Wednesday, January 16, 2013

H.G. Ferguson {Writer Wednesday}


Today I welcome H.G. (or Harold) Ferguson to the blog!  He is the author of New Blood, a "speculative fiction" novel providing a fresh, original "take" on the vampire mythology from a thoroughly Biblical worldview.  If you're getting tired of the typical vampire story and love to read Christian fiction, this is the book for you!

How to connect with Harold:

Publishers website: Written World Communications
Youtube trailer (also included at the bottom of this post)
Recent interview on Ralene Burke's Character Post


Author Interview | H.G. Ferguson


You & Writing
Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing? ...I’ve always been a storyteller from my earliest memories. Even when “playing” with my small plastic soldiers and figures I was always making up tales and ensuring the bad guys got what was coming to them. Memorably. Even then. It was only natural that as I grew I turned to writing, though it has taken a lonnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime to “break through.” I keep writing because the Lord wants me to, as He wants all of us to use our gifts to the praise of His glory.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

...I don’t think I have a favorite book per se. My favorite authors are HP Lovecraft (my mentor in certain key ways), J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Robert R. McCammon. Lovecraft, the master of atmosphere, suggestion and understatement -- Tolkien’s spiritual depth for which you must dig, like the treasure hidden in a field -- Lewis’ Christian faith permeating everything he wrote -- and McCammon’s riveting, lush you-are-there prose -- all have enriched the way I write. To all of them I am most indebted.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

...There is nothing easy about being published. If there were, it would not be worth anything. The hardest thing was learning to honor the commitment I made to accept editorial direction. When you promise to work with an editor, you check your ego at the door. This does not mean you allow the editor to wrest away your work and obliterate your voice. I was blessed to have two excellent editors, Dale Hansen and Kristine Pratt, whose suggestions improved the story in certain key places, such as the scene where Rebecca nearly burns to death in the sun and the ritual washing scene between Rebecca and her adoptive mother Singing Star. Dale’s suggestion in the former and Kristine’s suggestion in the latter took both these scenes into some pretty cool directions which had not occurred to me. That’s what great editors do. Learning to work with other people’s directions is often a challenge. But it can -- and should, since you promise -- be done. 

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...I wrote New Blood because I wanted to tell the truth about being a vampire. Contemporary vampire stuff presents vampirism as fun, cool and empowering -- they have become godlike beings, and don’t you want to embrace the darkness and be a vampire too? For Rebecca, vampirism is a curse, an infirmity, a thorn in her flesh. Though it is not supernaturally based, my take on vampirism preserves the abandoned notion that being a vampire is not fun. I wanted to show such a person, afflicted with such a nightmarish reality, persevering and sustained by the Grace of God. It’s also a metaphor for sin, something which afflicts us all, whether we like to admit it or not. I wanted to show, above all, as Rebecca might chant, Christus Victor! Christ is the Victor! Victor in that He loves Rebecca, has redeemed Rebecca, and has a purpose and plan for her life IN SPITE OF WHAT SHE IS. More of this plan unfolds in the second book, which I am working on now.

Do you have a favorite character? If so, why?

...Oddly enough, Singing Star was my favorite character in the first tale. A practical Mohawk mom, having been touched by Christianity, who becomes the true and real mother Rebecca never had. She discerns the truth about things with an unnerving bluntness tempered by heartfelt compassion. Her “spiritual battle” with the lies of Angelique at the ritual washing scene is a key point in the presentation of her character. Guess who wins, Heh-ya!

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?

...God’s unconditional love for Rebecca, and that the Lord can take the most horrible thing (vampirism) and redeem it to the praise of His glory!

Writing

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I would say both. Sometimes ideas shamble into my head all on their own, other times real events ignite the creative spark. I am primarily visual, and often pictures will set things in motion. The challenge in this case is not to copy what’s in the picture, to allow it to be inspiration, not reproduction.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?...To tell the Truth in a way in which it has never been told before, whether that Truth is the death of Jesus on the Cross for our sins or what happens to a human body when a blunderbuss goes off pressed against it. I want my stories to be true -- true to human and salvation history as accurate as I can make it, true in emotions and experiences, true in every sense. For example, when Rebecca “vamps out” at critical times in the tale, the air becomes quite sanguinary. This is not due to my penchant for gratuitous violence. It is due to the truth of what four long fangs as weapons will do to a human body. And when a human body is savaged like that, it will bleed. And bleed. And bleed. Copiously. And with gusto. Why? Because that is what would actually happen. It rings…True. If I were to “tone that down” it would cease to be….True. And if that violence is not depicted as…True…then neither is the Gospel Rebecca presents twice in the story. Like Tolkien, I want my “world” to be True because what I am REALLY aiming for is the Highest Truth of all -- that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins. If my “world” is True, then so will be the Gospel I present. For me, it all hangs together as one. If people cannot accept my “world” as True, they will do the same with the Gospel, i.e., this guy’s religion is as hokey as what he writes.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?

...Always be yourself. Do not imitate other writers, even your favorite writer. Do not try to be that person -- you’re not. You are as unique as they are. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t LEARN from other writers, you should. As I said, I admire Lovecraft for atmosphere and suggestion, but imitating his peculiar diction and speech patterns won’t work today. Similarly, I can learn a great deal from McCammon about vivid description, but I will not attempt imitation. Learn from your favorite writers, but do not imitate them. Also, resist to your dying breath today’s dumbed-down destruction of style, supposed “ten rules” for writing and that ilk. The English language is one of the richest and most expressive forms of communication on this planet. Do not impoverish your writing by slavish adherence to forms, rules, ad infinitum et nauseam when these forms and rules ravage what writing is all about -- individual creative expression, not repetition of mindless mantras.

You

What is your favorite snack to eat when writing?
...I don’t snack much. And I’m not addicted to an unspecified soft drink, and I resent the implications. I can neither confirm nor deny.


Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? If so, care to share one of yours?
...No, I don’t really believe in such. But I’ve made a commitment to a closer walk with my Lord in 2013 than in 2012.

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in 2013?
...That Rebecca’s audience will grow in 2013, should the Lord be so kind, and that the powers that be in Christian fiction will realize that horror is just as acceptable in God’s eyes as historical romances and Amish courtships.

Thank you from my heart for the interview. It is an honor to appear on your blog. And as Rebecca herself would exclaim, “Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!"

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Well thank you Harold! I think your idea for the book is refreshing!  I'll admit I read all of the Twilight series (no, I'm not comparing them haha) as well as several other vampire novels and I will say that the stories can be very entertaining.  I look forward to getting a chance to read New Blood with this fresh perspective on what it would actually be like to be a vampire and be redeemed!

I thought I'd include the trailer to his book New Blood below.  I'm excited for the idea of this different genre and hope that you make a point to check out this intriguing tale!