dark fiction

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An Interview with F. Paul Wilson

Published July 1, 2016 by MommaCat

FPaulWilson

 

Please tell us about your upcoming books and their production schedule.

Panacea is out July 5. I’m writing a sequel of sorts, The God Gene, now. Not really a sequel, simply another mystery-adventure with the same two lead characters. Lemme tell you, it was with no little trepidation that handed in Panacea — my first non-Repairman Jack novel in many years. It’s a significant departure, since the Jack books are noirish crime stories with a fantastic back story. Panacea is a continent-hopping mystery adventure in search of the legendary cure-all. But the publisher loved it and even wanted another like it. Thus, The God Gene.

And sometime this year Tom Monteleone and I will finish The Silent Ones, third and last in our YA series, Nocturnia.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

Tons. In no particular order: H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Sax Rohmer, Bill Blatty, Robert Heinlein, Victor Hugo, Robert B. Parker, Poul Anderson, Raymond Chandler, Larry Niven, Dashiell Hammett, Charles Dickens, Fred Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth, Henry Kuttner, Charles Fort, and lots of others whose names escape me at the moment. And I suppose I shouldn’t leave out EC Comics, Captain Video, The Shadow, King Kong, the old Flash Gordon serials. Anyone and anything that grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go.

I’m standing on the shoulders of all of the above, but the one still influencing me thematically (not stylistically), is H. P. Lovecraft. His cosmic horror, his materialistic take on the universe as indifferent at best, but most often malign, shook up my worldview when I was in my teens and has stayed with me since. It echoes all through the Adversary Cycle and Repairman Jack novels, and even into Panacea.

If you had the ability to bring one author back from the dead to write one more book, who would it be and why?

I wish Henry Kuttner were around to write more Gallagher stories, and I could do with a couple more Hogben tales.

If you could live in any world, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?

I’d very much like to live in Barry Schenck’s Retropolis. You can find it at http://thrilling-tales.webomator.com/ It’s sort of the way the present was supposed to look from the perspective of the 1930s (if that makes any sense). Check out the website or check out the 1930 film Just Imagine. (Full feature at http://tinyurl.com/h4bomxf – it’s awful in the way only early talkies can be, but visually it’s a jewel. Watch the first 3 minutes to get an idea of the retrofuture I’m talking about.)

This wouldn’t be an interview with you if we didn’t talk about Repairman Jack and The Secret History of the World. How far into writing your books did you realize you could convert your stories into one epic world? Were you influenced by anyone? Is there a story behind the story?

Well, the Secret History sort of grew. It starts with Lovecraft’s materialist, mechanistic universe – his so-called cosmic horror – amplified by the Fermi Paradox which boils down to: Where is everyone?  With billions of Earth-type planets in our galaxy with the potential for supporting life – many of them much older than ours – why haven’t we been contacted?  The answer could be that sentience and sapience don’t occur very often in the universe. What if the human level of sapience is so rare that when it occurs it attracts… attention? What if we are under the scrutiny of (to quote Wells) “intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic”?  Lovecraft and Charles Fort (who declared “We are property”) mined that vein, and I’m following in their footsteps. Those unsympathetic intellects have shaped human history from behind the scenes, that’s why it’s called the Secret History.

Humanity being the plaything of vast, unknowable forces percolates through The Keep, The Tomb, and The Touch even though they were all intended as stand-alones. I started another completely unrelated novel with the working title The Chadham Clone. I meant for it to look like Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen on the surface but actually be something different (just as The Keep looks like a vampire novel for a while, but it’s not). I wanted to use an evil entity other than the tired old Antichrist, but who? Then I realized I already had that entity in Rasalom from The Keep. I needed a suburban setting convenient to Manhattan, and realized I already had one in Monroe where The Touch took place. I became intrigued by the challenge of tying those two novels, and The Tomb as well, into Rasalom’s reincarnation, bringing the books full circle. It worked so well that I suspect my subconscious might have been linking them all along.

Things grew from there. The result was an outline for a 1,000+ page novel. Nobody was going to publish that, so I broke it down into a trilogy that became Reborn, Reprisal, and Nightworld. When I was done I called all 6 novels The Adversary Cycle, and that formed the foundation of the Secret History. When I brought Jack back in 1998, he was already part of the Secret History, so I used him to expand on the story.

We also know that you are a medical doctor specializing in family practice. But like Repairman Jack, do you have plans to retire? What will you do when that time comes?

I’ve been a part-time physician working 2 days a week for quite some time now (I’d never have been able to write all those books had I been full time). I’ve got a few more practice years left in me. I love my patients, but the government and the insurance companies are conspiring to drive me insane. As for writing, I’ll probably keep that up till I die or develop full-blown dementia.

And Jack? He’ll be back. I have no doubt that a suitable novel will come along and I’ll bring him in from the pasture and put him to work. Can’t say just when, though.

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

Willie Dixon in the late 1950s. I’m writing “Little Red Rooster,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Just Wanna Make Love to You,” “Spoonful” and other blues classics. I’m doing session work for Chess Records, I’m playing upright bass in Chuck Berry’s band. I’m not a household name, but I’m defining the Chicago Blues sound. (Later on, in the 60s, my songs will be covered by the Stones, Led Zep, Cream, the Doors, Hendrix, even Dylan.)

Willie Dixon

Then again, maybe Kim Kardashian – pre-Kanye, of course. I mean, what’s it like to sit on that butt?

Kim Kardashian Paper magazine cover

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

Just started Watched Too Long by Ann Voss Peterson and J.A. Konrath. The books ahead haven’t been published yet – ARCs by Norman Spinrad and Charles Stross.

Do you have any guilty pleasure books/authors? You know the ones…stuff you don’t let your friends see you reading.

I’ll read old pulp novels from time to time, but I’m not guilty about them. The snoots turn up their noses but, y’know, who cares? It’s my comfort food. That’s why I wrote “Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong.”

I do have guilty music, though. I’m a blues guy, but I have a weakness for good harmony and a catchy tune. My iPod hides an occasional song by the Partridge Family, the Carpenters, Air Supply, and others too uncool to cop to. (“Easy Come, Easy Go” by Bobby Sherman – yoiks!)

If you were to give just one piece of advice aspiring writers, what would it be?

The obvious one is keep writing…write every day. When I started out, writing part time, I found a minimum of 3 first-draft double-spaced pages per day did the trick. That’s 21/week. At that rate you’ve got over 540 pages in 6 months. That’s a decent-sized novel.

In writing those 3 pages per day, avoid tinkering with them. This stalls you by fooling you into thinking you’re still writing. You’re not. And you’re losing momentum. Get those 3 pages down and then leave them alone and go on to the next 3. The time to fix and hone them is after you’ve finished that all-important first draft – what I call the vomit draft. You’ll know your characters better then and can go back and make meaningful edits and additions.

The other is less obvious: Avoid envy. Other writers are going to be more successful than you. Applaud their success rather than begrudge it. Just remember, there’s objective success and subjective success. Objective is counted on bestseller lists and dollar signs. Subjective is defined by you: what are your goals in putting those words on paper? Don’t lose sight of that.

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Dorothy Parker, Ambrose Bierce, Ogden Nash, Oscar Wilde, and H. L. Mencken. A veritable torrent of wit. Can you imagine the laughs? The unbridled cynicism?

How do you want the world to remember you?

A stand-up guy who poured a mean gimlet and told lots of good stories.

 

You can find Paul on Twitter and follow him, look for @fpaulwilson.  Check out his Facebook page too!  Thank you so much for the interview, Paul.  And thank you for letting me read Panacea.

This is an exciting book! Think Dan Brown meets Michael Crichton. Then, boom! You’re off off on an around the world (Paul’s World – it fits into the Secret History) whirlwind thriller as competing forces attempt to find a cure-all. Can it truly exist? Dead bodies are turning up that were otherwise perfectly healthy…and they shouldn’t have been.  Have fun reading this – I sure did!

Find PANACEA at Amazon.com

panacea

An Interview with Sean Costello

Published May 1, 2016 by MommaCat

SeanCostello

I recently “discovered” author Sean Costello when I was browsing the Goodreads shelves of people that I follow.  One of his books caught my  eye and I looked it up on Amazon.  As I looked over his books, I was surprised to see that this unknown to me author had nearly all five star ratings on his books!  So I bought one and also downloaded SQUALL, which was free.  The rest, as it’s said, is history.  I went back and bought more; emailed Sean asked him for an interview; now I hope all y’all go check out his books.  I’ll talk about HERE AFTER after his interview, so stick around.

