Charles Justus Garard is a PhD in literature and film studies who has taught at universities and colleges both in the US and in China. In the US, he taught at several colleges in Illinois, for sixteen years at a private college in Atlanta, GA, and at several universities throughout eastern China.  “I was fortunate in that I was able to teach many different types of courses — writing an all levels as well as British literature, American literature, and World literature (my favorite since I was able to teach the classics such as Homer and Gilgamesh.”

While teaching in China, he also continued to work on his first love — fiction writing. Peter Lang published his critical work on British author John Fowles as a book in 1991 — an expansion of his PhD dissertation which appeared internationally. He has written over 50 film and books reviews for Amazon — some of those while in China. Although he likes writing about films, he was also able to work on his various novel-length works — two of which were non-genre fictional versions of his experiences teaching in China.  He taught in China for a total of seven years — one of them at a university in northern China he came back to after having taught there years earlier.

Because classes in China are usually very large, he was not able to devote as much to his fiction writing as he might have liked, but when he could, he revised and tweaked such novels as DARK NEIGHBORHOODS, the first in a series of horror novels about time-traveling, mind-twisting creatures from ancient Greece and Indonesia. This first novel is available as an eBook on Amazon-Kindle “for an astonishingly low price,” he says.  He is revising the two follow-up novels in the series and continuing to work on a novel about a crop circle in rural Illinois that may have been created by multi-dimensional creatures. This novel is not his first foray into science-fiction or time-travel. He has also written two other novels with time-travel themes, one of them dealing with a journey back to the lost continent of Atlantis.

“A woman in church asked me how long it took to write such a work as DARK NEIGHBORHOODS, a novel that seemed, to her, to be somewhat complicated. I could not answer her. As other writers know, so much goes into a lengthy novel — rewriting and revising, changes, scenes that originally were part of other works . . . etc.  It is a complicated process. Even I, sometimes, don’t know where some ideas originally came from. I have to do some serious mental housecleaning when someone asks.”

His mother told him as a boy that he liked horror movies too much. Since his father owned small-town movie theatres in western Illinois (close to the Mississippi River) and he was often found on the row of a couple of those theatres, it is not surprising. “I also scared my younger brother Sam when I was supposed to babysit him as a child. I donned a head mask (as opposed to merely a face mask) and played Gothic music on the family’s Hammond organ. My brother, as an adult today, is an intelligent, well-read man, but I still wonder if any of his nightmares can be blamed on the choice our parents made to leave me with him as his babysitter.”

Although he writes science-fiction as well as horror novels, he wonders if the horror novels will be to the readers today the equivalent of what his Gothic organ music was to his younger brother.

As his blog shows, his interest in the paranormal is not limited to fictional works. “I am a curious amateur investigator and a student of what has not been scientifically proven or explained. What I have posted on my blog are what people have told me — what they believed that they have seen or experienced. I don’t claim to be able to prove anything — but maybe some readers and contributors can do that.”