Sunday, April 24, 2011

Interview with R.A. Evans, Author of Asylum Lake

Hey everyone. Welcome back to another ParaYourNormal interview. We are excited to talk with R.A. Evans, author of the paranormal thriller, Asylum Lake. They say some memories are better fogotten, but what happens when the unremembered grow restless?

R.A. Evans is excited to share his novel with some of you. He has graciously agreed to giveaway 5 eBook copies of Asylum Lake! Be sure to leave a comment after the interview with you email address, and you will be entered into the contest. Now, for the interview.

Why did you start writing? 
A: Because the little voices in my head were driving me crazy! Honestly, writing has always been an escape for me. B: I do it for the advertising industry, but at night I get to write for pleasure. Besides, writing about all the dark and terrible things that go bump in the night keeps me sane.

Oh, we feel you. So,what inspired your storyline for Asylum Lake? 
I spent 10 years working for the public mental health system in Michigan doing PR and Marketing. During that time, I was able to visit some of the state psychiatric institutions and found it all quite unsettling. While visiting the Kalamazo State Hospital, which is actually located on the Asylum Lake Nature Preserve, I found myself wondering what sort of memories were trapped within its walls and within the nearby lake. That's when the idea took root.

Is there any character in Asylum Lake you can relate with? 
Several, actually. The protagonist in Asylum Lake is a young reporter dealing with the recent loss of his wife. he moves back to the home where he spent the summers of his youth only to find himself drawn into the mysteries of the abandoned asylum and its connection to his own painful memories. Like that character, I started my career as a newspaper reporter and even experienced my own painful memories when returning to my small hometown after years away. From the character's choice in music (Pearl Jam) to his twisted sense of humor, I was able to fill his personality with my own. Of course, he is far younger than I am, so I had to live vicariously through some of the other older characters, too. Especially the dark and twisted ones.

Can you tell us a little about your protagonist? 
Brady Tanner is a rising star at the Chicago Tribune when tragedy takes his young, pregnant wife. Couple his grief with unresolved issues from his childhood and it's the perfect recipe for disaster. He's smart, funny, and in way over his head. Readers really connect with him, and as an author, I do too.

Which genre would you be uncomfortable writing in? 
Ironic that you should ask this question. I just finished drafting a guest post for The Creative Penn where I touch on the difference between genres and how the vampire I write about in horror is vastly different those in Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. At the end of the day, a good story is a good story no matter the genre. That being said, any genre that has Fabio on the cover is probably not a genre I would feel too comfortable in.

LoL, you have a great sense of humor. Do you ever get writers block? 
All the time. Mine is usually the kind of block that comes with trying to perfect a single line of copy. I've been brought to a screeching halt by a single word choice. Fortunately, it never seems to last too long.

Aside from Asylum Lake, how many books have you written? 
I've completed two novels. Asylum Lake was published in July 2010. Its sequel, Grave Undertakings, will hit the shelves in just a few short weeks.

You must be so excited. Do you have any projects you're currently working on? 
I just completed the first draft of FLIGHT. I'm really excited about it, too. Here's the tease: U.S. Air Marshal Liz Downie thought she had lucked out with her assignment – a half-empty red eye from London to the states. The passengers – an odd assortment of State Department staffers freshly plucked from the embattled U.S. Embassy in Iraq. These arent your usual friendly skies, however. Tucked into the passenger jet’s shadowy cargo hold hides a secret the U.S. Military will do anything to protect – and Liz Downie everything to stop.

Where do you run when you are 33,000 feet up?

That is very intriguing. Will you tell us a random fact about yourself?
I'm afraid of worms - like really afraid! I especially hate the smell of them after a heavy rain...when they are stretched out on the sidewalks...Yuck!

Do you have a favorite author? 
I grew up on Stephen King and am constantly amazed by his work. HIs son, Joe Hill, is also really high on my list.

Where can readers purchase your book? 
Asylum Lake is available on for Kindle, for Nook, at www.smashwords for other ebook formats, and autographed print copies can be purchased from

Where can readers connect with you on the web?(website, twitter, Facebook, FB fanpage?) 
You can follow all of my dark musings, participate in promotions, and stay up to speed on my projects at On face book at and even on twitter by following @raevanswrites

How about an excerpt?

November 10, 1971
Bedlam Falls, Michgan

Sheriff Buck Tanner arrived at the station shortly before sunrise and
parked his familiar truck around the block behind the library to mask his presence.
He wasn’t quite ready to be the official face of the investigation; let Frank
have a little more fun, he thought as he entered the darkened station and put on
a fresh pot of coffee.

As requested, Maddie had spent some time in the file room. A neatly organized
mess greeted him on his desk. To the left was a very thick and somewhat
intimidating appearing binder atop a stack of newspapers. Buck guessed at what
was contained therein and quickly turned his attention to the small stack of files
on the right side of his desk. Between the two piles rested a handwritten note.

Sheriff – Cupboard was left pretty bare. I’ll keep digging.

Buck recognized Maddie’s penmanship and set the note aside. He had
expected as much. His predecessor’s handling of the asylum affair had been less
than thorough. Sheriff Rylan Walters had his deputies snap some photos, ask
a few questions, and then basically wrote the whole thing off as though it was
livestock merely thinning its own herd. Rumors had run wild but soon they, too,
had died off from lack of interest.

Buck caught the scent of the cigar before he noticed Jim Bowling’s shadow
pass over his desk. “Morning, Jim.”

State Police Lieutenant Jim Bowling stood in the open doorway and
smiled down at the Sheriff.

“My, my, what do we have here? The long arm of the law finally come to
save us simple folk?” Bowling snickered around the cigar clamped between his
yellowed teeth. The Cheshire Cat should have envied the man’s smile.

Buck looked up from his cluttered desk and locked eyes with the trooper.
“You might call it that, Jim.” The Sheriff’s eyes glittered hungrily. He was in
no mood for Bowling’s bullshit. Buck had already heard enough from Deputy
Griggs about how uncooperative the little prick had been; best to put him in his
place right away. “Black, Jim, no sugar. How ‘bout you go fetch me a cup?”

Bowling blew out a long slow plume of gray smoke and stepped into Buck’s
office, the trooper’s beady little eyes full of instantaneous rage. “Excuse me?”
Subtlety wasn’t one of Buck’s strongest qualities – especially after recent

With his son bandaged and broken, a young family butchered, and a
killer still roaming the streets, Sheriff Tanner didn’t have time to mince words.
Plus, having one’s skull cracked open with a golf club tends to set a person in
a foul mood.

“How long have your worn that badge, son? Five years? Certainly not
much longer.” Buck kept his voice calm and his eyes on the young trooper.
“Now, you may be a big deal down in Lansing -- hell, maybe even outside the
capital. But here, in Bedlam, you’re a guest - my guest. And I don’t take kindly
to my guests pissing in my cheerios.”

Buck paused, letting his words settle over his “guest.” “You ever work a
homicide, son? Not just string the yellow tape, but actually roll up your sleeves
and work one?”

Buck could see the anger leaving the man as he continued. “Now I ain’t
saying you don’t know shit, but dammit Jim, if you think running to channel
forty-one with every last detail is gonna actually help in any way, then it’s obvious
       you don’t know shit.”

Bowling’s face flushed with embarrassment. Buck held up a hand before
the man could comment.

“I get it – you’re pissed. You wanted this. Hell, maybe you even deserved
it.” Buck paused, and for the first time his calm demeanor and cool tone began
to fray at the edges. “But this isn’t about what you want…or what I think. This
is about justice – for the Reed’s, for my boy, and for Lord knows who else this
sick son of a bitch has hurt.”

