CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Richard Langley (The Poe Predicament, Phil Thomas)

Meghan: Hi, Richard. Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me today. What is one word you would use to define yourself?

Richard Langley: Resilient.

Meghan: Do you see yourself as the “good guy” or the “bad guy”?

Richard Langley: I’m for sure the good guy, a victim of circumstance.

Meghan: What does the plot require you to be? How does this requirement limit you?

Richard Langley: It requires me to be strong and resilient. I’m a stranger in a strange land, cast into 1830s New York City from the twenty first century against my will. I’m limited in several ways, but most notably the unfamiliarity with my surroundings.

Meghan: What is your quest?

Richard Langley: After acquiring a signed book by Edgar Allan Poe at a local bookstore, I soon find myself in a different time period. My quest is to find my way back home to modern day New York.

Meghan: What do you hope to accomplish, find, or become during the course of your book/series?

Richard Langley: Along the way, I need to figure out how and why I ended up in the nineteenth century. I uncover a lot of mystery and meet many wonderful characters along the way, including another time traveler named Alice, and also Edgar Allan Poe himself, who I must help exonerate from a false murder accusation.

Meghan: What do you like about the other main characters? What do you least like about the other main characters?

Richard Langley: I like their companionship and kindness, their willingness to help me when in need. There are other main characters, antagonists that are vile to the core. I like nothing about them or their ill intentions towards me and Edgar Allan Poe.

Meghan: When was the last time you lied? What made you do it?

Richard Langley: I lied when asked about my modern-day attire. I had to lie to protect my identity.

Meghan: Who have you betrayed lately? What happened?

Richard Langley: In the context of the novel, I haven’t betrayed anyone. I’m the good guy.

Meghan: Would you say that you are an optimist or a pessimist?

Richard Langley: I’m an optimist. I have to keep my head up and hope alive if I expect to make it back to modern-day New York City.

Meghan: What is your superpower?

Richard Langley: I’m a problem solver and possess the uncanny ability of observation.

Meghan: What is your biggest secret?

Richard Langley: My biggest secret is that I’m a time traveler.

Meghan: Do you live in the right world?

Richard Langley: Well, the setting is literally not my home since I’m a time traveller. However, I feel that I’m extremely necessary to that world because I have a very important purpose for being there. If you’d like to find out just how important I am and follow my adventures, you can do so in the novel, The Poe Predicament.

Meghan: What is your role in this setting? Are you okay with this role or would you like it to change?

Richard Langley: My primary role is to help exonerate Edgar Allan Poe from a false murder accusation, as well as to help others along the way. At first it was a scary role, not knowing why or how I’d ended up in 1830s New York, but I soon learned just how important I was to keeping history’s natural timeline in order.

Meghan: Did you turn out the way you expected?

Richard Langley: Life has a way of twisting and turning, so I didn’t turn out exactly as I expected.

Meghan: What, if anything, would you change about your life?

Richard Langley: I would have told Alice about my affection for her sooner.

Meghan: How do you feel about your author?

Richard Langley: You mean Phil Thomas? I have nothing but positive feelings towards him.

Meghan: If the two of you got together for coffee, what would you want to say to them?

Richard Langley: I would tell him that my story doesn’t need to end where it does. We have more work to do.

[I hope you enjoyed this character interview of The Poe Predicament’s main protagonist, Richard Langley. If you’d like to follow his adventures further, the book is available to Amazon and other online outlets.]

Boo-graphy:
Phil Thomas is an author and screenwriter from the suburbs of Philadelphia. He is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors and The Horror Writers Association. He is also the former co-host of What Are You Afraid Of? a weekly horror and paranormal show that lasted for over 150 episodes. The show still airs on Para-X radio on Friday evenings at 9:00 pm, where you’ll find interviews with wonderful guests such as Lloyd Kaufman, Katrina Weidman, Joe R. Lansdale, Grady Hendrix, Greg Bear, Daniel Kraus, and many more.

Check out his website and sign up for his mailing list so he can further control your mind, and please direct your angry hate mail to him here. You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.

His short stories have been featured in several anthologies, including Monsterthology 2, Nightside: Tales of Outré Noir, Coming Through in Waves: Crime Fiction inspired by the Songs of Pink Floyd, Books of Horror: Volume 3, Part 2, and the upcoming collection, Seven Doors of Fate, set to release in 2023.

His debut novel, The Poe Predicament, was published by Foundations Books on October 4, 2021 and hit the bestseller list.

Stuck in another time, Richard Langley just wants to find his way back home.

Richard is a former college professor, wandering a local neighborhood bookstore, where he stumbles upon the find of a lifetime: a signed copy of Tamerlane and other poems.

He is soon swept to another era. He is alone, confused, and his only mission is to get back to where he came from.

