S.J Hardy Interview

Stuart Macadam

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Pic1Where did you first get the idea for Coffee Cafe?

“I started writing Coffee Café in 2001 as part of my Creative Writing course. I was stuck for material. I remember I was just sitting there looking at a blank document on a computer screen, thinking I was going to fail because I had less than a week to come up with something to submit and I had nothing. The same time, I personally was going through a hard time and I was at the point where if I didn’t let it out, I was going to break, so I thought why not use this chance and give it all to the characters and Coffee Café (originally titled Black Coffee) was born.

I completed the first book –titled- Coffee Café in 2011. I didn’t feel like the story was finished so I started Coffee Café Darker Times, which was not only a way of dealing with my own upbringing but also a way to dig deeper within these characters and what influenced who they are.

That instalment was finished in 2013, soon to be followed by Coffee Café: The Final Chapter? because with Coffee Café and Coffee Café Darker Times, still it seemed like it wasn’t the end.  I didn’t want to end with that what if feeling, so I began Coffee Café the Final Chapter. Although the characters still have their struggles, they undergo a change.

space with metal floor

What is the Coffee Cafe trilogy about?

“Coffee Café, follows the story of Sarah who is on the ‘run’ from the past.  She meets Sue and begins working at Coffee Café, replacing Catherine who was murdered. At this time she also meets Taylor and after spilling his coffee on him, those two begin their own ‘games’, which aggravates an already angry Mel, leading to further conflicts. Sarah is also tormented by her nightmares of her brother Josh and others, including Ice and ‘someone’ she had blocked from her mind. What Sarah has repressed is a lot more horrific and traumatic than the memories she remembers.

Coffee Café – Darker Times is the prequel to Coffee Café. People learn of not only Sarah’s story, but the others as well and how their relationships tie together. You get to see more of Ice Lewis and Katerina, Sarah and Josh’s mother. You will also learn more about Reaper and Kelly and be introduced to Detective Miller and Momma B and see how they all fit into this picture. This is definitely a story of grey and nothing is clear cut.

Coffee Café – The final Chapter, you will get to see how the characters have grown as they attempt to have a normal life. Sarah and Kelly reconnect. New characters are introduced. Detective Miller returns and so does Ice as the past always has a way of catching up and with a killer on their trails, they have no choice but to go back to Coffee Café. When Reaper becomes involved, lines are blurred, loyalties are tested, and foe and friend become the same Sarah’s nightmares return with a vengeance leading her sanity in question. In this instalment one simple wrong move will be fatal.”

How do you feel about making your directors debut?

“I am nervous, but excited at the same time. Already I have learned so much and I feel so blessed to have such an amazing cast and crew that have gone out of there way, to support and help me and this project. Their insight, honesty and advice has been invaluable. It is really because of them and their talent and dynamic that these films will come to life and for me that is an amazing feeling, considering how much these films mean to me. As an author and director, I can offer up the gift of words and give actors direction, but I cannot bring visual life outside the mind. Actors do and it will be their translation, passion and understanding that will bring these characters to life. I will give you the bodies, but they (actors) will be the heartbeat and breathe beyond the vision of the mind.”

Pic3Who are some of the cast and crew you are working with?

“In all I have an incredible cast and crew and I stand behind every one of them. I am excited to be working with them all. Julianne Michelle (www.juliannemichelle.net) and her agent have been a big help.

Manny Cabo, (www.cabonoirphotography.com) who is not only portraying Reg but is an amazing photographer as well, with an invaluable vision and will be doing the photography for all three Coffee Café Movies. Working with him on other projects, such as the cover for my new horror novel Alexander, featuring Elya Vasiliev, I know he is perfect. His work really speaks for itself.

Elya Vasiliev (www.elyavasiliev.com) is a naturally gifted with such a dedication and passion for his craft. I knew after watching his audition, he was perfect for this role. I actually was relieved when he accepted, because honestly he has this natural understanding of Ice and I didn’t want anyone else to play the role. He is also an amazing musician and model and has a strong dedication to all of his chosen areas. I am lucky enough to be working with him again in 2017 for Alexander. Elya also showcases his incredible musical talent, contributing to all the soundtracks.

Then there is newcomer Chris Tyler, who is portraying Reaper. After watching his audition, I knew he was right for the part. He has a natural talent for acting and in his audition it really came through. There was an understanding of the inner anger, which is one of the main factors that govern his character

I am also happy to have Natalya Rudakova on the cast. After seeing her in Transporter 3, she has always been someone I have wanted to work with. Her agent has also been very helpful.

Steven Michael Swadling has also been amazing. Not only has he taken on the role of Robert, but is bringing his company Room In The Sky films on board and will be producing all three movies. The information he has shared with me and his help has been and is invaluable. I am lucky to have him apart of these productions and hopefully again for future ones.

Ari Haines, is our ‘where’s Wanda’ of the production taking on multiple roles, but she will also be debuting as co-director for all three movies.  

We also have Anna Ross, who has gone out of her way to help the films publicist and I. Laura Oceane, who too has done the same. We have Scott Fulmer, another great supporter. Everyone has been amazing, really.

There isn’t one cast or crew member that hasn’t been excited to be a part of this project. I am looking forward to meeting everyone face to face, and working with them all. I cannot thank them enough for sharing and being a part of this vision.”

What do you believe makes a good film?

“I believe it comes down to a lot of factors. No one person can make a great film. You need a group of people behind you that share a passion for the project and I am lucky enough to have found that with the cast and crew.”

How has the horror genre changed in the last 30 years? 

“I think the horror industry has seen some major changes, with the advancement of special effects and structure wise. It has expanded past just the gore, horror and thrill effect.

I am a huge fan of the horror genre and have always been drawn to it. I have seen hundreds of horror movies; everything from the old black and white, silent horrors such as the Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) directed by Robert Wiene all the way through to ‘modern’ horrors including the remakes of classics such as Carrie etc. As a genre it has evolved, mixing genres and characters are more of a grey, such as classic horror characters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc. that history wise come from a much darker past extending the horror field to wider audiences. I am also a huge fan of horror comedies.

As a director and author, what I want to bring to the horror field is more of a balance between storyline and effect while at the same time, honouring the people I consider to be the ground breakers within the horror field such as Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King and of course the originals such Mary Shelly, Bram Stroker, Augusie and Louis Lumiere and George Melies to name a few.”

When do the films get released?

“Nothing is set in stone yet but ideally, I would like to release the first instalment Coffee Café late 2016, followed by the second instalment Coffee Café – Darker Times Halloween 2017 and Coffee Café – The Final Chapter late 2017 with our next horror film Alexander to be released Halloween 2018.”

How can people find out more about you and the films?

“People can find out more by visiting the website:


They can download Coffee Café Trilogy for free from:


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