Brian Pinkerton's Blog

February 11, 2017

descriptionThe following is an excerpt from an interview with Catwalk that originally appeared on the web site Horrorview. A fan favorite, Rough Cut has been rereleased in paperback by Dark Arts Books. The ebook is available from Crossroad Press.

Q: Welcome, Brian! Thanks for your time, and wow, I really loved Rough Cut. Where did you come up with the initial idea for the story?

BP: Rough Cut actually began as a screenplay, a B movie turned inside out. It was intended as an exploitation movie about exploitation filmmakers.

The script made the rounds in Hollywood with some encouraging nibbles but no bite. I was told the audience for this kind of movie was too “specialized.” So I turned it into a novel as a way to reach that specialized audience.

Overall, the story appealed to me because I’m a fan of B movies. I’m fascinated by the quest of the low-budget filmmaker to strike gold with limited funds and scrappy perseverance.

Q: I've dealt with the indie film scene for over a decade. It's obvious you have a great feel for the b-movie ecosystem. I got a strong Lloyd Kaufman feel when I first read Harry's introduction. Was the Troma films icon an influence in Harry's character?

BP: Yes, in part. Harry is something of a hybrid of several low budget, DIY movie makers: Lloyd Kaufman, Roger Corman, Ray Dennis Steckler, Fred Olen Ray, and, of course, Ed Wood. I read Kaufman’s book (Make Your Own Damn Movie), Corman’s book (How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime) and even some indie filmmaking “how to” books. I listened to Steckler’s commentary track on The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters. I watched more Grade Z horror movies than is healthy.

Q: I loved the tie-in to the simple, middle Pennsylvania, Catholic couple. What was the influence to include a small-town actress wannabe in the overall feel of Rough Cut?

BP: I wanted to paint the contrast between an outsider and insider’s view of Hollywood. Nora Hurley escapes her small industrial town to go west and live out her dreams in L.A. She expects a shimmering paradise of glitz, glamour and instant stardom. Instead, she encounters a dirty, drab city littered with broken dreams and opportunists. Her fate is one of the main drivers of the story.

Q: I think I know the answer to this already, but give our readers an idea. How much of the horror movie legacy was already carved into your brain (pun intended) vs. what you had to research for Marcus' obsession?

BP: Most of it was already soaked into my skull. As a kid, I watched the Universal and Hammer monster movies on TV. I devoured Famous Monsters of Filmland. I made my parents buy me back issues for Christmas. Later, I experienced the 1980’s “slasher” boom. I’ve always enjoyed the vicarious thrills of the horror genre. However, I do not collect movie props like Marcus or attempt to make my own movies.

Q: I loved the pop culture references you worked in. There were two particular instances where you mentioned the modern struggle of indie authors vs. big print. Does your opinion match the characters'? What kind of opportunity do you think is out there for independent authors in today's multimedia markets?

BP: I believe the playing field is leveling somewhat with the changes in publishing and distribution. To be a success, you don’t have to be picked up by one of the “big six” or receive featured placement in chain bookstores. With ebooks, print on demand and the Internet, there’s a much lower cost of entry and an immediate access to distribution. At the same time, this has created a glut of small presses and self-published works, so you have to work hard to get noticed. But many of the tools are at your disposal. You have more control over your destiny. Hopefully, the good books will get noticed.
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Published on February 11, 2017 17:03 • 208 views • Tags: brian-pinkerton, hollywood, horror, movies

July 5, 2016

descriptionI’ve written many stories about good versus evil. My newest book is different. What happens when good becomes evil?

I turned traditional themes inside out in Anatomy Of Evil. It’s one of the few writing experiences where I actually felt guilty about what I had done after I completed the manuscript. I felt the urge to issue an apology.

I created four of the nicest characters you would ever hope to meet. Gentle, caring souls united by their passion to help others and make the world a better place.

During the course of the story, I invite you into their lives. I show you the purity of their hearts. I engage you in their acts of kindness. They become your friends.

Then I make you hate them.

