Halloween Night On Monster Island: A Local Author’s Book
It’s that time of year where people subject themselves to creepy, scary, frightening haunted houses and terrifying movies. While some prefer to go the route of pumpkins and beautiful fall decor, there is no denying the gory and petrifying scenes are most popular!
Clark Roberts, a resident of Newaygo County, authored a book titled Halloween Night on Monster Island. In this holiday themed book, a group of kids tour a Halloween theme park, and things turn terrifying quickly.
The story is aimed at 3rd through 8th grade students, but in reality, older students and adults alike would enjoy this spooky tale.
Roberts answered some questions for N3 about his book and the experience of writing and publishing the story.
You can purchase the book at this Amazon link: Halloween Night On Monster Island
What is the publisher of your story?
Junior Deadman's Tome
How much does the book cost?
$9.99 for the paperback
$2.99 on kindle
Free if you have the kindle unlimited membership
How long did it take you to complete?
Each night I committed to writing 1,000 words. After the first draft I did 3 major revisions and then edited my final manuscript to send off to publishers. All in all, it took roughly two months from start to finish.
What inspired the theme of this book?
The first year my daughter participated in Halloween she wore a Gecko costume (Gecko is a character from the cartoon P.J. Masks). Even after Halloween had long passed she enjoyed dressing up in that costume from time to time. This led to me writing a horror short story about a family whose daughter turned into her Halloween costume ( a Komodo Dragon in that story). Eventually an offer was made for me to write a kid's book, and I thought the idea of kids turning into their costumes could be a really fun concept to explore. The idea needed a bit more for an actual book (a slim one), so I coupled it with an amusement park being shut down to the public for a group of cousins to enjoy on Halloween. I remember loathing waiting in line for rides when I was younger, and I think a lot of kids fantasize about having an entire theme park for their very own amusement.
Take the readers through a bit of your process as a writer.
I've learned, at least for me, the most important thing to do is to finish the story! Sometimes a story just naturally flows and comes together as easily as a dream; however, other times it's like I'm trying to turn the wrong key in the wrong keyhole. For me, it's very important to just finish the first draft. Some of my stories are ready to be published after one or two quick revisions. Others are lacking that little something and will sit for months before a decent idea strikes me seemingly out of the blue, and then I can work on the revision.
There is also great debate amongst writers about whether one should outline or just wing-it. My rough outline is almost always done in my head. Rarely do I start writing fiction with the answer of how to conclude the story. Even as the writer, I thoroughly get a jolt when I "discover" the ending to a story I'm writing. Being a very small-time freelance writer I don't have hard deadlines to meet. If I had deadlines, it's more than likely I'd draw up outlines and for the most part stick to them.
What made you decide to donate a portion of the proceeds to Newaygo and Coleman basketball? (In the first few months of his sales, Roberts, who is also an educator, donated to his favorite basketball teams.)
I enjoy sports. I enjoy watching sports, I've enjoyed coaching, and certainly I enjoyed participating in sports during my high school athletic career. The Newaygo and Coleman basketball programs are important to me. I played ball at Coleman and have some very fond memories of games, coaches, teammates, and just general competition. At Newaygo I coached in the basketball program at the middle school level and am truly thankful for that experience. I follow and root for both schools' basketball programs.
Who are your favorite authors?
Gary Paulsen (only when I'm wrinkled and can't remember my own name will the experience of Hatchet fade from memory), Stephen King, and Peter Straub.
Do you have any plans for future books?
Yes. If everything goes well with Halloween Night on Monster Island I have the idea for at least one follow-up novella if not two. I'll also continue to write short stories from time to time and send them out to get published.
What advice can you give to local writers who are looking to get published?
If you haven't already, learn to accept rejection. What I consider my best short story was rejected by over 30 magazines and/or anthologies. At least half of those publishers responded by emailing me the story ranged from very well-done to even great, but it didn't "fit" what they publish and therefore was being rejected. Eventually it landed, and I am very pleased with the anthology in which that story appears. So, if you do send something out and it gets rejected by a couple publishers, don't necessarily give up on it. If the editor is kind enough to offer advice that is a very good sign. In my experience, editors don't offer advice unless they think a story is at least solid, but keep in mind the story is still your creation and you don't have to follow their advice. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
If writing is something you really want to do, don't quit. Obviously you need income, so that means a job or a career or whatever, but if you truly enjoy writing then get after it with your free-time. Mr. Stephen King suggests writing basically every... single... day. Well, I don't love writing as much as Stephen King. Writing is a very passionate HOBBY for me, and I'm absolutely comfortable with it remaining a hobby.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
In some capacity, yes.
What is one memory you have from the whole process that you look back on fondly?
Earlier I stated a significant portion of the inspiration for Halloween Night on Monster Island was my daughter's first trick-or-treat experience. That's the best memory. Could it be anything else? No.
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