While struggling to adapt to his nineteenth-century environment, Richard meets a man he must help exonerate from false accusations in order to restore history’s original timeline and, ultimately, find his way back.

What Richard did not count on, was that man being the owner of the signature—Edgar Allan Poe.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Phil Thomas

Meghan: Hi, Phil. Welcome to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Phil: My favorite part of Halloween is everything. When summer ends its kind of a downer, but with Halloween looming on the horizon, it seems to make everything better. To answer your question straightforward though, my favorite part of Halloween is the memories of the holiday growing up and the amazing times I had. My upcoming novel is actually set almost entirely on Halloween.

Meghan: Do you get scared easily?

Phil: No I don’t, which is why I like Halloween so much. It’s like chasing a high.

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

Phil: Honestly I think it might be The Conjuring. It’s unnerving on another level.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

Phil: Pretty much anything in the Saw movie franchise.

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

Phil: I have to say no. The scarier the better.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Phil: Halloween 1978.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

Phil: Tommy Jarvis, Friday the 13th part 6.

Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

Phil: If we’re talking monsters, then probably Dracula, or vampires in general.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Phil: Going to some haunted houses and haunted hayrides.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

Phil: The Halloween 1978 theme. It encompasses the spirit of Halloween.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Phil: I would have to say either Funland by Richard Laymon, or The Shining by Stephen King.

Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

Phil: I once heard footsteps on my porch late at night. When I turned on the outside light, no one was there.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

Phil: The Jersey Devil. We need to find it asap!

Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

Phil: If we’re talking hauntings, then probably The Conjuring’s story.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

Phil: A double-barreled shotgun.

Meghan: Okay, Phil. Let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?

Phil: A vampire for sure!

Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?

Phil: Probably a zombie apocalypse because they’re slow, and when it comes to aliens, they might have technology far superior to ours.

Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?

Phil: Aren’t they the same thing? Ha! Probably drink zombie juice.

Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?

Phil: Definitely the Poltergeist house. It’s one of my favorite movies.

Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?

Phil: I’ll take the bitter melon with chilies.

Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?

Phil: I’d rather lick cotton candy spider webs. It might even taste good.

Boo-graphy:
Phil Thomas is an author and screenwriter from the suburbs of Philadelphia. He is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors and The Horror Writers Association. He is also the former co-host of What Are You Afraid Of? a weekly horror and paranormal show that lasted for over 150 episodes. The show still airs on Para-X radio on Friday evenings at 9:00 pm, where you’ll find interviews with wonderful guests such as Lloyd Kaufman, Katrina Weidman, Joe R. Lansdale, Grady Hendrix, Greg Bear, Daniel Kraus, and many more.

Check out his website and sign up for his mailing list so he can further control your mind, and please direct your angry hate mail to him here. You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.

His short stories have been featured in several anthologies, including Monsterthology 2, Nightside: Tales of Outré Noir, Coming Through in Waves: Crime Fiction inspired by the Songs of Pink Floyd, Books of Horror: Volume 3, Part 2, and the upcoming collection, Seven Doors of Fate, set to release in 2023.

His debut novel, The Poe Predicament, was published by Foundations Books on October 4, 2021 and hit the bestseller list.

Stuck in another time, Richard Langley just wants to find his way back home.

Richard is a former college professor, wandering a local neighborhood bookstore, where he stumbles upon the find of a lifetime: a signed copy of Tamerlane and other poems.

He is soon swept to another era. He is alone, confused, and his only mission is to get back to where he came from.

While struggling to adapt to his nineteenth-century environment, Richard meets a man he must help exonerate from false accusations in order to restore history’s original timeline and, ultimately, find his way back.

What Richard did not count on, was that man being the owner of the signature—Edgar Allan Poe.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Paul Flewitt

Meghan: Hey Paul. Welcome to this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. Thanks so much for coming back again this year. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Paul: I love the atmosphere around Halloween. The misty nights, the weather getting cooler and the leaves falling … it’s the stuff horror movies and books are made from. Here in the UK, it’s the beginning of a pretty fun couple of weeks: we have Halloween, then we have Bonfire Night (celebrating Guy Fawkes) the week after. It really is great time of year.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Paul: I really enjoy dressing up, and friends of ours tend to have costume parties for Halloween. I’m not really big on Halloweening, but the dressing up and having fun with character is just so much fun. It’s a time when I can really let my inner-cosplayer emerge.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Paul: Why would it not be? It’s much more fun than Christmas or Easter, and can be done without spending much money. It’s a great way of having fun with family and friends, and you really get to know your neighbours around Halloween. If they don’t embrace the dark season, then are they really worth your time?

