We have a few questions asked of P. B. Kane around his lasted novel – The Rainbow Man.
It’s a paranormal thriller and his first foray into writing for a young adult audience (although it will appeal to adults too – since I’ve read and loved it.)
Let’s welcome Paul!
The Rainbow Man is a dark fantasy/paranormal thriller and it’s your first young adult novel. Tell us about your process and/or reasoning for creating a dark book for teens; and what are the differences between writing for a younger audience compared to writing for adults.
It stems back to reading that kind of material when I was younger, in particular a book called Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells which we read as part of our English classes. This was before the term YA even came into effect as a marketing category and genre in its own right. That was a post-apocalyptic tale set in the kind of community I knew well, and was more than a little responsible for inspiring the Arrowhead/Hooded Man novels under my other name ‘Paul Kane’. My daughter Jen was around 13 or 14 when she started reading and enjoying those, so I began thinking about writing something that was aimed specifically at teens, but could also be enjoyed by any age group – like all good YA fiction. I think the main difference between writing for a younger audience, as opposed to an older one, is that your main characters are a bit younger and the focus should – necessarily – be on them and their lives or their adventure. Because of the kind of story The Rainbow Man is, I didn’t go too far in terms of subject matter – for example this book isn’t anywhere near as violent or adult in tone as some of my other books; Arrowhead begins with a torture scene for example – but hopefully delivered some more subtle chills this time.
To entice us, tell us about the fantastical/paranormal themes for your story.
I’ve drawn once again on mythology here, like I’ve done for a lot of my stories. For Lunar, I was influenced by mythology about the Moon, for the Arrowhead books it was the mythology of Sherwood Forest because we were dealing with a futuristic version of Robin Hood. And I’ve always been a fan of stories where a mysterious stranger turns up to cause trouble, like The Witches of Eastwick or Stephen King’s Storm of the Century, or even his Needful Things. If that stranger has supernatural powers, then so much the better. So that was something I wanted to bring into play with my villain John Dee (‘short’ for Doe), who our main protagonist – 15 year-old Daniel – suspects might not be the nice guy he appears to be.
There are a lot of adults reading books for young adults. Why would The Rainbow Man appeal to an adult audience? And/or why should a young adult read your book?
The answer to both is probably the same, because hopefully it’s a good story with well-rounded characters that will appeal to all ages. It was one of those books which seemed to just flow, which is usually a good sign. But I’ll let some of the comments about it so far speak for me. Rachel Caine – of the bestselling Morganville Vampire series – said in the wonderful introduction, ‘I loved this tale, pure and simple.’ The YA, Yeah Yeah site said the book, ‘Drips with menace.’ And Starburst magazine called it, ‘Emotionally charged. A gripping novel not easily put down!’ Needless to say, I’m extremely delighted with all this.
As a prolific artist in many types of mediums, a writer of screenplays, horror, fantasy, an editor, painter, and photographer – which is your favorite hat to wear when you’re creating and why?
That’s a really difficult question to answer, because they’re all tied in for me. All parts of the creative process. One of my literary heroes, Clive Barker – who I’m very lucky to now call a friend – said when I asked him which he preferred doing, writing or painting and he said: ‘When I’m painting, it’s writing. When I’m writing… well, you can guess the rest.’ And that pretty much sums it up. Whatever I’m doing, I’ll be thinking about other projects in other areas, because that’s just the way I work. Makes it hard to separate them out, though. At the moment I’m writing my second feature script, after adapting Lunar, and I’m really enjoying that.
Why write horror and why are you attracted to darkness?
It’s not so much being attracted to the darkness as writing about what scares you personally so that seems a little less frightening. I’ve always found it to be so at any rate. The world can be a scary place, but when you write about those kinds of things at least you have a degree of control over what happens in them. Or at least that’s what you tell yourself, as very often stories take on a life of their own – as it should be. Horror’s also a great way to comment about life, death, society, whatever you want to talk about indirectly. For example, in The Rainbow Man, I explore the issues surrounding friendship – and especially when you’re young – family, community… all kinds of things. When people are threatened it’s usually when you see their real natures come to the surface, all of which is very interesting to me as a writer. And hopefully that all makes it interesting for the reader as well. That’s the intention anyway.
Author Bio: Paul Kane is an award-winning writer and editor based in Derbyshire, UK. His short story collections are Alone (In the Dark), Touching the Flame, FunnyBones, Peripheral Visions, Shadow Writer, and The Adventures of Dalton Quayle, and his latest The Butterfly Man and Other Stories. His novellas include Signs of Life, The Lazarus Condition, RED, and Pain Cages. He is author of the novels Of Darkness and Light, The Gemini Factor and the bestselling Arrowhead Trilogy, a post-apocalyptic reworking of the Robin Hood mythology.
His novel, Lunar, is set to be turned into a feature film. He has also written for comics, most notably for the Dead Roots zombie anthology. He is co-editor of the anthology Hellbound Hearts – stories based around the Clive Barker mythology that spawned Hellraiser – The Mammoth Book of Body Horror, A Carnivàle of Horror, and the forthcoming Beyond Rue Morgue from Titan.
His non-fiction books are the BFS Award-nominated and critically acclaimed The Hellraiser Films and Their Legacy and Voices in the Dark, and his genre journalism has appeared in the likes of SFX, Rue Morgue, Fangoria, Dreamwatch and DeathRay. He has been a guest at events such as Alt.Fiction, SFX Weekender, comic convention Thought Bubble, the Derbyshire Literary Festival, Edge-Lit and Off the Shelf, as well as being a panelist at FantasyCon and the World Fantasy Convention.
His work has been optioned for film and television, and his zombie story ‘Dead Time’ was turned into an episode of the Lionsgate/NBC TV series Fear Itself. He also scripted The Opportunity, Wind Chimes and The Weeping Woman.
About The Rainbow Man: When Daniel Routh, together with friends Jill and Greg, and little brother Mikey, discover a body washed up on the beach after a storm, it’s one of the most exciting things ever to happen on the island of Shorepoint. And, as the man in question slowly recovers, he befriends the inhabitants of this small fishing community one by one. Only Daniel suspects something might be wrong with the newcomer, who cannot remember who he is, nor how he came to be there. To start with, this John Dee (as they label him, short for Doe) brings prosperity and happiness with him, but it isn’t long before the tide begins to turn. Then John begins to worm his way into Daniel’s own family, trying to take the place of his late father, and the teenager knows something must be done. Little does Daniel realise that he’s now involved in one of the most ancient conflicts of all time; one that might decide the fate not only of Shorepoint, but of the entire world.
This very special short novel from the imagination of award-winning and bestselling author P.B. Kane (the Arrowhead Trilogy, Lunar, The Butterfly Man – as Paul Kane), marks his first foray into the realms of YA fiction. With great characterization, emotional impact, action and shock twists, this is a genre release that’s sure to become an instant classic.
Page count: 162 | Genre: YA/Dark Fantasy/Paranormal Thriller/Supernatural/Adventure | Rocket Ride Books | November 15, 2013