There are things I borrow from family and friends, such as Lillian’s love of mermaids, Gerbera daisies, and her favorite show being Twin Peaks. Mostly, I know how they look to me. I put them in situations, and then I let them inform me who they are by how they handle those situations. I love that part of writing.
3) I am intrigued with the title of the book. How did you decide to choose Incantations for your book’s title?
Like many of my titles, it just kind of came to me at the beginning of the creative process I go through before starting a project. Titles are more informative to me than the plot sometimes. When I think of a title, I can immediately imagine the tone of the story, the general idea, images flashing through my brain. With Incantations, I knew the word meant a magical invocation, usually for use in raising or communicating with the dead. I had an image of a Ouija board, a dark basement, and a secret. I let my imagination do the rest.
4) Your books talk a lot about witches and magic. How much research went into writing it?
This might sound very unexciting, but virtually no research went into the actual witches and magic parts of the book. I’m a horror junkie from way back and I’ve seen more movies and read more books about horror, witches, and magic than I know what to do with. I try not to make my version of witches cookie-cutter or cliché, but I’m sure that’s debatable. I actually had someone ask me if the spells from the book were real spells because they sounded so authentic. My trade secret is that I fed a lot of Latin and medical terms into an online generator for roleplaying enthusiasts to create spells for their campaigns. I then handpicked the coolest sounding ones. Most of my research went into making my fictional town in New Hampshire seem authentic (I visited there once) and figuring out an appropriately haunting song from 1971 to fit my timeline.
5) Are you a believer of supernatural elements?
I have a strong fear of ghosts. Most writers of the horror genre will tell you to write about what scares you, so it wasn’t hard to put myself in Angela’s shoes and relate the emotions I would feel if those things were happening to me. There’s a child-like part of me that thinks it would be so cool if there was this huge underworld of supernatural creatures which we didn’t know existed but were closely guarded secrets. Werewolves, witches, vampires, magic. I love every genre of those creatures and elements and will surely be delving more into those themes with my future books and stories.
6) What was the most challenging part while writing the book?
Keeping the timeline straight with all the births and events through the Delapaz bloodline. My first draft I realized I’d botched it up big time because I didn’t take the time to create a visual timeline. I had dates going all over the place and times that didn’t quite match up. My outlining process is very intense and I almost pre-write the book in my outline phase. This was my first time delving that far back into history and lineage. I’ve now added creating a timeline to my outlining process for every book.
7) What is your suggestion to new writers?
My advice is to write what you like. Don’t let anyone tell you a certain genre won’t find fans. If I wrote strictly for a paying audience, I’d be writing erotica right now. I write the kinds of books I’d like to read. I know there are crazy people out there who have tastes similar to mine, so I don’t worry too much about the genre. Also, have fun. This is one job where we get to play and create as if we were kids again, and we get paid to do so. Read books, watch movies and television, talk to people. Absorb stories. That, plus writing every day, will make you a better writer.
8) Tell us more about your upcoming works?
I have several books in the works, all in various stages of completion. I have a dark action/thriller titled Remember about a young woman who awakens in the desert with no memory and only a few clues to her past and her identity. Another horror/thriller ghost story that takes its cues from urban legends titled Bloody Betty. And I even have plans to start a kid’s mystery series under a different name. There are many more projects constantly being announced at my website, which will be listed below.
It is a pleasure getting to know Mr. Straker and here are the links where you can get to know him socially and his upcoming works:
Author Website: http://www.ErikStraker.com