A 12 Story Asylum by the author Carl V. Dupre is an anthology filled with horror, science fiction, fantasy, and more, and was published in the year 2021. If you’re someone who has got ‘commitment issues’ with big books and super long stories, then this one right here is just the pick for you.
After the release of the book, we, at Vowelor, had an interesting conversation with Carl about his writing. But, before we continue with his interview, here’s a little something about him:
About the Author: Carl V. Dupre
An author, a screenwriter, and a video editor, Carl is just the person to read if you’re into horror, Sci-fi, or anything that’s absolutely out of this world. He has recently published his anthology, A 12 Story Asylum, and trust us when we say it is downright insane.
Carl is from Rhode Island where he resides with his wife and enjoys music, songwriting, and playing guitar and keyboard. He has worked as a screenwriter in multiple films like the 1999 film Detroit Rock City, two Hellraiser movies Hellseeker and Hellworld, also The Prophecy 3, and the independent horror film Inkubus.
Further, Carl shared about his life, his writing journey, his inspirations, and more interesting things about himself. Here are all of his interesting answers:
Tell us about yourself, your family, your occupation, passions, etc.
I am a creative person, generally speaking. Aside from storytelling, I enjoy songwriting and have been known to dabble in making art- drawing mostly. I have two children who make me proud every day. In addition to reading books, I enjoy listening to music, going to the movies, and spending time with friends. When I am not writing or video editing full time I also act as a caregiver to my aging relatives. Lately, I have been drawn to story creation outside literature. I have a Youtube channel that has become a scrapbook of my short videos and songs. That’s where my short horror, comedy, and music wind up. Sometimes all three in one video if you can imagine that. If you can’t imagine that go to my youtube channel! Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEFOGDss5202jsboeyPh_hQ.
When and where were you born and bought up?
I was born in Rhode Island at Cranston General Hospital, a building that no longer exists. I like to say that because it gives a little lore to my backstory. My dad was in the army so I spent my early childhood all over the place and overseas. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, here in the states, and also what was once known as West Germany in Europe. Before the Berlin wall came down. I remember traveling all around Europe when I was a kid. Everything from St. Mark’s Square to the Eiffel Tower. It was quite an experience for a young American. When I was around seven my family settled back in Providence RI, very close to where Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft used to dwell. I’ve always been proud of that.
What were you like in your childhood? Any good memory you would like to share?
I was very shy. In the comment section of my report cards teachers used to write “Carl lives in a world of his own.” Truth be told it was a pretty cool world. I went to a middle school near the Brown University campus and would spend a lot of time reading books at the Brown bookstore, and would read until it was time to go home for dinner. I fell in love with science fiction, fantasy, and horror literature there.
What do you think has been your biggest achievement till today?
I’ve done a lot I can be proud of personally, but managing to sell the script for DETROIT ROCK CITY when I did was quite an accomplishment. I do realize it took some luck but I was there when opportunity knocked and I didn’t even have an agent at the time. That is no small feat in Hollywood.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
I always dreamed of making movies my whole life. When I moved out to LA in my 20s I wanted to be the next Spielberg. But making movies takes money, which I did not have. I read an interview with James Cameron and he spoke about being in the same predicament when he started out. He said he couldn’t afford to make a movie, but he could afford a pencil and paper. You don’t need money to write movies and if you write something good you could drum up money from investors. So that’s the route I took. I wrote to direct. I never directed any of the feature scripts I wrote but I have managed to write my own short indie films, which I’m very proud of. Did I mention my Youtube channel?
Which writers inspire you?
Strangely enough, mostly screenwriters. Besides Cameron, Tarantino, Aaron Sorkin, Rod Serling, Caroline Thompson, Richard Matheson, Chris McKenna, Justin Roiland, Darin Morgan, Chris Terrio… I really could go on all day. So many great influences. I also admire the works of Billy Wilder, William Goldman, Robert Towne, and Paddy Chayefsky.
Writing is stressful at times. How do you relax your mind?
Exercise and music do wonders. I put in the earbuds and go for long walks. Besides music, I’ll listen to an audiobook or a podcast, they get me out of my head pretty quick.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
You can rest when you’re dead.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t try so hard to impress the world. Impress yourself. Your personal best is what will make you complete.
What kind of books do you like to read personally? What are you reading currently?
My tastes have gone 360 degrees over the years. I started out reading horror, sci-fi, and fantasy as I said earlier, then moved into non-fiction, mostly true crime. I went through the Ann Rule phase. She may be the best true crime writer to ever have ever lived. In the past few years, I have enjoyed books written by scientists and science-minded individuals. Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Bill Bryson. I read a fantastic book called OUR INNER APE by a primatologist named Frans De Waal that I won’t
soon forget. Recently I’ve gone back to my horror roots- King, Lovecraft. I’ve also discovered Jack Ketchum. At the moment, I am reading Shirley Jackson’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE.
If you could have been the original author of any book, which one would it be and why?
THE HOBBIT by Tolkein. Though it is a long book, every word is there for a reason. Not one ounce of fat. Also, it’s the first time a book transported me to a different time and place. I think it’s every writer’s dream to achieve that. To open a portal to another universe.
How is your day structured; do you have a special time to write or is it pretty much random?
