With just a few days left until Halloween, I thought it would be Perfect to ask J. Gabriel Gates a few questions about his new novel, The Sleepwalkers, a novel perfect for the Halloween Holiday!

I am sure you get this question a lot, but what was your inspiration for Sleepwalkers?
When I was in college at Florida State, there was this abandoned insane asylum way out in the woods outside Tallahassee called Sunnyland and I snuck into it a few times with some  friends of mine.  It had been empty for about twenty years.  There were wards where kids were kept, weird murals on the walls, strange banging sounds behind closed doors—then you’d open the door and find the room behind it empty.  Being there really felt like you were standing in the middle of a horror movie.  And the little hairs on the back of my neck were standing up the whole time.  Outside the place there were all these old live oak trees draped in Spanish moss.  It was all just supremely creepy.  When I decided to write a horror novel, my mind automatically gravitated back to that place, and it became the inspiration for the Dream Center in the book.    
I’ve heard from quite a few readers that The Sleepwalkers will give you nightmares… how do you feel about that?
Well, as twisted as it might sound, I take it as a compliment.  If you feel terrified riding a rollercoaster, that means it was a good rollercoaster.  To use another metaphor, a horror novel that doesn’t get inside your head and scare you is like a sports car that only goes thirty-five miles per hour.  What’s the point?  The horror that really gets me is the stuff that’s deeply rooted in the sub-conscious.  There are ideas and imagery that just strike a disturbing chord in us at the deepest level.  It’s not about blood or guts or people getting their heads chopped off.  It’s about tapping into something even deeper than the material world, something older and more primal.  That’s the stuff of nightmares.  And it’s the stuff of good horror novels, too.   

What type of books do you read? Do you personally read thrillers and paranormal books?
I read a really wide range of books.  I grew up loving fantasy, books like the Lord of the Rings series and the Shannara series by Terry Brooks.  But for years now, I’ve been  concentrating on reading literary fiction.  I love Hemingway, Dostoevsky, Herman Hesse, Shakespeare.  If you want to be a great writer, you need to read great writers.  To give you an idea of how widely my taste ranges, the last book I read was 1776 by David McCullough.  Now I’m reading Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Album.  After that, I’ll probably dip back into some Stephen King. 
I’m always very curious about how writers write – do you have a writing routine?
I definitely have a routine. I write in the mornings.  I wake up, walk my dog, eat my breakfast, make some coffee, and write.  I do that six days a week— every day except Sundays.  When I’m really into a project or pushing to meet a deadline, I’ll work for an hour or two in the afternoon, too, with a break in between the morning and afternoon sessions for lunch and a workout.  That’s the difference between a professional writer and an amateur, writing every day.  If you want to be a writer, write.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s that simple.    
Can you give any hints into any new projects that you might be working on now, or will be soon?
Sure!  I just wrapped up work on Ghost Crown: The Tracks, Book 2, which is coming out in March.  It’s the second book in my teen martial arts fantasy saga The Tracks.  (Book 1, Dark Territory, is available now.)  Currently, I’m working on a really exciting novel called Blood  Zero  Sky, which is an action-packed, though-provoking dystopian adventure set in the not-too-distant future.  It’s going to be coming out in fall of 2012, also from HCI Books.  So, I’ve been keeping busy.  Information about all my projects is available on my website, www.jgabrielgates.com and on Facebook.
Can you give one interesting fact about yourself that no one knows (promise I won’t tell)?
Ha ha.  Good question.  I don’t know if I can think of anything that NO ONE else knows, since I’m a pretty open book…  But since my protagonist in The Sleepwalkers is a high schooler, maybe my readers would be interested to know something about my life in high school.  I played on the soccer team all four years, and I did a year each of wrestling, tennis, and track.  I would probably have done more sports, but most of the rest of my spare time was spent doing theater.  I loved acting in plays, and that’s actually what my college degree was in – theater.  I was also the homecoming escort (runner up to the king) and gave my class’s graduation speech.  For a horror writer, I guess it was a pretty benign existence.  I didn’t fight any supernatural monstrosities or anything.  But I did have a lot of fun.
You can find J. Gabriel Gates on his Site / Twitter / Facebook
 A chilling and masterfully crafted teen horror novel guaranteed to keep the pages turning, the mind reeling, and the lamp on any reader’s bedside table on long after midnight.

Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. Caleb’s childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine’s long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an a.m. radio. The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Sixteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.

 Author J. Gabriel Gates is a native of Marshall, Michigan. The son of an English teacher, his passion for the written word began at a young age. During college, another passion – for performing – led him to get his B.A. degree in theater from Florida State University.

During his years in Los Angeles, he appeared in a dozen national TV commercials and penned several screenplays while laying the groundwork for his career as a novelist.

His first two novels are Dark Territory: The Tracks, book 1, which is scheduled for release July 1st, and The Sleepwalkers, coming October 3rd, both from HCI Books.

He currently lives in Southwest Michigan.