About the Author:
Once upon a time, a young Ambrose Ibsen discovered a collection of ghost stories on his father's bookshelf. He was never the same again.
Apart from horror fiction, he enjoys good coffee, brewed strong.
His favorite authors include: H.P. Lovecraft, Yukio Mishima, Koji Suzuki, William Hope Hodgson, Algernon Blackwood and M.R. James
Before we get to the interview, check out some of my reviews below.
Some Places Should Stay Abandoned... Dr. Siegfried Klein has vanished on a mysterious pilgrimage to an abandoned infirmary in the ghost-town of Moonville. The locals in the surrounding areas are tight-lipped, hostile to outsiders. Local legend has it that the old Sick House is packed with spirits, none of them friendly, and that to set foot in it is to enter Hell itself.
Enter Harlan Ulrich, private investigator and skeptic.
Traveling to the site, the detective begins the long process of separating truth from grisly local myth, and during his investigation stumbles upon certain frightful evidence that tries his nerve. He wants to find the doctor in one piece and weathers the hostilities of the locals even as their stories keep him up at night. But the longer he spends in the ghost town of Moonville, the more he feels the influence of something sinister in the shuttered infirmary.
When finally the truth is revealed and the infirmary's sordid past comes to light, will Ulrich manage to escape with his life? Join him as he braves the myth-shadowed unknown and seeks out the missing doctor in The Sick House, a full-length novel of paranormal suspense and horror.
A Voice From Beyond The Grave? College students Kenji and Dylan stumble upon a strange recording in the background of an obscure song. It's a woman's voice, uttering a string of seemingly random characters. Upon further inspection, the song appears to have been embedded with a hidden message. Attempting to crack the mysterious code and becoming obsessed with the recording, Kenji and Dylan set off in search of answers. With every turn in the road however, the puzzle only seems to grow more complicated. And sinister.
Retired Vietnam vet Reggie Cash is also drawn in by this message, and before long both he and the two college students are on the trail of the mysterious woman featured in the recording. But who is she, and where is she leading them?
As things fall into place and strange events unfold, the three of them begin to wish that they'd never heard the recording at all...
TRANSMISSION is a full-length novel of supernatural horror and suspense by Ambrose Ibsen.
What lurks within Chaythe Asylum? College professor Stephen Barlow needs cash. Badly. When a student asks him to head a new campus organization that centers around paranormal research, he puts his skepticism aside and signs on in the hopes of scoring a fat bonus.
Enter Chaythe Asylum—a long-shuttered and controversial institution where patients were allegedly subjected to unethical experiments. Closed in 1989 after a series of grisly murders, Stephen deems the old building as good a place as any to explore the possibility of the supernatural and arranges to take a tour with his students.
But it turns out that the asylum is not as abandoned as it seems. There is something sinister in the building. It has watched and waited for nearly three decades, and when Stephen and his students enter, they find themselves at the center of a nightmare 28 years in the making.
ASYLUM is the first novel in the Afterlife Investigations trilogy.
He has plenty more to offer, so please, check out his Amazon page HERE. Now onto the interview, and I'm also giving away an ecopy of any of Ambrose's books, so don't forget to enter!
I'm most often inspired by the goings-on in my day-to-day life. Interactions with others, long drives through town, things like that. I'll be minding my own business and will just so happen to notice something commonplace at the right time. When viewed through the right lens, virtually anything can appear frightening or novel. I tend to come up with a lot of ideas while out grocery shopping at 3 AM, too.
How do you develop your writing ideas?
Usually, when I have a kernel of a story in mind, I sit on it for a bit. I let it grow mentally, then shear away the extraneous bits until it grows into something I'd like to write. If the growth gets out of hand, I trim it all the way back to the initial idea and start the process over again. I very rarely start out with a fully-formed idea for a story. Usually it's a single character, or a setting I'd like to explore, or a mood or style I want to convey. The other things grow naturally from that initial spark, but there's a lot that ends up on the cutting room floor before I even put pen to paper.
Where do you find inspiration for your characters?