Please tell us about your upcoming books and their production schedule.

I’m currently working on the second draft of a novel called Terminal House. In many ways it’s a departure for me. I tend to write action-driven stories, but this one rides more on character and deeper issues, like aging, Alzheimer’s, euthanasia, and romantic love. At its core, though, it’s a tale of psychological horror. One man’s journey into oblivion.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

Stephen Hunter, Elmore Leonard, Stephen King, Thomas Harris, and a host of other great scribes.

If you had the ability to bring one author back from the dead to write one more book, who would it be and why?

I’d resurrect Elmore Leonard and tell him to take his time . . . I mean really take his time finishing the novel he was working on when he died. The man was a genius, and when you met him in person he was just the sweetest guy. To end such a uniquely creative mind was a crime against humanity.

If you could live in any world, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?

It would be this one, but in the 1960s. I’d see Led Zeppelin again, and make damn sure I got to Woodstock this time. I’d start writing as a young man instead of an older one, and maybe—just maybe—I’d be doing it for a living now.

Most authors have held many jobs on their way to becoming successful. What are some of the jobs you have had?

Not counting a paper route, my first job was as a salad chef at a harness race track. I was 16. The kitchen skills came in handy for my next job, which was slinging hoagies at a place called Fat Albert’s in my hometown of Ottawa. I was a night watchman at a pulp and paper mill, a working musician and, briefly, a model. Then I hit med school, internship, four years of specialty training and a 35-year stint as an anesthesiologist. Now I wanna be a writer.

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

I guess I’d swap with Jack Nicholson—with all due apologies to Jack for the uneven trade—just so I could see what it’s like to be the coolest dude in the universe.     

Jack

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

No plans right now. When I’m writing, I try to avoid reading fiction. I’m too easily influenced.

Do you have any guilty pleasure books/authors? You know the ones…stuff you don’t let your friends see you reading.

Reader’s Digest. But only on the throne.

If you were to give just one piece of advice aspiring writers, what would it be?

This brings up a fun anecdote. In the summer of 1985, I took a drive in my turbo Volvo to Lake Kezar in Maine to do some windsurfing. I’d heard the lake hosted some serious blows . . . and knew that Stephen King had a summer place in the area. I thought, Get in some epic surfing and maybe run into King in the village.

Well, upon entering the vicinity, don’t I see the man himself coming up this rural road in the opposite direction. He’s driving a champagne-colored Mercedes convertible—and he’s alone. He saw my head swivel as he passed and he smiled, accustomed by now, I’m certain, to the star-struck gawks of yokels like myself. So I pulled a U-ie, passed the man at considerable speed, and bailed out of the car at the next stop sign. He rolled up behind me, I said, “You’re Stephen King,” and he said, “I know that, who the hell are you?”

The long and the short? Steve got out of the car (he’s six-foot-six, so I was pretty sure I was about to get decked by Stephen King), chatted with me for twenty minutes, then signed the hardcover copy of Pet Sematary I happened to be reading at the time. Before he left—he was headed for a Red Sox game in Boston—I asked him the question you just asked me, and he said, “Read a lot and write a lot; it really works.”

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Well, Jack, of course. And if we’re talking reanimated, deodorized and civilized dead: John Bonham, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and my maternal grandmother; she was a great cook.

How do you want the world to remember you?

The world has very little use for me, Momma. But I would like to be remembered by my son as someone who loved him more than anything else—ever—and wanted only good things for him, always.

You can find Sean on Facebook, on his website and on his Amazon.com author page. He’s on Twitter as SeanCostello51. Get on his Mailing List and grab a free copy of LAST CALL!

Thanks very much for giving me this opportunity.

 Buy HERE AFTER now at Amazon.com!

hereaftereHERE AFTER is an edge of your seat thriller in the style of very early Dean Koontz novels.  It’s a little bit paranormal, a lot mystery, and very heartwrenching.  There’s a kidnapper loose in Canada and the police aren’t having any luck tracking the person.  Two men meet in a victims group and become friends.  Can they find their boys when the cops have failed?  Check this and all of Sean’s books out at Amazon today.  He won’t disappoint.

