It has been said that writing is “cheap therapy.” Sometimes, just writing about the very issues and challenges one can face in life can give perspective. That is exactly what author Ethan Blake did with his first time horror novel, Into the Hollow.
According to his official bio:
Ethan Blake graduated from the College of the Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As a child, he had several terrifying encounters with the paranormal that included full-bodied apparitions, poltergeist activity, and disembodied voices. Contact with the other side has been the driving force in much of his writings and beliefs; and over the years, writing music became a therapeutic and spiritual conduit, allowing him to connect to the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. Ultimately, this led to his pursuit of a degree in music and his ambition to write his first horror novel.
His first time novel synopsis:
The night before Halloween in the year 2020, and all Hell is breaking loose. After hearing a ghostly tale of witches, cults, and curses from his father, Jack and his horror fanatic friends venture deep into the haunted hollow in search of paranormal evidence. With high school graduation and the pressures of college looming just around the corner, the teens are determined to escape the everyday monstrosities of society and have the scariest All Hallows’ Eve of their lives. The veil is thin, the moon is full, and there’s no telling what wicked wonders await them.
We talked with Ethan about his novel and the unusual circumstances that inspired it.
PopHorror: It seems this book is a reaction to some of the paranormal experiences you had. Can you tell us what occurred?
Ethan Blake: I’ve seen shadow figures, heard disembodied voices, witnessed poltergeists, and I’ve been touched by someone or something that I could not see. I could go on and on about this subject. In fact, I used a lot of personal experiences as material for the book. The scariest parts of the story are rooted in reality.
The most difficult part of dealing with a life filled with paranormal encounters is the aftermath. No matter your reputation, people will think you’re lying. It drives you away from friends, loved ones, and society. It has devastating effects on your mental health.
Music has a way of aligning a person’s energy. It has the power to reinvigorate your soul and gives you an outlet for your darkest secrets. Since it’s disguised as music, most people don’t think twice about what you’re singing as long as it sounds good.
PopHorror: Yeah, music has that effect! So, why try writing?
Ethan Blake: I was a writer long before I was ever a musician. I wrote poetry for about a decade before picking up a guitar. It was therapeutic, but no one else seemed very interested in reading it. I have a dark writing style and an even darker sense of humor. I suppose my writing is an acquired taste. There aren’t many successful poets out there with my style.
PopHorror: How long did it take for you to write Into the Hollow? I notice it is a shorter work compared to other horror books. Was this a chance to test the waters?
Ethan Blake: Believe it or not, Into the Hollow started out as a short film. Due to budget constraints, I decided the best thing to do was to transform the script into a book. This is one of the reasons I put such an emphasis on vivid imagery, overly descriptive language, and detailed settings. I tried my best to get the readers to see the entire story as a movie inside their heads.
The length of Into the Hollow is probably a bi-product of the story’s origin, but I don’t consider it to be a bad thing. It’s also something that’s intended to be read the night before Halloween. Think of it kind of like a ghost story or horror movie that sets the mood for Halloween.
The timeline from the start of the script to the date that the book was published was about two years. There were a lot of failures along the way with filming and chronic health issues that prolonged the project. It may be a shorter story, but I promise it packs a big punch! I wanted to come out of the gates swinging with this one.
PopHorror: For you being a first time author, what has your response been?
Ethan Blake: I can tell from reviews who’s read the book and who hasn’t. As I previously stated, my writing style is dark, uncensored, and probably a bit unhinged at times. Some people will not be able to make it through the gore, the crude humor, or the realistic descriptions of terrifying scenarios. That being said, the horror community has been very welcoming. I think it’s safe to say that this book is not for the faint of heart.
PopHorror: The horror community has that reputation. Do you have a favorite horror movie or book author?
Ethan Blake: The book is a treasure trove of horror movie Easter eggs, references, and influences. I don’t want to spoil any of that for the reader, but I will say Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise is a HUGE inspiration to me as a writer. Army of Darkness is a favorite of mine. And, of course, Evil Dead/Army of Darkness wouldn’t exist without H.P. Lovecraft.
I’d also like to add that Nick Mockoviak did an AMAZING job on the cover art. I think it really captures those Evil Dead/Lovecraftian vibes.
PopHorror: Speaking of awesome creators, you worked with Laura Ann/aka LA Kuehlke, an accomplished author herself. What did she add to the process?
Ethan Blake: Remember when I said that music led me to meet some amazing people? Laura is one such individual. I performed at a couple of her book launches.
Into the Hollow would not have been finished without her. It would still be a script or a half-written book on my computer screen. Sometimes, she would just listen to me run through all these lines, ideas, and intersecting plot lines for hours on end. She let me work things out through conversation and story boards.
Other times, she helped me fix simpler problems like grammatical errors. Most importantly, she shared and continues to share my hatred of censorship. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect or more open-minded editor. It’s no easy task editing four or five different languages in one book. I’d highly recommend her to any author regardless of how many books they’ve written.
PopHorror: This is so great, Ethan! Thanks so much for your time!
Ethan Blake: Thanks!
Follow In the Hollow on Instagram. The book is available on Amazon.