All over the place! Books I read, movies I watch, people I used to go to school with, old co-workers, family members, passersby at the mall... I try not to incorporate myself into them, but characteristics of mine sometimes slip in anyhow.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was in 2nd grade. Probably 7 years old. I recall very clearly sitting at my desk in school after having just finished one of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps books. I set it down and thought, “Man, I'd really like to do that!”
What makes you unique as a writer?
This will seem like a cop-out answer, but the things that make me unique as a writer are the same things that make every writer unique; voice and vision. I don't feel that the topics I write about are particularly groundbreaking; frankly, they've been covered for a long, long time, and by far more talented writers than myself. But I can do something that all of those greats can't, and that's tell a story like Ambrose Ibsen, from Ambrose Ibsen's point of view. Anyone can tell a ghost story, can go through the tropes, but what draws us in to any given story is the writer's unique vision. When one tells a story of any kind, the storyteller's unique perspective is put on display, and I think that's what we really take an interest in as readers. In my opinion, the rest of it—the ghosts, the haunted houses—is all window dressing, relatively speaking.
You write a lot of Horror books, is this your preferred genre and what about the horror genre interests you?
Yes, horror is my preferred genre. I've been drawn to it since I was old enough to read. When I was young, exploring works of horror was exciting to me because it gave me an excuse to read about terrible or scandalous things while still being a well-behaved kid. I was not a brave child, not well-liked by my peers, but reading about things that went bump in the night made me feel brave. Reading about ghosts and murders felt very “adult” to me. From an early age, too, I've been obsessed with death. I grappled with the idea of my own mortality, and diving headlong into horror over the years has been a valuable way for me to explore both the concept of death and other tangential subjects. Perhaps I could have explored the subject through theological or philosophical studies, but those fields don't offer mind-bending eldritch horrors or skeletons popping out of closets!
Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can tell us?
Halloween is my favorite holiday, hands down, so I've got a fair few I could share. The one that comes to mind lately takes me to my junior high years. Bear in mind, I went to a Catholic school from ages 6 to 13. I was probably in 7th grade, 12 years old, at the time of this story. I'd been invited to a Halloween party, and the person throwing it had gotten ahold of The Exorcist on VHS—without informing her parents. Now, it was a big party, probably fifty or sixty kids, and most were interested in dancing, eating and debauchery. Me? I was glued to the screen. I'd never seen The Exorcist up to that point, but was familiar with its infamy. I was transfixed by the maturity of the storytelling. It wasn't garish like so many popular horror films. It was genuinely frightening and approached its subject matter with a level of intelligence I'd not known possible. Eventually, the host's mother walked in, threw a fit because we'd dared watch such an “evil” film, and made us turn it off half-way through. Nonetheless, I left that party on cloud nine. The viewing felt like a badge of honor.
What scares you?
Large, deep bodies of water are something that frighten me terribly. I can't swim, but even if I could, there's something incredibly eerie to me about deep water. Not knowing what lurks under the surface... It's a primal sort of fear.
What was the first horror book/story you remember reading?
The first? Probably Alvin Schwartz' In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. It's an old picture book, and it may have been my earliest introduction to horror literature. I adored the illustrations by Dirk Zimmer. I owned a dogeared copy for years, and bought a new one recently for my own children to enjoy.
What is your favorite horror book?
Now, that's a tough one! It's difficult to narrow it down to just one. Koji Suzuki's Ringu has been a massive inspiration to me, and I would list it among the very best books I've ever read, regardless of genre. The works of H.P. Lovecraft, especially The Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow Over Innsmouth could easily fill this spot. Though some would contest its inclusion in the horror genre, Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey is also one of my very favorites.
What is your favorite horror movie?
Another tough one to narrow down. The Ring (2002)—the American version directed by Gore Verbinski, is probably my all-time favorite. It reignited my interest in horror as a teenager. Then there's Noroi: The Curse (2005), directed by Koji Shiraishi and Pulse (2001) directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. When I was a teenager and my interest in horror cinema began to blossom, the major cinematic movement at that time was “J-Horror”—that is, Japanese horror. For that reason, most of my favorites hail from Japanese directors or source materials. I saw them at a particularly impressionable time in my life and they left a tremendous impression.
