Hello folks! Today we’re talking to Oldrich Stibor who is the author behind the transmedia horror experience that is The Black Chronicle.
It’s a book where you become so immersed in it that the killer actually calls you on the phone and leads you down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos, emails and bonus chapters that will frighten you like nothing else.
But that’s once it’s all finished. (You can actually test-ride the experience here)
So let’s talk to Oldrich and this behemoth project that some are saying requires, “Too much creativity for a creative industry to handle.”
What do you enjoy most about writing horror?
What I have noticed, just recently actually, is that all my books are about bad people doing bad things and the story is in a sense is a means to justifying why they are the way they are and why they had to make choices that most of us would see as ‘evil’ or ‘bad’.
I guess I have a lot of sympathy for the devil. I watched horror movies obsessively as a kid and I was always rooting for the monster. I always wanted Freddy to kill the last kid and win.
Out of all the novels and projects you are a part of, which one are you the most proud of and why?
I just feel like it came together in ways that I couldn’t even have planned.
I’m really proud of it and I think it has very strong commercial potential . And obviously I’m biased. I can image lots of people rolling their eyes as they read me making those statements about my own work but believe me there are many, many, many things I’ve written that were just plain bad and of which I would never say those things about.
Can you explain a little bit more about “The Black Chronicle,” and how it has grown into more than just a novel?
OS: Well I actually conceived of it as a transmedia experience from the beginning.
I always knew I wanted to include video and audio and all these other things into it and it actually informed the writing.
For instance, the fact that the killer in the book ‘Mister’, creates videos of his murders and uploads them to the internet probably is only in the book because I knew I need to weave transmedia elements into the story.
Can you tell me a little bit about the process of setting up such an immersive multimedia experience?
OS: The first thing I did was try and find help.
I was an acquaintance of a very talented film maker named Tricia Lee Kalpakis who lives in Toronto as well. I looked her up and basically just asked her if she wanted to make The Black Chronicle with me. She took the book home and read it in two days.
It was still early on and I wasn’t too sure of what I even had, so I was a little surprised when she said she loved it and wanted to do the project with me.
It was extremely fortunate for myself and the project to be able to attach a film maker of her caliber. She’s not exactly a house hold name yet, but she’s won some festival awards for her horror movies Clean Break and Silent Retreat are two for which she’s getting a lot of attention and I know she’s going to go on to do bigger and bigger things.
What were/are some of your biggest challenges on the project?
OS: Well, the funny thing is that I created The Black Chronicle as a transmedia project because I was sick of trying to stand out.
Any writer who has ever blanketed every agent in the world with query letters knows just how demoralizing the process can be. Even worse than never getting a positive reply is getting some interest from agents or publisher only to then wait for a year or more, while some intern or assistant finally gets around to reading it.
It’s like this golden ticket constantly hanging over your head. You wake up every day hoping a publisher is going to write and tell you they loved your work but it never happens. It’s like a waiting to exhale.
So I wanted to do something that people couldn’t ignore. I wanted to create something thrilling and unique that would knock their socks off and allow me to forego the whole song and dance altogether.
The ironic thing is that for the most part the transmedia aspect has made it more difficult to sell it. They don’t understand what it is and they don’t get that this sort of project is inevitable.
I actually had a very successful literary agent here in Toronto tell me that she loved the idea and thought it had tremendous commercial potential but it was going to require too much creativity on her part to try and bring it to market.
Too much creativity in a creative industry. Go figure.
I think at the end of the day there hasn’t been any tangible proof that a project like this would be commercial successful and that’s why agents and publishers are leery about taking it on but they don’t see what I see.
At the moment the book is for sale on Amazon in two parts. We’re attempting to raise enough money through the sale of the book to produce the project in its entirety ourselves.
Do you feel that horror fiction is important to our society? Why or why not?
OS: Of course. I think all forms of fiction are very important.
Why? I’m not entirely sure.
Think about it, as a species we consume a monolithic amount of fiction every single day. If we could see some sort of number or graph of all the narrative that is consumed by humans on a daily basis, whether it be movies, or books, or comics of video games or music, it would be absolutely mind blowing.
Our societies and our entertainments could have formed in a million different ways, so why did we go in a direction in which storytelling is such a corner stone of our existence?
My guess is that we’re all just trying to understand what it means to be human.
Every story is a what if question that allows is to imagine how we would or could react in a given circumstance. Horror in particular is just us trying to imagine what we would do if the shit really hit the fan.
I feel like every horror fan whether he admits it or not has a vague idea of what he would do if the zombie apocalypse ever went down.
Personally I have a machete in ten gallons of water on my dry storage. Not much to survive on, granted, but it’s a good start.
Thank you so much for the conversation Oldrich! I look forward to seeing how The Black Chronicle progresses!