Good day to you Professor Charles F. French! Thank you for taking time, in your busy schedule, between teaching literature at two universities in eastern Pennsylvania and writing great horror novels! I just read your latest horror novel, Gallows Hill, and it is a blockbuster of a horror novel! I am very interested in discovering more about why reading, writing, and teaching is the love of your life. Thank you for answering the following questions. I know your readers are as anxious to know all about you as I am.
1. How do you get your ideas for writing books, such as Maledicus, your first published book, but not the only novel you have written?
This may sound odd, and I do not know what it says about either me or the creative process, but I see characters and wonder what their stories are. I begin to think about them, and I jot down my ideas. And I never seem to run out of ideas.
2. Do you feel that novels should have a moral dilemma that must be addressed?
I do not think that all novels should have a moral dilemma in them—that must be up to the author to decide, but I can say that in my novels, I always have at least one, if not more, moral dilemmas that the characters face in the course of the action.
3. Do you research your story before you begin to write a novel?
I do not have a set pattern when it comes to research for my novels. I usually do the research as I come across something I do not know for the books. Then I attack the research to learn as much as I can about it. Because I never outline a book, I cannot be sure what it is I will need to learn until I reach that point. I am not suggesting that anyone else should follow my way of research, only that it is what I do. Each writer must find his/her own paths.
4. In your latest novel, Gallows Hill what single idea inspired you to write this story?
Its origin is found in the first book in this series: Maledicus: The Investigative Paranormal Society, book 1. The three men who create the ghost-investigation group all have lost someone very close to them to death. The first book focused on Roosevelt, and this one focuses on Sam, who lost his teenaged son, Josh to suicide. Sam carries deep grief with him, and the book is about his search to find answers about his son’s death. So, the theme of the past intruding on the present also informs the creation of the supernatural villain of the book, a former executioner/fundamentalist preacher who just cannot seem to let go of his need to punish those he considers to be sinners.
5. Are you presently writing another novel and can you give us an idea of what it is about and why did you chose this subject matter?
Yes, I have written the first of a Young Adult series that I am currently pitching to agents, and I hope that I can break through into traditional publishing with it. It is an environmental post-apocalyptic novel, informed by the middle ages. I am also working on the first draft of the first book in a fantasy series that I thought would be midgrade but now I realize is adult fantasy. The themes of the evils of the world and how they intrude through fantastic events into the lives of several youngsters is too powerful, vivid, and horrific to be anything but adult fantasy.
6. I have been told you that have also written another novel that has not yet been published. What is the name of this novel and when will it be published?
The name of the next book in the paranormal investigation series is Evil Lives After: The Investigative Paranormal Society, Book 3, and it will come out around Halloween in 2019.
7. Is there anything else that you would like to add to this discussion?
First, thank you to K. D. Dowdall for conducting this interview with me. Second, I want to say to all writers out there: continue to do what you do, and never lose hope or dedication to your craft and your art.