This month on the blog, I got to interview fellow Severed Press author, R.F. Blackstone! This was a fun interview to conduct, and R.F. has some pretty interesting books available. Go check them out!
TIM MEYER: Let’s get started by telling people a little about you and your newest release.
R.F. BLACKSTONE: Hi Tim and thanks for having me on the show. I’m an Aussie shmuck living in Mexico City with my wonderful wife. I came from an interesting family; my Dad was a stage actor, teacher and magician with a natural gift for storytelling, which I inherited from him. And that is how I ended up writing books. Now you know and knowing is half the battle!…Yeah, I’m a big nerd but not in the Big Bang sense of the word. More like a proud to be a cinephile and aficionado of the weird and curious nerd.
KAIJU WORLD is my latest book from Severed Press and is a love letter to the giant monster movies of yore and Guillermo del Toro, plus a little bit of Michael Crichton thrown in for good measure. Imagine if you will, a theme park not populated with dinosaurs but instead city destroying monsters! That’s Kaiju World in a nutshell.
TM: What inspired you to write this book?
RFB: Well, for a period of time, a little longer than what you’d expect, I went through a giant monster movie binge. Godzilla, most of them anyway, Kong, Pacific Rim (love the first one!) and then I re-watched all the Jurassic Parks and the idea literally popped into my head, “What if instead of dinosaurs it was Godzilla?” And part of the reason for that thought was because in my opinion the Jurassic Park movies are actually monster movies. They say it in the first one and then in Jurassic World, they have to use animal DNA to fill in the holes, so these aren’t exact clones. And from there the leap to giant city destroying monsters instead was easy.
TM: Which writers influenced you the most?
RFB: Hmmmmm, damn that’s a hard one *strokes beard thoughtfully*…Well, definitely Guillermo del Toro (his The Strain series of books was great), Miguel de Cervantes annnnnnnnd John Carpenter (his scripts are amazing especially They Live and In the Mouth of Madness). Also Brian Keene and Don Winslow should go on the list too…Actually now that I think about it there are far too many to name but those are probably the most influential on me.
TM: What’s your writing process like? How do you approach each book?
RFB: Well it varies from book to book (isn’t that what all authors say?) It could come from a song, a random thought or even watching a movie or TV show and pondering about it. But usually I start writing notes in on of a plethora of notebooks I have lying around the house. (Free tip: always carry a notebook with you everywhere.) Then most of the time I write it as quickly as I can, not because of inspiration but because my attention span isn’t that great when it comes to the books I write. I hate having more than one project on the go. Naturally there is a lot of cussing and bemoaning of how terrible it is and confusion as to why I’m writing this story in the first place.
But, once it’s done I get editing quickly and the moment I’m happy with it I move on. One and done. Boom! Also, I’m not a major fan of multiple drafts, two at most for me.
TM: Do you plot or outline, or make it up on the fly?
RFB: Ah the question of the ages! The single most important debate to rage throughout time! Nobody can remember when it first started but it has been fought over since time immemorial!
I’m a little bit of both. Normally I’ll do a 1-3 sentence outline for each chapter and then discover my way through each one, makes it more fun for me and lets my characters breathe and grow.
TM: Do you do a lot of research for your stories?
RFB: How much is ‘a lot of research’?
No, seriously I’m asking…Okay, since nobody is going to answer that question, I’ll have to answer yours. It really depends on the subject, I mean I’m a fountain of useless information that I’m happy to pepper in each story. But for, example my first with Severed Press, BIG SMOKE was set in Havana, Cuba so I had to do a heap of research for it, streets, buildings and making sure it was based in reality before unleashing a zombie apocalypse on it.
With Kaiju World there was a little bit with just positioning of islands in regards to Japan. But generally I’m lazy and try to write things that I already know a lot about, unless it is something I think could really help the story, then I go all in.
TM: Do you prefer writing novels, novellas, or short stories?
RFB: Novels and short stories for the win. I haven’t done much with novellas just because once I get going, unless I have really limited myself with word counts, it is hard for me to stop. I’ve been self-publishing short stories (10,000 words each) and those have been a great little palate-cleanser between novels. And Novels are just amazing because you can deep dive into the world and characters and, well, let’s face it: Novels with your name on them look amazing on the bookshelf.
TM: What are you working on right now? Can you give us a brief synopsis?
RFB: I have a couple of novels and my first novella in the planning stages and one is soon to be started on. Basically, one is about a woman trapped in a country house being hunted by a demonic hellhound, think Cujo meets Hush (the movie). Another is a zombie apocalypse story that involves a 80s Action Star, a Food Truck owner and a secretary (side note: that one came from a song by the Misfits).
ABOUT R.F. BLACKSTONE
Born in the slightly off town of Newcastle on the coast of Australia, R.F. Blackstone learned how to survive life in the land Down Under where everything can kill you. The son of a stage actor, magician and teacher, R.F. Blackstone had an interesting upbringing learning to see the world in a different way. Now taking that slight skewed way of looking at the world and applying it to his writing.
He has spent 10 years writing scripts before trying his hand at novels. Currently he lives in Mexico City, where he enjoys tequila, tacos al pastor and pumping out stories.