The Children of resurrection gardens by stone wallace, "The Stephen King of Manitoba" (Western Review Magazine)
Well blow me down! All you literary landlubbers are invited to climb aboard our seaworthy ship for the most exciting Author Spotlight to date!
Tis THE WHIMSICAL HERALD, flags flying proudly in a high winter wind, returning under the glow of a full moon to feature World-Renowned Best-Selling Author Stone Wallace. He will come aboard and join us at the Captain's table to weave a gripping and suspenseful tale of wraith-like terrors from the past, rising once more to wreak vengeance.
A QUAINT AND QUIET COASTAL COMMUNITY REALIZES A FULL BLOWN NIGHTMARE AS THEIR CHILDREN TURN UP MURDERED.
WILL CHIEF OF POLICE BRADEN POWELL BE ABLE TO SOLVE THE MACABRE CRIMES BEFORE THE ENTIRE TOWN VANISHES?
“Pedophiles don’t need to harass or physically harm children,” Dr. Forrester explained. “Molesters, on the other hand, do possess the need to commit a crime against a child. You did mention that these girls were not physically abused or sexually violated?”
“No, not violated. Just murdered,” Powell said, betraying his professional demeanor with the tight delivery of his words. Dr. Forrester’s attention flickered across his face, alerting him that she’d noticed his reaction, but she tactfully pretended not to notice. Or at least not acknowledge. She went on.
“The reason I bring that up is a molester’s motives for his crimes are typically not sexual.”Powell edged forward in his chair. “So, for clarification, in your opinion, we’re discussing a molester, not a pedophile.” Dr. Forrester responded with a slight nodding of her head.
“All right. What more can you tell me about this type of deviant from a psychological standpoint?” Powell asked her.
“There are two categories of child molesters, the situational molester and the preferential molester. With what you’ve described, the person you’re seeking is the former, a situational molester. That type does not possess a genuine sexual preference for children. Rather, the motives are criminal in nature.”
“Including murder?” Powell questioned darkly.
1. You have been a bestselling author for 30 years, writing in many genres. Is horror your favorite?
Certainly one of my favorite genres. Actually, I believe my interest began when I was probably about six years of age. My dad and I were shopping and I saw this display of Aurora monster models. Instantly my attention was grabbed by the Creature from the Black Lagoon. My dad, bless him, bought it for me and I recall sitting with him at the kitchen table as we assembled it. He then began telling me about when he was a boy and watching the classics FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA. I instantly became a Monster Kid and my parents, God love them, never discouraged my interest. In fact, they encouraged it. I grew up reading Famous Monsters magazine and all the other popular genre publications of the time. Back in the 60s one of our local TV stations began running the Saturday Chiller movies, which focused primarily on the 50’s sci-fi/horror American International Pictures library, to which I became addicted. On top of that one of our downtown movie theaters would often showcase Saturday matinees featuring those great early Hammer films, my two favorites being THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF and BRIDES OF DRACULA. Believe me, those Saturday horror showcases and Chiller movies got me through many long school weeks.
2. What character qualities do you share with Chief of Police Braden Powell?
That’s literally a painful question – for what will become an obvious reason. Hopefully I’m not as neurotic or (today) as stressed out as Braden Powell, but during a crazy period in my life when I was living in Las Vegas and simultaneously working on (I kid you not) four separate book projects I developed a severe case of psoriasis that played havoc with mostly the lower part of my body. Thirteen years later I still have the symptoms, though fortunately they have subsided considerably. I incorporated that miserable skin condition in the character of Braden which is the result of the various stresses he endures throughout the story. The only other thing that I can relate to with Powell is the extreme love I have for my wife. My son-in-law read the chapter where Powell reflects on the night he lost his wife and told me how much it affected him and made him appreciate his own marriage all the more. That was gratifying. I said that was a difficult but also easy section to write because it came from my own feelings. God forbid that I would ever have to experience that, though.
3. How would you cast the movie version of ‘The Children of Resurrection Gardens’?
Thought about that. Really only three acting choices come to mind. For Powell I think Mark Wahlberg would be fine. He’s an actor I very much admire. For Donna I keep thinking of Alicia Witt. She’s maybe a bit older than the character as written but she has a quality about her that I really like. For old Casper, the cemetery caretaker, only one choice: Robert Englund. I think he would be perfect. And appropriately creepy.
4. What scares YOU?
Well, on a supernatural level, precisely what is in the book, which is why after so many years away from horror writing I decided to write THE CHILDREN OF RESURRECTION GARDENS. There is something positively chilling about “ghost children.” I’ve listened to EVPs where the voice of supposed spirit children have been recorded, and they’re downright creepy. And also quite tragic. I would not want to wake in the dead of night and be confronted with the resurrected and lamenting corpse of a child fresh from the grave standing in the doorway. So if that scares me, hopefully it will have the same effect on the reader. However, as a bonafide Monster Kid, as a boy not a lot ever truly scared me – with one exception. It was an episode of the old ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR: The Ray Bradbury-scripted “The Life Work of Juan Diaz”. That episode, as touching as it was, terrified me, resulted in an unpleasant bedtime and stayed with me for days. Most people remember Bradbury as the quintessential science fiction writer, but early in his career he really created some masterpieces of horror, such as the gruesome “The Handler” and the classic “Mars is Heaven!”
