In alittle over a week, the horror genre has been hit hard by three greats passing away. First, David B. Silva, moved into the afterlife early last week. Then there was James Herbert’s passing, yesterday. Then, today, it was Rick Hautala. They say things come in three’s. Well, if this is any indication of the theory of three’s, I, for one, have had enough.
I knew Dave Silva relatively well. In fact, he asked me questions for my first ever interview in December 2008 on Hellnotes. Then came my column on Hellnotes ‘Ty-ing Up the Genre’ which ran from February 2010 – April 2011. The column featured guest authors/publishers/editors each month and discussed writing and publishing in the horror genre on Hellnotes. (A little known fact: Dave is the one who came up with the column’s name). Since that time, I routingly sent him news of my current releases to post on Hellnotes. He also offered constructive criticism on my novellas The Fields and DININ’ before they were ever released. I think they ended up better because of his straight forward, but kind words. Dave was possibly best known for being the founder and editor of Hellnotes and The Horror Show. However, he was also a great short story writer and novelist. The winner of the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award, his books included Come Thirteen, Through Shattered Glass, The Disappeared, All the Lonely People, and Walk the Sky (with Robert Swartwood).
I must admit, I didn’t know James Herbert personally. However, his body of work speaks for itself. Herbert wrote more than twenty novels. In total, his books have sold over 42 million copies which included: The Rats, The Fog, The Dark, Fluke, The Ghosts of Sleath and The Secret of Crickley Hall. He was an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and a former Grand Master of the World Horror Convention. Herbert was also the winner of the World Fantasy Award and many others.
Then there is today’s passing of Rick Hautala. I have to admit, this one hits me the hardest. I had corresponded with Rick for a few years now. I had actually mailed him the ARC of my zombie novella, The Fields, for a possible blurb, but his ever-busy writing schedule prevented him from giving it a read. Below is Rick’s bio straight from his website:
Rick Hautala has more than thirty published books to his credit, including the million copy, international best-seller Nightstone, as well as Twilight Time, Little Brothers, Cold Whisper, Impulse, and The Wildman. He has also published four novels—The White Room, Looking Glass, Unbroken, and Follow—using the pseudonym A. J. Matthews. His more than sixty published short stories have appeared in national and international anthologies and magazines. His short story collection Bedbugs was selected as one of the best horror books of the year in 2003.
A novella titled Reunion was published by PS Publications in December, 2009; and Occasional Demons, a short story collection, is due in 2010 from CD Publications. He wrote the screenplays for several short films, including the multiple award-winning The Ugly Film, based on the short story by Ed Gorman, as well as Peekers, based on a short story by Kealan Patrick Burke, and Dead @ 17, based on the graphic novel by Josh Howard.
A graduate of the University of Maine in Orono with a Master of Art in English Literature (Renaissance and Medieval Literature), Hautala lives in southern Maine with author Holly Newstein. His three sons have all grown up and (mostly) moved out of the house. He served terms as Vice President and Trustee for the Horror Writers Association.
An interesting note: About a year ago, I had approached Rick about joining a new imprint who was going to publish a novel of mine. We chatted for a bit about it and he decided it was time for The Wildman to be reprinted. This fantastic novel came out once again in October 2012.
Even though I only knew two of these three writers, and even more so great human beings, they will all be sorely missed, and never forgotten.
For their work will live on forevermore.