Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a Southern California based writer, traveler and explorer of the esoteric. I spent ten years writing, researching, and pouring over historical references to create an authentic representation of the time periods in my latest novel. I am fascinated with the paranormal, so I also researched real-life accounts of elemental spirits, ghosts, sorcery and demons, plus actual historical events and legends, to feed the writing in my novel.
Tell us a little about your novel.
Oubliette – A Forgotten Little Place is a paranormal historical fiction thriller. People who’ve read it say it’s American Horror Story meets Game of Thrones. Which I think is awesome as I love both shows! The book consists of several intertwining storylines set around the fictional oubliette in a French castle. The ideas for each came from different eras in history, myths, and real happenings.
What was the main inspiration for writing the book?
The main inspiration for writing Oubliette – A Forgotten Little Place came after learning about the real oubliette at Leap Castle in Ireland. They removed the remains from over 150 different bodies when they emptied it in the late 1800s. I realized each of those victims had a story, and so I wrote several fictional accounts using real moments in history to craft my tales.
Oh, and Leap Castle is allegedly haunted by a terrifying “elemental”—that juicy morsel gave me some inspiration as well!
What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a big fan of fan fiction. I love the idea of being inspired by a book or character and riffing off it like a musician might use samples from another recording artist.
In fact, I like fan fiction so much that I’ve launched the Ohh La La Oubliette Fan Fiction contest. This contest is giving someone the amazing opportunity to win trip to France!
If you’ve never been to France, trust me, you must! I traveled to Paris, the Loire Valley, and even the Catacombs when researching Oubliette—A Forgotten Little Place. The winner will have the chance to explore just like I did.
I believe that if you’re a reader, that means there’s also a writer inside you. This contest gives those who are brave and bold enough to put their ideas into a story, the ultimate opportunity to go on a magical vacation to France. The details to enter are on my website vantamblack.com.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
I don’t focus on what’s hard. I am rewarded every time someone tells me how Oubliette has touched them; every time I hear about someone else’s personal paranormal experiences. It’s that connection—the realization and understanding that others have gone through it, too—which makes the hard stuff irrelevant. Oubliette is a book that needed to be written, and I am more than happy to be the slave to the pen that wrote it.
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
I’m excited about working with Prophecy Girl Films’ Minoti Vaishnav to turn Oubliette into episodic television. Minoti is an award-winning screenwriter who is writing the pilot and first episode, as well as outlining the seasons. Fingers crossed we get it picked up!
Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.
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