Do you enjoy reading stories that keep you up at night? That have you checking under the bed and in the closet to make sure nothing is hiding inside? Or are you curious about the horror genre but haven’t given it a chance yet? Then you are in the perfect place, because today I have horror author, Eric Woods, in the spotlight. I’ve had the privilege of reading two of his books, Welcome to Oblivion and Beckoned: A Cedar Lake Novella (co-authored with Anna Matthews), so I can attest to his talent to spin a dark tale. He has nine books under his belt, plus a piece published in an anthology, and now he has a new book releasing June 3rd, 2024 – Stokebridge – a paranormal, psychological slasher-style story that I’m adding to my TBR pile the second it’s out. So without further ado, here’s Eric Woods, author extraordinaire!

Author Interview

1. Can you provide a brief description of your new book, Stokebridge, that’s releasing on June 3, 2024?

Stokebridge is centered around a ghost town, which is a topic I’ve always wanted to write about. But this town was seemingly wiped off the map almost fifty years ago. In 1975, the town was decimated by a man who went on a murderous rampage and killed almost the entire town’s population in a single day (about 200 people). A paranormal research group with a podcast gets wind of the story and sets out to find the hidden town and uncover the secrets as to why it was erased from existence. But even their experience with the paranormal doesn’t prepare them for what they are about to encounter once they arrive. This book has what is arguably my favorite tagline: Some Towns Are Better Left Dead.

2. What’s the most surprising thing you learned from writing this book?

I always have fun writing a new story, but I had a blast coming up with this one. The characters took on a life of their own, and the story took off on its own the further along that I got. The final version of this novel took a major detour from its initial outline, and I love when that happens. What was initially going to be a two-part series is now planned as a trilogy. Plus, I had fun researching the 1970s and incorporating several of my findings.

3. How many books have you written, and what are their titles and genres?

When Stokebridge is released, I will have published seven novels, two novellas, and a collection of stage plays. I mostly write thrillers and horror, but my very first novel (and its sequel) might be best classified as a drama, since “action” isn’t a highly recognized category in writing. Here are my publications: Pummeled (2018), Dragon’s Blood (2019), Playing with the Macabre: A Collection (2019), Welcome to Oblivion (2020), Clippings (2021), Beckoned: A Cedar Lake Novella (2021), PUMMELED: Submission (2021), The Man on the Roof at Midnight: A Novella (2022), and This is How He Collects Them (2023).

4. What does your family think of your writing?

My amazing mom reads everything I write, even though she’s not a fan of the scary stuff. She also buys a copy of each book and donates it to her local public library in Arizona. My girlfriend is also incredible, as she promotes my books to all her family and friends. Beyond them, though, the support is stagnant. I get support from a few friends here and there, especially from others in the indie author community. But as I discovered years ago when I first started this journey, people who take on a creative venture often uncover the real friends from the fake ones. But if we have a creative passion, we don’t let anyone bring us down.

5. Who’s your favourite character you’ve created and why?

Bree Aniston (Pummeled) is my first protagonist, and she is one of the strongest, most badass characters I have written. I put her through hell in those two books, but she has come out as the toughest character I have ever created, and I would love to find a way to bring her back one more time.

6. How long does it typically take you to write a book?

Honestly, it varies. I have twice won NaNoWriMo, meaning I wrote a first draft within thirty days. Some of my books have taken as long as a year just to get through the first draft. A lot of it has to do with how much time I have to dedicate to writing and whether or not I’m feeling it at the time. My first novel took nearly four decades to finish once I realized I wanted to someday write a book.

7. What is the hardest scene you’ve had to write?

I have written some difficult scenes, but probably the toughest ones happened when writing This Is How He Collects Them in the fall of 2022. Although the book is more of a dark, supernatural horror story, many details I included were of a personal nature and inspired by life events. The character of Clay was loosely based on me, more so than any other character I have ever written (telekinetic abilities aside). But at the same time, writing that book was therapeutic and helped me get through some of the most challenging times I ever had.

8. What is your favourite part of being a writer?

I enjoy submerging myself into another world whenever I can, even if it’s a world of horror. The real world has turned into something uglier than anything I have ever written, and if I can immerse myself into a world that I am creating, it helps me to maintain my own mental health for when I have to come back to reality.

9. What is your favourite writing snack or drink?

Coffee! Actually, if I’m writing at night, I try to steer clear of the caffeine. I might have a beer to loosen up, or I might just stick to water. I try not to focus on snacks too much, as I tend to overeat those when I get stuck on a scene. I run out of snacks frequently!

10. How do you come up with your character names?

I have done everything from putting out a “tournament” of names on Instagram to determine a character’s name to asking people if they’d like me to kill them off in a future story. I do often Google things like “popular baby names from 19XX” and also “unusual baby names from 19XX” which has produced numerous characters.

11. What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

I think as an author, there are qualities of ourselves in just about every character we write. We also love to base characters on people we have known throughout our lives. Sometimes I will ask myself, “how would you act in this situation?” Or, “how would so-and-so act?” I will also look at the character sketch and have a conversation with that character to see what comes out. As writers know all too well, our characters can take a life of their own once we get the story started.

12. What is the next project you’re going to work on?

From a new material standpoint, I am currently focused on the Stokebridge trilogy and am almost finished with the first draft of the prequel. I have several other ideas in the works as well, one of which is a book of short stories I have been putting together for a few years now. Hopefully it will be ready to publish by 2025. I’m also going to be releasing most of my books through Audible and have already begun recording. The first one released will be the 2022 novella The Man on the Roof at Midnight.

About the Author

A writer since grade school, Eric Woods resides in Springfield, Illinois and published his first novel in 2018. Today he has six published novels, two novellas, and one book of stage plays. In 2023, his short story “The Taurus Bull” was featured in HorrorScope: A Zodiac Anthology Volume One. His most recent novel, This Is How He Collects Them, was released last October, and his upcoming novel STOKEBRIDGE will drop on June 3rd.

If you want to be spooked in person, Eric hosts the Lincoln Ghost Walk in Springfield (March through October). Come take the tour and learn some creepy tales about the 16th President of the United States!

Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Illinois Springfield. He served as a collegiate speech and debate coach for seven years and has been a local freelance writer since 2005. As an actor, Eric appeared in the award-winning independent horror film Holes in the Sky: The Sean Miller Story. He will also appear in the upcoming 2024 film F’d: Tales from the End Times.

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Hope you enjoyed this author spotlight on Eric Woods! To those who celebrate, I’m wishing you all a Happy Easter, and don’t forget to keep reading!

💋 Lanie Mores