Kendall Reviews talks to the brilliant author and owner of Hindered Souls Press, M.R. Tapia.

M.R. Tapia resides in Northern Colorado. There, he battles normalcy daily, testing the Universe’s backbone and mankind’s sense of comfort with his fiction: ‘The Die-Fi Experiment’ and ‘Sugar Skulls’. He is the owner and operator of Hindered Souls Press.

KR: Coffee?

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KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

My name is M.R. Tapia and I am a drug addict and an alcoholic…well, not anymore. Now that my dark ages are in my wake, having purified and filtered my darkness into my creativity, I’m just a father of two and a nuisance to the world. I’m the boisterous father at my children’s sporting events. I write dark fiction, i.e. weird, transgressive, and horror; a mixture of any of the three if not all of them. I run Hindered Souls Press where we publish dark, weird, and perfectly deranged fiction.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

With a thirteen year old son and a four year old daughter, their energy level is usually peaked so we attempt to keep them busy with sports; between the two my evenings are stretched thin during the weekdays. On the weekends we try and keep out of the house, keep ourselves busy with visiting family or any other activity. Otherwise it’s read, not clean, sports, and food.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

Forgive me, I don’t believe I can choose just one. Some that jump to mind are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (or any Roald Dahl, really,) any Goosebumps book from their first few years, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, any Dr. Seuss, and the rest elude me.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

Music plays a huge role in my writing. I always have music playing. I was raised with a wide range of musical influences and for that I am grateful. Now, when I’m writing, the background music can depend on the fact if it’s a first draft and the scene I’m writing or if I’m in the editing stage. There are no boundaries from which genre I will play. Favorite album? Very difficult to answer for the same reason of my musical taste being so broad, but my favorite band of all time would probably be Led Zeppelin. Album? Maybe ‘IV’.

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KR: Do you have a favourite horror movie/director?

There are so many good directors out there now and from the past it’s impossible to choose just one. Alfred Hitchcock was revolutionary. George Romero stepped to the next level in his generation. I really enjoy the non-mainstream approach Eli Roth takes. Jennifer Kent did great with The Babadook so I’m interested what she’ll do next. Clive Barker, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, the list/conversation could go a bottle of Scotch deep. Overall, I’d say Alfred Hitchcock for the influence he’s had since his days.

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KR: What are you reading now?

With all the formats one can take in their reading, I usually have a few books going on. Current reads: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Philip K. Dick), Bones (Andrew Cull), Deadlights Magazine (getting myself ready for their relaunch!) Current audiobook: Just finished Pet Sematary!! Now I’m listening to Ronald Malfi’s ‘Night Parade’ and going to start William S. Burroughs’ ‘Nova Trilogy’ afterward. (As well as listening to the progress to the production-in-progress for Renee Miller’s ‘Eat the Rich’ audiobook!!)

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

Another conversation that can go another bottle of Scotch deep! This is quickly turning into a party! I’ll try and keep it short, and here…we…go: Stephen King (of course, duh,) Clive Barker, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Bret Easton Ellis, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, Chuck Hogan, Richard Matheson, and the ever-so-drugged-up Hunter S. Thompson…my head is near exploding attempting to keep the list short as possible…apologies to those I’ve left out, nothing personal, please don’t haunt me or hunt me and kill me, I’m not ready to die.

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KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

For the most part I’ve allowed for the story to take me where it pleases; although, I always have notes tacked all over the walls and in my phone and anywhere else I can leave them. For my current project I dipped my toes into the outline strategy, still mostly papers and notes along my walls, haha, just more organized to how I’d like the story to develop. That’s most likely to change like always.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

‘The Die-Fi Experiment’ takes place in Tokyo so I interviewed friends and family who have visited, I also did lots of video research of their quirky gameshows, which was fun. Die-Fi was a novella so the research was less than a month’s worth. ‘Sugar Skulls’ took a few months if I were to add up all the research throughout the process of writing the novel. Also super fun learning how other cultures outside of Mexican and American celebrate death.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

I start my mornings at 5 am, prepping my lunch for work then spending an hour (more or less) working on things for Hindered Souls Press. If I have an entire evening to myself I’ll work on any current HSP projects i.e. adverts, formatting, editing, finances, events, etc. Then I’ll squeeze in an hour or so of my own writing: music, some form of drink whether it be the Scotch I continue to mention, water, or coffee (honestly, I might go buy some after this interview…) Music setting the mood, cigarettes calling my name, clear space to pace back and forth, and I get going.

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

Sugar Skulls is my baby. It’s pretty much a fictionalized autobiography for myself. A lot of the friends that Micah loses are based on friends that I have lost or have nearly lost. The drug addiction he carries was me passing my own unto him in a lighter fashion. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the violence, all inspired by life. A lot more has bits of my life hidden in there. It was mostly written in a dark period of my own life. Once it was all said and done, it’s the most proud I’ve felt about anything I’ve written.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Always! I appreciate them all, positive or not. It’s always humbling that someone took the time to actually read my work. It’s only getting weirder so I can’t wait to read future reviews, haha.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

Study your craft. Not all advice will work for you personally but the only way to find out what does work is to test it in your writing and pay attention for it in your reading. There lay my next advice which is nearing cliché, WRITE! Life can get busy for us all but if you have a passion for writing you need to find time to write. No matter what happens with your writing you have to take the good with the bad. Don’t let rejections get you down, they’re going to happen. Be adamant and always look to grow within your writing, complacency is to be avoided at all costs, there is always something to learn. And, of course, READ!