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Paul: Nothing really. For a horror writer, I don’t really go in for the mystical. It’s really boring, and really rational, but I just never got people who were scared of black cats, refuse to walk under ladders or saw bad luck omens in every quirk or accident. That really comes from my Dad, who was always pretty rational too.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Paul: Pinhead, from the Hellraiser universe. He is the most articulate, eloquent character in the whole of horror. I like it when he doesn’t say much in a movie, but when he does speak it has real substance and gravitas. He’s almost regal, almost sympathetic to his victims. He explains exactly why he’s there, and exactly what he’s going to do to you. It’s your fault, you invited this, and this is the consequence. What gets any better than that?

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Paul: Oh, there are many. I suppose a lot of horror writers are fascinated by murderers who got away with their crimes; how they did it, where they went, who they were … it’s really an intriguing area to research. I mean, Jack the Ripper’s murders are probably most people’s favourite, simply because he’s never been identified, but there are so many possibilities. There’s endless scope for speculation, and it all happened at a really emotive time in British history too. Victorian London will always be a time we remember in many different ways, as portrayed by Dickens, Conan Doyle and Shelley. We can easily identify with his victims too, when you look at their stories and discover who they were. Those times and places are evoked and encapsulated in many of the early works of horror, so Jack definitely fits right in there.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Paul: None of them scare me per se, but some of them do fascinate me. I love the foundations of these kinds of legends, finding out where they came from and how they evolved over time. Essentially, they are the modern version of the tales told in mediaeval times around the campfire, which eventually were collected in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. They really are a great call back to former times, and I’m all there for it.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Paul: As above, it would be Jack the Ripper for the reasons I set out there. I mean, the serial killers we know about, we know about. We know their psychology, their motivations and what drove them. We know nothing about Jack the Ripper, but we can track him down and seek to find some closure on those deaths.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Paul: I’m not even sure about that. I guess it would be one of the old Hammer Horrors, or maybe one of the classic horrors. When I was a kid, black and white equaled boring, but there is definitely something primal about the images of Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff as Dracula and Frankenstein. Those characters really stuck in my mind.

I loved the Hammers, because they seemed to be played with tongue firmly in cheek. They were making low budget movies, the scripts were sometimes terrible, but they knew it. Some of them were so terrible that they went straight back around to being genius again, and they gave us Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Bernard Cribbins. What’s not to love?

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Paul: I don’t think any horror novel has truly unsettled me. Some have engaged me deeply, and I’ve enjoyed the imagery evoked by them, but none have really triggered any extreme reaction. Why? Because you can put them down. That’s the beauty of horror.

Now, if you asked me about a book that unsettled me, I would cite A Child Called It, which is a true story of the author’s abuse at the hands of his mother. Now, that story is truly affecting, and you need to read it cover to cover, in the hope that there is closure at the end. In the fiction world, I found We Need To Talk About Kevin to be similar in the emotions that book evoked.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Paul: Not a horror movie exactly, but Pink Floyd’s The Wall movie screwed me up. The imagery and symbolism in the film was really affecting; from the visions of riots, to schools making clones of us all, to kids being put through a giant mincer … it was just one thing after another in that thing. It never let up, from beginning to end. Yeah, that thing still gets me after all this time.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Paul: I told you about friends who have costume parties at Halloween, and one year we really hit it out of the park. The theme was an evil twist on fairy tales, and so my wife decided to do Alice in Wonderland. Oh, it was great. My wife was Alice, my son was the Cheshire Cat, my daughter was the Red Queen (I think??) and I was the Bad, Mad Hatter. My wife really went to town making that costume, and I even had miniature bottles of liquor that were labelled up with “Bigger,” “Smaller,” “Wiser,” etc. That was an awesome one, and it must be reprised sometime.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Paul: Pfft, tough one. I mean, I really like horror movie soundtracks around Halloween, and I generally have them playing in the background when kids come to call around on the night. It’s great, slowly answering the door in the darkness, with the Hellraiser soundtrack playing behind me.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Paul: I’m not a big fan of sweets, so I leave that to the kids. It also saves disappointment, so it’s a win-win for me.


Boo-graphy:
Paul Flewitt was born and raised in Sheffield, Yorkshire where he still lives with his family. He is the father of two children and keeper of several beta reading demons

Paul is a writer of horror and dark fantasy, and a former steel worker. His debut novel, Poor Jeffrey, was launched in April 2016. His latest short story, Defeating the Black Worm, is part of the Short Sharp Shocks series from Demain Publishing.

Paul spends his time caring for his children and devotes much of his free time to writing his next works. He writes only for the thrill of scaring his readers in new and inventive ways.

Short Sharp Shocks 62:
Defeating the Black Worm

Matthew had fallen so far, so quickly. The anxiety and panic had overcome him suddenly, and he couldn’t find a way back. In desperation, he sought solace in doctors and psychiatrists, but no-one could (or would!) help him. He loses everything to the hunger and appetites of the Black Worm.

But then, at his lowest point, and with nothing left, Matthew finds aid in the most unexpected of places…

But can the Black Worm be defeated?