An interview and press release with Author William Blackwell, Author of Freak Fanky: Santa Muerte followers discover the horrifying consequences of worshipping with evil intentions.
Tell us about your newest book.
In my latest horror novel, Freaky Franky, I explore the terrifying consequences that occur when Santa Muerte devotees worship with evil intentions. A well-researched, fact-based fiction novel, Freaky Franky also examines the exploding popularity of the skeleton saint. Here’s a short synopsis:
When an enigmatic town doctor saves the life of Anisa Worthington’s dying son, she abandons Christianity in favor of devotion to the cult of Santa Muerte or Saint Death. Some believe the mysterious skeleton saint will protect your loved ones; help in matters of the heart; provide abundant happiness, health, wealth and justice. But others, including the Catholic Church, call it blasphemous, evil and satanic.
Anisa introduces Saint Death to troubled Catholic friend Helen Randon and strange things begin happening. One of Helen’s enemies is brutally murdered and residents of Montague, a peaceful little town in Prince Edward Island, begin plotting to rid the Bible belt of apostates.
Anisa suspects Helen is perverting the good tenets of Santa Muerte but, before she can act, a terrible nightmare propels her to the Dominican Republic in search of Freaky Franky, her long-lost and unstable brother, who mysteriously disappeared without a trace twenty years ago.
To her horror, Anisa learns Freaky Franky is also worshipping Santa Muerte with evil intentions. As a fanatical and hell-bent lynch mob tightens the noose, mysterious murders begin occurring all around Anisa. Unsure about who’s an enemy and who’s an ally, she’s thrust into a violent battle to save her life as well as the lives of her unpredictable friends and brother.
Sounds like a great story.
Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing your newest book?
Although Freaky Franky was well-researched, it started as a seat-of-your-pants endeavor. I didn’t have a clearly defined idea of where it was going. I told one of my friends, “I think maybe it’s crap and I should just toss it in the garbage.” She read what I had and disagreed, encouraging me to plod on. At the halfway stage, I slowly developed a plot outline and suddenly realized where to take the story. It was like a door to salvation miraculously opened. After that I moved along at a good clip, averaging 2000 words a day. I’m glad I took her advice. Maybe my editor and publisher are biased, but my editor, who represents New York Times best-selling authors, says it’s one of my finest books and my publisher says it is my finest book.
Tell us a little bit about your writing career.
Sure. Encouraged by some friends, I started writing novels about six years ago. After graduating from The University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts degree, I worked for over fifteen years as a real estate agent in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Prior to that I held many jobs, but my passion has always been writing. I worked as a journalist for a couple of rural Alberta weekly newspapers, wrote ad copy for a few years, and was always writing creative blurbs on scraps of paper in my spare time. Much of my novels were inspired by my nightmares, which I’ve had for as long as I can remember.
They say hindsight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?
As an indie author, I think one of my biggest mistakes was not concentrating on promotion. I used to just churn out novel after novel with the mistaken belief that that the sheer volume and quality of work would separate me from the sea of mediocrity. Not true. To succeed in this business, you not only have to be a great writer. You also have to be a great marketer. This year I’m spending a lot of time on promotion. I’m also planning on submitting my next manuscript to Amazon’s Kindle Scout, and if they reject it, seek the services of a literary agent.
What was your most difficult scene to write?
With Freaky Franky, the last four or five chapters leading up the ending (and the ending) were the most difficult to write. I’ve always thought the ending has to be sensational—shocking, gripping and even unexpected. And I think toward the end, the writing should be a lot tighter, since most, if not all, of the character development and backstory has already been dealt with.
Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
I love themes, sub-text and symbolism. I always try and impart positive moral messages in my stories. I also try and create stories that operate on many levels—a theme below the surface, a theme on the surface and possibly even another theme above the surface.
What are you working on now?
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on dreams and the amazing subconscious landscapes they produce. I’ve researched and written blog posts on a number of sleep disorders including lucid dreaming, night terrors, sleep paralysis, sleepwalking, even sexsomnia—where people actually initiate and have sex in their sleep and wake up with no recollection of it. I envision a character who suffers from many, if not all of these disorders, whose life is spiraling out of control as a result. Sounds pretty terrifying, right?
Is there a release date planned?
The middle of summer sometime. Maybe June or July.
Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?
In my new horror release Freaky Franky, Franklin Reiger is one of my favorite characters. What makes a horror novel interesting is when characters are not black and white. Readers are able to identify more with multi-dimensional characters. Freaky Franky is more than an evil character. As a child, he witnesses the deaths of many close family members, and eventually believes he’s cursed. Everyone around him dies and perhaps reluctantly he decides to give a few of them a little nudge. But, guilt-ridden and regretful, he embarks down a landmine-laced path for redemption and rebirth.
Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
I hate to admit it, but frankly I don’t remember. A few years ago I read Stephen King’s The Stand, considered by many to be the Bible of post-apocalyptic fiction, and loved it. Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking Bird, is also a one of my favorites, among many others.
What are your plans for future projects?
