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One Author's Inspiration: A Discussion with John P. Wallman

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

When I read a book, especially a book with new ideas and creative imagery, I always wonder the same thing: how did the author come up with this? This month, we talked with our newest author, John P. Wallman, about his inspirations and influences as a writer.

From an early age, John had a lot of interest in reading and writing.

"As an older elementary schooler, I was into mysteries. The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators were my favorites. I also liked children's editions of classics like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and War of the Worlds. I also watched Dark Shadows, the old soap opera."

John wrote his first story when he was about ten years old. Inspired by the movie War of the Worlds and the companion novel, John wrote his Martian tale, Earth Invaded.

"I copied it neatly onto notebook paper and took it to my teacher who agreed to read it to the class—sight unseen. That may have been a mistake, for as she read the gruesome parts, there were quite a few grimaces among my classmates. I was delighted. In the end, the class gave me a standing ovation."

That would be John's first taste as a writer. He would continue with his education and find ways to develop his creative writing skills.

"When I was in middle school, I loved comic books. I wrote some imitations of stories from Werewolf By Night and Dethlok the Demolisher. I was particularly interested in The Tomb of Dracula. I had a huge notebook full of these handwritten imitations.

"Then I became a Trekker," he continued, "but I hid it most of the time in high school. It wasn’t cool. I bought most of the paperback books that coincided with the episodes. I loved how the stories were expanded."

One of my favorite things John said during our conversation was that he spent a lot of time not reading what he was supposed to be reading. Instead of reading textbooks and assigned works, John preferred the stories of fiction. I think anyone who loves to read, can relate to this. This pattern of reading and writing outside of his schoolwork followed him into college.

"In college, I was a Dungeon Master most of the time. I was composing and modifying the storyline in real-time to make the campaigns interesting to my friends."

Since John is an avid reader, I asked him about specific authors who may have helped shape his writing or inspire his work.

"Ann Rice and her books… Brian Lumley and The Necroscope SeriesThe Keep and The Adversary Cycle by F. Paul Wilson… Any work from Stephen King… Justin Cronin’s The Passage Series… Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, and I hope she writes a sequel! Peter Straub… George R.R. Martin... and, of course, the Stoker books; Bram’s classic, as well as the two by his modern ancestor Dacre Stoker."

He went on to mention many dark romantics, fantasists, and epic literature authors that have all stayed with him throughout his writing career.

While creating Dungeons and Dragons campaigns in college, John started developing the concept of Dark Matter. Years later, while working as an English teacher in West Virginia, his students challenged and encouraged him to write his vampire story and The Dark Matter Series took off from there.

If you are interested in reading John's debut novel, The Dark Stirs, it launches on June 28th, 2022, and can be found at or on Amazon. Follow John's events here.


We are always looking to work with published and aspiring authors.

If you're interested in learning more about Courage Publishing,

send us an email!


Breanna Bartels is a creative discoverer exploring all her new interests in life. Along with being an avid book lover, she is a photographer and videographer with her very own company, Candid Mirth. In the spaces between art and work, she is venturing into writing. She prefers a used book to a new one and has fanatical plans to own a used bookstore one day. When she isn't home attempting some new crazy venture, she enjoys camping and hiking with her husband, Danny, and their two dogs. Reach out to her for creative opportunities or to discuss a good book! You can find her many projects here.

Follow her and Candid Mirth through their many creative endeavors on Instagram or Facebook.

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