Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of your latest short story collection! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the overall premise of the collection?
Eric J. Guignard: Thank you so much, and also thank you for the chance to interview with Fanbase Press!
This book is an illustrated travel-themed anthology of fiction stories exploring haunted buildings, written by authors from around the globe.
Here’s my “formal” synopsis:
“At Last, an Authoritative Compendium to (Fictional) Haunted Buildings for the Delight and Exploration of Reader-Travelers Around the Globe.”
For nearly forty years, renowned paranormal investigator Professor Charlatan Bardot has examined, documented, and acquired stories of haunted buildings around the world. Partnered with leading anthologist Eric J. Guignard, and gifted artists Steve Lines and James Gabb, the greatest of Charlatan’s discoveries are made available now in this comprehensive travel anthology!
From the Philippines’ tragic Ame-Soeur Clothing Factory, to Sweden’s reverent Fish Church; from Tanzania’s vengeful Unguja Restaurant, to Canada’s cursed Crow Island Lighthouse, Charlatan Bardot presents a lifetime of experience and insight into paranormal architecture.
27 feature stories and 36 tiny tales are included of haunted temples, diners, hotels, shops, hospitals, outposts, theaters, and other building types, along with maps, travel notes, illustrations, and more, all designed to provide an immersive experience for veteran travelers and armchair ghost hunters alike!
Enter Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World and explore the strange and curious locales of the globe and of your imagination.
BD: What was the inspiration behind this project, and what can you tell us about your shared creative process in working with "co-editor" Charlatan Bardot and illustrators Steve Lines and James Gabb?
EJG: My idea for this project formed about July, 2020. We were deep into the COVID pandemic with increasing quarantine orders falling around us. I was suffering cabin fever, especially with young children, being stuck at home all day, every day. I wanted to try something creatively different, something speaking to my need for escapism and wanderlust, while being inspired by Lonely Planet-type of travel guides. I created a persona in Professor Charlatan Bardot that drew inspiration from: 1/3 Robert Ripley (Ripley’s Believe it or Not), 1/3 Cryptkeeper (Tales of the Crypt), and 1/3 of Dos Equis’ ad campaign of the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” and then I sent Bardot to explore all the most (fictional) haunted buildings around the globe!
The illustrators who partnered with me for this book were both fantastic to work with. I’d worked with Steve Lines on books before, and he was the very first person I discussed my idea with, as I wanted him to be part of it. Steve illustrated about half the book, and then unfortunately he passed away suddenly from COVID on March 23, 2021, which was a huge heartbreak and a loss for the indie world, as he’d been involved in art, writing, and publishing for decades. In June, I was fortunate to connect with James Gabb and brought him into this project to complete the missing art work. He picked up where Steve left off, was brilliant to work with, and together their illustrations truly brought this book to life with the visual layering.
BD: At over 450 pages, this collection is both expansive and immersive, replete with maps, travel notes, illustrations, and more. What do you hope that readers will most enjoy about their reader experience?
EJG: I hope readers will feel the sense of travelling around the world, the same as exploring any destination through a coffee table-type of Travel Guide book. I focused this book on diversity of authors, cultures, and voice, to give it an authentic sense of global travel, all the while maintaining the experience of Haunted ghost tours. I want readers to find enjoyment in the tales, to experience thrills and curiosity, to have their imagination spurred to new ideas.
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, reissuing classic novels with new introductions and other ancillary material.
I also write short stories, averaging about one new publication a month. And I’ve started FOUR new novels, although I'm not very far into any of them! One is a pulp science fiction, one a paranormal detective series, one a literary historical horror, and one a cosmic slipstream time-travel.
Lastly, I’m editing and publishing the anthology series, +HORROR LIBRARY+, which promotes unthemed horror short stories. Volume 7 will be releasing March, 2022!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World and your other work?
EJG: Here is a direct link to the book site for Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World (2021 EDITION).
And here are links to all my other social media!
Eric J. Guignard Author Site: www.ericjguignard.com
Eric J. Guignard Blog: http://ericjguignard.blogspot.com/
Dark Moon Books Publisher Site (operated by Eric J. Guignard): www.darkmoonbooks.com
Twitter (@ericjguignard): https://twitter.com/ericjguignard
Twitter (@darkmoonbooks): https://twitter.com/DarkMoonBooks
THANK YOU, FANBASE PRESS!