5. How has your writing process evolved over the years?
Well, I hope I’ve improved. Wrote my first novel at 20, which had a compelling story but the composition was pretty crude, understandably. While the book wasn’t published I was lucky enough to receive a response from a publisher that was not the dreaded “standard form rejection letter,” who said that I “showed promise” and to keep them in mind for future submissions. That encouragement kept me going and my second book was accepted for publication by a New York house. Wrote three horror novels, then decided to attempt different genres, including histories, biographies and assisting on autobiographies. Then, of course, I wrote several quite successful Western novels, one of which (MONTANA DAWN) was cited by Booklist as “One of the Ten Best Westerns of the Decade”. Considering the book was only the second Western I ever wrote, that accolade was most flattering.
6. Were you drawn to horror as a youngster? Did you watch scary movies? What was your favorite?
Yep, as I said I was a true Monster Kid. Saw as many scary movies as I could – from the classic Universal features to the AIP and Hammer movies I basically grew up with. In short, the good, the bad and the ugly. My favorite? So many. I think the one that influenced me most so far as my writing is concerned was the original CARRIE. That film (and book) hit a nerve with me. So, of course, I’m indebted to Mr. Stephen King. I must say I’m not much of a fan of today’s horror movies. Most are repetitious and imagination has been replaced by gore and other graphic content that repulses rather than entertains. Not that I’m a prude, because if the script is compelling and the characters believable I don’t mind some gore, as long as it isn’t used exclusively to replace story content. Personally, though, I really enjoy those 80s films that incorporated humor along with horror, such as FRIGHT NIGHT, THE HOWLING, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. But I’m also a huge David Cronenberg fan. His remake of THE FLY, for instance, is a true classic. And, proudly, he is a Canadian. But my all-time favorite horror movie is a British film starring Peter Cushing and based on the true story of Dr. Robert Knox and grave-robbers Burke and Hare called THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS. It’s a chilling movie that sticks quite close to the historical facts. Incidentally, just re-watched PET SEMATARY last night. A fine Stephen King adaptation but also a film of some missed opportunities. Also, I find it is a movie whose impact comes more from the disturbing and depressing elements it conveys rather than the outright horrific. Fred Gwynne, however, was magnificent and deserved an Oscar nod.
7. Are there sources for your stories besides your own experience?
Mostly imagination, I’d say. The kernel for THE CHILDREN OF RESURRECTION GARDENS did come from a talk I was having one night with my stepdaughter’s boyfriend at the time. He mentioned how much he was frightened by the thought of these so-called black-eyed children who apparently can show up anywhere unannounced and are as creepy as hell – that is, if they exist. That along with spooky spectral children and those eerie EVPs started to churn my imagination. In other cases, I’ll just start typing on the computer and see where it might lead me. That was how my bestseller BLOOD MOON began. With a single opening sentence on my old portable typewriter, just to write something.
8. Have you ever vacationed or lived in a coastal town like Clear Vista?
There is a lakeside community in Manitoba called Gimli that I used as a model for Clear Vista. My wife and I visit Gimli often in the summer and my hope is to eventually move out there. A quaint and lovely small town with all of those quaint small-town values. I’ve lived in cities all my life but now as I’ve gotten older I yearn for a more rural lifestyle.
9. Which of the books you’ve written have the best shot at being popular 50 years from now?
Ideally, all of them. Actually, I’d need a time machine to answer that question. I think back thirty-odd years to when I first started writing novels. Things have changed so much since then, both in what people choose to read and the applications with which they can be read. God only knows what the future holds. I guess my main hope is with all the technology available today that people will still be reading books. The way the English language is getting so abbreviated on texting devices, I hope that in years to come people will be able to read.
10. You include elements of both psychological and actual violence in The Children of Resurrection Gardens. Was this by design?
Well, without giving away too much of the story, I didn’t want the ghouls (such as they are) to be George Romero-like flesh-eating zombies. Yes, there is violence but not brought on directly by the actions of those resurrected children. I wanted my supernatural beings to have a different motive for their returning from the grave. The psychological violence is committed more by the hauntings of guilt many of the main characters experience – or have experienced in the past.
11. One very strong-willed central character succumbs to insanity near the novel’s finish in a shocking manner. Did you plan this?
Yes. You see, I really don’t plan out my books in advance. I start with an idea and let it progress from there. That, to me, is the fun of writing, otherwise with too much pre-plotting it becomes work. Sometimes I think I know what’s ahead but circumstances throw me an unexpected curve. My characters generally guide me along; in essence, I almost become a spectator to their journey and adventures. In one of my early novels I introduced a character who I intended to be the hero of the story. About halfway through, however, he was killed off unexpectedly. Just the way the story progressed – and I felt that if it shocked me it might toss the reader a jolt, as well. The same thing happened with the first Western I wrote. The unexpected and downbeat ending so threw my editor that she almost was not going to publish the book. But in the instance of THE CHILDREN OF RESURRECTION GARDENS, the person you’re mentioning, I pretty well knew from the outset where I wanted to go with this character and it followed through to the end with no fork in the road. Circumstances demanded this particular and rather gruesome fate.
