The Blood Brothers are two of my favorites middle grade authors. I became hooked when I read their first Fright Friends Adventure book, The House on Creep Street. They hit it even further out of the creepy park with the next in the series Beware the Monstrous Manther!
The Fright Friends Adventures series is the first middle grade spooky read that’s really connected with me. It’s funny, clever, and has a ton of nods to classic horror that appeal to young and older readers.
When I was scheduling my 2017 Trick-or-Treat chronicles interviews, I knew that I had to have them on. Thankfully, they agreed.
Hi Blood Brothers! Thank you so much for letting me interview you. I am really enjoying your books and I have to ask…What inspired your MG FRIGHT FRIENDS adventures books (The House on Creep St & Beware the Monstrous Manther!)?
Edgar Blood: The books are based on childhood writings of the recurring protagonist, Joey Tonelli, who is based on a real person, and his real boyhood friends. The writings were discovered several years ago and caused much delight and amusement because of how simplistic and innocent they were. We decided this would be a good concept to explore, so we fleshed out these stories into novels, having the kids be the core characters and heroes. The tone is very much inspired by a lot of kid-friendly books, films, and television shows that were popular during the ‘80s and ‘90s — R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books; films by Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante; and Are You Afraid of the Dark? And this was before Stranger Things came along and stole our thunder!
Allan Blood: In a way, we’re trying to write the type of books we would’ve loved to read when we were children — which was over 100 years ago, back when the only entertainment children had was that big hoop thing with the stick. I forget what it was called. Hoop Stick, I think. Anyway, we have always loved the odd and macabre, and wanted to transfer that love onto the printed page.
Allan Blood: It just made the most sense. It has ‘Blood’ in it! Just like us!
Haha! I love it. So tell me, what is your writing process like? Tea? Cookies? Music? Silence?
Allan Blood: First, we tend to come up with a rough — sometimes very rough — outline: where we want the story to go, what we want the characters to experience, etc., and then we hit the ground running. Sometimes the outline we come up with goes right out the window, because we never know where the story is going to take us. We usually alternate writing chapters for the first draft, then go back through it and tinker around until it feels finished. And even then there’s always those tiny details that you think about changing, but at some point you need to put a pin in it and decide it’s finished. Or else you’ll go bonkers.
Edgar Blood: Allan and I know what kind of story we want to write, and what we want it to be about, but sometimes getting to the finale differs somewhat in our head, so we find that even though we are writing together, we still surprise each other, which is quite a bit of fun. One thing we try to maintain is that every novel features an otherwordly problem — whether it be ghosts or mad scientists — but also a real-world problem that kids have to face every day, like bullies, or the fear of being different. Those two problems are intertwined, and by story’s end, both of them are solved — or at least addressed.
As for the actual writing stage, I cannot write in silence, as it makes me nervous, so I tend to write with instrumental music. And sometimes the music I listen to makes me nervous, so I just go right to the insane asylum, wave hello to Barney the orderly, and I do my writing there.
Oh good. I’m glad I’m not the only one writing in asylums these days. Do you believe in ghosts? Werewolves? Vampires?
Allan Blood: Let’s just say we really want to believe in ghosts. They have yet to make their presence known to us, though. Even when we go to the graveyard and scream at their tombstones.
Hmm. Screaming at tombstones. Sounds effective. I’d keep trying. So I have to ask, have you ever had a real life spooky encounter?
Edgar Blood: The day I met Allan. He was eating an entire human man.
Allan Blood: Well, once, I went to London and asked if anyone had seen Jack the Ripper. “Jack the Ripper died over a hundred years ago!” someone replied. Pretty freaky, huh?!
Haha! You guys are killing me! Your books remind me of some of my favorite scary movies. What are your favorite scary movies?
Edgar Blood: I quite like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari because it was about my extended family. Rumors suggest the original title was The Big Box of Dr. Blood, but they changed it because it was “too stupid.”
