The following is an interview with Eric J. Guignard on the release of his new novella, Last Case at a Baggage Auction. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Guignard about the inspiration behind the story, his creative process in bringing Last Case to life, the impact that he hopes that the story may have with readers, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your novella, Last Case at a Baggage Auction! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the story’s premise?
Eric J. Guignard: Thank you so much, and also thank you for the chance to interview with Fanbase Press!
This novella is more “quiet” horror, with cosmic horror undertones, as well as being a mystery. Additionally, it’s a bit of historic work, although that has more to do with the setting than anything else as it takes place in 1963, Detroit.
Here’s a one-line tag: Joey Third wins an old suitcase from a baggage auction, but the record player it holds within opens a cursed portal to a frozen realm of eternity.
BD: What inspired you to tell this story, and what (or who) were some of your creative influences in bringing it to life?
EJG: The original idea for this project was championed several years ago by friend and author, Gene O’Neil, to revive the concept behind the old Ace Doubles series, in which two novellas are packaged together, pairing one acclaimed author with a “gifted, new, cutting-edge writer” (as selected by the acclaimed author). A number of eminent names were opted to be involved, and one of those was Lisa Morton, who then chose me as the newbie to write my first “long work,” and be published alongside her, and of which I will be forever grateful for such opportunity.
Ultimately however, that Doubles series fell apart, and rights reverted back to me, and I had the chance to release this as a standalone, accompanied by the incredible illustrations of artist Steve Lines, whose work I adore (who also illustrated my 2018 anthology, A WORLD OF HORROR).
The story idea was inspired by the deluge of storage locker-bidding television shows, and of which I discovered had a history that included actually bidding on hotel luggage left behind in rooms. In my story, I stayed very true to the facts, to what I discovered in my research of this process and how it evolved.
BD: Given your extensive catalog of titles, what can you share with us about your creative process in working on this latest book as compared to your previous stories?
EJG: Sometimes, I write stories for a given market, and sometimes I write stories for “me.” This was one I wrote for me, exploring relationships and impacts, emotions, fears, and also digging into new themes as well as ones I often include in my other writings: Death and how we handle it; the fluidity of memories; explorations of uncharted territory; loss of loved ones; unexpected ways to emerge victorious from dark situations… Additionally, I do admit that my creative process just goes all over the place! I take on roles (and look at projects from the multiple eyes) of Editor, Marketer, Distributor, Publisher, Author, etc., which I feel makes me a better “creative” overall.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Charlie and Joey’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
EJG: I love the idea of #StoriesMatter initiative! While I won’t claim this book to examine any forefront social issue, it does explore the individual sense—and conflict—of trying to be a good person, and what that even means, attempting to live the life this character feels was “expected” of him, and falling flat doing so, discovering that only by the sacrifice of one choice, will opportunity arrive elsewhere. Last Case at a Baggage Auction matters because it’s the study of a man, Charlie Stewart, who finds he can rise up above his problems (many of which are his own creation), and his fears, and confront evil in the world. It’s also a book of friendship between the two characters that spirals downward, and an homage to the strong women in our lives, through Charlie’s girlfriend Gail, who represents everything he’s strived for but failed to gain, and who ultimately is the one who saves him.
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).
Volume V for Han Song (identified as one of the three most important voices in contemporary Chinese science fiction!) is releasing at the end of September and includes six Chinese-to-English-translated stories!
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’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.
Lastly, I’m editing a new anthology about haunted buildings around the world, which I’m co-editing with Professor Charlatan Bardot (submissions open November 15–December 15, 2020), titled: Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World (2021 edition)
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Last Case at a Baggage Claim and your other work?
EJG: Here is a direct link to the LAST CASE AT A BAGGAGE AUCTION Book site.
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!