Author Q & A: MJ McAleer

 

This is the transcript for the Q&A with author MJ McAleer from Sunday, August 27th, at 5 PM.

This transcript has been edited to remove log in/log out notifications and some smilies for readability. Some off-topic side conversations have also been removed for readability.

 

Michael J. McAleer

Hi everyone, I’m on. Even got the kids bathed first for first day of school tomorrow!

JoElla

School already?

Stormcloak

North Carolina has been in school for weeks now

Mark Gardner

Exciting stuff! Are they looking forward to classes tomorrow?

Mark Gardner

How do you find the time to write with the little ones running around?

Stormcloak

Good to have you here. Missed you in the Terror panel. Julie mentioned something happened this morning?

Mark Gardner

Dental emergency, right?

Michael J. McAleer

Yep, they start tomorrow. Can’t believe summer is over already. Now, for the cold weather. Ugh. Mark, somehow I manage to shuffle this, a full time job that has me traveling all around the country (and to Ireland), and three kids. My wife is the secret ingredient. She keeps everything in order.

Michael J. McAleer

Yessir! I woke up yesterday morning with a tooth abscess. Ouch. I put it off all day yesterday, but was able to find someone to at least prescribe some antibiotics (and painkillers) today.

Mark Gardner

So, tell us about yourself.

efestivalofwords

You guys decided to start without me?

Michael J. McAleer

Sorry, I couldn’t make it on that panel, Stormcloak. I was sad to miss that one. I’m a HUGE King fan.

Stormcloak

You were making us dinner I thought lol

Michael J. McAleer

We were just warming up, Julie. Haha.

Valerie Hayden

What are we having for dinner you didn’t tell us lol

Michael J. McAleer

I made Guinness stew for dinner tonight. It turned out quite well, too!

Mark Gardner

I’m a rule breaker…

Michael J. McAleer

A little about me, Mark? Let’s see…

efestivalofwords

And let’s officially start and welcome MJ McAleer to the show!

efestivalofwords

You just released your book, The Churel. So let’s start with that. Tell us about the book.

Michael J. McAleer

Sure, Julie!

Michael J. McAleer

As mentioned, I’m a big King fan, so he was a lot of my inspiration. Particularly from his Bachman days. I decided one day that I wanted to write a book, so I started THE CHUREL. The book references a Hindu Old Wives’ tale, which I placed on American soil, and fused it with Western culture.

Michael J. McAleer

The main character, George, is very similar to myself. He travels, his wife stays at home with three children, etc. That made the character very easy to develop. He buys a house that he later finds out is ‘haunted’, but not in the traditional sense of the word.

MsPenguin

What is a Churel exactly?

 

Michael J. McAleer

That’s where the Churel comes into play. I wrote a lot of twists and turns into this book, so as to keep the reader engaged.

 

Michael J. McAleer

A churel is a female ghost out of Hindu folklore. A churel, or chudail, is born when said female dies during childbirth. She then takes revenge. It’s kind of twisted, but I was looking for something that had never been done before. I believe I’ve achieved that.

efestivalofwords

How do you take a Hindu wives’ tale and turn it into something that feels organic in a U.S. setting?

Michael J. McAleer

Easy, Julie! I wanted to write a horror novel that wasn’t the normal cookie-cutter type. So, I began researching various types of things, this being one of them. I took this, and placed it in a fictional town, here in my home state of Pennsylvania. The book is modern day, so what I did was simply move this wicked creature to the U.S.

efestivalofwords

Most of the folks who participate in the festival are old hands at the publishing business. Since this is your first book, tell us a little bit about your journey to publication. What has surprised you through the process?

Michael J. McAleer

I love horror. It’s my favorite genre, hands down. But most of what I read in horror is not very original. I took a leap of faith that nobody has every heard of a churel before, let alone know what one was.

JoElla

Good choice

Michael J. McAleer

Oh boy, my journey… I wouldn’t say it was a difficult one, but it was long. I found out a lot about myself during this journey. Another thing that I was surprised to find out was that the easiest part of writing a book…was writing the book. Once editing began, then all of the other little things here and there, I realized just how arduous of a process it is.

Michael J. McAleer

I also learned that patience truly is a virtue. Haha.

Stormcloak

So now that you finished the book is there anything you would do differently with the next one?

Michael J. McAleer

Oh, there are a ton of things that I would do differently. At the top of that list… SLOW DOWN! I was shooting out inquiries before I had even finished the book the first time. Big mistake. Also, I hadn’t properly edited the book at that point either, so essentially I was sending out an unfinished product.