For me, fear isn’t the monster under the bed. It’s the horror emerging from within. The shock of unspeakable evil coming from unexpected places...or persons.

I once heard someone say evil equals good plus time. Or maybe I made it up. But the theory was that humans are not born to be sadists, criminals and killers. Something happens that transforms innocence into wickedness during the life journey.

Are the sinful shaped by their environment?

Or do they become possessed from the inside?

How well do you really know your friends, neighbors and acquaintances? What’s beyond the façade? Can you really trust them?

Should you trust that nice smiling author who introduced you to a charming cast of characters in his new book: an upstanding neighborhood police officer, a heavenly Sunday School teacher, a sweet and selfless working mother, and a heroic football star with a heart of gold?

Or is that author going to do something bad to them?

Something very, very bad.

Perhaps he’ll write a blog about it to make it sound like he’s really sorry and didn’t mean to do any harm.

But do you believe him?

This blog post originally appeared on The Deep End.
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Published on July 05, 2016 19:48 • 179 views • Tags: evil-brian-pinkerton

May 22, 2016

descriptionWhen I was young, fear was defined by monsters of the imagination: living dead, bloodsuckers, werewolves, aliens, mutants and bogeymen. They captivated me.

As a parent, my fears have changed. I’m far too pragmatic to worry about ghosts and goblins. There’s only one thing that truly scares me: the nightly news.

Every evening, I am dished up a mind-numbing display of shock and horror. The stubborn storylines don’t change: deadly shootings...terrorism attacks...gruesome car wrecks...tragic drownings and fatal fires...child abductions.

That last horror especially resonated with me when my children were little. I remember dropping off my daughter each morning at daycare with a rise of cruel angst tormenting my psyche.

What if she’s not here when I return?

It was unthinkable, which was why I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

How did I cope? I did what any decent writer would do to exorcise demons. I exploited my own insecurities. I wrote about it.

I simply switched the daycare setting to a nanny and let ‘er rip. My novel Abducted was born.

Abducted tells the story of a young mother, Anita Sherwood, who quits her job to become a stay-at-home mom with her 2-year old son. He has been under the care of a nanny. The nanny is very attached to the little boy and becomes distraught when she learns her services will no longer be needed.

On the night of the mother’s goodbye party at work, the nanny disappears with the boy. The next day, the nanny’s body is found drowned off the coast of California, with a suicide note that indicates she also drowned the child. But they never find the boy’s body.

A few years later, Anita is on a business trip in Chicago, standing on a street corner. She sees a sad face in the window of a passing bus. And that face looks just like her son.

Outlandish? Perhaps, but read on.

On the day that Abducted was released, a news story broke on CNN about a mother who found her kidnapped little girl, who had been presumed dead in a house fire. As it turns out, the fire was deliberately set by a kidnapper who took the baby. Everyone thought the baby perished in the fire.

But the mother refused to believe the baby was dead. Years after the fire, she saw a little girl at a neighborhood birthday party and was struck by the girl’s resemblance to her own children. She told the girl there was bubble gum in her hair as an excuse to pull out some strands. She took the hair to the police for DNA analysis. And it was a match.

As a parent, that story is mortifying. As a writer, the plot twist is exhilarating.

So the next time you’re looking for a good scare, don’t bother with the obvious: The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Dexter or True Blood. Just catch a whiff of your local news and remember...

Real horror is closer than you think.

This blog post originally appeared on Not Now...Mommy's Screaming.

To read more about the creation of Abducted, download the free e-book The Making of Abducted.
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Published on May 22, 2016 13:49 • 428 views

January 13, 2016

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When Severed Press in Australia asked if I’d be interested in creating a zombie series for them, I had exactly two concerns: zombie and series.

As much as I love zombies, I feared the genre had worn itself out, as stale and stinky as a rotted corpse.

Additionally, all of my prior books had been standalone adventures, a personal choice. No sequels or reoccurring characters or continuity, except for the odd in-joke (a victim in Killer's Diary lives in the same building as a cast member from Vengeance).

My reasoning was that I put my characters through such extraordinary terror that I couldn’t bear to torment them again and again in multiple stories. That would be cruel.

