Uninvited - Mike Gagnon

Posted by Zannnie on 9:30 AM

I recently had the opportunity to chat with author, artist and teacher Mike Gagnon about his upcoming novel, Uninvited. The author discussed his real-life motivations to tell the story, something that may not readily be apparent when you consider that the story is a psychological thriller, set in a world where vampires are real. 

Tell us about “Uninvited”. What kind of story is it?

Uninvited is really a story of life and moving on from being in a mentally abusive relationship with a sociopath. It also explores addictions to sex and drugs, mental health issues and unhealthy relationship dynamics, all told through the filter of a vampire fiction story. The protagonist is tormented through all these issues by the antagonist, who is a literal vampire, trying to psychologically force the protagonist into being their willing victim, as real life sociopaths do.

Why did you feel it was necessary to write this story? Why now?

Well the story is loosely based on my own experiences with a previous relationship, which is why I was so motivated and compelled to write it. Not with vampires mind you, that and much of the finished book is fictional, but the experience of being in a relationship with someone who is mentally ill and manipulative at the same time, and removing yourself from that situation, can be very real. In a way, it was helping me work through my own recovery. Once I started, the story really seemed to flow so easily and the ideas, the fictional parts, really came together, so I made it my primary focus for several months to see that story to completion. I also feel like there are a lot of people out there who can relate to my experiences, and that this story will resonate with them and help them work through their own experiences. I’m really excited for this book and looking forward to reaction from readers when it comes out.

You’ve explained that the story explores some very deep and complex human experiences. Why examine those issues through a fictional vampire story?

Well, two reasons really. The first is that it’s easy to see someone going through an unhealthy situation and walk up and slap them on the head and say “Hey, this is wrong, smarten the hell up!”, but you aren’t likely to get a positive response. I find with books, fiction especially, it’s easier to raise issues with fictional characters that lead a reader to think about their own experiences, allowing the reader to examine their own questions and lead themselves to the answers and, hopefully, a better place than where they started. The second reason is of course, that I’ve been a lifelong fan of vampire fiction. One of my earliest favorite books was a graphic novel adaptation of Dracula. I love all those classic monsters, and vampires have a rich history of storytelling. I feel like Uninvited is my contribution to that vampire mythos, but I feel it’s done in a way that hasn’t been explored in vampire fiction before. I really strive to take new and original takes on old subjects in all my writing.

What advice would you give to those dealing with the same issues from the book, emotional and mental abuse, mental health of a partner, addiction, etc. in real life?

When is comes to mental health and relationships, even serious disorders like sociopathy, narcissism and the like, it’s a difficult and delicate balance. You must remember that the other person is mentally ill and needs your caring and understanding and may not be entirely responsible for their actions. At the same time, you also must care for and protect yourself and not allow yourself to be in a dangerous situation or allow yourself to be emotionally tortured. It’s quite likely that you may have to be the bigger person and understand that the relationship itself may need to end, that you need ensure that the mentally ill person gets the care they need, but then also remove yourself from the situation and allow yourself time to recover, even if that means a permanent end to the relationship. Sometimes that’s what’s necessary to allow both people to heal and find a better place. In science, they say that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. In the case of couples with a mentally ill partner, the confrontation and management of one partner’s mental illness can often result in the development of mental illness in the other partner coping with it, such as PTSD. While many mental health experts will contend that the mentally ill may not be responsible for their actions, as I mentioned, I do feel that every adult person has the responsibility to themselves and those around them to seek help from a psychiatric professional if they recognize emotional and mental issues or breakdowns, and to help facilitate that help for loved ones experiencing the same things. It can be very difficult. In my own experience with a mentally ill partner, I found the mental health system to be seriously lacking in treatment, resources and funding. I think if we removed the stigma of mental illness, by acting as adults and admitting that we do have mental health issues and that it’s okay to seek treatment for them, that we would have a much happier and healthier society with much lower rates of disease, addiction, domestic abuse and other societal issues.

Uninvited is currently scheduled to be released as a digital download on February 14th. Why did you choose to release it on Valentine’s day, and will there be any other formats available?

Well, the two things I write most are humor and horror. Although the book is a psychological thriller of sorts, the satirist in me couldn’t resist the irony of releasing it on Valentine’s day. Reader’s shouldn’t take that as a sign that this is some sort of fluffy vampire romance. It’s full of serious issues; sex, drugs and domestic abuse. If anything, it’s an anti-love story.  As for other formats, thanks to the power of modern technology eBooks are the quickest and most efficient way to get your story into the hands of readers, so we’re focusing on making that the best it can be and getting it out to readers for Valentine’s day. There are currently hardcover and softcover print editions planned as well, and more info on availability and release dates of those will be forthcoming.

Where can readers pre-order a copy of your book?

The book is already available for pre-order on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Uninvited-Mike-Gagnon-ebook/dp/B01N5KAZI4 Keep an eye out on your preferred digital download retailer, such as Kobo, iTunes, Nook, etc. because they will also have the book available for pre-order in the coming weeks leading up to release. You can also find ways to order and get more info at www.gagnonwrites.com

Well, I think that’s all the questions that I have for you, thanks for your time and good luck with Uninvited, it sounds like a very interesting read.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about it. I’m happy to chat with you any time, and have a great New Year!

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