When evil dies, it doesn’t always stay dead.
Six outlaws, barely a day ahead of their pursuers, find shelter in a freshly deserted New Mexico town. With no water, and one of them gravely wounded, they realize too late they’re trapped inside the lifeless town.
As they soon discover the grisly truth behind the disappearance of the townsfolk, the outlaws find themselves hunted by something far worse than anything they’ve faced yet – an unspeakable evil that seemingly cannot be killed. When the malevolent creature targets them in turn, the previously tight-knit group begin unraveling past the breaking point. Thinking it to be a Strigoi Morti, a monstrosity that can only be harmed while feeding on the living, the surviving few are faced with an agonizing choice. Who will they sacrifice so the others may live?
Spine-chilling, poignant, and action-packed, Iron Dogs is an instant classic for Horror, Thriller, and Western fans everywhere.
Neil Chase is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, actor, and story coach, with extensive experience in a variety of genres, including action, sci-fi, drama, horror, and comedy. Neil has won over 90 international writing awards, and is most proud of winning the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards Grand Prize.
Neil’s screenplays have been produced for film and TV, and he is the author of the award-winning horror novel, Iron Dogs.
When not working, he’s drawing inspiration from his amazing family, thinking up new worlds and adventures, and helping aspiring authors follow their dream of writing something truly amazing.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a novelist, screenwriter, story coach, and actor from Edmonton, Canada. I come from a technical background in electrical engineering, which is about as far removed as it gets from the worlds of acting, writing and filmmaking. But growing up with a love of movies and storytelling, the creative bug never let go, and the transition from hobbyist to full-fledged writer and actor was inevitable.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Iron Dogs started out as a screenplay. With over 30 competition wins and finalist placings combined, I knew I had something special on my hands. And while I’m still set on turning the screenplay into a feature, I felt I should tell the full story as I saw it, unencumbered by the restrictions of film.
I’ve always wanted to write a Western. Not only is it a throwback to a simpler life, but it’s also the purest representation of the American ideal – that of freedom. But I also knew I didn’t want to write the same Western we’ve all seen before.
As a lifelong horror fan, I’ve always been fascinated by stories where a tight-knit group encounters an otherworldly danger, such as Aliens, The Thing, and Dog Soldiers, to name a few. So I thought the combination of these genres would make for a special story.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the Wild Bunch met the supernatural equivalent of the Predator, then this is the book for you. You can also check out my post about the story behind the Iron Dogs novel.
How do you create your characters?
I love to discover the characters as they appear on the page. I typically have a general idea in terms of basic personality traits or physical appearance, but to let that character flourish, I have to put them in specific situations and stay true to the core personalities.
For example, in Iron Dogs, the story is told through the eyes of each of the six outlaws on a chapter by chapter basis. Each views their situation differently, and each acts and reacts differently in accordance with their beliefs, upbringing, knowledge and temperament.
I strive to give each character in my stories a distinct voice, a distinct personality, and a distinct character arc. They need to show that they either changed themselves or those around them, and the best way to do that is to make them as real and relatable as possible.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I’ve been writing since I was little, and I’ve been acting for about the last dozen or so years. I was fortunate to start gaining accolades for my written work early on, starting with having a short story printed in junior high, and then winning awards for my scripts once I worked up the nerve to enter them into screenwriting competitions.
But the moment it became real for me as a novelist was when I first saw my novel in a bookstore, much like when as a screenwriter, I saw other actors breathing life into my words. It’s one thing to simply write a novel or script, but it’s something else entirely to see and hear other people’s enjoyment in that same work.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop being surprised that people want to read my stories or want to bring my scripts to the screen. It’s as humbling as it is gratifying, and it inspires me to always keep creating and bettering myself.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
My favorite spot to write is my home office. It’s where I have the most privacy and time to myself. As far as music goes, I find it helpful to get me in the right headspace from time to time, though it depends on the story I’m working on at that moment.
For example, while working on Iron Dogs, I would sometimes listen to dark country or southern rock, while for something like Spin the Wheel (a supernatural thriller screenplay), I would be in a more playful mood and listen to classic rock or punk.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Ideas are never the problem. My biggest issue is the time to get all of them down on paper! Between short stories, feature screenplays, and novels, I have a backlog of ideas in various stages of development.
However, as far as inspiration for those ideas, I find it comes from all around me, from the movies I grew up with to news headlines to classic comic books to historical facts. Great stories are all around us. The challenge as a writer is to be open to recognizing them as such.
What do you like to read?
Over the years, my tastes have grown, along with my appetite for great fiction, though I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve always been drawn to genre works, like action/adventure, sci-fi/fantasy, and of course, horror.
From the adventure tales of Alexandre Dumas and Robert Louis Stevenson, to the darker works of Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft, to fantasy and sci-fi from writers such as Harry Turtledove and Jack L. Chalker, and then back to darker territory with Stephen King, Shirley Jackson and Dean Koontz.
Throughout the journey, however, I’ve always had a soft spot for offbeat fiction with great characters and wry wit, like Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, and Douglas Adams, and even the occasional murder mystery or crime thriller from Agatha Christie or James Patterson.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Learn to take rejection and grow a thick skin. You have to learn real fast not to take it personally. It’s a business, first and foremost, so learn to make your novel or script stand out and get people excited to read it.
That’s where learning how to pitch comes in. All art is subjective, and no written work will be universally loved. That’s both a blessing and a curse in that there’s no right or wrong way of doing it, only in how well you execute your vision. That means selling yourself as much as selling your stories. So when you find someone who is willing to take a chance on you and your work, appreciate it and act upon it.
As far as the writing itself, don’t be afraid to take chances. Put your characters through the ringer, and be really creative in how or if you get them out of it.
Anything else you’d like to share?
My sincere thanks to The Pen & Muse for this opportunity! Currently, I am working on both a new novel and a new film. My novel, Dead Strays, is an adaptation of my unproduced horror screenplay of the same name that won Best Screenplay awards at Screamfest LA, Hollywood Horrorfest, FANtastic Horror Film Festival, Script Summit, and Las Vegas Screenwriting Competition, among others; about four robbers who pick the wrong household to hold hostage while hiding from the police.
On the film side, my production company, Brimstone Pictures, is in post-production on Spin the Wheel, a supernatural thriller I wrote and co-directed, about a group of strangers playing Russian Roulette at the end of the world. It’s been a labor of love by an unbelievably talented cast and crew to bring this script to life, and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
In addition to my writing, I am dedicated to helping other writers bring their best work to life. You can find helpful articles about writing, storytelling, and the best tools for writers on my website.
Amazon (Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover, Audiobook): https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Dogs-Neil-Chase-ebook/dp/B07CV85D36/
Audible (Audiobook): https://www.audible.com/pd/Iron-Dogs-Audiobook/B08PG255HZ
Barnes & Noble (Paperback, Hardcover, Nook Book): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/iron-dogs-neil-chase/1128519230
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Neil-Chase/e/B07DH35S56