 

efestivalofwords

One of the things we talked about this morning during the horror panel was Tobe Hooper’s death and some of his work. I’m also a big King fan (the earlier works) and Tobe was responsible for the minseries of Salem’s Lot

Michael J. McAleer

I’m probably going to get yelled at for this one, but I didn’t love ‘salem’s Lot.

efestivalofwords

HERETIC! lol

Michael J. McAleer

However, I completely agree that his earlier work was some of his best. Misery is still one of my favorites.

Michael J. McAleer

Haha.

Michael J. McAleer

I’m just not into the vampire thing. It’s just too cliched for me.

efestivalofwords

The Bachman books were amazing. Misery, Carrie, Cujo, Shining

Michael J. McAleer

I loved the Bachman days. The Long Walk is my favorite of that group.

Michael J. McAleer

Well, one of my favorites, anyway.

Stormcloak

I wouldn’t mind some vampires that were actually scary. Most vampires today appear to be more UF than horror

Michael J. McAleer

I just can’t get into the vampire thing. LOL.

efestivalofwords

You’re forgiven lol

Michael J. McAleer

Haha.

efestivalofwords

So what IS the next book? Are you currently working on anything or just still focused on promoting The Churel?

Michael J. McAleer

I sure am. It remains untitled, but is mostly finished. I did the same thing I did with the first. I took a Micmac legend, and placed it in the swamps of good ol’ Loose-ee-an-ah! I’m very excited about this one, and it’s nearly finished.

JoElla

Micmac?

Michael J. McAleer

Indians in the Nova Scotia area. So, not quite as far from home this time.

Michael J. McAleer

In fact, I believe the Micmacs bled into Maine a bit as well.

Michael J. McAleer

…northern Maine.

efestivalofwords

You know this could be a great branding thing for you. Take exotic creature, plop it in the U.S., watch the fun!

Michael J. McAleer

That’s exactly what I’m going for, Julie! I want to be original. I love reading a good book and thinking ‘where in the hell did that idea even come from?’ Pardon my French. That’s kind of what I’m trying to do.

MsPenguin

And you also educate your readers on other cultures when they start asking questions. laugh

Michael J. McAleer

Touche!

efestivalofwords

So besides King, who are some of your influences?

Michael J. McAleer

Oh boy. How long do we have here? A few hours? LOL. Here we go…

Michael J. McAleer

Some of my favorite horror influences:

Michael J. McAleer

Joe Hill (King’s son), Nick Cutter, Josh Mallerman, and many more. As for non-horror…

Michael J. McAleer

Dan Brown is one of my all-time favorites. I just love everything he’s every written. Don Winslow is a newer thing for me. Nelson DeMille (I’ve read all but one of his books). I could go on and on.

Michael J. McAleer

My favorite horror book of all time though, which has a lot of influence in my story, is The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson.

MsPenguin

Do you have any interest in writing other genres? Most of the guests this year seem to be cross-pollinating

Michael J. McAleer

Ya know, I haven’t quite thought of that. I think for the foreseeable future, I’ll likely stick with writing horror. But hey, I’m young (34), so you never know!

efestivalofwords

cross-pollinating is an interesting word choice

Michael J. McAleer

I like that also!

efestivalofwords

We have a few minutes left. Mike, is there anything you want to share before we close the festival this year!?

efestivalofwords

cross-pollinating is an interesting word choice

Michael J. McAleer

I like that also!

efestivalofwords

We have a few minutes left. Mike, is there anything you want to share before we close the festival this year!?

Michael J. McAleer

Well, first and foremost, I appreciate you having me, Julie. This has been a blast! I very much enjoyed being a part of it. That aside, if you’re interested in reading THE CHUREL, it is available through all major book retailers (online)…Amazon, B&N, iBooks, etc. In both paperback and ebook.

Stormcloak

*applause*

Michael J. McAleer

And, if you do, I’d love to know what you all think!

Michael J. McAleer

Haha. *bow*

Mark Gardner

*cheering*

MsPenguin

Great festival this year. Thank you so much for doing this and thanks to the guests.

efestivalofwords

We hope to see everyone again NEXT YEAR. Dates are August 17-Aug 19th. So clear your calendars now!

Michael J. McAleer

www.facebook.com/thechurel. Almost forgot about that. Feel free to Like and Share.

Michael J. McAleer

I am putting in on my calendar right now!

efestivalofwords

And I will get all the transcripts up from today’s chats.

Michael J. McAleer

Awesome! Thanks again, Julie!

efestivalofwords

Hopefully you’ll have the next book out by then…no pressure or anything!

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