But the more I thought about the possibilities, the more I became intrigued. Could I have some fun with it?

I asked if I could present a different twist on the zombie formula. Instead of zombies threatening humanity, what if I created a sympathetic zombie threatened by humanity? I imagined an inside-out version of I am Legend, where the protagonist is a scared flesh eater hiding in seclusion, while the living pound on his windows and doors, hungry for violence.

The publisher gave me the green light and my imagination took off.

To turn the concept into a series, I broadened the scope and envisioned a trilogy with a tidy arc. Book One presents the zombie as underdog. Book Two escalates to a power struggle between the living and growing numbers of undead. Book Three presents the human race as the underdog in a society run by zombies. A faint echo of Planet of the Apes, perhaps, with a generous dash of gruesome humor and social satire.

While I traditionally plan each book in detail before I start writing, I didn’t outline the complete trilogy all at once. In fact, Book One and Book Two ended with wild cliffhangers where I had no idea what would happen next. Solving those predicaments became a rousing challenge.

The first book in the How I Started The Apocalypse series launched in 2012. The third and final book just came out at the tail end of 2015. To commemorate the release of the last book, the first two have been rereleased with new cover art. The original “smiley” covers, cartoony in style, played up the books’ playful elements. The new covers express the sinister side of society’s crumble.

Whether you find terror or laughter, I hope you have a rockin’ good time with How I Started the Apocalypse.

After three books about the end of the world, it’s really over. I mean it this time.
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Published on January 13, 2016 19:00 • 211 views • Tags: zombies-apocalypse

July 12, 2015

description

The following blog post first appeared on the Leisure Books website in 2005 to promote the mass market paperback release of Vengeance. Vengeance is now available in eBook from Crossroad Press.


It’s only a matter of time. The FBI will show up at the door, two grim-faced agents in blue windbreakers, flashing badges. They’ll confiscate my computer, where the incriminating evidence gathers in the internet cache.

Yes, that’s where they’ll find a record of my excursions into chat rooms for street gang members who brag about recent killings or threaten one another with new bloodshed. They’ll see that I have prowled web sites devoted to buying and using firearms. They’ll discover that I have spent time at an online tutorial for starting a drug dealing enterprise.

And if they checked my car or writing desk, they would find ominous notes to myself, things like “shoot Douglas Decker in teeth” or “secret killing network meets at Traveler’s Inn.” If that’s not bad enough, in the basement, there’s a file filled with news clippings about abducted children. Did I mention my inquiry into human sacrifice?

Please, let me explain.

I write thrillers. But I don’t live a thrilling life. So I need to do my research. My most recent book, Vengeance, features a bunch of really evil people: a vicious gang leader, a sociopath drug dealer, a ruthless network of assassins, and, God forbid, even a lawyer. Since I am not any of these things, I go online and I go to the library. I collect information.

I also brainstorm narrative elements and plot twists whenever I have a spare moment. I scribble them on scrap paper – often while driving (kids, don’t try this at home).

If you come across a napkin with “brain crushed by Academy Award” scrawled across it, don’t be alarmed, it’s only a note for my next book. If you happen to see my handwritten checklist for kidnapping a baby, that’s just part of an outline for a previous book, Abducted.

I don’t commit or condone any of these acts or behaviors. It’s just raw material feeding the final manuscript. It’s part of my job.

So please understand all this when I am taken away by the authorities for suspicious behavior. I will probably be questioned at an undisclosed location. I might be roughed up a bit, or maybe deprived of food, water, sleep, and a toilet. In the end, they might even force me to sign a confession to put me away for good.

You can help come to my defense by explaining that I am nothing more than a fiction writer, conducting due diligence for my make-believe stories about the classic confrontation between good and evil. I did it all so that I may better entertain you and treat my subject matter with authenticity. Despite all the things you might find inside my PC and elsewhere, I am not a criminal by any stretch of the imagination.

