Meet Author Charles Gilman

Charles Gilman

Charles Gilman is the author of the Lovecraft Middle School series—and the pen name of Jason Rekulak, an editor who lives in Philadelphia. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions he’s received about Lovecraft Middle School.

Is Lovecraft Middle School named after anyone in particular?

Yes, it’s named after the legendary American horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. I’ve always been a fan of his weird tales, and this series is filled with lots of references to Lovecraft’s fiction. If you look at page 6 of The Slither Sisters, you can see a portrait of H.P. Lovecraft hanging on the wall in Principal Slater’s office.

Do you draw from personal experiences to write these books?

More than you would expect! When I was twelve years old, I moved to a new school where I didn’t know anyone, and I was absolutely terrified. That’s Robert’s predicament on page 1 of Professor Gargoyle.

Did any of your teachers transform into winged demons?

No, not exactly, but many of Robert’s adventures were inspired by own experiences in middle school. I had trouble with bullies. I’m a terrible swimmer. I used to spend hours and hours in the library. All of these details have found their way into the stories.

Have you always liked scary stories?

Definitely. When I was a kid, my favorite books were anthologies of scary stories “presented” by the famous film director Alfred Hitchcock. They had titles like Alfred Hitchcock’s Ghostly Gallery and Alfred Hitchcocks’s Haunted Houseful. They were beautifully designed books with creepy short stories about ghouls and demons and monsters.

Ghostly Gallery Haunted Houseful

But here’s the funny thing: I recently learned that Alfred Hitchcock had nothing to do with these books! He just lent his name to the cover and a talented editor named Robert Arthur Jr. did all of the real work. So I tried to channel the spooky essence of those anthologies by giving the name “Robert Arthur” to the hero of the Lovecraft Middle School series.

Do you believe in the supernatural?

No, but I love imagining what might happen if supernatural things existed. Ghosts and monsters are a nice distraction from all of the real horrors in the world. Hey, maybe that’s why spooky stories are so popular right now…

Have you always been interested in writing?

Yes. I started creating my own comic books in fourth grade and I’ve been interested in making books ever since.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write something every day. A story, a poem, a journal entry, a cartoon, it doesn’t matter. It’s all good training, and you have to train just as hard as a professional athlete. The more you write, the better you’ll be.

You’ve written three Tales of Lovecraft Middle School. Can we expect more?

I hope so! They’re a tremendous amount of fun. But it’s going to depend on fans. If you like the books, please help me spread the word.

I have a question that wasn’t answered on this page. Can I contact you?

Why not? Email me at charlesgilman@quirkbooks.com.