Monday 15 September 2014

Guest Author Interview - Jack Rollins

In this week's guest author interview I am joined by Jack Rollins. I read The Cabinet of Dr Blessing recently and enjoyed it so much I gave it 5 stars - a fine collection of three Victorian themed horror stories. You can discover more about him and his writing below:

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jack Rollins. I was born in Northumberland and have spent years working in the care industry and now I work as an assessor and tutor in care homes across the North East and Yorkshire. I am the author of the Dr Blessing horror stories.

What first inspired you to start writing?
Somewhere between my Grandfather being a great story-teller and enjoying English lessons at school, a seed was planted. I loved comic books and used to make my own for my little brothers. In my teenage years I ground away at some really awful attempts at sci-fi and crime fiction and although I came away from writing for a time, I always knew I would go back to it.

And what attracted you to writing horror?
I have always been affected most by stories in real life which just disturb you; items in the news where you think, “Jesus Christ, how did they manage to come through that and stay sane?” Telling stories which push those buttons appeals to me. I don’t want to be gory for the sake of being gory; I want to tell stories that stay with you afterwards.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
I read a book called Agent Zigzag, about Eddie Chapman a double-agent in the Second World War. This guy was resourceful, but he had been a crook in the past and thought to have no loyalty to the crown. It was unclear whose side he was ultimately on; was he just trying to stay alive long enough to stay aligned with the winners? I would want to spend some time with him and try to make my own mind up. Saying that, I get the impression he had the ability to convince anyone of anything…

What do you find most rewarding as an indie author?
I have had to learn how to use Photoshop in recent months, to produce my own covers and make them uniformed - this was for the individual Dr Blessing stories, and then for the omnibus. It was frustrating to begin with, but once I managed to get a look I was happy with, I found I could make the other covers quite easily. When that was done, and especially when I had the paperback version in my hand it was rewarding to think that I not only wrote this, but every part of what you see in that book or e-book was made directly by me, for my readers. Only an indie author is really going to give readers that kind of service.

And the most challenging?
The marketing is the biggest challenge. No budget and no Harper Collins behind you, it is exceptionally difficult to get your work noticed in a vast marketplace. The most success I have had in my marketing came only recently, when I opened up to my fellow indie authors and simply asked for help. They came out to bat for me, and things have really started to pick up.

What are your favourite song lyrics?
White Winter Hymal by Fleet Foxes - the whole song is only a few lines repeated and it sounds like this lovely, lullaby folk-tune, but those lyrics are really sinister:

With scarves of red tied round their throats/ To keep their little heads/ From falling in the snow/ Then I turned around and there you go/ And Michael you would fall/ And turn the white snow red as strawberries in the summertime.

What are you working on at the moment?
I have a few stories running at present. My next release is likely to be my Victorian novella The Séance. The story is set in the heyday of mediums and Spiritualists as a man investigates his sister’s mental and physical collapse following a... well, a Séance.

I am also working on a contemporary horror novel, and several projects which develop the world of Dr Blessing.

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
The Cabinet of Dr Blessing follows the eponymous doctor to an unusual, traumatic birth. He encounters a creature unknown in general society and wants to study it, hoping to find some benefit for mankind. But the creature has other ideas and soon it becomes unclear who is in control of whom.

You can find out more by reading the details on Amazon, or by liking my facebook page: and joining me on Twitter: @jackrollins9280

Click here to buy The Cabinet of Dr Blessing from Amazon US / Amazon UK (and it's a 5 star horror read!)

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