Just don’t ask where all those Pink Floyd mp3s came from.
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Published on July 12, 2015 08:12 • 183 views • Tags: thriller-suspense-evanston

June 8, 2015

The following blog post first appeared on the Leisure Books website in 2004 to promote the mass market paperback release of Abducted. My daughter enjoyed the teddy bear cover and drew her own version, seen here. Abducted is now available in eBook from Crossroad Press.


My little girl happened to see the cover art for Abducted one day on the family room table. She asked me about it. "That's Daddy's book," I told her.

"Why is the teddy bear in the street?"

"Well, it's a...mystery story," I said, choosing my words carefully.

"What's a mystery story?"

"Well, it's a...story with a lot of surprises."

That seemed to satisfy her. She gave the teddy bear another glance and ran off in search of her next curiosity.

My reply was honest, if sanitized. Abducted has quite a few surprises. They are jolting twists of the plot, plunges into unexpected places. And there is fear, a tremendous amount of fear, running throughout the book.

The story of Abducted begins with a young mother's worst nightmare. Then things really get bad.

When I was a child, only a few years older than my little girl, I loved monsters and horror. I watched Creature Features on WGN in Chicago. I devoured Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

Sometimes I could con my parents into letting me go to bed early and set the alarm for the middle of the night to catch such TV fare as Lon Chaney, Jr. in The Indestructible Man. (This was when you were at the mercy of television schedules, before you could record, rent or buy movies on a whim.)

As much as I loved monsters as a kid, they never really scared me. I knew that, if need be, I could probably outrun the Frankenstein monster, the mummy, or the lumbering zombies from Night of the Living Dead. I might even be able to take a whack at them with my Wiffle bat. I also knew about special effects and make-up and myth-making. I never checked under the bed.

I wasn't scared back then. But I am scared today.

I actually have more fears as an adult than as a child. I think it's because I watch the news. Terrorist attacks. Killer viruses. War. Home invasions. Sexual predators. Road rage. Domestic violence. Driveby shootings. And, yes, child abduction.

I've been told writers often confront and resolve their deepest fears through fiction. We take hold of what scares us, remove it from our heads and paste it on the page. It's a drawn-out exorcism.

The fears that I write about don't come from distant castles or outer space or open graves. I write about the fears in everyday life. My first book was about a dysfunctional office that erupts into workplace violence. My next book is about ordinary people, like you or I, driven to acts of cold-blooded murder.

Real horror is close to home. It's that odd man looking at you funny at the shopping mall. It's the car that seems hell-bent on running you off the road. It's that creepy old lady down the street. It's the jilted lover with an axe to grind. It could be someone already in your house. Right now.

If you seek thrills, I hope you will check out my books. I will do my best to see that the bad guys get their butts kicked in the end. In turn, I ask three things of you:

Be safe. Be kind. Please leave terror to the fiction writers.

And may all your surprises...be good ones.
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Published on June 08, 2015 19:18 • 193 views • Tags: thriller-suspense

March 1, 2015

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One of my most popular books is making a comeback. I’m really excited. Here’s how you can help spread the word.

Crossroad Press has released the first-ever eBook edition of Abducted, a suspense thriller about a missing child. Abducted first appeared in 2004 as a mass market paperback and has since gone out of print. In many ways, it’s the book that launched my fiction writing career.

The eBook version is live on Amazon, generating attention, but truth be told Amazon tends to give more promotional support to books with higher numbers of reader reviews. That’s where you come in.

If you have read Abducted, I hope you will post a review. If you haven’t read it...I’ve got a deal for you. David Niall Wilson at Crossroad Press has generously agreed to provide a free eBook copy of Abducted to new readers in exchange for an honest review on Amazon. Contact me with your eBook format of choice and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Mulling it over? Want to know more about this book? Here’s the official teaser from the original back cover…

Just a second. That was all it took. In that second Anita Sherwood sees the face of the young boy in the window of the bus as it stops at the curb...and she knows it is her son. The son who had been kidnapped two years before. The son who had never been found and who had been declared legally dead. But now her son is alive. Anita knows it in her heart. She is certain that the boy is her son, but how can she get anyone to believe her? She'd given the police leads before that ended up going nowhere, so they're not exactly eager to waste much time on another dead end on a dead case. It's going to be up to Anita, and she'll stop at nothing to get her son back.
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Published on March 01, 2015 17:20 • 225 views • Tags: abduction-free-ebook

February 7, 2015

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Hey, you want a piece of me?