KR: What scares you?

Dying before my time…that doesn’t make any sense, when you die it was clearly your time. But I am mostly scared of dying before having the chance to see my children grow up. I have a fourteen and a four year old. They are my world. My fourteen year old is still young and after losing my mother at a young age I’d hate for him to go through it. If I were to die tomorrow my daughter won’t have much of any memory of me because she is so young. Them being without me in the most important years of their lives terrifies me. But even more than that is losing them, having to exist without them.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

I have to go with paperback. Hardbacks look great on the shelves, e-books are convenient and cheap, but reading a paperback has a nostalgic appeal for me.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

Hindered Souls Press has one year of publishing in our britches, and a diverse one it has been!

Love blood thirsty gods taking over loser doctors? ‘Siphon’ by A. A. Medina (Aphotic Realm) is available in all formats!

Love Aztec lore and conversations with Death? My novel ‘Sugar Skulls’ is available in all formats!

Love the idea of ridding of the one-percent and creating a utopia where social classes are non-existent? ‘Eat the Rich’ will be available com July 13th in kindle and paperback format but the Kindle preorder is up in Amazon (audiobook currently in production!)

Ever thought what Japanese gameshows would be like if they included torture? My novella ‘The Die-Fi Experiment’ is available in all formats!

Love punk rock and the idea of a superstar with a celebrity capable of destroying humanity one town at a time? ‘Jesus of Scumburg’ by Leo X. Robertson will be out Christmas Day this year!!

Our catalog definitely delves into the dark and the weird, leaving you wondering what you just read, why you love it, and what kind of smokescreened world do we live in.

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KR: What are you working on now?

‘Leathered Angels’ (title not concrete) is a transgressive story about a small town with dirty little secrets behind their zero divorce rate; murder and extreme erotic asphyxiation not included (or is it…)

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.

Micah from Sugar Skulls as he’s got a good heart just down on his luck but willing to party. Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for the party in itself and of course the refined and elevated conversation. Last but not least it’d be a toss-up between Johnny Depp and Shia LeBeouf, both for their crazy antics and willingness to party. Can I mix them? Johnny LeBeouf? Shia Depp? Long story short, this desert island would be partying in one form or another, if ever rescued I’m sure we’d be in a horrible state of chaos and doom.

KR: Thank you very much for talking to me Manuel.

You can follow M.R. Tapia on Twitter @m_r_tapia

Please visit the official Hindered Souls Press website www.hinderedsoulspress.com

You can check out M.R. Tapia’s author page here

“Life is a matter of death. Death is a matter of fact.”

Micah DeAtta learns this as he awakens with Death seated across from him, whetting his sickle. Micah has no choice but to converse with Death in order to figure out his own demise. As their conversations become a battle of wits, Micah is forced to relive prominent deaths of family and friends before learning of his own. Each death happens in real time, each correlating with the nine levels of the Aztec underworld. Before it is said and done, Micah will have been forced to face his fears, his losses, and the fact that although life may be too short, death is forever.

You can buy Sugar Skulls here

Jesus DeJesus is the lead singer of the Nazi Sympathizers, a punk band whose music excites its audiences into a frenzy that results in the complete annihilation of whatever city the band plays in. When Jesus is reunited with his high school crush at a gig in his home city of Scumburg, his disorder-centric way of life is soon thrown into question, making him wonder if there might be a better life in store for him. Jesus DeJesus’ story is an exploration of the ever tempting urge towards total destruction.

THERE IS AN URGE INSIDE YOU…

Dr. Gary Phillips, the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook Medical Center, is a lonely man struggling with the duress of an all work and no play lifestyle.

Burdened with an unhealthy infatuation with his co-worker, a burning disdain for his boss, and an abusive relationship with his grandfather, Gary just can’t catch a break.

That is, until a workplace accident ushers in a bizarre, but empowering experience that evokes a new sense of self, forcing repressed memories to surface while encouraging him to pursue his fantasies with unconventional methods.

You can buy Siphon here

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.
~
So does the murder rate.
~
Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. He tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.
~
The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.
~
He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a plan B:
~
KILL EVERYONE.

You can buy Eat The Rich here

“I would like to welcome the world to The Die-Fi Experiment. Please join us in the fun that is the deterioration of the world by means of social media.”

Marie and her husband are spending their honeymoon in Tokyo, Japan. While strolling the downtown streets, they are hoaxed into a chance at winning the latest cell phone: First to get through a maze of doors wins! Only they both awaken amidst a sadistic live-stream gameshow. Marie competes against a man while both of their partners are strapped down to chairs.

The winner of the deranged challenges imposes extreme pain for their own partner while the loser receives their own form of demented punishment. As it goes on, more and more people around the World Wide Web tune in. The winner of the entire competition gets the chance to fight one last time for their ultimate chance of survival against their own partner…to the death!

Will Marie and her husband get the chance to have their first fight as a married couple, and if they do, who will be the last one standing?

You can buy The Die-Fi Experiment here

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