The following is an interview with Sean McDonough (Beverly Kills, The Terror at Turtleshell Mountain), author of the upcoming book, Rock and Roll Death Trip. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with McDonough about the inspiration behind the book, what he hopes that readers will take away from the story, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You will soon be celebrating the release of your latest novel, Rock and Roll Death Trip. What can you tell readers about the premise of the book, and what inspired the project?
Sean McDonough: Rock and Roll Death Trip follows shock rocker Jackie Galindo as a road trip in the California desert devolves into a life-or-death blood feud with a clan of shape-shifting demons. The inspiration came from my time living out in Southern California. I used to love taking aimless road trips outside of the LA city limits. Two hours in any direction and it’s nothing but quirky small towns, breath-taking vistas, and plenty of open road to let your mind wander through. I listened to a lot of metal and hard rock on those drives – Motorhead, AC/DC, Rob Zombie, that kind of stuff. One day, I was out on a drive and everything, the music, the backdrop, the zen-calm that came over me during long drives… it all just kind of clicked together. I had my first draft notebook with me, and I pulled over into a bar in the middle of nowhere and cranked out twelve first draft pages before turning around and heading back home to write some more.
BD: Will the book be a standalone story, or do you have more adventures planned for the property?
SM: Right now, it’s a standalone property, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some ideas that I could get into at a later date. The demons in my book are family. The funny thing about family is you never know what relatives might come crawling out of the woodwork.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from the book?
SM: First and foremost, I want them to have a good time. I’m from the ’80s pulp school of horror writing. I want everyone to go home feeling like they had a gruesome good time. Beyond that, I hope they walk away with a renewed sense of self-confidence. With this book, I tried to tap into the inspirational power of rock and roll. Good rock leaves you feeling like you can knock down walls and run over anyone in your way. I hope this book makes people feel the same way.
BD: As a writer, what appeals to you about the horror genre, and do you feel that the genre provides more – or unique – storytelling tools to you versus other genres?
SM: What I like most about working in the horror genre is that it’s primal. Whatever modern societal ills a horror writer may have in mind, at the end of the day we’re all tapping into that primal predator/prey brain. There’s a real freedom in that. In the horror genre, there’s a disrespect for society that’s hardwired into it. Other genres can have despicable characters, sure, but they’re still handcuffed because they’re set in a world that recognizes them as “despicable.” The horror genre lets the monsters off the chain to truly be monsters. And that’s good for the heroes too, because the deeper the dark, the brighter the light. That’s the best thing about working in the horror genre. Everything gets stripped down to its purest form because you don’t have to dilute it by giving any kind of damn about “respectability.”
BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you would like to share with our readers?
SM: Not this year, but I’m already working on the first draft of a slasher novel set in an abandoned catholic school and both of my previous novels, Beverly Kills and The Terror at Turtleshell Mountain, are available on Amazon.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about Rock and Roll Death Trip?
SM: I’d say follow my Facebook page to see some of the behind-the-scenes process. But to really learn more about what the book is about, I’d put together a Pandora Station of AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Iggy Pop and get out on the roads!