12. Certain elements suggest there could be a sequel to The Children of Resurrection Gardens. Are you planning one?
No. I think based on the conclusion, the story ends as it should. Besides, I’m not really fond of sequels. However, with another book . . . you never know.
13. You interviewed many celebrities over the years. Who were your favorites and were any influential in your writing?
I’ve been so lucky in that regard. Heck, I’m a kid from Winnipeg where the winters are cold and snowy and summers are hot and humid and I’ve been blessed to both interview and even befriend some really great people. Could never pick a favorite since each, without exception, has been so kind and gracious. (Please forgive the name-dropping to follow). I was fortunate to conduct Robert Stack’s final interview. Back in ’74 I was invited to sit with Lloyd Nolan in his Brentwood home and interview him. One interesting story is when I interviewed Anthony Quinn. I’d been told beforehand not to mention his son Christopher, who, as a toddler, had drowned in neighbor W.C. Fields’ pond. Mr. Quinn and I got along so well during our talk that he himself brought up the story, further adding that to that day he had never visited his son’s grave. At the end of our talk Mr. Quinn said that if I was ever in Rhode Island to visit him at his home on Poppasquash Road. Wish I had, he was a very nice man. But I also received invites from other celebrities like John Agar, Coleen Gray, director Herbert L. Strock, Margia Dean, Marc Lawrence, and Mickey Knox. So, yeah, it’s been pretty exciting and flattering to be so acknowledged by people I’d admired for so long. And to further answer your question: It was my good friend John Agar who inspired me to write my first Western novel DENIM RYDER. During our first of several conversations we talked about his Western roles in movies, and I mentioned this idea I’d been playing around with about a denim-clad female secret agent. He casually suggested, why not make her into a cowgirl. Bingo! Had never considered writing a Western before but it turned out quite well. I even wrote a character based on Agar that I hoped, should a film be made of the book, he would play. But sadly that never came to be. And John, who was suffering from ill health, passed away not long after.
14. What current projects are you working on? Do you have any signings planned in 2018?
Have just finished a noir crime novel that I’m excited about, REQUIEM FOR A GANGSTER. Besides classic horror, I’m also an enormous fan of early gangster movies, particularly those produced by Warner Bros. If Tell-Tale gives the okay on this book I hope we can talk again. Had some personal contact with those associated with the underworld of yesteryear, including a memorable lunch in Vegas with Mickey Cohen’s girlfriend, Liz Renay. I mean, here’s another abstract: A kid from the prairie provinces of Canada lunching with the gal pal of the gangster who was the mob boss of 40’s L.A. (who, by the way, apparently was nothing like the Capone-like portrayal of Sean Penn in GANGSTER SQUAD). Also working on completing another horror novel featuring a child with an uncanny “gift” used for a specific supernatural purpose. Then a book about another frightening concept: The legend of the demon of the northern wilds, the Wendigo. Should keep me busy for a while. Plus I should add that I write vintage movie pieces for that fine publication Nostalgia Digest and am assisting on a project with a fellow who spent five weeks interviewing James Cagney in the latter days of the actor’s life. The book will focus on conversations the two had about Cagney’s early, pre-Hollywood years. Unique info straight from Jimmy Cagney himself that has never been revealed before.
From the "Stephen King of Manitoba" (Western Review Magazine), comes another macabre tale. At the Midnight Hour beware of what lurks in the shadows.
Clear Vista, California is a picturesque town overlooking a tranquil bay on the Pacific. Quiet. Friendly. It’s a great place for children to grow up.
That is, if they grow up.
But an unusual number of children in Clear Vista don’t live long enough to grow up. A car accident. A hit-and-run. A tumble down the basement stairs. A suicide. So many tragedies fill the plots in the local cemetery, Resurrection Gardens. The worst is the disappearance of the eight-year-old Loewen twins, Heidi and Holly. When their bodies are found in the cemetery’s tool shed, the horrified townspeople are desperate to find the predator that has come into their midst.
Under mounting pressure, Police Chief Braden Powell searches for the culprit, but he soon finds himself investigating a string of additional deaths. Adults this time. All parents of lost children. They’re definitely not murders, but they’re definitely not natural, either. Is the town of Clear Vista just unlucky, or is something far more sinister moving over the horizon?
It is with great sadness we bid our distinguished guest, Author Stone Wallace, farewell and fair winds and following seas as he heaves ahead with more spellbinding tales of terror. We anxiously await his next harrowing tale from Tell-Tale Publishing!
As always I remain your Captain and faithful servant,
Patricia Mattern, Mistress of Madess on The Whimsical Herald
Mistress of Madness
Well, do you have any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?
Lewis Carroll, in 1897, proposed this answer, "Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is 'never' put with the wrong end in front!" (raven, spelled backward, is nevar aka never...or as we like to say here at TT...never more!)