Meghan: Hi, Robert. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Thank you so much for agreeing to be part of the annual Halloween Extravaganza. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Robert Herold: I’ve been a fan of horror ever since I was a little nipper. I decided to rekindle that love much later in life by becoming a horror author and I’m having a blast. You could say that being a horror writer is to die for!
Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?
Robert Herold: I wanted to be a werewolf as a child, later it was The Riddler from Batman. I guess I’ve always had a dark side. I enjoy treasure-hunting in thrift stores and flea markets for books (especially 1930’s-1950’s paperbacks with lurid covers), records, sheet music, and kitschy items. I used to get in trouble in elementary for daydreaming. I’m the only one in Seattle who doesn’t like coffee. (It’s a lonely town!) My all-time favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I play in a Seattle band called Bluetopia. (OK, that’s six. ‘Good thing I’m not a math teacher!)
Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?
Robert Herold: The Cat In The Hat Comes Back—I loved that brash 6 foot cat and his ability to turn snow pink. (My abilities are limited to yellow.)
Meghan: What are you reading now?
Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?
Robert Herold: My favorite book this year is The Judge Hunter by Christopher Buckley. It’s a marvelous tale set in the 17th Century about an annoying man who is sent to the colonies to track down a couple of fugitives during the Restoration period in England.
Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?
Robert Herold: I began writing in junior high and had a wonderful English teacher who encouraged me. Later, I put writing aside to pursue music (I play the saxophone & flute) but about five years ago, I came across a sheaf of papers with a ribbon around it. It was from my son, Devon, when he was about eight or nine. A note was attached saying that the paper was for me to use when I start writing again. I decided to put writing back in my life. I’m glad I did!
Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?
Robert Herold: I typically write at home with my chihuahua acting as guard.
Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
Robert Herold: I come with an ending first. I used to outline, but I have more fun when I don’t. It means more time in the editing process, but I’m OK with that.
Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Robert Herold: Like many authors, the editing process is arduous, but it’s worth it.
Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?
Robert Herold: My novel, The Eidola Project, is the most satisfying. I’ve had some success writing pilot scripts, winning a contest and being a finalist, but I’ve never worked so hard on one project and I’m satisfied that I’ve given it my all.
Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?
Robert Herold: I’ve read The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett probably a dozen times! His clean powerful prose is masterful, as is his cinematic approach, revealing characterization largely through action and dialogue. I love everything I’ve read by David Liss, Bernard Cornwell, Stephen King, Paul Tremblay, Christopher Buckley, Caleb Carr, Peter Straub, Raymond Chandler, Will Thomas, Thomas Harris, Walter Mosley, and many more!
Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?
Robert Herold: An engaging set of characters facing a crisis is key, as is action, realistic dialogue, and masterful use of the English language.
Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?
Robert Herold: For me to engage with a character, they need to convey a sense of realism within their world. I need to believe they exist, with a rich backstory, of which I may only know a little. To love a character, they need to have a moral compass and show growth in the course of the tale. I tried to imbue each character with these traits, which took some doing with an ensemble.
Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Robert Herold: They each reflect a different side to me. I’m not always proud of these aspects, but there they are.
Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?
Robert Herold: First impressions do matter. For example, a cute fuzzy bunny would probably not attract many horror fans. On the other hand, if it had blood dripping from its mouth, then perhaps… I had quite a bit of involvement in the cover for The Eidola Project. My publisher contracts with Debbie Taylor, who did a great job!
Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?
Robert Herold: I’ve learned so many things: gratitude for those who have helped me along the way, how to make my prose more powerful, and how to use social media to reach out to potential readers. (‘Still learning!)
Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?
Robert Herold: Killing characters that I have come to love. Oh, well, sometimes they gotta go!
Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?
Robert Herold: Eidola is a Greek word for ghost. Since the Eidola Project is a team of paranormal investigators, it seemed like a natural (or supernatural) fit.
Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?
Robert Herold: Both are wonderful artforms. Given the time investment, I’d say that I find novel writing most fulfilling.
Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.
Robert Herold: I hope my books give people the creeps! In addition, as I combine my love of horror with my love of history, I hope can also bring the time in which they are set to life, the late 19th Century.
Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?
Robert Herold: By and large, everything that I came up with for the book is still in it, though it went through a million rewrites.
Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?
Robert Herold: I may have a movie or TV show in me! I had some success in contests writing pilot scripts (in fact The Eidola Project began as one) and I may return to this one day.
Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?
Robert Herold: Book two in the series is already at the editor, and I am 99 pages into book three. I have plans for ten or more titles in this series. Though I will strive to make each book stand on its own.
Meghan: Where can we find you?
Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?
Robert Herold: After reading The Eidola Project, please consider leaving an honest review on one or more sites. In today’s world reviews are golden! Look forward to more Eidola Project books. I’ve only just begun!
The supernatural always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since my mother refused to allow me, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved in. (Well, not literally.)
As a child, fresh snow provided me the opportunity to walk out onto neighbors’ lawns halfway and then make paw prints with my fingers as far as I could stretch. I would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn. (They were skeptical.)
I have pursued many interests over the years, but the supernatural always called to me. You could say I was haunted. Finally, following the siren’s call, I wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea I had as a teenager. Ultimately, I hope my book gives you the creeps, and I mean that in the best way possible.
It’s 1885 and a drunk and rage-filled Nigel Pickford breaks up a phony medium’s séance. A strange twist of fate soon finds him part of a team investigating the afterlife.
The Eidola Project is an intrepid group of explorers dedicated to bringing the light of science to that which has been feared, misunderstood, and often manipulated by charlatans. They are a psychology professor, his assistant, an African-American physicist, a sideshow medium, and now a derelict, each possessing unique strengths and weaknesses.
Called to the brooding Hutchinson Estate to investigate rumored hauntings, they encounter deadly supernatural forces and a young woman driven to the brink of madness.
Will any of them survive?