Author Interviews: Anthony Hains and The Disembodied

Anthony Hains, professor of counseling psychology with specialisation in  Pediatric Psychology.

I am a professor of counseling psychology with a specialization in pediatric psychology. My research and professional interests involve working with adolescents, especially those living with chronic medical conditions. My latest novel, The Disembodied, is a Kindle Scout winner and published by Kindle Press. A print version is also available through PCNY Books. I am the author of two previous horror novels, Birth Offering and Dead Works, both published by Caliburn Press. My wife and I live in Wisconsin. We have one daughter.

When and why did you start writing?

I’m a psychologist and a university professor which means that I have been writing since graduate school—nearly forty years ago. That type of writing style is quite different from that of a novelist. I loved to read as a child and a teenager and in the back of my mind I always wanted to try my hand at it. There was an attempt or two over the years, but nothing stuck. Finally, about ten years ago I just started. I attempted a few short stories and then dived into writing novels. I have been able to keep it going for over a decade now. In order to write fiction, though, I have to be on my guard not to slip into scholarly writing. The forms are rather different.

What inspires your writing?

At first it was a drive, or maybe a dare, to see if I could do it. I love getting lost in a good book, so I wanted to see if I could do it. Now that I have proven to myself that it is possible, my inspiration is to tell a good story. If a great plot starts to come together, the act of thinking it through and caring about the characters is its own reward. Typing it on the computer completes the process.

How would you define creativity?

Good question. I don’t really know.

Developing something out of nothing might be a simple answer. People, however, can be creative in so many ways. Maybe it is coming up with something that excites the creator and other people—and instills additional forms of adaptive risk-taking (in self and others).

Do you have any writing rituals to get you in the mood for writing?

No. I try to steal writing time when I can. As long as I have an idea and the plot is flowing, I don’t waste time with rituals.

If you could, what would you go back and tell yourself as a writer starting out?

“This will be fun, enjoy it.”

What do you believe make for great writing?

Believable characters who come to life right on the page.

Which writers have influenced your writing?

I’m a horror novelist. So, I have my favorites. The earliest influences, and hence my favorite authors, are Thomas Tryon and William Peter Blatty. I’ve enjoyed Stephen King for the most part, especially his earlier works and, strangely enough, his very recent works. I’m also a fan of Justin Evans and T.E.D. Klein.

In terms of non-horror authors, I am a huge fan of Kent Haruf and David Mitchell (although lately, his books have included some supernatural elements).

How do you measure success as a writer?

When I learn that someone has read and liked one of my books.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Yes, that has happened. Fortunately, I’ve never gotten too far into the manuscript that I’ve hated. I drop a project if I’m not enjoying it.

What’s your biggest fear as a writer?

I really can’t think of anything.

What traits do you feel make a great writer?

Hmmm … I think I’m pretty decent at understanding people. Also, I’m patient and can live with ambiguity.

Describe your latest book to our readers

I thought you’d never ask.

The Disembodied

Thirteen-year old Griffin Rinaldi seems like a normal kid. He plays basketball at the Y and he’s just learning to talk to girls. But Griffin doesn’t feel normal. He’s been diagnosed with Depersonalization Disorder—he feels disconnected from his body and at times he doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive. And it seems to be getting worse.

Following the brutal death of his abusive father, Griffin is haunted by a red-haired kid only he can see and who wants him to do things he doesn’t understand. Griffin’s only sources of support are his grandfather, Soren – a regional author of Outer Banks ghost stories – and his same-aged cousin, Tanner, a boy coping with his own troubled life.

When a rare blizzard strikes the Outer Banks, Griffin recognizes the red-haired boy as a vengeful specter from Soren’s tales. To make matters worse, his well-meaning aunt has convinced his mother he’s under some sort of spiritual attack. Unsure if the mysterious boy is a symptom of his disorder or an entity with evil intent, Griffin finds himself in a struggle to save his life, his sanity and maybe his very soul.

What would you like readers to take away from your writing?

Well, if they like horror, I hope that they will enjoy the tale. I’d like to keep readers guessing and glued to the book. It would be great, too, if readers recognized the narrative elicited their emotions, and maybe concern for the plight of (realistic) characters.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Read. Read a lot and don’t ever quit reading.

Can you give our audience a writing prompt to help get them writing?

“Sit down and start.” That’s what happened to me. Once I realized I wanted to do this, I immediately went to the computer and started typing. Of course, it took me a couple of decades to reach this point.

What’s next for you?

I’ve been mulling a tale of demonic possession and exorcism. This has been done before, I realize, but I am hoping for a slightly different angle.


The Disembodied

by: Anthony Hains

Thirteen-year-old Griffin Rinaldi seems like a normal kid. He plays basketball at the Y and he’s just learning to talk to girls. But Griffin doesn’t feel normal. He’s been diagnosed with Depersonalization Disorder—he feels disconnected from his body, and at times, he doesn’t know if he’s dead or alive. And it seems to be getting worse.

Following the brutal death of his abusive father, Griffin is haunted by a red-haired kid only he can see and who wants him to do things he doesn’t understand. Griffin’s only sources of support are his grandfather, Soren – a regional author of Outer Banks ghost stories – and his same-aged cousin, Tanner, a boy coping with his own troubled life.

When a rare blizzard strikes the Outer Banks, Griffin recognizes the red-haired boy as a vengeful specter from Soren’s tales. To make matters worse, his well-meaning aunt has convinced his mother he’s under some sort of spiritual attack. Unsure if the mysterious boy is a symptom of his disorder or an entity with evil intent, Griffin finds himself in a struggle to save his life, his sanity and maybe his very soul.

About the Author

Scott Mullins is a freelance writer and digital content manager. When he’s not finding ways to distract himself from writing his novel he writes killer copy for companies all over the world. Connect with Scott on Twitter @ScottMullins86 or LinkedIn. He’s always looking to connect with other writers.