JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Scott Harper, author of Predators or Prey?
(Dark Castle Lords Publications)
Con artists Wendy Markland and Jacob Iverson have spent the past several years making a living by pretending to be vampire hunters. They fleece people with tall tales, folkloric trivia and low-budget props. Neither believe that the undead, demon-possessed corpses they pretend to hunt are truly real.
But now, while working their latest job, they learn the staggering truth – vampires are real. They find their worldview turned upside-down and their lives forever shattered as they go on the run, fighting for survival against the unspeakable evil that pursues them.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Predators or Prey
Scott Harper: It wasn’t something at happened all at once. Predators or Prey? evolved a lot. Years ago, I tried doing a monster hunter project in the form of a short story, with a male lead character. It just didn’t work. But I never really let go of the idea and wanting to do something like that.
I honestly don’t remember where the idea for making Wendy and Jacob con-artists came from. When that occurred to me Predators or Prey? started to come together. Throughout the outline and first few drafts, Jacob Iverson was the focus of the book, though.
Eventually I realized that, although the story was being told from Jacob’s point of view, it was really Wendy Markland’s story. I hadn’t intended for that to be the case; it just happened. Wendy took on a life of her own.
When Dark Castle Lords Publications picked up Predators or Prey? as Book 1 of a series, I rewrote the book from Wendy’s point of view. I think it works even better that way than it did when it was told from Jacob’s point of view. Like I said, the project evolved a lot over time.
JP: What sets Predators or Prey? apart from other novels in its genre?
SH: Good question. I’d have to say the fact that Wendy and Jacob start out pretending to be vampire hunters. They’re pretending to believe that vampires are real in order to play at hunting them so that people will fork over real money for them to hunt imaginary monsters for them.
When they learn that vampires are real, it shatters their whole worldview and puts them on the defensive, causing them to go on the run. Most things in the genre seem to be just the opposite – the vampire hunters know vampires are real and are waging war on them. Wendy reaches that point, but it takes her a while.
JP: What did you learn from your previous three novels that you were able to apply to Predators or Prey?
SH: Again, good question. Writing is an on-going learning process. Each thing you write, be it a short story, novel, film script or anything else, teaches you something.
You learn how to better pace the story, how to drop tiny clues without giving away plot details too soon, how to describe scenes and events better with more economy of words, how to better bring characters to life. Like life itself, writing is on on-going learning process. You always strive to make your new project into the best thing that you’ve yet written.
JP: How did you make the transition from self-publishing into working with a publisher for Predators or Prey?
SH: I have friends to thank for that one. My plan had been to self-publish Predators or Prey? just as I had done with my first three novels. In early 2008 I did a book signing. I usually do two or three a year.
This particular signing was a group signing. It had been set up by a talented romance author named Tiva Wallon. She and I had met on-line and become friends. When she set up the group signing she invited me.
The signing spanned two days, a Saturday and a Sunday. That Saturday, somewhere around a dozen authors were there. Honestly, things didn’t go too well that day. Most of the authors who had been present Saturday didn’t come back Sunday.
For Sunday, there were only a few of us. Among those few were Tiva, myself and another talented romance author named Veronica Towers. Veronica had traveled in from out of state for the signing. She had been there Saturday, but I hadn’t gotten to speak with her much at all.
Since there were so few of us there that second day, Veronica and myself were seated closer together. We talked. I told her a little about Predators or Prey?Predators or Prey? to her publisher, Dark Castle Lords Publications. I replied back, basically saying, “Thank you for remembering me and for the recommendation, but my book isn’t romance.” The book has some relationship subplots, but I don’t think of it as a romance novel. Veronica wrote back saying something along the lines of, “Oh don’t worry about that, they publish all kinds of things.”
So, long story somewhat shorter, I took her advice and submitted Predators or Prey? to Dark Castle Lords Publications. They picked it up as Book 1 of a series of novels. About three days after the signing Veronica e-mailed me, suggesting I submit
JP: What’s next for Scott Harper?
SH: I have a lot on my proverbial plate at the moment. A wonderful, talented model/actress/film producer by the name of Karita Fleming is in the process of turning Predators or Prey? into a film. The movie will be based on a screenplay that I wrote based on the book.
Edits are also being done for the second Wendy Markland novel, “Necromancer”. I’m also working on the third Wendy Markland novel. I also have three feature-length screenplays that I’ve written and am trying to find homes for.
I’ve also co-created a fantasy comic book series. We’re trying to get that picked up. I also have a TV series that I’ve created. I have a 2-hour pilot script and am trying to find a home for that project.
There’s also something in the works right now that I can’t even talk about due to a non-disclosure agreement I had to sign to even partake in it to the extent that I have. If this works out, and it’s looking more and more as if it will, I’ll be writing for another TV series.
As far as overall achievements go, I’ve had 20 short stories published. As you know, I self-published my first three novels. Predators or Prey? was my fourth novel and is Book 1 of a series.
I began screenwriting in 2007. Independent film director/producer James Tucker, of James Tucker Productions, had found one of my short stories, titled Black-Eyed, on-line. He wrote to tell me that he liked it and asked if I had done any screenwriting. At that time, I had only written a short film that was 3-pages long.
Based on that short film and “Black-Eyed”, I was hired to write two direct-to-DVD films for James Tucker Productions. Unfortunately, neither of those projects has been filmed to date. Still, that opened the door for me as far as screenwriting is concerned, so I’m very thankful that it happened.
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