Today, Norm Goldman
Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our
guest Nick Redfern. Nick is the author of more than 20 books on
UFOs, Bigfoot, lake-monsters, the Chupacabras, and Hollywood scandal,
including Memoirs of a Monster Hunter; Celebrity Secrets; There’s
something in the Woods; Contactees; Final Events; The Real Men in
Black; The NASA Conspiracies; Science Fiction Secrets; On the Trail
of the Saucer Spies; Strange Secrets; and – with fellow Texas-based
researcher and author, Ken Gerhard – Monsters of Texas. Nick's most recent book is The World's Weirdest Places.
Nick has appeared on more than 70 TV shows, including: Fox News; the BBC’s Out of This World; the SyFy Channel’s Proof Positive; the History Channel’s Monster Quest, America’s Book of Secrets, Ancient Aliens and UFO Hunters; the National Geographic Channel’s Paranatural; and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Good day Nick and thanks for participating in our interview
What do you think over the years has driven you as an author?
More than anything I'd say that any author, no matter what the subject they write about might be, has to be passionate. If you don't have that fire in you to write, or you lose it, then there's just no point in doing it. So, for me, that's the first thing: I love writing. Plus, a lot of what I write about is based around unsolved mysteries, and I enjoy chasing down a mystery and trying to figure out the truth. So, there's a drive for me to uncover hidden truths, strange stories and the mysteries of our world. Basically, it all comes down to enthusiasm. If I ever lost that enthusiasm, I'd walk away from it all in an instant and do something else, as there's no point if your heart isn't in it. Fortunately, that hasn't happened! I hate and loath authors who are just in it for money or adoration. I've met a few of those and they all have one thing in common: they are scum.
Is your work
improvisational or do you have a set plan?
It's probably a bit
of both. Sometimes I'll stumble on a really interesting story to
research, but, when you first get into it, you're never really sure
where it's all going to lead until you get there. But you know it's
going somewhere! So, often I'll have something to investigate that
eventually becomes a full-length book. But, in the early stages,
there's no set plan, because you simply don't know what the outcome
of the investigation will be. I never plan on specifically doing this
or that, because much of what I write about is highly unpredictable
in terms of what I'm going to find, which means I'll wait until I
have all the information I can conceivably get, and then write about
what I find. In the field I'm in, there's no way to really have a set
plan when there are so many angles and issues to deal with. But, I
enjoy a bit of organized chaos, as it keeps life interesting and
If you had to choose,
which writer would you consider a mentor?
It's difficult to
pick just one, because there are various people, coming from
different angles. Many of my books are written in a first-person,
road-trip style. So, I have to say that, without doubt, two of my
biggest mentors and influences would be Jack Kerouac and Hunter S,
Thompson, who typified that genre.
Between them, they wrote some of
the greatest books of the 20th Century, in my view anyway: Big Sur,
The Rum Diary, the list goes on and on. But, for me, a mentor is not
a hero. Nor should it be. The real person behind the heroic image
generally doesn't stand the test of time.
Kerouac was a huge
influence on me. But I keep it all in perspective. Let's face it: he
was a raging alcoholic, dead at 47, a life utterly wasted, and a body
and great talent ravaged and destroyed by booze. And Thompson took a
totally cowardly way out when he shot himself. Suicide is for
A pathetic end. People may disagree with me, but a mentor should be someone you learn from, but not have blind, unquestioning adoration for. And that's my approach to Kerouac and Thompson. And if anyone considered me a mentor, I hope they would feel the same way. Since I write a lot (but certainly not exclusively) on the paranormal, there's really only one person I can consider the ultimate mentor in that sense: John Keel.
Whether or not people agreed with his views on UFOs, strange creatures and anomalous phenomena, the fact is that he undeniably gave the paranormal research field a punch in the face and a wake-up call that were both greatly needed. In that sense, he was to the field of paranormal writing what the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were to music in the 1970s: getting rid of the bloated, stale, tired, old, stodge. Plus, Keel was an excellent writer, with a fantastic flair for real-life tales of the "It was a dark and stormy night"-kind, as his most famous book, The Mothman Prophecies, makes very clear.
What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
I'm not really sure. It might be better to ask the people who read my books. I've never read even a single one of my books after it's been published. What's the point? My work finishes when the Word document is complete and the final PDF-before-printing is fully reviewed and corrected and me and the publisher are satisfied.
