A fan of the iconic horror film The Exorcist, Brett Bateman admits when it came to reading the book, he had to put it down midway through.
“I found the book scarier than the movie,” the Destrehan man recalls.
But that’s not to say he was put off by that feeling – on the contrary, it intrigued him. Bateman, who realized his passion for writing in the sixth grade, recognized the writing talent it took to stir up that chilling vibe within him, and it made him aspire to do the same in others.
Though he’s written stories virtually his entire life, he took on a special project over the past year that’s very new for him: his first horror novel, titled Pure Evil, the first of what he plans to be a multi-part series.
“As twisted as my mind can be sometimes, I feel like scaring some people,” Bateman said with a chuckle.
He aspires to have it published this year – he’s self-published several novels before, but hopes to do so this time through a literary agent – but the feeling of completing the project has been a rewarding one, he said, as it’s allowed him to bring a new main character to life inside a world of his own creation.
“I started in July of last year, and just wrapped up in May of this year,” Bateman said. “I took it seriously and did my homework on what writing a book like this would entail, what other authors have done to tell their stories (in the genre) … what inspired me for this one was I was sitting at home watching something on YouTube about somebody spending 24 hours in an abandoned, haunted hospital.
“I thought, ‘Man, this guy is brave. You could send me a million dollars and I’m not doing that.’”
One reason that scenario brings that reaction out in Bateman parallels the reason The Exorcist landed such an impact within him: he believes in the paranormal. So, when creating a character, conceiving frightening circumstances to test them comes natural to Bateman through one simple question: what would horrify Bateman himself?
“If it can scare me, it should scare the reader,” Bateman said.
In Pure Evil, the protagonists relive childhood fears of a murder that happened in their hometown of New Castle, Delaware, and are haunted by the spirit of the victim.
Bateman learned of his writing passion in grade school and it began growing after he earned first place in a Young Author’s Contest for a short story.
“I never liked to read, but when I started high school, I started reading more because of my writing,” Bateman said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Stephen King, especially It … to this day I’m scared to death of clowns because of that book. And I knew if I ever wanted to write a book like that, I had to read other horror novels and learn what those are like.”
In high school, he moved on to writing screenplays, his first inspired by one of his favorite childhood cartoons, Transformers.
“I thought, ‘What if I turn myself into a Transformer?’” Bateman asked. “So, I did. I’ve always had a very vivid imagination.”
He moved on to writing books, which ultimately led him to write the Jackson Scott Trilogy, including its first book Kill Shot, a story set in New Orleans that was released in paperback via Amazon.com in April.
Bateman also uses the doubts of others as a driving force.
“I’ve been told by people who know me, they say ‘You’re going to fail at this.’ Well, I thank you for that, because I use that to motivate myself. I’d love to show them,” Bateman said. “So, I made it my mission to actually make this my career.
“I don’t see myself ever giving up writing. I believe in my talent.”