Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Interview with middle grade author Aric Cushing

Today’s special guest is Aric Cushing. Our topic is Vampire Boy, Aric’s new middle grade fantasy, humor, horror novel.

Aric Cushing is the author who recently discovered and published commentaries by literary great Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Lost Essays, editor). He is also the co-founder of The Los Angeles Fear and Fantasy Film Festival. After graduating college, he travelled in a 2 person theater company performing Robin Hood and Kidnapped for elementary, middle schools, and high schools throughout the Pacific Northwest. Aric has starred in a variety of television shows and feature films, including the upcoming feature film with Raphael Sbarge (Risky Business, Once Upon a Time, Murder in the First) and Meg Foster (John Carpenter’s They Live) where he plays Maximillian, in the role of the title villain, in There’s No Such Thing as Vampires.

Welcome, Aric. Please tell us about your current release.
The Carpathian Chronicles (Alex Vambarey #1), is the first in a series of books about Alex Vambarey, vampire boy, and his first year at the Carpathian Academy.

What inspired you to write this book?
I have been planning on writing this book since I was in 5th grade. I had the idea at that time, and through a turn of life events, I wasn’t able to start the book until much later in life. Throughout the years I had sketches, ideas, etc., and jotted them down in notebooks before finally starting to write the series. At first I was disappointed when the Harry Potter series came out, because I felt they were similar. But then I realized they were different worlds. A particular blog I enjoyed was ‘Harry Potter has Fangs’ by the Serial Reader Blog (http://theserialreaderblog.com/2016/10/28/harry-potter-has-fangs/), in which the review pointed out the similarities and differences between the books.

Excerpt from Vampire Boy:
“Now, can any of you tell me why humans are important? How about you?” Mr. Ticora pointed to Aggy.
“Ugh .  .  .  maybe .  .  .” and a look of defeat came over her face. “No, I guess not.”
“Anyone else?”
Alex wracked his brain. For bat’s sake, why couldn’t he think of anything?
Silvanus raised his hand. “My dad told me that they don’t like the way they look. So they are always doing things to themselves.”
Cha Cha, a girl in the front row, twisted in her seat, and looked at him. “I read that they put lotion on themselves to get a tan. That’s what they call it. To get darker. They don’t like white skin.”
The girl sitting next to her, Eloise, laughed. “That cannot be true.”
Cha Cha gyrated her head, emphatically, “It is true.”
“No it’s not! You made that up.”
Alex smiled. The human debate had already started and it was only their first day of class! Of course, everything was purely conjecture. No one had ever met a human, or for that matter, seen one.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Book 2 of the series! The second book in the series is Vampire Valley, and it’s a continuation of Vampire Boy. After arriving at the academy, the Magus gives a riddle to the ‘newbies’, or, in Carpathian terms, ‘beginners’, to solve before the end of the school year. Alex, his gargoyle friend Otis, Angelica (the elemental), and a variety of other friends from throughout Carpathia struggle to solve the riddle and win the school prize. Book 2 finishes the first year of Alex’s schooling.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was very young and just started writing. I started my first novel when I was 10 years old at my father’s house in San Jose, California. There was an old typewriter in a destroyed dining room next to the kitchen (which no one ever used) and I would sit in there and write. If only I had kept the pages!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am an actor as well, and currently there has been re-shoots on a feature film I just finished called ‘There’s No Such Thing as Vampires’. So my writing schedule has been a bit off track, but usually I write as much as I can every day. I never want to stop, but life’s responsibilities have a way of yanking you from your work. I think a great method for anyone that is writing (or wants to be a writer) never forget it’s easy to use your phone as a notebook. If you’re waiting in an office with a friend, or in queue somewhere, you can jot down ideas and outlines.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Wow. That’s a good question. I don’t think I have one. Let’s see. I think the most difficult thing is getting an idea when you are in bed, usually when you are right about to go to sleep, and then having to turn the light on and write the idea down before it’s lost. I’ve also woken up in the middle of the night for the lieu (who hasn’t!) and been hit with the writing bug.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wish I could say ‘I wanted to be happy’. I think that is what everyone should say to themselves. But the answer—straight from my own journal at 12 years old—is ‘I want to grow up and be a vampire actor.” Which I guess I have achieved with this new film I am in, and with the first book in this series.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Yes. Keep reading my fellow Carpathians! Anything and everything!


Thanks for stopping by today, Aric. All the best with your writing!


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