But, thinking about it, I suppose my biggest quirk (which has more to do with subject than style) is that I don't like to take the easy, lazy approach of tackling simple subjects. I like to follow the very alternative, controversial angles and see where they lead, which is why I wrote a book suggesting aliens didn't crash at Roswell (Body Snatchers in the Desert), and why I have written a number of books suggesting Bigfoot is a paranormal creature, rather than a flesh-and-blood ape that has yet to be categorized and classified.
So, I guess that my writing quirk
is that I have a maverick approach to pretty much all I do. Plus, I
don't really care what people think of me or of my views on the
paranormal. I have thick skin. So, that's one of the other reasons I
like to approach my subjects outside of the box and upset the
apple-cart. There's nothing wrong with a big dose of controversy in a
What was one of the most
surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Well, first and
foremost, you learn a great deal of insider information on how the
publishing world works. And much of that is surprising, but
interesting too, in terms of seeing how a book develops from an idea
to reaching the bookshops.
One of the things that was a surprise at first - but which now just kind of amuses me - is that when people read my books they often assume (and I know this from emails etc) that this is all I do. That an author simply writes, eats, sleeps, and starts over again the next day!
People have found it very surprising (I suppose because I write about weird stuff) that I do every day, normal stuff: listen to music, watch American Idol and Survivor, go down the pub, and have a normal social-life, just like everyone else. So, that was a surprise at first: how people come to perceive you as a person (and often quite wrongly!) specifically after you have written a number of books.
In fiction as well as in
non-fiction, writers very often take liberties with their material to
tell a good story or make a point. How much is too much?
Well, taking liberties at all in writing is not a good idea at any time. But, here's why, from my perspective, it's no really relevant to the type of writing I do: In my field, there's no need to take liberties when you're dealing with things like, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, and Bigfoot, because there's enough oddness in it already!
written fiction, but I did have a stab at doing a Gonzo-style book,
back in 2004, which was called Three Men Seeking Monsters. But, the
important thing is that it's classified on the back-cover as being a
Gonzo story. So, if you're writing factual books, stick exactly to
the facts. If you're writing fiction, make sure people know that. And
if you're doing Gonzo, make sure they know that too.
What genre are you most comfortable writing and why?
Actually, I don't
really have a favorite or a preference. But I do enjoy writing
road-trip-style, when the theme calls for it. Although I am
passionate about writing, I also take the view that this is my job.
And, as with any job, you go where the work is and you don't turn
Freelance writing can be a very, very precarious, tough world unless you stay on top of your game. So, even though I might be most known for writing books on the paranormal, I also do a lot of other writing, too, such as a lot of feature-writing and news items for Penthouse, for mainstream newspapers, for rock music magazines, and much more. I also do a lot of freelance ghost-writing and hired research for other authors.
So, I like to be able to step
away from the book stuff whenever I can, as 6-months immersed in one
book and nothing else can be as mind-numbing as it can rewarding. And
I find that having a lot of very different side-projects on the go
all the time keeps my brain from imploding. Or exploding!
Can you share a little of
your current work with us?
Yes, I have a new book out now called The World's Weirdest Places, which is a study of 25 places around the world, which are saturated in supernatural strangeness, such as a town filled with haunted houses, a large body of water with a lake-monster legend, a large forest where Bigfoot is rumored to live, and so on.
Where can our readers find
out more about you?
People can reach me at MY BLOG, which I pretty much update daily. they can also find me at both Facebook and Twitter.
Is there anything else you
wish to add that we have not covered and what is next for Nick
Right now, I'm
working on a couple more books on my favorite subject of writing and
research: Cryptozoology, which is the study of unknown animals like
Bigfoot, the Chupacabras, the Abominable Snowman and things like
And those books will be out in the near future. As long as I have that fire and enthusiasm, I'll keep writing books. But, if the day ever comes when I feel I have nothing new to say, or I'm just going over old ground, I'll stop and do something else.
For me, it's
important to be able to give the reader something new each time.
After all, they are spending money to buy the book, so you have to
give something new, worthwhile and which will inform and entertain
them. But, I don't ever want to end up like some old band just
endlessly playing its old hits for years on end. My view on the type
of writing I do is this (and I apply this as much to fellow writers
as I do to myself): if you've got nothing new and fresh to say, go
Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors
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