I want to get a copy of a magazine signed that a short story of yours appeared in or a book signed…how can I go about it?
As there are many crazies that roam the internet (not any of you of course, you’re all cool in my book), I am not going to post my address here. Although, if you would like me to sign the book or magazine you bought, you can email me at: email@example.com with an appropriate subject line, such as ‘Sign ____ (insert item) For Me?’ and I’ll email you back with instructions on how to go about it.
When and why did you begin writing?
The first time I remember writing anything was back in the 5th grade in Mrs. Rudy’s English class. We had a notebook that we had to write so many story stories, poems, etc, each week for credit. My stories were always of the scary variety. I still have the notebook. Perhaps one day I will expand from the story I began back then and make something more out of it.
I have always enjoyed writing, even term papers during my college days.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I have had people ask me who my work most resembles. I always answer that if I had to pick one person that I am in the same vain as, it would be Richard Laymon, though I can only hope to ever be as good as he was.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use a set formula? How long does it take you to write a book?
The first thing I started writing was, Night School, back on May 5, 2008 (published in Nov 08). I hammered out 100,000 words in exactly three months. Even during my school days, I was never one to do outlines, my mind just doesn’t work that way, so I just sat down and started tapping the keys and it just poured out of me. Same goes for my other stuff. A creepy or disturbing idea or theme will pop into my head and I’ll just sit down and start writing. Basically, I just let the characterization and plot flow and see where I’ll end up – 9 times out of 10 it isn’t what I thought it would turn out to be.
As far as how long it takes me to write something, like I said above, for Night School it only took three months. Short stories are normally 2 to 3 days.
What draws people to horror novels and movies? Why do we, as readers, like to be scared?
I think to some degree that all people like to be scared. It is just part of human nature. Have you or ever notice someone cover their eyes when watching a scary scene in a movie? Sure you have. These people act like they don’t want to see what is happening, but are still looking through the spaces in between their fingers. Some people say we, as humans, are inherently good, I believe that is true but at the same time we all have a ‘bad’ side. It is that bad side that comes out when we stare at the news and watch the devastation that some mad man just caused on the highway or in someone’s living room. If we didn’t like hearing about other people’s misfortunes we would turn off the news, flick the off button on the DVD player or put down the book. But, we don’t. Instead we just shake our heads and think “I am so glad that it didn’t happen to me.”
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
Simple answer – I don’t. Let’s face facts here people. If someone didn’t want to read/hear/watch about scary stuff happening they wouldn’t have rented or bought that DVD or book. They know what they are in store for and are looking forward to it. Sure, you can make things scary without all the blood and sexual content, but for most people that are into horror, true horror, they expect those elements to be in there and I won’t be the one to disappoint them.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
There are a few things that one is going to consider if they are going to be a writer and try to get something published. One is to ask yourself, ‘Is anyone going to read the stuff I just wrote’ and two, are how to handle rejection letters.
For the first one, it has never really entered my mind. Not because I think I am an awesome writer or that everyone that picks up a future book or story of mine should feel honored to read it, but because when I started out, I wrote for myself. The way I look at it, is that if I don’t like what I am writing than no one else will. That is why you have to write what you like. So, if you are into scary stuff, then write about vampires, werewolves, creatures or some lunatic, don’t write a romance novel. Don’t try to write something that you think someone will want to read or that appeals to the masses, because then you will not only be cheating yourself but the potential readers that want to see something real come out of your mind.
Secondly, it is just a fact of being a writer that you will receive hoards and hoards of rejection letters. I know I did and continue to do so, to this very day. Not every book publisher or magazine will want what you wrote. Some have different story ideas in mind that yours don’t coincide with, while others will simply think your writing sucks. But, hey, that’s OK. You are the writer and not them. So, keep writing what YOU like and eventually, if your stuff is good enough, someone WILL say ‘Yes, we would like to publish your story.’
Just remember to keep the faith and NEVER give up!
What about the horror genre interests you?
I like writing scary stuff simply because that is what I have always been into. I like how a horror writer can make pretty much anything into something scary.
You can start a story with a man walking a cute dog down the street, enjoying the outdoors, his life and his dog. Now, you can make that scary by having a madman in a car jump the curb and taking them both out. Say the dog dies but the guy ends up in the hospital and has to fight for his life. Then after getting out of the hospital, perhaps the guy goes on a mission to find the reckless driver and put him out of his misery.
See what I mean? Even the everyday things we enjoy can turn into someone’s nightmare.
That is what writing horror is all about. Trying new angles on a classic story or character or writing about something no one else has ever thought about before.
What is your favorite horror book?
There are a lot of great horror writers out there and I enjoy quite a few of them. Although, my favorite horror author of all time is Richard Laymon. There is no way I can pick a single book of his that is my favorite. There is just too many of them that I enjoy.