Today Shane and I are excited to welcome author Russell James to Ink Heist! Russell dropped by to talk about his love for monster movies and the inspiration for his Grant Coleman books with Severed Press. If you’ve yet to read any of the series, you’re doing yourself a disservice. They are action-packed stories full of giant, deadly creatures and really, what more do you need? Check out Russell’s post below and be sure to grab a copy of his latest release, Curse of the Viper King!
Who Doesn’t Love Giant Monsters?
By Russell James
King Kong sealed my fate.
When I was growing up, a Thanksgiving tradition on my local TV station was the afternoon triple feature of King Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young. Six hours of oversized apes and dinosaurs can keep a boy enthralled. The 1933 stop-motion animation was pretty poor by today’s CGI standards, but it had been ground-breaking at the time, and to a wide-eyed kid with no other frame of reference, it was amazing.
In pre-cable/pre-satellite/pre-Internet America, local television stations filled air time with old movies. I plumbed the depths of all the creature features the stations offered. Giant ants in Them, the insect star of The Deadly Mantis, wonderfully web-eared Gorgo, and the cheesy rubber-suited nonsense of a string of Godzilla movies. It was the Cold War and there was no end to the gargantuan animals errant nuclear radiation could create.
Stories like these travel the twin paths of science fiction and horror and arrive in the land of fantasy adventure. There’s enough science to help us stretch our credibility without rolling our eyes. There’s enough horror to keep us on the edge of our seats, without so much gore that parents turn their children’s heads from the screen. Something about that combination keeps the genre alive and vibrant, generation after generation. There’s a reason Kong keeps returning for reboots every decade and Godzilla still terrorizes Tokyo.
Those were the kinds of stories that inspired the Grant Coleman Adventures I’ve published through Severed Press. I wanted to recreate that kind of fun tale where man was pitted against mythic monster, and the reader could break out popcorn and enjoy the ride.
The continuing character through the books is Professor Grant Coleman, a down-on-his-luck academic specializing in the prehistoric. A bit overweight and a bit sarcastic, he ends up being heroic against his better judgement. In Cavern of the Damned, he’s recruited to document the findings in a cave that’s been sealed for ten thousand years. When they open it, he and the team find much more than fossils within, including giant scorpions.
In Monsters in the Clouds, his earlier experience gets him attached to a team exploring an isolated plateau deep in the Amazon. They don’t find the brachiosaurus they were looking for, but the dinosaurs they do find make them wish they had.
The latest installment, Curse of the Viper King, finds Grant still deep in the Amazon, marooned at a mahogany logging camp. Giant spiders descend on the loggers and chaos ensues. The secret to survival may lie within the lost temple of the Aztec Viper King, but another monster awaits anyone who trespasses inside.
Like Indiana Jones movies, you can read these books in any order, even though the three happen chronologically. Also like Indian Jones movies, these three are PG-13 reading. The writing isn’t dumbed down, but the language could pass network television standards and the violence is restricted to monster-munching mayhem. We’re all here to just have a good time.
It’s a treat to be able to present these homages to the Saturday afternoon B-movies that gave me such thrills growing up. Looking for an escape from the stress of daily life? No better way than to join Grant Coleman and battle some monsters. The books are available everywhere but my Amazon Author page is a great place to start shopping.
Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching late night horror. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida. After flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales, including paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker, and Q Island. His Grant Coleman adventure series covers Cavern of the Damned, Monsters in the Clouds, and Curse of the Viper King. His wife reads his work, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”