The following piece was written by Emily J. Reynolds and was originally published on http://www.sparkthenews.com on November 9th, 2015 and has been reprinted here with permission by the author. For more news from the South Shore, subscribe to http://www.sparkthenews.com – CTO
Brockton Author Releases Fourth Dark Fantasy Book
By: Emily J. Reynolds
BROCKTON — “The Damned Queen.” “Only God’s To Give.” “Caught Amongst the Bannister.” “Let’s Get Dead.”
These are a few of the stories Brockton-native Craig O’Connor has shared in his self-published collections of short stories: Happy Holidays and Memorial Tales — his newest. O’Conner also wrote two novels, The Whitechapel Five and its sequel, The Monster of Modern Times.
O’Connor, a Brockton High School and Stonehill College graduate, writes almost exclusively what he describes as “dark fantasy,” and credits Stephen King as one of his early inspirations.
“I loved [King’s] Nightshift,” O’Connor said. “That’s the one with Children of the Corn in it and a lot of the ones that have turned into films now… The wonderful thing about reading his early stuff is that it’s primitive stuff – he hadn’t developed into the writer we know now. But it’s still great stuff.
“You read something like The Boogeyman…and you sit back and go, ‘Oh my goodness, what a great idea. Can I come up with that stuff?’”
O’Connor, 46, has been writing since he was in high school. At that time he veered away from the “teenage angst” topics that he believed most of the students in his creative writing class were drawing from.
“That didn’t really interest me too much because everyone was doing it,” O’Connor said. “I thought I’d rather do something a bit more weird, strange. I find that far more interesting.”
The inspiration for his individual stories has come from other authors, horror movies, and life experiences. He once read a book about horror movies that mentioned an old German film, The Golem, where the character has no soul because it is “only God’s to give.” This struck a chord with O’Connor and lead to his own short story, Only God’s To Give, which is about a man who is kept cryogenically frozen by his brother and brought back to life many years later.
“But he came back seemingly without any feeling of empathy,” O’Connor explained. “As if his soul never came back: it’s only God’s to give.”
O’Connor ventured into screenplay writing after college, earning a master’s in Fine Arts at the University of Miami; however, he never sold a screenplay and decided to move back to Brockton and focus on his novel and short story-writing career.
“The good thing about writing screenplays is that it does get you thinking primarily in the story structure,” O’Connor said, describing how screenplay writing helped improve his overall writing. “Screenplays are much easier to write than novels because in a screenplay all you have to say is, ‘He went to the door and opened it.’ In a novel it would be, ‘He went to the door, his hand shaking as it reached for the knob, not knowing what was on the other side.’”
O’Connor also self-publishes his work: “I taught myself how to do it,” he said, explaining that the process involves laying out the book in Microsoft Publisher and then sending it to an Amazon affiliate for publishing.
Once the books are published, they are available for sale on Amazon and can be printed on demand.
“You don’t have to order 1,000,” O’Connor said. “I can order 20, bring them here, keep them in the trunk of my car.”
He talked about his interactions with people in daily life and when the subject of his books comes up, he has them right there to make the sale.
In addition to writing, O’Connor also works as a character actor and has appeared in many South Shore community theater shows including The Wizard of Oz, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and he will be playing Bob Cratchit in an upcoming production of A Christmas Carol. He is finishing his third collection of short fiction, provisionally titled The Shrine and Other Stories, and has a third novel in the works.
O’Connor also has aspirations to write a book about horror movies, as he is an aficionado of the genre.