Today we have an exclusive interview with horror writer and filmmaker James Smith as he talks about his latest book “Dark and Bloody Ground: A Guide to the Paranormal of Kentucky“
Smith has been in love with writing since he was a child, creating short stories, movie ideas, plays and even comic books. He wrote his first full-length screenplay when he was 15, and then he converted it into his first novel; High Ambitions.
“In my 36 years, I have written 27 screenplays, two novels, countless short stories, poems and even songs. I have always had an obligation to creation above all.” said Smith. “I hope that as I continue to publish, some of you will become avid readers and fans of my writing style, which allows readers enough details to paint an outline and they can fill in the picture how they see it. My love for fiction, of all genres, knows no bounds. From drama to horror and all in between, my one true wish is that at least one of my works will be able to touch you all.” Smith added.
Tell us about the book and what inspired you to write it?
I have always loved researching and exploring “haunted” locations in Kentucky, but I never could find a book that would actually tell you where the story or legend took place. So, I decided to write a guide for other ghost hunters, so that they could explore these sites as well. The book takes you through counties and towns throughout Kentucky, A thru Z, and gives short descriptions of what is supposedly haunted and why. You’ll not find another book like it.
Without giving too much away what was the craziest paranormal account you found in your research for your book?
Kentucky is FULL of stories about the supernatural. From ghosts to demons, witches to Bigfoot, UFO’s to monsters, the bluegrass is a very mysterious place. What I found the most interesting is that almost 95% of these accounts do have physical historical evidence to back up the claims. It’s mesmerizing, really.
How many books do you currently have out and are they all horror related?
With the release of Dark and Bloody Ground, there are 5 books in total. High Ambitions, Room 110, Welcome to the World, Under a Full Blue Moon and Dark & Bloody Ground. Room 110, Under a Full Blue Moon and Dark & Bloody Ground are all horror books, two fiction, and one non-fiction.
Tell me about Room 110
Room 110 was first written as a novel, and then I turned it into a screenplay to which we attempted to film. It’s more of a psychological thriller with many horror elements tossed in along the way.
What were some of the major challenges you faced during the shooting of this particular film? Being my second film, you’d think it would be easier with experience, but it wasn’t in the least. We were filming in the dead of winter, at a hotel which was closed for the season, so there were many factors along the way of the cast and crew becoming extremely cold because we couldn’t run the heaters while filming due to the noise. The, somehow, a lot of the footage ended up lost, and the remainder of the footage ending up in Michigan. Perhaps someday the film will be released.
What inspired you to make this film?
The book is phenomenal, it’s a story that deserves to be told in any platform. Changing the novel into a screenplay was just the right thing to do.
What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers or writers?
As a filmmaker, be sure to hire a good and trustworthy crew. Be sure to obtain contracts from everyone, even if they’re your friends. Keep business and personal lives separate, and always keep your footage. As for writing, if you have a story to tell, sit down and tell it. Let the words pour from your soul, onto the paper, and then seek publication. It’s never too late.
How did you go about casting this film?
I held auditions at Common Grounds Coffee Shop in Lexington, Ky. Some new faces made their way into the film, but most of the cast was familiar faces from my first film.
What were some of the films that inspired Room 110?
Identity was a major influence. I loved that movie, especially trying my best to figure out what was going on long before the big reveal. I wanted to make something like it, something that kept people intrigued and guessing, but never quite able to pinpoint the reality of what was taking place.
The 2nd edition of Dark & Bloody Ground, followed by another novel based off my first film, Shoot the Moon. As far as filming goes, we will be releasing the first season of our sketch comedy show “The EDGE” worldwide in the fall, I’m in another movie titled Angel which premieres in July and have several other film projects in the works. Busy, busy, busy.
What’s your favorite scary movie?
This is a very tough question. It’s hard to pick just one because there’s so many out there that I could watch over and over. As far as franchises are concerned, I’ve always been a Friday the 13th kinda guy. Jason Voorhees is just impressive.
Do you think you could survive a horror movie?
Probably not. I could put up one hell of a good fight, but in the end, I’d probably die trying to save someone else.
Watch the full version of the James Smith film Point Pleasant – Mothman Evidence Full here: