Interview with Alex Laybourne, author of Highway to HeII – Trials and Tribulations

The Author

Alex LaybourneBorn and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, Alex Laybourne says “it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that I became a horror writer.” From an early age he was sent to schools which were at least 30 minutes’ drive away and so spent most of his free time alone, as the friends he did have lived too far away for him to be able to hang out with them on the weekends or holidays. He has been a writer as long as he can remember and has always had a vivid imagination. To this very day he finds it all too easy to just drift away into his own mind and explore the world he creates; where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue He is married and has four wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. His biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is. For people who buy his work, he hopes that they enjoy what they read and that he can create something that takes them away from reality for a short time. For him, the greatest compliment he can receive is not based on rankings but by knowing that people enjoy what he produces, that they buy his work with pleasure and never once feel as though their money would have been better spent elsewhere.

The Book

ImageHighway to HeII – Trials and Tribulations – Marcus, Helen, Becky, Sammy and Graham are no longer strangers, but friends. Pulled from the chambers of hell they thought that they had survived, that they were free to being their eternity far away from the fires and tortures that had greeted them. They were wrong! The group soon find themselves back in Hell, this time venturing even deeper into the netherworld. Searching for the one soul the angels’ claim they were unable to rescue, the five friends march their way to the edge of the pit, Avici. It is here, in the castle that looks into the abyss where they come face to face with both the lost soul that they seek and the King of Hell himself; Lucifer. 
Nothing is as it seems however, and just as it looks as if the coast is clear they learn that the ones they thought they could trust just might be the ones they should fear the most.
It is the sequel to my debut novel Highway to Hell – Marcus, Becky, Richard, Helen, Sammy, and Graham. All complete strangers, different ages, backgrounds and even countries, but they all have one major thing in common…they all must DIE. Sentenced to offer their penance in the many chambers of Hell, their lives are nothing but a torturous experience. They are brought face to face with their past, their mistakes and the implications that had for others. Until one by one they are rescued and thrown together. Walking in a dying world, they are introduced to their rescuers who do anything but conform to their angelic stereotype. Together, bonded by an unknown destiny the group is set on their quest; to find one individual buried deep within the many Hell worlds. Not only does the fate of their world rest on their shoulders, but that of existence itself. Heaven and Hell, Angels and Demons, these things were once considered opposites, but what happens when they become neighbors, allies…friends?

The Interview

Q.  What is it about Lowestoft that would turn someone into a horror writer?

A. It is just a miserable, run down town. Very low income, high unemployment and benefit claimant rate. It is an embodiment of where we are failing as society. That being said, there are good people there. It is, as in many cases, the few spoiling it for the many. If someone were to invest in the town, actually give it something for people to do, it could be great. It has a lovely beach and a lot of potential but people want instant returns and so it is filled with half started, never finished projects. 

Q. Was the “Highway to Hell” series at all influenced by classic tales featuring journeys to hell or Hades, like Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno,” John Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” or the Greek tale of Orpheus’s descent into Hades to rescue Eurydice?
A. There are obvious similarities and connections to them all, especially to Dante Aligheri’s “inferno”, however not in the way that you would be thinking of that book while reading mine. The biggest influence on it is my own imagination.Everything I created I created from scratch. o preconceptions or images based around something else I have read. 
Q. Do you think your vision of Lucifer was influenced by the Bible, classic tales such as Christopher Marlowe’s “Doctor Faustus” or any of the other portrayals of him?
A. Yes and no, I think the bible is always going to be a reference point and for the background story, yes, I used the bible, but that is where it ends. There are more important characters than Lucifer in the series, both good and bad. The big question it asks is, which side is good and which is bad. I won’t go into detail, but in the third installment I flip everything on its head. Heaven and Hell collide and certain characters have their true identity revealed. 
Q. How do you think your vision of hell and of Lucifer is unique?

A. I give him story, motive and reason. I don’t just make him a scapegoat for our problems. There are bigger evils in the world than the Devil. He is every much a part of us all as God is – should you believe in that, 

Q. Who are Marcus, Helen, Becky, Sammy and Graham? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
A. They are five strangers who all die in book one (Highway to Hell). They are thrown into hell within the opening pages and it is through their ‘judgement’ that we learn of their character. Marcus is the leader of the group, Helen is timid and shy at first, but as the series moves on she becomes a strong and independent member of the group. Graham is an old experienced head who cynicism is both his strength and weakness. He has an interesting back story and would do anything for his friends. Sammy and Becky are the young ones of the group. Fiery and free spirited both play an important role in each other’s lives.Their strengths are found as the second book progresses. We see changes in all of the characters in book two, as the group are sent back into Hell on a mission to rescue a sixth member, Richard. He was an interesting character, He brings a lot to the second story. His strengths and weaknesses are all seen in great detail, and are too numerous to mention.  
Q. In what ways do the angels who rescue them conform to their angelic stereotype?
A. They don’t. Not in any way shape or form do thy fit with stereotype. They are big. muscular warriors. Bad asses with bad attitudes!
Q. In terms of the title… is it a reference to the AC/DC song, and are you an AC/DC fan?
A. It wasn’t. I had not title in mind until I found my cover art image. The rest just fell into place. I am a rock fan. Metallica, AC/DC, Motorhead, I listen to it all. Then again I listen to a wide range of music really. It depends on my mood, what I am writing, etc.
Q.  Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers that we haven’t covered yet?

A. Just thank you for reading. I am an active user of Facebook and Twitter, so feel free to come and say Hi. I run all of my own pages and sites so it is me you will meet there, and oh yeah. thanks in advance for buying all of my books 🙂

Where to Find Alex Online:

~ by Sumiko Saulson on August 26, 2013.

3 Responses to “Interview with Alex Laybourne, author of Highway to HeII – Trials and Tribulations”

  1. Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    An interview with the hottest horror writer in town… ME. Feel free to share this amazing interview with all of your friends… Please 🙂

  2. Thank you for the interview.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: