Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your first full-length novel, Doorways to the Deadeye! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the novel’s premise?
Eric J. Guignard: Thank you! To answer your question, here’s a brief summary of the premise:
A Depression-era hobo rides the rails and learns the underlying Hobo Code is a mystical language that leads into the world of memories, where whoever is remembered strongest—whether by trickery, violence, or daring—can change history and alter the lives of the living.
BD: What inspired you to tell this story, and how do you feel that you approached infusing so many elements (in terms of genres) into the narrative?
EJG: Interestingly, I was approached by another writer, Lisa Morton, to co-write a project with her in 2013 for this same publisher I’m at now (JournalStone), pairing two novellas together. For that project I brainstormed two ideas. The first was about a gambler who bids in the hotel baggage auctions, made popular during the first half of the twentieth century, which became the novella I wrote and published for them, Baggage of Eternal Night (made a finalist in 2014’s International Thriller Award for Best Short Story, which I’m still insanely proud of). The second idea for the project, I loved more, but decided it would be way too long to be written as a novella, and had to do with a Depression-era hobo reading messages through the Hobo Code, which takes him to the land of our memories. It took a few years before I began writing it, but that eventually evolved into Doorways to the Deadeye! As far as genre, I’ve never really felt constrained to write along genre lines. I’m involved in a lot of horror works, but it’s generally “thoughtful” horror, or light horror—I just can’t write too deeply into it… I love monsters and explorations of fear, but I also love literary accouterments and beautiful storylines. I usually consider my work to be “Dark Fiction” which encompasses dark fantasy, and speculative fiction, and “weird”, and I think it’s always important to add mystery and adventure into stories, so… well, it becomes a melting pot of worlds and styles.
BD: Were there any previous creators or works that impacted your approach to the story?
EJG: I think all creators are inspired by those who came before, by works they encountered that vitalized them with passion. Some of the books that inspired and thusly “impacted” this particular story were: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman; Big Fish by Daniel Wallace; Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon; and Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working on this latest book, and what do you hope that readers will take away from the story?
EJG: My creative process feels pretty fragmented… I let it lead me where it wants to go a lot of times. When I try to reel it in, I start to feel stifled… but that also leads to a lot of wanderlust in projects, and I find myself stretched thin between editing and publishing books, promotions, and multiple writing projects, not to mention day jobs and family and all other life obligations. I do try to work on my creative projects at least an hour each day, and as time allows up to twelve or fifteen hours in a day.
I would love for readers to find that dark and fantastic genre elements can mix with literary sensibilities. I would love for readers to find a bit of magic or hope from my book, find excitement, find pleasure…. Mostly, I just hope Doorways to the Deadeye is read and that by its last page, the reader isn’t dissatisfied!
BD: Do you foresee expanding this concept into subsequent novels?
EJG: No, not at all. I wrote this book as an extensive epic creating a myth and following the majority of one character’s life. I fit all the story I wanted to into this, and it’s not meant to be continued any further. I would like to create a series for a completely different idea though, which I’m beginning to plot out!
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
EJG: Through my press, Dark Moon Books, I’m continuing to publish a series of author primers created to champion modern masters of the dark and macabre, titled Exploring Dark Short Fiction (Vol. 1: Steve Rasnic Tem; Vol. II: Kaaron Warren; Vol. III: Nisi Shawl; Vol. IV: Jeffrey Ford; Vol. V: Han Song; Vol. VI: Ramsey Campbell).
And through SourceBooks, I’m curating a new series of books titled The Horror Writers Association Presents: Haunted Library of Horror Classics with co-editor Leslie S. Klinger (to begin publishing 2020).
I’m also still writing short stories, and I’ve started THREE new novels, although I'm not very far into any of them! One is a pulp science fiction, one a paranormal detective series, and one a literary historical horror.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Doorways to the Deadeye and your other books?
EJG: Visit my webpages! My personal author webpage is www.ericjguignard.com and my indie press page for my Primer books (and the anthologies I edit) is www.darkmoonbooks.com. The publisher for Doorways to the Deadeye is JournalStone at their site, www.journalstone.com.