This year I’m going to be far more disciplined with promotion and review-seeking. One of the biggest problems indie authors face is getting reviews. I’m going to spend half of my day doing promotion and the other half researching and writing Deadly Parasomnias, a working title I just invented now for my next novel.
Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?
If anyone would like to sample my work, they’re welcome to click my website below and download a FREE copy of Resurrection Point, a dark tale about the horrifying consequences of experimenting with death and resurrection.
Here’s the link: http://www.wblackwell.com/free-ebook/
Good luck with your newest release, and thank you for being with us today.
Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it immensely.
Scroll down to check out the newspaper article below, and learn more about William Blackwell.
Buy links for Freaky Franky
Press release: January 23, 2018
Little-known Canadian author William Blackwell explodes onto horror scene
Little-known Prince Edward Island author William Blackwell explodes onto the horror scene, writing and publishing seventeen novels in just five years.
In 2013, Blackwell left his career as a realtor in Calgary, Alberta, escaped the rat race, and moved to Prince Edward Island to pursue his passion for writing. He didn’t decide one day that he wanted to be a writer, he says. He’s been writing stories since he was a little boy growing up in Hamilton, Ontario.
He achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree, literature emphasis, at The University of British Columbia, and studied journalism at Calgary’s Mount Royal University, before working for about three years as a print journalist for two Canadian weekly newspapers.
Since 2012, Blackwell has written seventeen novels, most of them in the horror fiction genre. But, as an independent hybrid author, he admits it’s sometimes a struggle navigating the often murky waters of digital book promotion. “I don’t have an easy time with self-promotion,” he says. “Frankly, I’d rather be creating novels. And I’m not the best multi-tasker. It’s tough to remove the author hat and don the marketer hat.”
Over the last five years, Blackwell says most of his sales, while falling short of New York Times best-selling status, have come from the United States. He hopes that 2018 will be his break-out year. “I’m hoping to get more recognition and support from Americans and Canadians alike. And I would like to break new ground all over the world.”
When Blackwell left his job in Calgary, he moved to a forty-five acre oceanfront property on PEI, hoping the peace and tranquility of Mother Nature would inspire more stories. “And it worked. It’s idyllic and incredibly beautiful here. After being a realtor for many years, it was time for a new chapter.”
Blackwell’s titles include Brainstorm, Nightmare's Edge, The Rage Trilogy, Assaulted Souls Trilogy, Orgon Conclusion, Rule 14, Resurrection Point, The Strap, A Head for an Eye, Blood Curse, Black Dawn, The End Is Nigh and Freaky Franky.
While his novels have garnered praise from readers and book reviewers alike, with all titles hovering in the four to five star range overall, Blackwell has yet to plant himself firmly in the spotlight as the next great storyteller. With his latest horror release, Freaky Franky, a well-researched novel documenting the exploding popularity of Santa Muerte cult worship, Blackwell hopes the sea of mediocrity will part, providing him smooth sailing to critical and financial success.
“Inspired by real-life events, Freaky Franky is much more than an examination of the horrifying consequences of worshiping Santa Muerte with evil intentions,” Blackwell says. “It offers a message of salvation, redemption and hope for people who are willing to change for the better.”
“Maybe my editor is biased, but I doubt it,” he adds. “She represents New York Times best-selling authors. She says Freaky Franky is one of my finest works. And my publisher says it is my finest work.”
Blackwell’s blueprint for success for 2018 includes concentrating entirely on book promotion for the first half of the year and starting a new novel during the second half. “I’ve read dozens of books on digital book promotion and I think I’ve finally developed an organized and effective plan. In 2018, among other things, I’ll be soliciting more book reviews, writing weekly blog posts, and communicating more with my readers. I’m also exploring the possibility of starting a YouTube channel, something tongue-in-cheek like William Blackwell’s Wacky World. I’m even planning on pitching some traditional publishers.”
And while Blackwell is hoping his efforts will increase book sales, and maybe even land a traditional publishing contract, he maintains money wasn’t the main reason he embarked on his new path as a scribbling scribe. “An inner voice, a calling—even my regularly scheduled horrific nightmares—drove me to it. I write first to please myself and second to feed my writing addiction. But I also write to educate, influence, entertain, and scare the hell out of my readers.”
Blackwell has dabbled in other fiction genres including paranormal, post-apocalyptic, psychological thriller, inspirational fiction and science-fiction. His work, often well-researched, has been described as “raw, gritty and real.”
While most of his themes are dark, Blackwell says he strives to impart positive messages in his prose. “I try to impart messages of moral fortitude to help better humanity in some small way.”
To learn more about William Blackwell and his work, visit: http://www.wblackwell.com/
His Twitter handle is @wblackwell333
Find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/william.blackwell.5264
About the AuthorWilliam Blackwell studied journalism at Calgary’s Mount Royal University and English literature at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia. He worked as a print journalist for many years before becoming an author. He has written over seventeen novels, mainly in the horror genre. Currently living on an acreage in Prince Edward Island, Blackwell loves to travel and write dark fiction.