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A Few Words with Nocturne Press:
Interview with Eric Hamel and Steven Lyold

by Eric S. Brown

There’s a new publishing company that has just sprang up called Nocturne Press. Here’s a bit about Eric Hamel, the owner who runs Nocturne Press in his own words followed by a brief Q&A with himself and his editorial partner, Steven Lyold, who are helping to breathe life back into the small press.

Eric Hamel: I have always loved reading dark fiction, but it wasn’t until the early 1990’s when I moved to the university district in Seattle that I discovered that people collect books, so I asked around all the local book stores and learned a great deal about what people collect and why, so I started buying up all the Clive Barker, Brian Lumley Jonathan Carroll first editions I could find in American and U.K. first edition hardbacks, for my personal collection... Eventually I started acting as a book scout, placing ads and roaming around people houses buying rare first edition horror books and selling or trading them to book stores or clients I picked up along the way.

Several years later I started messing around on the web and started a little bookstore catering to the collector of dark fiction... mostly as a way to keep my wife happy as she believes I “spend way to damn much money on these damn books.” So I sold books to buy books, not a bad gig. I went to the Art Institute of Seattle, in the visual communications department where I focused my studies on design for advertising and packaging.

And eventually through my buying books from a publisher and raving about how wonderful they were he offered me a place on his team as web designer, which in turn led to trying my hand at designing covers, chapbooks and anything else he can talk me into.

Tell me about Nocturne Press and how it all started.

Steven Lyold: Eric Hamel and I have been talking for quite some time, and one evening, while discussing horror novels, Eric went into detail about a magazine he once published called Post Mortem. It was a limited edition rag filled with art work. Even then, the magazine sold out. I was extremely impressed to hear more about his ideas, and the more we talked about it, the more excited I became. A week later he asked me if I was interested in giving life back to Post Mortem.

Eric: I have never been interviewed before and fear I will be no damn good at it, but here goes...

As Steven said above, I had a little fanzine about a decade ago but lacked anything needed to do a project like this other than desire. Later I attempted it on the Net but quickly was drowned by the thousands of others just like it. So I decided to make a magazine on a compact disk, and after the discussion that Steven mentioned, he convinced me that with a couple changes we could go to print with it.

How did you get interested in horror and publishing?

Steven: Two years ago I started a little site called Kingdom of Shadows. This was primarily for my stories, but as time went on I drew my attention toward other authors. Before I knew it I was posting their stories on the site. From there I went to interviewing authors, and doing book reviews, to promoting the authors. Post Mortem and Nocturne Press was a key to the door of my dreams.

Eric: I have always been an avid reader of fiction, where I grew up has very hot summers, so I would hang out in the city library every day that it was opened, because they had air conditioning, and books. Just before my 13th birthday this library was having a book sale; one of the books I bought for a quarter was The Dark, by James Herbert. Not only did it scare the hell out of me it hooked me on horror and dark fiction.

Now about the publishing part, I went to a technical art school so I could work as a printer only to find that the job market does not support new printers... Eventually I was asked to design and maintain a website for a limited press, which I jumped on. This led to designing chapbooks, covers and anything else I could lay my hands on. Mix this answer with my answer above and you will see that I have no option but to try my hand at publishing.

So Post Mortem magazine # 1 is out; what do you have planned for future projects and how often will the magazine publish?

Steven: We’ll be publishing four issues a year. In between these issues Nocturne Press will be releasing chapbooks. Our first chapbook will be The Oracles, by Jason Brannon. Cover art by Alex McVey. The second chapbook, Blood Rain, will be by two outstanding authors, Eric S. Brown, and C.G. Davis. Followed by Jason Brannon’s Days of Blood and Fire.

Eric: Steven pretty much covered that one, nothing I can add... Oh yeah, there is one thing I can add: I don’t want people to just think that we will be publishing only Post Mortem and chaps. We will move into novellas, novels and “special” projects. These special projects can be anything from tarot cards to posters and whatever else strikes our fancy. The driving force behind us is the creating; I enjoy working with talented people.

What are you proudest of about Post Mortem # 1 and/or Nocturne Press?

Steven: What am I proudest about? That’s easy. I’m proud to know Eric, and his know how when it comes to book and magazine designs. To the authors and artists that have put so much talent and hard work into the magazine. I’ve never seen anything like it. They’re great!

Eric: I don’t know if proud is the right word, but I get enjoyment and satisfaction actually making something. If you have ever made an idea into a reality then you know what I am talking about. For all you who have not, you are missing out.

It is also important to me that this magazine be subscriber-driven; by this I mean we are taking absolutely no ads: they take to much room away from the fiction. I want our only customers to be the readers.

How did you find the writers for Post Mortem # 1? Will you fill future issues the same way, or will they be more open?

Steven: When Eric asked me to join him in breathing life back into Post Mortem, he asked if I knew any writers who might be interested in submitting their stories. I told him I’d give him only the best. Eric S. Brown, Jason Brannon, John Grover, Brett McBean and R. Thomas Riley came to mind. I knew these guys would deliver the goods. And they did.

Eric: As Steven mentioned, the writers in the first issue are handpicked; since then I am pretty much flooded with submissions on a daily basis... It’s wonderful: I get to read all these stories from up and coming writers. It’s like I am reading the longest anthology in the world. The only problem is we will have to close for submissions pretty soon as I am filling issues for the next year and can’t expect people to wait any longer than a year to see their work in print.

Are you writers yourselves? If so, please tell us about some of your publications.

Steven: I’ve been published in a number of publications: House of Pain, Writers Hood, Night Shopping, Brutal Tales; and Cyber Wit just released their second anthology called Color Gallery with my short story “In the Mouth of Madness.” Three stories will be appearing in the new Anthology, Self-Mutilation 3 in 2004 also. It’s been a great year so far. Two of my stories, “When Darkness Falls,” and “Dark Room,” will appear in the first issue of Post Mortem.

Eric: Oh god no, I am no writer. I have never had the discipline it takes to sit down and force something from my imagination; good writers have to do this for several hours EVERY DAY!!! I am more of a technical artist; I have an aesthetic eye and a desire to help other people reach their creative goal.

Copyright © April 2004 by Eric S. Brown

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