What is one stereotype about horror writers that is absolutely wrong?
I think there's a stereotype that we enjoy nothing but horror, or that we're all obsessed with gore and violence. Personally, I have varied tastes, and I enjoy books and films from many different genres. And the obsession with gore and violence couldn't be any more off the mark for me. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy gory stuff. Too often, it comes off as low-brow. Give me taut atmosphere over shocking gore any day of the week.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
Truthfully, they'd all end up as completely different books if I did. I'd change one thing... and then another... and another, etc. If I allow myself, I can sit down during the editing phase and never run out of things to tweak. I'd make this scene scarier, or flesh out this character more. There are some books I probably wouldn't have written, too. From a publishing or business standpoint, there are a lot of things I would change. But from a writing and creativity standpoint, I think it's healthier to leave the books as they are. Every one of my books represents the absolute best I was able to produce at the time of publication. I could go back and rewrite them, and it's possible they'd end up better, but it would be a betrayal of that older work, too.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love reading and movies, of course. Sitting down with a good cup of coffee and enjoying a book is bliss. Music is very important to me, so going for long walks or drives while listening to music is extremely enjoyable to me. I love spending time with my family, sharing good meals with them or going out on trips to the zoo or science center. Walking around bookstores or libraries and getting lost in the stacks is something I enjoy from time to time. When I'm not writing, I'm often seeking out new coffee shops or breweries in town.
What’s the best vacation you ever had?
I must have been about 12 or 13 years old. My family and I went up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and stayed in a little house on the shore of a lake for a week or two. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has been a vacation spot for people in my family going back a generation or two, at least, and I have fond memories of fishing with my dad and brother, of swimming in the water and plucking leeches off of my legs. I haven't been there in years, but hope to go back soon.
What’s your favourite rainy day movie?
Either Last Life in the Universe (2003) or All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001). The former is a Thai film, and has the most sumptuous cinematography. The latter is a moving (and depressing) Japanese film. Both have a great, rainy aesthetic.
If you could be any age again for a week, which would you choose and why?
Any age? Tough call. I'd say maybe 18 years old. That's the age when the whole world gets blown open and you end up stranded in “adulthood”. I wasn't ready for it, then. Or maybe 21. I'm currently 29, so I suppose my real answer would be “Between 14 and 21”. I think there's a lot of interesting stuff I overlooked in those years because of teenaged angst and whatnot.
If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would it be?
This is a really hard one to answer. There are a ton of “right” answers to this, but in the interest of picking a more obscure event that has some personal importance to me, I'd pick the suicide of novelist Yukio Mishima.
What's you favourite place to read?
Currently, my favorite spot is at my kitchen table. The light from the nearby window is just right—not too harsh, not too faint—and my coffee is always within arm's reach. When I was a kid, my absolute favorite place to read was on my grandmother's bed, next to the window. I have fond memories of laying out across her bed and reading piles of library books.
When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?
The cafe! But once I've got a coffee in hand, I often skim the new releases and the literary fiction. The sections with the cheap paperback versions of the classics, too. I will say, most of the bookstores in my area look more like gift shops than bookstores these days. I suppose it isn't profitable for the folks at Barnes and Noble to strictly sell books anymore. I happen to like the variety, though. When I'm done looking at books, I take a gander at their selections of vinyl records and candles—and let me tell you, I love a good hand-poured candle!
If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy?
I was tempted to respond to this by quoting a bit of the old Barenaked Ladies tune, but seriously, I'd probably buy a house. My family and I currently rent, and it's not the greatest situation. I'd stamp out a good bit of debt and buy a nice, big house on a decent lot of land where my wife and I could keep some chickens and plant some vegetables. And perhaps I'd pick up a fur coat—but not a real one, as that's pretty cruel, haha.
Thank you Ambrose for stopping by!! So guys, have you anything you want to ask Ambrose? Comment below if you do. The giveaway is for any eBook by Ambrose for 2 people.