Day 3 of my 13 Horrifically Silly Days of Halloween…horror and genre author Marcus Hawke
Welcome back…and let’s welcome horror author Marcus Hawke…mwa-ha-ha-ha…
Tell me about The Miracle Sin—what’s it all about and what inspired this story? Where can readers find the book?
I can answer that question by asking another: Have you ever wondered if there’s more to life? If we are destined for something great, part of a divine plan rather than just subjects of random chaos? Mason Cole has wondered these things. And he has the answer…No. How could that be when his parents were killed in an earthquake that destroyed the city of Jerusalem, yet he alone survived? How could he be destined for great things when he’s stuck in a town-shaped rest stop where nothing he does makes a difference? And why would God do this to him in the first place? Then one day a stranger passes through town, bringing with him a unique explanation of his past, one he never could have imagined, and wishes he could forget. It sounds like something from one of his books, only this time it’s happening to him, and it becomes clear that not every miracle is a blessing. Now, with a red-haired devil hell bent on possessing him for his own sinister gains, Mason must discover the answers to these questions if he ever hopes to survive in a world where the dark no longer hides that which dwells within.
What inspired it was mostly the same thoughts and feelings as the main character, and I think, many others who find themselves wondering such things. One theme of the book is about survivor’s guilt, the feelings experienced by those who survive near-death or otherwise serious traumatic incidents which is something I’ve dealt with myself. You’re left wondering, why me? Why did I make it when others didn’t? Why am I special? Am I special, or is it just the luck of the draw? And what do I do with the years I have to live now when I wouldn’t have had things gone another way?
It can be found on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.
And Acts of Violence—12 of your own stories? Tell me a little bit about each story, if you would.
Acts of Violence, as a title, has a bit of a dual meaning: as a violent act, and an “act” as in a segment of a play or story.
The People in 2B – The People in 2B is the account of a man who has been pushed too far for too long by his next door neighbors.
zombie. com – The living dead find their way into the 9 to 5 life of a lowly office worker. If you’ve ever hated your job, this one is for you.
Just One of Those Things – A couple who go house hunting and wind up getting more than they bargained for.
Stay With Me – An emergency operator gets a call way worse than usual.
Doll – A recently sober detective is assigned to a very unusual case.
Under the Black Top – Sometimes kids run away to the circus, other times they’re taken.
Slasher – A career killer escapes custody and is on the prowl again after far too long away. Meant to be both an homage and a deconstruction of the slasher subgenre.
School Spirit – Told from the perspective of a custodian that knows more than he admits about the death of a student and the events that follow.
Your Truly – A collection of correspondence from a psychopath to the man who caught him.
Every Hunt is a Cold One – A young woman’s struggle to survive the frozen wasteland of a post-apocalyptic world and the horrors it contains.
Matters of the Heart – A murder victim finds an existence beyond the tender cruelties of an admirer.
The Reign and The Rapture – Though it’s the last story, this one very much feels like the centrepiece of the book. I don’t even think I can give a really short summation of what it’s about except to say that it deals with a number of things from religious dogma and judgement to environmental impact, betrayal, hypocrisy, identity, perception, truth, and personal trauma. There’s also an overarching theme of asking whether, if we knew what was coming, would we change our ways? And that’s a question everyone is going to have their own answer to.
A few were previously published, but most of them not. A few I wrote for submission calls that weren’t accepted, others I just didn’t manage to place anywhere, and a few were written specifically for the book.
It is available on Amazon, Godless, and many others including Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.
And what might be that little something you mentioned might be coming out in October?
Well it might be an anthology of Halloween horror put together by myself and fellow indie authors I know to mark the upcoming spookiest of holidays…and that’s exactly what it is! It’s called October Blood and it will be out October 4th.
You’ve turned to publishing as well?
I think every independent and self-published author is involved with publishing in some manner or another. We have to be. Hawke Haus is just meant to be my own personal brand; a stamp I can put on a piece of work like a signature. I don’t plan to publish other people’s books with it or anything, but if ever I want to do something like an anthology (like October Blood) or co-write something with someone, there’s always the option to do so under this banner which is a nice option to have.
I’d also like to hear about your short stories, and what anthologies or magazines etc. they can be found.
The first short story I ever had published was called “Bump in the Night”, was published in a magazine called Jitter in 2016. The others are “Stay With Me” in Spine Magazine, “Every Hunt is a Cold One” in Bitter Chills, “zombie.com” in Parasite Gods, “The People in 2B” in Lunatics magazine, and most recently “Yours Truly” in Devil’s Rejects. I’m always on the lookout for new submission calls and have a few I’m waiting to hear back on as we speak as well as others I plan to submit to shortly.
Why are you a horror author—what is it about horror?
I wish I knew. I always think back to Stephen King being asked a similar question and his response was: “What makes you think I have a choice?” I like many different genres, I’ve written in them and plan to again, but horror feels like the one. Why that is, who can say for sure? But I can say that at least part of it is the need for an outlet when things weigh heavily on me, as well as bleed over from the horrors of the real world which easily pale others I could come up with. Those are aspects I often incorporate into my work, and the funny thing about that is that it isn’t always intentional. It just seems to happen naturally.
Now, let’s turn to the questions I ask everyone in my 13 Horrifically Silly Days of Halloween blog series…
What is your favourite horror movie of all time?
Any title I might name would only be whatever happens to be nearest at the time because there are so many. But the one I most often and most confidently name is The Shining. I remember seeing it for the first time during a winter day that slowly darkened outside just as it does visually in the film which was just perfect. It’s also the first Kubrick film I saw and have since become a big fan of his work.
What is your favourite horror novel or author of all time?
Misery by Stephen King. Few times in my life have I read a book that had me quite literally gripping the armrest of my chair and shouting things like, “Hurry up, she’ll catch you!”
What about your favourite Canadian horror movie?
Ginger Snaps, but a close second would be Cube. Both of which are great examples of independent filmmaking at its best, but Ginger Snaps especially because it perfectly captures that point in time for me (late 90s-early 2000s). It’s gothic, realistic, has lots of dark humor and a touching sibling relationship central to the story.
Canadian horror or genre novel?
The Troop by Nick Cutter. Like others I’m sure, I picked it up because of the front cover quote from Stephen King saying it “scared the hell out of him”. What more do you need? And when I started reading I discovered that his praise was earned! It’s incredibly well-written, layered, creepy, and packs one hell of a punch. The fact that it’s set in Canada is just the cherry on top.
How about fav horror-comedies? Any that happen to be Canadian?
Some well-known ones like Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods, Idle Hands, Zombieland, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. But some lesser knowns would be The Voices (starring Ryan Reynolds, who is of course Canadian) and Werewolves Within; the former is really darkly funny in a very uniquely twisted way and the latter is good old fashioned screwball ensemble comedy in a similar vein as Noises Off or Clue.
Plan 9 From Outer Space. I don’t even know if I can call it a B-movie, it’s more like a D minus but it’s a classic and entertaining as hell. A very close second would have to be Killer Klowns From Outer Space. As long as it’s got “from Outer Space” in the title that’s a good sign.
Canadian B-movie? (and why?)
Wolf Cop. Half man, half wolf, all cop! How can you go wrong?
Last, but not least, what is your Halloween ritual?
When the moon is highest, I get the spiced blood of a goat, a clay tablet of Sumerian origin to pour it on, two virgins, a black flame candle…
Horror movies and candy!