Allan Blood: Have you ever seen that movie Tourist Trap? It’s about a man who had a bunch of vulgar mannequins! Terrifying! Anyway, my answer is The Night Dracula Saved the World.
What is the best costume / most memorable you’ve ever had for Halloween?
Allan Blood: I like my Halloween costumes to reflect current events, so one year I dressed up like President Herbert Hoover. Otherwise, Halloween is a holiday we try to keep alive all year, so while we’re always thrilled when October comes along, it’s just another month that allows us to yell about ghouls.
Edgar Blood: One time I went to a Halloween ball dressed as a psychopath. NO ONE knew!
Edgar Blood: One of my favorite Halloween novels is Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge. It’s thrilling, scary, and even emotional, all while honoring the myths of Halloween and meshing them with everyday life. Every year I also re-read Halloween Horrors, edited by Alan Ryan, which is my favorite Halloween anthology.
Allan Blood: I try to read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree every year around this time. It’s just a perfect encapsulation of how magical autumn, and Halloween in general, can be. I’ve also just started reading Ghosts: A Natural History: 500 Years of Searching for Proof by Roger Clarke, and it’s a wonderful, chilly little examination of things that go bump in the night. It’s like a cup of tea on a rainy day wrapped up in a book.
Oh! I love The Halloween Tree! I haven’t heard of Dark Harvest but I’ll have to check it out. If you could choose what goes on your tombstone, what would you have it say?
Edgar Blood: “You are stepping on my bones and crushing them. Please stop stepping on and crushing these bones.”
Allan Blood: “I’LL BE RIGHT BACK AFTER I EAT THESE RATS!”
Haha, love it you guys. Do you have a favorite Halloween song or creepy album?
Allan Blood: The soundtrack to The Village, by Hilary Hahn and James Newton Howard, is my go-to Halloween music. Sad, sweet, string-heavy. I’m going to listen to it right now as I polish these skulls.
Edgar Blood: I make an annual Halloween playlist which is filled with all kinds of stuff. There’s also a throwback concept album from a musician called Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks called “Halloween is Here” which is fun, but I also listen to soundtracks from Danny Elfman, like The Wolfman, Sleepy Hollow, and, The Frighteners. Sometimes I listen to them VERY LOUD. And Allan has to knock on my coffin and say, “Keep it down, you’ll wake Mummy!”
Edgar, I’m going to need a link to that playlist stat! I love Halloween playlists. So tell me guys, what are you working on now? Is there another Fright Friends book in the works? Something else? If nothing else, what kind of book would you like to write next?
Allan Blood: We have a glut of Fright Friends Adventures kicking around — some involving pirates, some involving clowns, all involving screaming. You haven’t seen the last of these books. Unless you fall into a coffin. Then, yes, no more books for you.
Edgar Blood: I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of historical fiction, written in the epistolary format — something partially based on a real event, but completely fictionalized, and written to sound fact-based. I worked on something like this on and off for the last couple years but it BEAT ME TO DEATH, so sadly, I had to let it go. But one day I hope to write something in this form that doesn’t BEAT ME TO DEATH.
I can’t wait for more Fright Friends books! Clowns are scary. I think I’ll go rock in a corner now. But first, the lightning round!
Say the first word that comes to mind when you see the prompt!
Allan: A winged creature that flies– oh, you said one word. Uh, wing!
Hahaha. I love it! Your shenanigans. Thank you so much for being a part of the Trick-or-Treat Chronicles. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for new Fright Friends Adventure books.
About The Blood Brothers
Edgar and Allan Blood were both October-born and subsequently abandoned in the woods. After being raised by wolves, the brothers set out on a worldwide dirigible journey to find their fortune, where they began honing their literary skills by writing obituaries and ransom notes. To tell them apart, remember: Edgar has an eye patch and Allan has a wooden leg—but sometimes it’s the other way around. When the Blood Brothers are not writing stories, they work as door-to-door coffin salesmen.
WANT TO READ MORE
Check out the interviews with the authors below (in alphabetical order):