Hello, everyone. I hope you all had a good weekend. My hubby bought me Scrivener for Christmas, and I spent the weekend trying to figure it out how it works. I’m really liking it so far. While the kids were enjoying their gifts, I also watched Steven King’s The Stand. I’ve read it dozens of times but never actually watched it. I’ll admit, it was better than I thought it would be, though it was missing a few of my favorite scenes from the book. Books are always better than movies, in my opinion. I liked the movie so much, in fact, that I decided to read The Stand again. I try to reread it every year or so, and it’s been a while.
I’ve also been reading the books that have been featured here on the blog this month, and I have to say, they have all been amazing so far. I’m planning to post book reviews for some of them in the coming month. I have a couple more interviews lined up for this week. I hope you guys are enjoying these as much as I am. For today’s interview, I chatted with author Carver Pike about two of his novels, Grad Night and Scalp.
My name is Carver Pike. Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by everything horror. I’d sit cross-legged in front of the TV and watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre while devouring a bowl of Kaboom cereal. I always wished the ghost at the end of each episode of Scooby-Doo wouldn’t be just another man behind the mask. I wanted real ghastly ghouls, dastardly demons, and malevolent monsters.
At some point, I knew I couldn’t sit back and keep watching this horror world from the stands. I wanted to be in the game. So, now I wield this virtual pen and sling ink onto this page with the hopes of someday being a major player. I want to create those worlds you visit, feed that fear that keeps you up late at night, and entertain you in ways only the greatest storytellers can.
Be advised, most of my books are very graphic in nature. Most contain strong violence, and some have very detailed sex scenes. I try to give you a warning in the book blurb.
Hopefully, we’ll form a great author-reader relationship and you’ll come to trust that Carver Pike will always keep you entertained.
EB: Welcome to the blog, Carver. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about your novel Grad Night and what inspired you to write it?
Carver: Of course! Grad Night is about a high school were the kids have kind of lost their way. A strange new student named James Bender, who keeps his head hidden under a hood and is feared by most of the teachers, seems to be leading them. The book switches back and forth between the points of view of two teachers. Charlie and Lauren are both young teachers trying their best to teach our wayward youth. They’re both honored to receive an invitation to this year’s Grad Night party. It means at least one student liked them enough to invite them. Little do they know, the students have something sinister in mind. This year’s party is going to be a killer time.
As far as what inspired me to write it, I was a high school teacher in a foreign country. Most of the kids were good kids, but there were a few who always seemed to have something up their sleeve. When I got my invitation to their graduation party, I kind of jokingly thought, What if they have something in store for all the teachers this year? Revenge for failed tests and bad grades. I wasn’t able to attend that party, but years later I still thought it would make a really cool story.
Here is the link for anyone interested:
EB: I’m really enjoying what I’ve read so far. What was your favorite part to write?
Carver: As with most of my books, I start writing with a loose plan in place. Then, the characters grab hold of the reins and lead the story in a totally different direction. I knew I wanted these kids to be demented. Not exactly torture porn kind of crazy, but something along those lines. It wasn’t until I was writing the scenes that each kid started to have his or her own story to tell. Each had his or her own reason for wanting revenge on a particular teacher. So, I had a lot of fun writing the really messed up games the students play with the teachers, but I also enjoyed discovering for myself what was motivating each of them. I even learned some stuff along the way about how my own words and actions could quite possibly have some unintentional side effects.
EB: I’ve been hearing a lot about your newest release, Scalp. Can you tell us more about it, and what inspired you to write it?
Carver: Hahaha! You’ve heard a lot about it, or you’ve seen the cover and it drove you nuts? The cover seems to bother a lot of people. Scalp is about a small town in West Virginia, where a group of students are visiting a youth conference there at the same time parasitic head lice start taking over the townsfolk. These evil little bastards leap from scalp to scalp, burrowing deep into the skull, and taking over the host’s brain and body. It’s a lot of fun. I promise. It sounds sick, and there are definitely some gruesome parts, but it’s a wild and great time. Trust me.
What inspired it? I’ve always been fascinated by parasite stories. I love Nick Cutter’s The Troop and Darcy Coates’s Parasite. I’m a big fan of the Alien movies and books. The thought of something so small finding its way into your body and then spreading just gives me the heebie jeebies. I wanted to write my own parasite story, but I wanted to do it differently. Worms have been done plenty of times. So have other bugs and microscopic organisms. But head lice? Everyone hates head lice! It was perfect!
Here is the link:
EB: I can’t wait to check it out! What’s your next book, and where can readers learn more about you?
Carver: My next project is called Old Folks’ Home. It’s a Christmas book of sorts. I’m hoping to publish it before Christmas, but I may not finish it in time. I just decided to write it about a week ago. It’s about an old folks’ home where the sweet, elderly guests aren’t quite what they seem. When a new staff member is put in charge of the annual overnight lock-in with young teenagers visiting, this fun evening full of holiday story reading, arts & crafts, and movie watching isn’t quite the warm and fuzzy moment anyone had in mind.
Okay, that’s a shitty blurb, but I just came up with it off the top of my head. It’ll be awesome. I promise. As far as learning more about me, you can find me at all the following places. I spend most of my time on Facebook.
Amazon Carver Pike: https://www.amazon.com/Carver-Pike/e/B01MPWAO4H
Universal Carver Pike Author Page Link: author.to/CarverPike
Facebook Carver Pike: https://www.facebook.com/CarverPike/
Facebook reader group for Carver Pike: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carverpikereadergroup/
Instagram Carver Pike: https://www.instagram.com/carverpike/
BookBub Carver Pike: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carver-pike
Goodreads Carver Pike: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16054982.Carver_Pike
Website for Carver Pike: http://www.carverpike.com
YouTube Carver Pike: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC46KukuVkhpZ_kH6CBPJ9nw
EB: How many half-finished or unpublished books do you have?
