Today I am interviewing E. Chris Garrison, author of the new omnibus, Road Ghosts: Omnibus Edition, a collection of the three books in the paranormal-thriller, and humor trilogy, Road Ghosts].
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DJ: Hey Chris! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Chris: Hello DJ! I’m an indie author of science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk novels. I am proud to be a Seventh Star Press author, they have published my Tipsy Fairy Tales books, and I am very pleased with the new Road Ghosts Omnibus.
DJ: What is the Road Ghosts trilogy about?
Chris: I joke that it’s Scooby Doo for grownups. It’s about a ghost hunter named Brett and his friends, traveling around in an old minivan called Soccer Mom, tangled up with paranormal entities and creatures. It’s been compared with the Supernatural TV show as well.
DJ: What were some of your influences for the Road Ghosts trilogy?
Chris: My wife and I were amateur paranormal investigators for years before I sat down to write the first Road Ghosts book. I used our own much more mundane adventures as seeds for some of the much more fantastic stories in Road Ghosts. I was definitely influenced by Scooby-Doo and Supernatural, and I admit I’m a longtime Buffy fan as well. 🙂
DJ: Could actually you tell us a little about the first book in the trilogy, Road Ghosts: Omnibus Edition, too? (Seeing as how this is where readers will be starting) 😛
Chris: Sure! The first book is called Four ’til Late, and it came from one simple premise: I wanted to write about a haunted road trip. It was an homage to my uncle Chuck, who had passed away the previous month, to celebrate the epic road trips we used to take together. The four friends of the book set out on a trip to New Orleans, only to have supernatural phenomena pursue them the whole way there. They push on despite the occurrences getting more and more dangerous. There’s a lot of humor interlaced with suspense along the way.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters in the trilogy? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers will sympathize with them? (aka What makes them compelling?)
Chris: Absolutely. Brett’s the kind of nerdy main character, he’s an amateur ghost hunter and paranormal enthusiast who struggles with depression, but despite that, he has a way of bringing people together and bringing out the best in them. Gonzo is Brett’s best buddy, a big grumbly bear of a man who doesn’t “want to believe” at all; he’d rather just be having a good time, but Brett knows he can count on him to have his back no matter what. Liz is Brett’s once and future girlfriend, she makes her living doing web design and stars on her own webcam feed. Liz is also a good witch who wears fairy wings as an accessory.
Jimbo’s a classic dorky gamer guy, caught up in the adventure both for being along for the ride with his friends, and by virtue of his connection to his girlfriend Frannie, who’s got a rather supernatural secret.
DJ: What is the universe/world [name your universe in answer, please] for the Road Ghosts trilogy like? (the environment, weather, people, religion, technology, architecture, government, etc; is it violent, peaceful, patriarch/matriarch, etc.)
Chris: You know, I usually just call it “the world of Road Ghosts” or something similar, I don’t have a catchy name like “the Buffyverse”. If I had to coin one right now, I’d say “the Ghostiverse” but I reserve the right to change my mind. Since it’s urban fantasy, the Ghostiverse is a world much like our own, of cars and cell phones — but also demons, ghouls, and ghosts. There is what is called the “shadow world” that bumps up against our own to allow spirits and energies to cause hauntings, possessions, and dark magic. Anything to do with Shadow can drain batteries or even make technology malfunction, it can sap the life energy from people, and it can most easily cross over in our dreams. It’s the same world as the Tipsy Fairy Tales, though in that series, we see that the Fairy world and its energies interact very differently with our world than the world of Shadow.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing the Road Ghosts trilogy?
Chris: Writing the banter between the characters was my favorite part. I really fell in love with these characters, and the way they’d bounce off each other, joking and arguing, came so naturally it virtually wrote itself. Is it too vain to admit I love reading my own books? Well, rereading the banter always makes me smile and laugh, as though I was hanging out with old friends. My fondest hope is that my readers feel the same way.
DJ: The Road Ghosts trilogy has already been completed, so since the finals books release, what have readers been talking about most once they finished it? How have the reviews been from readers, bloggers, and reviewers?
Chris: I most often see comments on the interactions between the friends, fulfulling that fond hope I had in the last question. People remark that the dialogue between Brett, Gonzo, Liz, and Jimbo feels real. This makes me very happy as a writer. If I have one common thread between all my books, not just the Road Ghosts, it’s that theme of friendship and love being essential to the story.
DJ: What was your goal in writing the Road Ghosts trilogy? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across to readers when it is finally told?
