Flintspired Writer: Paul Counelis

Posted: July 12, 2014 in Flintspired

Musician, father and 37-year Flint resident, Paul Counelis casts an imposing presence amongst local writers. Part of a cabal of Genesee County horror film enthusiasts, sheer dread and terror factor significantly in his work. Take the titles of three of his 17 books – Virtues of The Horror Film, 25 Underrated Horror Films (and The Exorcist), and Voices of October – and it’s easy to see that the macabre is Paul’s chosen milieu. That said, he displays an amazing versatility for such a highly-focused expert; Flint area residents might also recognize his name from his monthly column in Flint Comix. I’m happy for the opportunity to catch up with him and pleased to present to you Paul Counelis, a Flintspired writer whose dynamic and frightful body of work are definitely worth checking out!

I began writing when I was:

“12. I won an essay contest in Star Magazine, and the topic was ‘Why the Beatles are my favorite band.’ I had my first story published in a collection of Flint student writing, somewhere around 8th grade.

What moved me to write:

“Multiple influences. The first was probably Stan Lee. I read Spider-Man nonstop and wanted to write comics. Famous Monsters was next. My mother used to read poetry to me from a big book called ‘Best Loved Poems of the American People.’ Songwriting became my main outlet in my early twenties with my band Free Will, and from there it was a natural extension to writing books, movie reviews and articles for websites and magazines. My favorite writer is Roger Ebert.”

Right now, I am working on:

“A screenplay for my first feature film, ‘A Coward’s Tail,’ a book of poems about music with the eloquent Glen Birdsall, and a collection of scary stories with my artistic son, Jason. Of course, that’s only three of the 25 projects I always have going, haha.

My work differs from others in the genre because:

“With my horror writing, my primary influences are the old Universal Monsters and I’m not a huge fan of gore … I like scary stuff. To me, it’s MUCH less interesting after the boogeyman catches someone. The chase is what matters; knowing that something supernatural is out there in the night. Also, I like things that are sacred, not necessarily lowest common denominator material. Not in a snobby way, I just like to see if there are new ways to present old themes rather than the same rehashed tropes.”

I write what I do because:

“I’m fascinated by horror and Halloween and the fantastic elements of both. I had a really memorable Halloween night with my grandparents at age 15 and I often write to recapture that mood. I also like to write for children because they are less cynical in general and more open to spooky, funny stuff.”

My writing process is:

“Varying. Sometimes I have a huge idea that needs to be ‘exorcised,’ and I can’t really focus on other things until I get it out there. I have to stay up late to write because I have eight kids and there is no such thing as making a deadline with them running around the living room. Other times, I am less inspired and have to rely on craft and hope the ideas find me as I’m writing.”

My “Flintspiration” is:

“For me, being raised in a melting pot, working class town like Flint is invaluable for my empathy, compassion and maybe even the ability to adapt. My dad was a Buick worker for decades, a hardworking man who taught me the value of not quitting. I like to prove people who think nothing good comes from Flint wrong … I’m inspired by our collective will to persevere. Flint folks are often very tough, very stubborn. There are so many facets of our city that get overlooked; we have some amazing cultural things going on every single week that would surprise people who only know what they hear about Flint.”

Interested in Paul’s work? Look for these titles on Lulu.com:

Marshall’s Gully
Virtues of The Horror Film
25 Underrated Horror Films (and The Exorcist)
Voices of October: Portraits of Modern Halloween
Anything and Everything Under the Sun (essays)
Kendall Kingsley books 1 and 2
Spook Sleuths: Legend of Old Man Gooch
Sweet City Symphony
10 Poems About My Wife
Seven Letter Poems
Riley Maine and Her Kitten Fain
11:59 and Counting: Horror Hosting in the 21st Century
Before Bedtime: Three Scary Stories For Unrest
Midnight Popcorn: Film Essays and Reviews
Live From Sunny Flint Town: Make ‘Zines Not War
Jack and the Devil (graphic novel)
Halloween Machine Omnibus” 1 and 2

Other writing outlets include:

Monster Kid Corner on Rue-Morgue.com, Halloween Machine, movie reviews on Suite101.com, Fear Finder Halloween paper, Fright Times magazine, and ShriekFreak Quarterly.

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