Carver: Oh, man. I write under three pen names. Carver Pike is my horror/dark fantasy pen name and under this one alone I just counted 68. So I have a lot of books on the way. I swear I wish I could pull a Michael Keaton in that movie Multiplicity and make several clones of myself. I’d put one in charge of each pen name and one in charge of real-life stuff. That would be awesome!
EB: You got a little ahead of me there. I was going to ask how many pen names do you use, but you already answered that. Do you have any advice for other writers regarding using more than one pen name or writing other genres? How do you manage to balance it all?
Carver: I write horror under Carver Pike, I used to write erotic romance under Chris Genovese but have kind of put that on the backburner, and I created CM Genovese to focus more on romantic suspense and action suspense. That’s the name I use for my motorcycle club stories and organized crime tales… stuff like that. It’s kind of a middle ground between my fun, sexy Chris Genovese stuff and my horrific Carver Pike stories.
I broke my work up into the three names because I didn’t want to confuse readers. If you read one of my horror books and then picked up my next book and realized it was a romance story, it might piss you off. I know a lot of authors write many different stories under one name, and if you can pull that off without upsetting readers, that’s awesome. I think for the most part readers like to know what they’re getting from their favorite author. I love Bentley Little’s books. If I read one of his horror novels and then picked up the next to find it was about an assassin trying to rescue the woman he loves, I might enjoy the story, but I’d probably still be a bit bummed that it wasn’t his usual horror work. You know what I mean?
Juggling pen names isn’t easy, and to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend doing it if you don’t have to. I can’t say I regret it because I’d probably go nuts having all my 30-something books squeezed in under one name. It would bother the hell out of me to see my romance stuff side-by-side with my darker books. However, if you can focus on one genre, I think that’s best. If, in the beginning, I’d stuck with horror, I think I’d be on a much easier path right now. You just have to decide what’s right for you. Ultimately, the way I see it is, you’re building a brand. Each pen name is a brand really. People want to know what they’re getting when they buy a brand. If I buy Betty Crocker, open it up, and get hot dogs, I might go with Duncan Hines next time.
As far as balancing it all, I’m currently focusing on two of the pen names: Carver Pike and CM Genovese. So I usually go back and forth. I’ll publish a horror book under Carver and then work on my next romantic suspense under CM Genovese. Managing the social media for both is the hardest part. It’s hard coming up with enough stuff to say to post under both names. When it comes to book signings, I’ll usually attend one as one author so, for example, a romance book signing as Chris/CM Genovese. But I’ll also bring my Carver Pike books in case anyone’s interested.
EB: Is there anything you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t had the time?
Carver: Absolutely. I started out wanting to be a YA horror author like RL Stine and Christopher Pike. I have a few book ideas that would make more sense in that realm. Many of my adult horror novels could be toned down a bit to fit that audience. Maybe someday I’ll find the time to write YA horror. I also have some Sci-Fi story ideas, so I may dabble in that at some point.
EB: How long were you a part-time writer before moving to full-time?
Carver: I’m still kind of a part-time writer. I have a part-time day job that helps pay the bills. I worked full-time until about a year ago. Like so many other authors out there, I’m hoping to someday be able to focus only on my writing.
EB: Now for the million-dollar question, what scares you?
Carver: Wow. What scares me? Usually, I answer this with the typical parent or spouse answer because what truly scares me is losing my family. Being alone. Or dying and not being able to take care of the people I love. But I think you mean something else. Maybe a good answer is unexpected and unadulterated evil without any explanation.
As a kid, I was terrified of Michael Myers. In fact, I had nightmares about him stalking me up until maybe ten years ago. Why? Because there was no explanation as to why he kills. He was just brutal for no reason at all. Real evil doesn’t always need a reason. I think that’s why demonic shit creeps me out a bit, too. I’ve read quite a few of the Ed and Lorraine Warren books. You can call them fake if you want to, but their stories are definitely scary. Demons exist only to pull you away from God and to torment us in our darkest hours. The stories you see on TV about people doing truly wicked and vile shit just for the sake of doing wicked and vile shit. That’s scary.
In reality, it’s probably my mind that scares me most. It’s not what’s actually there but what I imagine COULD be there. Like we recently re-watched The Conjuring 1 and 2. When I went to bed that night, I kept thinking what if the witch from part 1 or the old man from part 2 were squatting next to my bed. What if I opened my eyes and saw a face only inches away from mine, staring right back at me? That’s the kind of shit that does me in. It’s my damn imagination. Like, “Okay, I’m going to roll over in bed now. But what if when I turn my back to the bathroom, something steps out of it quietly and makes its way to the bed, and I don’t know it’s there until its claws are wrapped around my throat?”
Maybe that was all just a really long way of saying what really scares me is evil. True evil is oftentimes evil for the sake of being evil. This is why I don’t always explain EVERYTHING in my books. In Scalp, there wasn’t really an explanation given for why these parasitic head lice were doing what they did or where they even came from. I wanted to let you dwell on it and come up with your own reasoning.
EB: Great answer. Is there anything else you would like readers to know about you?
Carver: I love making new friends and finding new readers. I’ve been doing this for going on six years now and have over thirty stories published. I’d love for you to join me on this ride. I’ll soon be active on YouTube, too. I’m working on some ideas for my channel. Please visit my links and come hang out.
EB: Thanks so much for being here today. It was a real pleasure! I look forward to checking out more of your work.
Thanks for reading today. At the bottom of this interview, you will find an ad for more of Carver Pike’s books. Thanks as always for all your support! I’ll be back tomorrow with another interview. See ya then! -E.B.