Tonight, we were supposed to be able to speak with Helen Yates, a recent addition to the LOTMH family with her story The Longest Night, which will appear in USE ENOUGH GUN.
I say “supposed to” because Helen isn’t here. Evidently she left a hastily written note – something about a Doctor, traveling through time, joined by the male cast of True Blood.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that one…
Sooo, in her place, we are joined by Ashley Ryan, the main character and monster hunter featured in The Longest Night. I figure the Whalen interview inspired this duo up to these shenanigans, or Helen’s Dr. Who fantasy has actually came to pass. Either way, we’ve got a monster hunter, so we may officially begin.
MB – Good evening, Ashley. Thank you for joining us.
AR – It’s my pleasure, and might I say that you are much more handsome than I expected?
MB – Really?
AR – No – it was in the script – am I supposed to say that? I’m kinda new at this…
MB –*coughs* I’ll tell you what, let’s forget the script for now – favorite horror novel?
AR – Oh, okay. Well, you don’t need to read them when you live them – take my word for it. Seriously though, I do like Stephen King and Graham Masterton novels. King goes straight into the mind whilst Masterton is just gory. I love it! I’d love to go up against the creatures he writes about.
MB – Well don’t just leave us wondering. Which creatures?
AR – Masterton had written a lot of creatures, such as the Basilisk, Djinns, haunted houses, Wendigos, the list is endless and I’d take on all of them. I‘m also inspired by Masterton’s heroic characters. I love Masterton’s Dream Warriors series as well as his character, Jim Rook. I’d love to be able to walk into people’s dreams and combat the beasts invading their nightmares. Plus, the weapons are so much cooler than mine.
MB – I see. We’ll come back to weapons, but I’d like to stay on this nightmare road for the moment – spiders or snakes?
AR – You mean to kill or to have as a pet? I wouldn’t say no to having a tarantula or a black widow as a pet. Sadly, with my monster hunting and detective work schedule, I can be away from home for weeks at a time and I don’t think any of my friends or family would want to look after them.
MB – Good call. On the family thing, I mean. On the pet choices, not so much. You may want to look into something that requires less maintenance. I hear that the larger snakes (Anaconda, Rock Python) only eat twice a year. That might work better with your schedule.
On the downside, you really don’t want to forget to feed them.
AR –Don’t Anacondas and Pythons kill their prey by constriction? I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing a 20 foot snake might be lurking under my bed.
MB – Says the monster hunter who wants a tarantula or a black widow for a pet…heh. Guess that answers the last question. Here’s the next one – what is the one monster hunting item you never leave home without?
AR – My twin tantō blades, specially made for me by my mentor.
MB – That must cause problems with airport security. They’re so touchy these days about things like tanto blades. Do you try to hide them, or just plunk them down in the plastic bin and wait to see if anyone notices?
AR – In terms on how I’d get past security, I’m not at liberty to say. A girl’s got to have her secrets…
MB – Of course, and please pardon me for asking. That’s a little like asking a superhero their true identity – I don’t know what came over me, though I suspect it’s the random itching I’ve been feeling since you brought up black widows…
Okay, there is a topic that has been sorely ignored in the past interviews, and speaking with you seems like the perfect time to correct that. Talk to us about anime.
AR – I love anime, but I’m really quite fussy about it as I prefer it in its original Japanese. I’ll watch English dubs, but they’re not on the same par with the original versions, which in addition to being authentic, are a great way to learn Japanese so I can understand Yuji when he goes off in one of his Japanese rants. Not to mention that I can insult him back in Japanese.
I’m into shows like Kaiji, X, Akagi, Death Note and Devilman Lady and yes, even a bit of hentai, but the less said about that, the better. Although I watch that now and it’s like my life is like an anime… I hate to sound big-headed but I wonder if the manga and anime writers would get a kick out of meeting me and my mentor, Yuji. Especially, Yuji since he’s a Shinigami.
MB – If I ever win the lotto, I absolutely promise to start a production company that will produce an anime movie version of each story in the monster hunter books. That would be teh cool.
I’ll also open a theatre to show them in, which will run all other monster features as well, and will have beer taps and popcorn machines in between all of the seats.
And yes, I know that some people prefer other beverages than beer, but it’s my theatre, so go win your own lotto…
Back on track: I’ve heard that you write a little erotica – what monsters should have been included in the 50 Shades trilogy?
AR – Have you been talking to Yuji then? I’ll bloody kill him for blabbing! Yes, I wrote a wee bit of erotica, but not anymore. I’m too busy.
Never actually read the 50 Shades trilogy but from what I heard about that Christian Grey, he sounds like an incubus to me (putting an innocent girl through BDSM). I get the feeling he gives her naughty dreams as well so he can feed off her life force and making her addicted to him. Yup, that definitely sounds like an incubus to me. That’s what needs be included.
MB – So, you’d keep the shades pulled, so to speak, and just add the demonic suggestion to the story. Hmmm. I was thinking more along the lines of throwing in a Kaiju or two. I think that would give it some zing.
Speaking of which, Godzilla returns in 2013. Are you ready?
AR – Oh a challenge! Yeah, I’m ready. Got to sharpen up my tantos…
MB – I see what you did there. Are you ready? – well played. All I can say is that you’d better eat your Wheaties that morning.
And you’d better have a kick-ass soundtrack ready to play. NAME THAT TUNE – List your top 3 monster hunting songs:
AR – I don’t know why but when I hunt, I think of “I’m Not Driving Anymore” by Rob Dougan
I also love “One Reason” by Deadman WonderBand featuring Fade (the opening theme tune for the anime, “Deadman Wonderland” especially the lines:
“I will be your deadman
With nothing but this blood on my hands
Stuck in your “wonderland”
I just want to make you bleed like me”
Sometimes I feel like a deadman. I really do.
And this one as well: “New World” by Nightmare (the opening theme tune for the anime “Death Note”)
MB – Interesting. Do you ever read Neil Gaiman’s blog?
AR – Yes. I do but not as much as I read his tweets and Facebook posts. Awesome guy. A modern legend in weirdness. I really hope he writes another Doctor Who episode.
MB – Do you sharpen your own blades, or send them out?
AR – My mentor Yuji sharpens them. He’s teaching me how to do it.
MB – I just have the butcher down the street do all of mine. I never tell him what they’re for. To his credit, he never asks.
Alright, one more question – and be honest – do you ever drink the blood of your enemies?
AR – No, I pretty much just kill them. All my kills have been too quick and clean for that to happen. Well, the last one wasn’t and I admit I was tempted to taste it. That’s what bloodlust does to you, I guess.
Although I think I will always prefer chocolate. That’s a girl’s best friend
MB – Thank you for being honest.
Time to wrap this one up. Where can we find out more about you and Helen?
AR – You can read her story The Kelpie in “Scarlet Whispers”, and all proceeds go to the horse charity, Hilltop Haven Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation:
Helen also has a Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/ecco1983 where she keeps her lovely devotees up to date with her writer’s block as well as other crazy ramblings.
MB – Always good to support a horse rescue. Horses and monster hunters go way back.
Thanks for spending this time with us tonight.
AR – Thank you, and you really are handsome!
MB – Oh, stop. Now you’re just embarrassing me…