Chris: At the end of Four ’til Late, Gonzo makes my late uncle’s favorite toast, “to friends and love”. As in the last question, I want the reader to feel the shared friendships and feel like that it’s the real strength that wins the day. I want the reader to feel they’re a part of that.
DJ: I’m always curious when authors finish a series, how close to the original course they stayed when it is finally completed or if it ended up evolving and changing. Did the plot stay the same as you had first imagined it? How about the ending? Evolution of your characters?
Chris: Truth be told, I didn’t know that there were going to be more books after Four ’til Late until the first chapter of the second book, Sinking Down quite literally came to me in a dream and I knew I had to write it. I am a “pantser” at heart, and so I am fond of stories growing organically, rather than by some grand plan. I wrote each book in the trilogy as its own thing, and what makes it a series is that gradual growth and development of the characters. Much of the overarching plot occurred in editing later on. Brett in particular develops as a person from battling his past traumas and insecurities to fears about the future, with the help of his friends, to embracing his flaws to become more whole. I didn’t really plan that initially, but the development made sense as I went along and Brett overcame one thing after another.
DJ: Once the Road Ghosts: Omnibus Edition trilogy is released, what is next for you?
Chris: If you didn’t know, the Tipsy Fairy Tales is a spin-off series of the Road Ghosts. It stars Skye, who we meet as a drunken vampire larper in Sinking Down, initially as a bit of gawky, sullen, comic relief. She ends up getting the ability to see into the Fairy spirit world as a result of what happens to her in the Road Ghosts, and continues the adventures of the Ghostiverse in Blue Spirit and Restless Spirit. I am still working on the third in that second trilogy, which will be called Mean Spirit. Many Road Ghosts characters are a part of the Tipsy Fairy Tales as well, so you can look for some familiar faces in those pages.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/E.-Chris-Garrison/e/B005H63TLE
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
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*** Road Ghost: Omnibus Edition is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
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Somewhere Between Scooby-Doo and Supernatural
The Road Ghosts Trilogy introduced readers to E. Chris Garrison, one of speculative fiction’s most gifted voices. Presented here for the first time in a single volume, you’ll meet amateur ghost hunters Brett and Liz, along with their friends Gonzo, Jimbo, and Frannie. Go along for the ride as the gang chases ghosts and battles demons, ghouls, and stranger things up and down the interstate highways of the Midwest.
The Road Ghosts Trilogy spawned several short stories (such as “Spectral Delivery,” included here!) and introduces readers to “Skye” MacLeod, whose adventures continue in Garrison’s popular Tipsy Fairy Tales Series. This omnibus volume includes:
Four ’til Late (Road Ghosts Trilogy, Book 1) Brett, Gonzo, Jimbo, and Liz embark on a road trip with dangerous detours, dreadful dreams and dire warnings. Along the way they discover that some spirits leave you with more than a hangover and regrets. Turn up the radio and get moving, because the road ghosts are waiting.
Sinking Down (Road Ghosts Trilogy, Book 2) Brett and Liz are back in over their heads when a forest hunt for a roadkill-eating creature offers up a ghoulish little surprise. Worse than that, they find that Brett’s fate is linked to the creature’s. So it’s back out on the road, with unexpected pit stops with a greedy ex, a convention of ghost hunters, partying with fake vampires, and drinking and fighting alongside Uncle Gonzo.
Me and the Devil (Road Ghosts Trilogy, Book 3) Brett, Liz, and Gonzo undertake a difficult three-night webcast leading up to Halloween. If they’re successful, they may finally get the recognition Brett seeks. But ever since the events in Sinking Down, Brett has been a little… off. On the first night of the webcast, Brett’s sudden tantrum both boosts ratings and terrifies his friends. As Halloween approaches, Brett’s friends find themselves in a desperate fight to save his soul — and his life.
“Spectral Delivery” (Bonus Short Story) Meet Enid, a pizza delivery trainee who’s stuck riding along with ghost-geek Brett on Valentine’s Day night. Her boyfriend begs her to try to get off early, but things get weirder and weirder as she and Brett encounter the paranormal at every stop.
E. Chris Garrison writes fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories.
Chris has two series published by Seventh Star Press, the Road Ghosts trilogy and its companion series the Tipsy Fairy Tales. These urban fantasies feature ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk delivered with a “lightly dark” side of humor.
Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. The series is set in one of the worlds in Chris’s dimension-hopping science fiction adventure, Reality Check, also published through Silly Hat Books. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com in 2013. Silly Hat Books released Alien Beer and Other Stories, a collection of her short stories, in 2017.
Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and many cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape. Keep up on the latest news and releases from Chris at https://sillyhatbooks.com/
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