As you all may have noticed if you’ve checked out my review posted earlier today, I LOVED reading the first two books in the Tales of Lovecraft Middle School series. They were such a breath of fresh air. A modern day The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids or Goosebumps so to speak! I was also really excited that I was able to interview the author of these fabulous stories. So without further ado please welcome Charles Gilman to Good Books and Good Wine!
CG: This whole series grew out of my obsession with lenticular printing. There have been some terrific advancements with lenticular printing in recent years, and I started pondering a series in which students and teachers would “morph” into various monsters. In my imagination, I thought there would be a handful of books, and each cover would showcase (via lenticular printing) a different transformation. In other words, you would walk past the book on a shelf, and the person on the cover would change into a monster. Basically, I wanted to create a spooky haunted bookshelf that kids could keep in their bedrooms. So that was the inspiration, and all of the editorial — the middle school, the Lovecraft angle, the creatures, the hideous transformations of adolescence — everything grew out of the lenticulars.
2) Do you think you were inspired to write this series by any books you read in your childhood? If so, which books?
CG: Oh, sure. When I was a kid, my favorite books were anthologies of scary stories “presented” by the famous film director Alfred Hitchcock. They had titles like Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghostly Gallery and Alfred Hitchcocks’s Haunted Houseful. They were beautifully designed books with creepy short stories about ghouls and demons and monsters.
But here’s the funny thing: I recently learned that Alfred Hitchcock had nothing to do with these books! He just lent his name to the cover and a talented editor named Robert Arthur Jr. did all of the real work. So I tried to channel the spooky essence of those anthologies by giving the name “Robert Arthur” to the hero of the Lovecraft Middle School series.
3) Did you model any of the characters after yourself or after someone you know? If not, where do you find the inspiration for your characters?
CG: Yes. When I was 12 years old, I moved to a new school where I didn’t know anyone, and I hated it. That’s Robert Arthur’s predicament at the beginning of the series, and things quickly go from bad to worse! A lot of my own personal experiences found their way into the books: I had trouble with bullies. I’m a terrible swimmer. I drew on all of those experiences and more.
4) I love all the art work in the books. It really brings the characters and the storyline to life. Did you originally intend for there to be artwork or was that something that was added later?
CG: I’m so glad you asked this question. I’ve been fortunate to work with a really terrific illustrator, Eugene Smith. I love the work that he’s done for this series — he does great work with the action scenes and he has a terrific gift for drawing really imaginative creatures. But my favorite illustrations in the series are the ones that show the more quiet moments — the boys walking near a lighthouse, or having a sleepover party, or doing normal run-of-the-mill stuff. Eugene seems to remember what it’s like to be a 12 year old boy. I can feel it when I look at the illustrations.
5) If you could describe your series in just five words, what would they be?
CG: Five words? That’s tough. Okay, here goes: Adolescent Horror—literal and metaphorical!
6) What has been your favorite part (so far) of writing the Lovecraft Middle School series? What are the future plans for the series?
CG: I’m finishing the third and fourth books, which will be out in May and September of 2013. I’d say the best part of writing the series so far has been the opportunity to meet with so many interesting & wonderful teachers and librarians. They’re really wonderful people & they read everything, so you can usually count on them for terrific book recommendations.
I’m hoping there will be a fifth and sixth book and even more — I have a whole list with dozens of characters that I’d like to showcase on the covers!
Thank you to Charles Gilman for answering my questions. You can find out more about him and the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School here:
And that’s not all! Thanks to Eric at Quirk Books, I am giving away TWO sets of Professor Gargoyle (Book #1) and The Slither Sisters (Book #2). All you have to do is fill out the rafflecopter form. This contest is for US only because I simply just don’t have the money to do an international contest right now. Sorry! Contest ends January 23rd, 2013!