Robert E Dunn’s Highway To Hell – THE RED HIGHWAY
I first became acquainted with Robert E. Dunn when I read his alien novel, BEHIND THE DARKNESS. You know I’m a sucker for anything that deals with aliens, especially nasty ETs. Since then, we’ve spoken quite often, becoming pen pals of sorts. I was very fortunate to get an early read of his brand new release, THE RED HIGHWAY, a road trip to hell and redemption and other dark and light places.
Well, Robert’s here today to talk a little about the wiring of a horror writer and to give you a peek of THE RED HIGHWAY. Buckle up, baby!
Horror Writer? How Weird Do You Have To Be?
I have a lot of people in my life, friends and family, strangers at the supermarket, and the occasional random e-mail ranter/fan, that ask me how do I write a novel. The subtext of this is usually, how do I write the novels I do-scary, weird, gory, and sometimes a bit desperate. Most of my characters seem to have a bit of desperation in them and they look at me, a regular guy kind of guy, and wonder about the secrets in my basement. I’ll tell you this, no one goes into my basement. Don’t even ask. What I’ll tell you about writing my books is that I have my own way of doing things and my own love of the macabre.
To tell you the truth, I think most people would be disappointed to meet a horror author. We’re the normal guys. Genre writers in general, I think, are the grounded ones. It’s the unique individuals that write In Cold Blood or Catcher in the Rye. Our basic normality comes from a life-long love of the kind of stories we end up writing. I grew up loving the old Universal horror movies and reading Tales From the Crypt. When I discovered Vampirella I turned my hand to art trying to draw beautiful vampires in skimpy costumes. My drawing skills never really improved that much but the stories and art that inspired me stuck. Monsters and weirdness infected my mind while at the same time inoculating me against the petty poisons of the real world.
Looking back, it was the same way with the kids that had a love of cowboy culture, literary readers, math geeks, jocks, drama kids…etc. Young people that have something to love, to inspire, have a framework that is both refuge and community. That makes for strong, healthy people.
Something that the rest of the world is just beginning to realize, is that almost all culture, is geek culture. We’re all geeks about something and it’s normal to be passionate about the things that give us understanding of who we are in the world. A guy who paints his body to attend a football game is no different from a gamer girl that cosplays at a ComicCon. We’re all normal and I think it’s in large part due to our connections to touchstones that speak to us.
All of that raging normalcy allowed me to write THE RED HIGHWAY, a novel about how a homeless drunk, a porn star, a foul-mouthed dwarf, two preachers, and a reporter save themselves and a burning city from an ancient evil. I’m telling you it takes a sane person to write about monsters that demand sacrifice and imagine a world where ghosts can forgive us.
All of that being said-stay out of my basement.
Now I’d like to give you a little synopsis of THE RED HIGHWAY and invite you into the weirdness.
In January of 1992, the fading life of Paul Souther, a homeless veteran, is changed by two events. He witnesses a murder committed by a big black man who, for a moment, seemed to have wings. And, as Paul hides from the man in a XXX theater, Mary Prince, the adult actress on screen, begins to speak directly to him.
On the other side of the country, the real Mary encounters the same big man when she visits the site of the Rodney King beating. He infests her life and her mind then traps her in a mental health ward, impossibly, pregnant.
In LA, two other black men, a tabloid reporter, and a celebrity TV preacher, are on the trail of the same mysterious man. They follow the tracks of rage and race leading throughout the city. At every hot spot the man is seen pulling strings and spreading the message of race war.
Paul and a mix of outcasts is called to Mary’s side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city of LA is sitting on a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the big man, who now claims to be a god, reveals himself to be an ancient, dark power using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands the child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between a child or a city and to save the people he has come to care about.
Twenty years later, as the grown child is spreading her own message of practical faith, as protesters picket and shout a new hate, a mysterious man shows up in the new crowds. This time his message is, God Hates Fags.
The Red Highway, Synopsis
Necro Publications/Bedlam Press
ISBN: 978-1-939065-82-7 Trade Paperback (List: $12.95)
Distribution: Trade Paperback: Amazon, LSI and CreateSpace eBook: Kindle, Smashwords, Baker & Taylor, Nook, LSI, Apple, Kobo, Sony and others.
In 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war. At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless drunk, joins a strange group of outsiders. Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith. They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star.
Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary’s side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands Mary’s child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.
Biography, Robert E. Dunn
Robert E. Dunn was born an army brat and grew up in the Missouri Ozarks. He wrote his first book at age eleven, stealing, or novelizing, as he called it at the time, the storyline of a Jack Kirby comic book.
His college course of study, philosophy, religion, theatre, and film/TV communications, left him qualified only to be a televangelist. When that didn’t work out, he turned to them mostly, honest work of video production. Over several years he produced everything from documentaries, to training films and his favorite, travelogues. Still always writing for the joy of it he returned to writing horror and fantasy fiction for publication after the turn of the century. It seemed like a good time for change even if the changes were not always his choice.
He lives in Kansas City with three daughters, a young grandson, and an old dog. He tweets sometimes as @WritingDead but makes no promises how interesting those little posts will be.
Praise for The Red Highway
“The Red Highway is not one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year, or that I’ve read in a long time…it’s one of the best books that I’ve ever read! It was an incredible read, one that has so many layers that I was completely enthralled with the story.” –2 Book Lovers Reviews
“A thoroughly gripping read. Dunn is a writer with guts and the chops to grab his readers by the eyeballs and dare them to look away.” –Hunter Shea, Author of Tortures of the Damned
Barnes & Noble
Enter for your chance to win either a copy of The Red Highway, Behind the Darkness, or a print of the beautiful cover artwork from The Red Highway done by Erik Wilson! You can do multiple things each day to gain more entries! Just click the rafflecopter link. Forward any questions to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Hunter SheaHunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. His novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity, Hell Hole, The Waiting and Island of the Forbidden are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. Hell Hole was named Horror Novel Reviews #1 horror novel of 2014. His first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, was released June, 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback, and was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. His follow up Pinnacle novel, Tortures of the Damned, a post apocalyptic thriller, will be out July, 2015. That will be followed up by his latest cryptid tale, The Dover Demon, in the fall through Samhain. His horror short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. A copy of his book, The Montauk Monster, is currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME. He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years. Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.
Follow Hunter on Twitter!
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