Bowling stared across the desk at the Sheriff. The gray smoke hung heavy
between them, but the tension had finally broken. “What can I do?”
“I need your help, Lieutenant. You have access to records, files…information
that I could never lay my hands on. “

Bowling nodded, not fully understanding the request but suspecting he
might be bending a few rules in obliging the man. “Done,” he nodded, noting
the seriousness in Tanner’s eye. His hatred for Griggs’ aside, the trooper had a
modicum of respect for the aging sheriff.

Buck paused, reconsidering the man standing before him. He, too, had
been young and brash once. Perhaps not the asshole that Jim Bowling had shown
himself to be, but nonetheless there was no denying the kid had fire. That fire
may just be the catalyst to nailing the murderer.

The file was marked Lake View Asylum – 1958. Inside were half a dozen
sheets of handwritten notes and a few black and white photographs. Buck held
it out to the state trooper.

Bowling opened the file and glanced briefly at its contents. The trooper’s
brow furrowed with puzzlement.

Buck removed a photo from the binder on his desk and held it up for
Bowling. “Notice anything?”

The trooper’s eyes moved from the file’s contents to the photo Buck
held. Bowling had seen the Reed’s bathroom and quickly recognized the bloodscrawled
word -- Repent. Bowling’s eyes widened as he made the connection.
His reaction was immediate.

“No fucking way!”

Buck smiled in spite of himself, “Yeah, my thoughts exactly. I’m not sure
how or why -- but it’s your job to find a ‘fucking way.’

Bowling nodded, his mind spinning at the possibilities.

Buck rose to his feet, standing a full six inches taller than the young trooper,
and extended his hand. “I’ll talk to Griggs – let him know to give you a wide
berth and all.”

Lieutenant Jim Bowling accepted the offer and responded with a firm
shake of the Sheriff’s hand. Depositing the thin file on the Sheriff’s desk, he
left Buck’s office with something to finally dig his teeth into. Walking to his car
a few minutes later he had more than a passing suspicion that the elder lawman
was grasping at straws. Yet the photos were eerily similar.

Maybe I should just take a look around, he thought, Pointing his cruiser
east down Main Street. Placing his trademark mirrored sunglasses atop his nose,
Lieutenant Jim Bowling drove towards the rising sun over the Lake Hospital.
On that final drive, he never suspected how right Buck Tanner’s hunch would
turn out to be, or that, much like the countless souls before him who had ventured
through the asylum’s doors, he would never see the light of day again.


We would like to thank R.A. Evans for stopping by to talk with his book. Don't forget, we will be talking with him live on Wednesday, April 27th on Blog Talk Radio. Our channel is here. If you follow the link, you can set up a reminder for the day of the show. Feel free to call in at 619-639-4626 to ask questions, or for those of you who are little shy #nothingwrongwiththat ;-) leave a comment on the website and we'll do our best to ask the author your question during the interview! 

That's it for us for now. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address and you could be one of five lucky winners for the eBook copy of Asylum Lake! Thanks everyone~


  1. What is it about an insane asylum that creeps me out? Great excerpt.

  2. Love the excerpt!
    jennichad217 at

  3. okeyyyy.. you creep me out!! but it's juat made me want more and more..

  4. Awesome interview! Can't wait to read this one!

  5. That was one of the most interesting interviews with a horror writer that I've ever heard. Great questions and terrific answers. I LOL's about the worms. What was said about using index cards for a rough outline as a pantser inspired me. Great job. Thanks!

    I'd love to read this book.

    wulfshado (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. Not my normal genre, but the interview intrigues me

  7. sorry my email is bletssee2003 @ aol dot com

  8. omg it looks good!! love the exerpt! thanks so much for the chance to win it!!

  9. Sounds like a good creepy
    I'm on gmail(dot)com: abfabgab

  10. Wow! looks creepy and cool!! Thanks for the chance to win it!!!!

    balitiger at yahoo dot com