Please tell me about your upcoming books and their production schedule.
I have two upcoming books. The first is a short novel entitled The Witch, the Murderer, and the Devil in Black. Martin Kent can channel the souls of the dead into animals. He roams about his small town with his dead wife, who is in the body of a deer. When a tragic experiment causes the death of every animal in town, Martin embarks on an angry quest to get his wife’s damned soul back from God. He enlists the aid of an elderly woman, who can speak to the dead, and a murderer. It is set in the Victorian era. This novel is finished and I am currently waiting word on finding a home for it.
The second is a follow-up to my critically acclaimed novella Deadfellas. It is entitled Deadfellas 2: One Step Beyond. It is a surrealistic dark comedy that mixes The Wizard of Oz with Hitmen and zombies. I have been working on this for about a decade. It’s nearly complete, and so far I am very proud of what it has become. It is certainly not just a repeat of the first and it is quite epic in its scope and weirdness. The first Deadfellas can be found on Amazon Kindle and Apple Itunes.
Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?
Two authors that have influenced me the most are Philip K. Dick and Joe R. Lansdale. As a teenager, I read and re-read PKD’s work obsessively, even collecting obscure works from the 1950’s and 60’s. I think PKD is an absolute genius–a writer can get an idea for a whole novel in just one of his paragraphs. It is a joy to see that the world has embraced his work and that he is no longer just a cult writer.
I read Joe Lansdale’s work in my early twenties and his words just went through me like lightning. He rewired my brain and showed me that there were no rules as far as the imagination goes. The first work I found by him was his collection BY BIZARRE HANDS–it was like explosives went off in my mind.
Would you talk about how you and Weston Ochse came to collaborate on SCARY REDNECKS AND OTHER INBRED HORRORS (and APPALACHIAN GALAPAGOS).
Weston and I met through an email message forum around 1998 and found that we both had similar influences. We were both young and eager and soon collaborated on a few short stories. We sent those stories to a publisher and immediately they wanted more. Scary Rednecks was born. Weston has gone on to win the Bram Stoker award and has become one of the most prolific writers in the business. I am very proud of him and so happy for any success he achieves. I still feel our novella “Up Shits Creek with a Case of Beer and No Fucking Paddles” (from APPALACHIAN GALAPAGOS) is one of the best creative projects I have ever been part of. I have faith that it will one day be made into an excellent film.
I loved Harlan. That was a very different tale from REDNECKS. What brought that story to life?
I was heavily influenced by John Hughes films, such as The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. Also, a film called Pump up the Volume was very influential. I wanted to create a story that had the elements of those films, but also took a darker and more adult bent. I found the writing of that novel to be more emotionally draining than I had expected and I think it shows in the finished product. I am very proud of HARLAN.
Do you have any plans to turn one of your short stories into a novel or novella?
There are a bunch of short stories that speak to me and seem to want to be revisited. I very rarely write a short story with a solid sense of closure. I believe that style makes the reader ask questions and want more. My latest novel (mentioned above) was born from a short story. I also want to start writing screenplays and there are so many of my stories that seem to have potential to be bigger. I have a short story in my collection DELIGHTFUL AGONY entitled “Some of Us are Looking at the Stars”. It is a sort of science-fiction retelling of APOCALYPSE NOW. I think that it would be perfect for a longer tale.
If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?
I would probably choose someone with a lot of security clearances–a world leader or perhaps someone in the Pentagon. I am a huge conspiracy and UFO enthusiast. I would immediately seek access to the Roswell files.
FYI – They’ve been declassified recently. Whether everything is out or not remains to be seen. MC
What are you reading now?
I am reading George Martin’s GAME OF THRONES. I also recently read some John D. Macdonald. I have been taking my time with the Travis McGee novels for a long time now–reading one every few years. It is like revisiting a long time friend.
Do you have any guilty pleasure books/authors? You know the ones…stuff you don’t let your friends see you reading.
I am a huge Star Trek fan. I will occasionally read a Trek novel because I can finish one in about five hours. I don’t really believe in the concept of guilty pleasures. I think you should proudly like whatever you want to. If it makes you happy, just own up to it.
How do you want the world to remember you?
I want to be remembered as a good father and husband. I certainly won’t mind being remembered as a writer. With a book, the author gets to live forever in a way.