Tell our readers a bit about yourself.
I am Randi Weston, a freelance writer. I’ve worked as a correspondent for the Standard Examiner for the past two years. However, I got my start writing articles here at Indie Ogden; for which I am eternally grateful. When I’m not writing about the wonderful people and places in Weber and Davis County for the Standard Examiner, I write fiction and poetry. My fiction is of the speculative variety—science fiction, horror, and fantasy—and I’ve also written a children’s book which I will publish through Werewolf Ninja Publishing as soon as the illustrations are complete.
What is Werewolf Ninja Publishing?
Werewolf Ninja Publishing is a company I started in order to publish my children’s book and the Eerie Ogden Tribune. Werewolf Ninja Publishing is a transmedia storytelling company, meaning most (but not all) of our projects and stories will be told across multiple platforms— from books to blogs to tweets to alternate reality games, and everything in between. For example, my children’s book titled “Grandpa Understands” is a single book—to be published in both physical and digital formats. However, the Eerie Ogden Tribune is a transmedia storytelling project. World creation for the Eerie Ogden Tribune will occur in the newspaper itself, in blog posts, in scavenger hunts and alternate reality games, in books, on social media, and (farther down the line) in videos. World creation will also be collaborative through the paper’s Junior Journalists program—meaning children will have a hand in creating the Eerie Ogden story world and its fictional denizens.
What inspired you to start the Eerie Ogden Tribune?
An article Mark Saal wrote for the Standard Examiner in June of last year was my inspiration. The article—“Man believes he found fossilized Bigfoot head”—was pretty surreal, and struck me with an irresistible sense of whimsy. I thought to myself, “Ogden needs more stories like this.” After that, it seemed with every other assignment I did for the Standard Examiner I was coming up with these great, fantastical ideas for speculative fiction stories set in Northern Utah. So, I had to do something about it. I’ve been a reader my entire life. As such, I’ve spent vast amounts of time dreaming about traveling to lands I considered much more magical than the deserts of Utah and Arizona where I grew up. As a reader, how can you not long to travel to the settings that inspired literary masterpieces like the Harry Potter Series and Lord of the Rings? However, after my Bigfoot epiphany, I realized people could come to see their surroundings with more wonder if they just let their imaginations run a little more wild than usual. That’s where the Eerie Ogden Tribune comes in.
What kinds of stories will be in the publication?
Strictly speculative fiction. We’re talking werewolves, merpeople, wizards and witches, goblins, ghosts, mad scientists, vampires, fairies—all in a Northern Utah setting. Articles will feature the merpeople of Willard Bay, the ghosts of the Union Station, the witches at Witchstock, and the hobgoblins and brownies hiding under the beds and in the backyards of children in Weber and Davis County.
How can local artists and writers get involved?
First and foremost, they can share our Facebook and Kickstarter pages. There won’t be a newspaper to be involved with if our campaign isn’t successful. So, tell everyone you know. We have some great incentives for Kickstarter backers. Other than that, correspondence is accepted through the contact form on the Werewolf Ninja Publishing website. Artists, writers, Junior Journalists, and readers can also follow and send messages to the Eerie Ogden Facebook page.
I love the idea of your stretch goal “An Encyclopedia of the Weird Along the Wasatch.” Can yougive us a sneak peek into that?
“An Encyclopedia of the Weird Along the Wasatch” will serve as both entertainment and as a story bible of sorts. Writers, artists, and Junior Journalists will be able to use the book as a reference when creating stories and artwork for the paper—this ensures the world we create is consistent and believable. The book will be filled with descriptions of the magical beings, enchanted artifacts, mysterious groups, and eerie places found in Utah. The encyclopedia will also feature wonderful art—in full color—from the talented artists working with the Eerie Ogden Tribune.
If/when you make your goal, how can people order a copy?
When we meet our goal, we’ll be able to add a shopping cart to our website where customers will be able to order all sorts of Eerie Ogden Tribune merchandise. We’ll also be able to purchase an ISBN number so our books can be sold in local bookstores and retail shops. Naturally, we’ll also be considering availability of our books through Kindle, Nook, and Google Play devices.
Do you have a favorite Ogden urban legend, tall tale or monster?
As far as Ogden urban legends go: all of them! I went on one of the walking tours down 25th year (through the company Story Tours) and was enthralled the entire time. Ogden has SO many good ghost stories; it’s easy to suspend disbelief in this town. Picking a favorite monster is nearly impossible. I could say werewolf. Because who wouldn’t want to be able to turn into a wolf? Though, I could do without the eating and mauling of loved ones. I could say vampire. You could get a lot of reading done as an immortal, and I’m already a night owl. I could say zombies. Because, have you seen “The Walking Dead?”… Is it weird that I related to at least two out of three of the monsters I listed? Let’s say, “No.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
We’re going to be doing some giveaways on the Eerie Ogden Facebook page for people who share the page and our Kickstarter link. This week’s giveaway is a hand-painted “Keep Ogden Eerie” mug. Other giveaways will feature handmade werewolf ears, Eerie Ogden postcards, and (if we reach our stretch goals) tickets to our Eerie Ogden Halloween party. So, follow us and get cool stuff. Street one