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An Interview with Peter Ramos Jr, author of And Then I Woke Up, Screaming

ramos jr

Dr. Peter J. Ramos, Jr. lives in Southern California. He is an author, artist, and Doctor of World Religious Studies. He is the Creative Director and Founder of Hous of Ibiko. He has written books such as Hello Enzo: What Does Enzo Like To Do? and Happy In A Thousand Dark Places. His soon-to-be-published book, And Then I Woke Up, Screaming, is his first collection of short stories. You can find all his work at beacons.ai/hous.of.ibiko and follow him @hous.of.ibiko on TikTok for his latest updates.


Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I started writing as a form of therapy. I believe intrusive thoughts and nightmares are just a part of us, if not more so, than say, comforting thoughts or dreams.

Growing up, I was and still am a huge fan of author Ray Bradbury. Other notable works that have influenced my writing include The Raven, At the Mountains of Madness, and 1984, as well as surreal artists such as Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

The stories in And Then I Woke Up, Screaming are steeped in darkness, fear, madness, and the unknown. What lies just beyond our point of perception? Is reality our own? Each piece is focused on these questions.

And Then I Woke Up, Screaming allowed me to explore my nightmares in a creative and cathartic manner, transforming them into unsettling stories, to say the least.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It was a fairly simple process this time. And Then I Woke Up, Screaming is exactly as the title suggests. One morning, I just happened to wake up, screaming. It’s the nature of having nightmares. The title is, in essence, the theme of the book.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

When I write or design dark I have a playlist I call “My Demons.” The following songs from my playlist would make the soundtrack for this book:

“Welcome to the Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, “Virgo” by Kiichi, “Heart-Shaped Box” by Nirvana, “Killem” by Witchz, “My Demons” by Starset, “The Bird and the Worm” by The Used, “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails, “Someone Like Me” by Röyksopp, and “Six Days” by DJ Shadow.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I’ve been a jack of many trades, a few notable ones including digital artist, designer, and background actor. I take my more, shall I say, abstract nightmares, design them into art, and sell them through Hous of Ibiko.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

For the making of this book, I read The Toynbee Convector, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, At the Mountains of Madness, Peter Pan, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and The Yellow Wallpaper, to name a few.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope that my readers will feel comfortable having intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and perhaps, the extremities of their own emotions when pushed to the edge. Everyone has a dark side. You are not alone. After finishing my book, they should ask themselves, “Could this happen to me, too?”

My audience is anyone who seeks out the bizarre or unusual, people who always ask why, or question reality, and individuals who are looking for something different than the norm. These individuals are not just my audience; they are a part of who I am, too.

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