Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your latest novel! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Peter Topside: In the first book of the Preternatural trilogy, readers are introduced to the town of Meadowsville, the home of the most popular urban myth, Mr. Smith. This vicious, vampire-like entity rules over this booming town by any means necessary, slaughtering its citizens, and upholding a long-standing tradition. Several residents form an unlikely alliance to combat the common threat of this dangerous monster and embark on an undertaking that will change each of them and their town forever.
Evolution is set fifteen years after the vampire Blackheart was defeated, Meadowsville is left desolate and broken. Alexandra has returned to take over her father’s church but is struggling to find her true purpose. Torn by her shaky loyalty to Christian Reed—the unstable town antihero who vanquished Blackheart years ago—and increasing efforts at seduction and manipulation from Blackheart himself, she is forced to face her deepest traumas and insecurities.
I have always had a passion for writing and publishing my stories has been a lifelong goal. I spent my entire life being a fan of horror, and through my own personal experiences, developed characters and a story that were a really unique blend.
BD: As this is the second book in the Preternatural series, what can you share with us about your creative process in returning to this world and its characters, and what have been some of your creative influences?
PT: I really wanted to continue the original story, but also make it feel like a different experience. I also never intended on writing more than the first book, but my characters just had more to do. Alexandra Hughes organically wrote herself and emerged as the trilogy's dominant protagonist. Her unique path to reach her self-guided potential was a beautiful thing to develop. I had other ideas initially, but none even came close to Alexandra's journey. Creatively, I was greatly impacted by various films, video games, and books: Phantom of the Opera, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Resident Evil: Nemesis, and Zack Snyder films, including Sucker Punch, his DC Comic movies, and Watchmen.
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Evolution’s story will connect with and impact readers?
PT: I think the story will be empowering, above all else, for readers. It's got a lot of death, blood, action, spooky moments, and such, which will appeal to any horror fan, but it also goes much deeper. Each character is coming from different traumas, experiences, and have different goals and paths. Our protagonist, Alexandra, for example, comes from a very isolated, sheltered, and traumatic childhood. She is plunged into this entire new world in the first book, which takes her out of this safety net she's always lived in and brings her into the real world where Meadowsville exists. There are real-life monsters, ugly political agendas, people being slaughtered, and her faith is tested as she bears the responsibility of trying to save everyone. She struggles and suffers, is hurt and vulnerable, and can only rely on herself, all showing how tough the journey of a hero can be. While the story takes some liberties, the take home point remains: never lose hope or faith in yourself.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novel into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
PT: I think the concept of my books being turned into a live-action experience sounds like a dream come true. As I wrote each book, I played them through my mind like a movie, so I know how I'd want everything to look. It would be something really amazing. I would even love to see someone reimagine, or even continue the story, in print, film, tv series, etc. Honestly, I'd be open to any of it.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
PT: I am staying focused on the Preternatural trilogy, with Evolution coming out on April 13th, and Reckoning due out in early 2022. So, I am retooling the third and final book at this time. It goes really "big," so I need to make sure the definitive conclusion comes off the way I want it to. Beyond that, I really enjoy being intrigued by an idea. It motivates me to write and really commit to a story. If I'm not in that mindset, I just don't feel like I'm doing it for the right reason, and it reflects in my writing. So, I try not to push myself to just write whatever idea floats through my mind, but wait for the right inspiration. I also did a bit of world building in Reckoning, so I always retain the option to develop spinoffs, based on certain things that were purposely set up in the Preternatural trilogy, too.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Preternatural: Evolution?
PT: You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Preternatural, Book 1 is available on Amazon in both print and digital.
Preternatural: Evolution, Book 2 will be available on Amazon on April 13, 2021.