I write at the beginning of the day, always. Sometimes I wind up writing at other times also but when I wake up I make sure to do two things: brush my teeth and write. Depending on where I’m at story-wise I could spend the entire day writing. But that’s if the story really has me or if I’m on the home stretch. My favorite time to write is late at night, after midnight. Like two am is a great time especially if you’re working on suspense or horror. It’s very quiet too no disruptions.
What is the reason you write for; is it for the readers or yourself or something else entirely?
I write for myself. I think if I can reach other people, that’s great too. Coming from the world of movies, where appealing to the widest audience possible is the goal, I’ve grown weary of trying to please everybody else all the time.
About the book: A 12 Story Asylum
Charming and unsuspecting serial killers, shape-shifting aliens, vengeful spirits, dystopian worlds, a literal time traveler, haunted hospitals, A 12 Story Asylum has it all. A collection of short stories, this book is bound to knock your socks off. Each story is absolutely different from the others and will leave you sitting on the edge of your seat and biting your nails till the very end.
What genre is your book? What draws you to this genre?
It’s an anthology of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. When I was in my teens, I read a collection of short stories by Stephen King called NIGHT SHIFT and it changed my life. Each story has its own personality and its own tone. They were each told from a different perspective. The stories seemed to be arranged in just the right order too. Ever since I’ve wanted to duplicate that experience and I saw the opportunity to do that with A 12 STORY ASYLUM.
Was there something that made you write this book?
Over the years I would get inspired to write a short story and I’d write it down real quick. It was easy to do because it wasn’t a long commitment like a screenplay or tv show idea. Those are time and labor-intensive projects. Marathons. But a short story is a nice little sprint comparatively speaking. Well, one day in 2018 I realized I had accumulated twelve. Plus I had some poems and a novella. I put them together and the word count was enough for a complete book. So it wasn’t so much writing as it was editing and arranging. The book had already been written.
What makes ‘A 12 Story Asylum’stand out in this genre?
I’ve seen a few short story collections of this type but they’re usually compilations by different authors. With A 12 STORY ASYLUM, you have a singular voice, mine. And I have noticed short story
collections by single authors aren’t in the horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres. I’ve seen some crime or pulp ones and I’ve seen them from a very specific point of view. Something like STORIES FROM MILITARY CHILDHOOD by some Gen X author, for example (which I could write by the way!).
Why do you think a reader should pick this book over anything else?
If you like shock, suspense and dread look no further. You will be taken on a journey like no other, and from an imagination for which there is no substitute. I do not write ordinary fiction, each tale has my fingerprints on it.
The book has elements like horror, science fiction, mystery, thrill, and a lot more. What were the hardest and the easiest things or ideas to incorporate?
A story tends to take me where it goes and sometimes it leaves me with some loose ends to tie up. I think every writer can relate to that. The hardest genre for me to write in is science fiction mainly because of the “science” part. If your story has elements of horror or fantasy in them you can conjure a reason why something is happening. But in science fiction, you do need to root your story in fact. For “The Enemy Invisible” I found myself having to do a great deal of research on interplanetary travel. For “The Goop” it was cryogenics.
The easiest stories for me to write for some reason were the longer more complicated ones. I loved writing “Missed Connection”. Something about writing in the format of an internet message board was a lot of fun. “CANTW82CU” was great too because the haunted hospital is such fertile ground. I kept having these visions of what I would see through each doorway. At one point I wanted to do an entire TV show about a haunted hospital but it was cool just teasing these little ideas here and there- the woman who cried blood, the man with the crucifix stuck in his head, the lady who was basically a human bee hive. Crazy!
Is there any special experience throughout the writing process of ‘A 12 Story Asylum’ that you’d like to share?
I wrote “Bag of Hands” on a pad of legal paper in an airport in Germany, can’t remember the city it was a layover. I had been working on the Hellraiser movie HELLWORLD in Romania and I was
returning to the states and it was a long layover. I want to say between four and six hours. And “Bag of Hands” just hit me. One of those experiences where the whole story drops into your head at once and I banged out the first draft of it right there in the airport.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I really want to continue writing books. I love any kind of writing but putting this book together was very rewarding for me and I want to continue that.
Are you working on your new project? What will be your next book about?
I am writing a sequel to A 12 STORY ASYLUM. It’s called (wait for it) THE 13 STORY ASYLUM. I was going to go full Hollywood and call it A 12 STORY ASYLUM 2 but thought there were too many 2’s. The big difference between the two is A 12 STORY ASYLUM took me about sixteen years to write. THE 13 STORY ASYLUM has taken me about three years and most of the stories are being written with the intention of putting them in an anthology.
What does success mean to you as an Author?
Aside from writing “the end” or “fade out”? Making that connection with a reader. I know a teacher who recommended my book to some of his students who love horror, and he told them to make sure to read “Bag Of Hands”. To me, that’s success.
Do you prefer self-publishing or traditional publishing and Why?
Self-publishing. It seems traditional publishing houses lean more toward fitting an author to an existing audience. With self-publishing, an author can let their audience find them.
One lesson that you’d like to pass on to young debut authors.
See if you can get a copy of what your book will look like when it’s actually printed before you publish. You might find there are things you want to change simply because you’re holding it in your hands as opposed to reading it off a screen.
Your opinion about Vowelor.
This has been a great experience so far. The people I’ve encountered are very helpful and friendly. I would love to work with Voweler again on my next project.
A Note to the readers:
Everybody has a great story in them. If you haven’t tried writing one you should!