Keep reading.

My mystery Bender just came out. It's the story of Bill Rowe, a man who might be a murderer. Or maybe not. He just doesn't know.

While out of town on a business trip, Bill wakes up to discover a naked dead woman in his hotel bed. His memories of the night before are lost to an alcohol blackout from a big city drinking binge. Forced to go on the run, Bill must piece together the events of his fateful night to prove his innocence. Pursued by mysterious assailants, he discovers he's been framed as part of an elaborate scheme to cover up a shocking secret. When they can't reach him, they go after his wife and daughter to bring him out of hiding.

Bender is a new release from Crossroad Press. As an author, it's always exciting to see a published book grow from the seeds of an idea. People often ask me about the writing process for turning a notion into a novel. In the case of Bender, it began with a couple of sentences to define the concept. That expanded into a short outline, which evolved into a sequence of notecards. Each notecard gave birth to a handwritten chapter. When I reached the final notecard and scribbled the final chapter, I had a complete manuscript.

Then I wrote the second draft. Also by hand.

This second draft is then marked up with further edits and ultimately entered into a PC for final changes. That's right, I don't touch a computer until my book is mostly done.

Why? I find it more freeing to compose on paper with pen. It's more intimate. It's less distracting. I want to stay away from the temptation of emails, the Internet, my mp3s, and all those files and folders of digital diversions.

What happens to the handwritten pages after they've been transferred to kilobytes? I give them away.

Here's a contest where everyone wins: anyone who posts something on social media about one of my books — a review, a book cover, a link to this page, anything — can contact me at pinkerton@brianpinkerton.com and I'll send you a free page from the original handwritten manuscript. It's as easy as that.

You want a piece of me? I'm happy to oblige.

This blog post originally appeared on Omnimystery News
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Published on February 07, 2015 12:04 • 171 views • Tags: alcohol, mystery, suspense, thriller

September 10, 2014

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So I went to Hollywood and had the good fortune of meeting many TV and movie stars who were more than willing to provide cameos for my new book trailer for Rough Cut. Who knew Johnny Depp would help promote my book for a couple of bucks? Also, Spiderman really needs to shower between movies.

See the video here:

https://www.goodreads.com/videos/7124...
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Published on September 10, 2014 17:37 • 230 views • Tags: brian-pinkerton, hollywood, rough-cut

December 19, 2013

Killer cover

My new romantic suspense novel, Killer's Diary, made its paperback debut this summer at the World Horror Convention in New Orleans. In this photo, you can see me standing next to a promo poster of the book cover like a proud papa.

When the book was originally conceived, I had an agent who felt the book would sell more copies and land a bigger deal if I used a female pseudonym since the main character was a woman and more women buy books than men. I actually wrote the manuscript with that likelihood lurking in the back of my mind. Eventually I changed agents and the new agent shopped the manuscript under my real name. Hell, I spent a year of my life writing that book, I wasn’t exactly eager to surrender credit to a fake person. Killer's Diary entered the marketplace as a novel by Brian Pinkerton, for better or worse.

When the opportunity arose to share this story, I got to thinking...how do readers feel about pen names? Does it matter if the author’s name is fake or even misleading? I have known many writers who use pseudonyms for various reasons, most of them marketing related (including a shift in genres or rebooting a career under a new “brand”). Some authors replace their first and middle names with initials to obscure the gender, under the perception that readers won’t buy books from authors of the opposite sex. Really?

Here’s a funny addendum. After Killer's Diary came out, a reader approached me and said, “Brian Pinkerton? Like in Pinkerton Detective Agency? Wow, that’s a great name for a mystery writer. It’s gotta be a pseudonym, right?”

This post originally appeared on Shelf Pleasure
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Published on December 19, 2013 08:23 • 150 views