An Interview with John McIlveen

Published April 1, 2016 by MommaCat

john mcIlveen

John McIlveen, Bram Stoker nominee for his first novel, HANNAHWHERE,  is Cat After Dark’s April guest. No foolin’!

You currently work for MIT. Would you talk about your position there?

I am an Electrical and Mechanical Designer and coordinator for the qualification and of certification cleanrooms, and for the toxic gas monitoring systems at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington MA. I work in FSD Engineering. We are a part of the US-DOD so I will mysteriously disappear if I say anything else.

Please tell us about your upcoming books and their production schedule.

I have recently finished a big fat mainstream novel titled GONE NORTH, which (from fly leaf) is the story of Thalia and Emma Holden, two sisters from the Lower Ninth Ward in 1961. Raised in a home of limited means but abundant love and happiness, life is as good as it’s ever been, despite the vicious battles for and against racial segregation across America, and right there in New Orleans. When nineteen-year-old Emma Holden accepts a job with a prominent white family outside of Boston, a job that would enable her to attend college, it seems a dream opportunity. And then tragedy strikes, claiming the life of her parents.

With her parents gone, her sister in Boston, and her brother in California awaiting deployment to Vietnam, Sixteen-year-old Thalia Holden suddenly finds her life in shambles, now living with her grandfather and her hard-drinking, lecherous Uncle Carl. She tolerates her new life until a late night encounter makes her realize New Orleans is no longer home. Home is with her sister Emma, and that was where she needed to be.

Carrying only a duffle bag packed with minimal necessities, forty-two dollars, two Steinbeck novels, and accompanied by her three-legged German Shepard, Thalia embarks on an extraordinary Journey from New Orleans to Boston. In her travels, Thalia encounters her greatest fears, going face to face with extreme prejudice, perversity, but also compassion, offered by a diversity of characters ranging from despicable to eccentric, to delightful. Each day Thalia fears for her survival yet hungers for life.

Meanwhile in Boston, Emma struggles with grieving her parents’ deaths and worrying for her missing sister, while caring for the Merrick family, a wealthy but sympathetic family of five, the youngest of which is a fifteen-year-old son with Down Syndrome. To top it off, Emma discovers she has unwisely but helplessly fallen for the boss’s oldest son, who only complicates things by sharing the infatuation.

GONE NORTH is a tale of family, love, humor, conflict, and ultimately hope, involving humanity at its best, and at its worst. A firm publication date isn’t set yet, but it’s in the not too distant future.

I am almost finished a thriller titled CORRUPTION, which is about a Boston drug cartel, babies falling from windows, and a “common day Joe” who is pulled unwillingly into the midst of it all to help the mother of one of the children.

I am ¼ of the way into another horror novel titled ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?, which deals with a new type of “Super Ecstasy” which has some very unnerving after-effects for one poor son of a gun.

I understand that you’re friends with Christopher Golden. How did the two of you meet? Are there any plans for a collaboration?

Chris is a mensch in every way. He has been a mentor and very instrumental in my (and many others) writing career. We met in 1987 at a convention called NECON (www.campnecon.com) which is the best convention – bar none. He was living in New York and working at Billboard at the time, and I was in Hudson, NH working in the semiconductor industry. Ironically, we both ended up in Haverhill, MA. As for collaboration…I’d like to preserve our friendship. Joking aside, I’m not opposed to the idea, but it’d be like the tortoise and the hare; Chris writes full time at high speed with an astronomical output…I’m rather sluggish, seeing as writing is my second career.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

This list could take pages, but in my opinion, John Steinbeck was a master in every way. Stephen King of course, for story lines. Who hasn’t he influenced in one way or another? Margaret Atwood, because she’s a phenomenal stylist and so amazingly diverse. Harry Crews, who was the king of flawed characters and mastered black humor. John Irving, or more-so his earlier writing. Read A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY and you’ll understand. Rick Hautala, who passed away March 17, four years ago. I befriended Rick in 1984 and he introduced me to the writer’s side of books, and to NECON, and he kept at me to start writing. Finally, Chris Golden, who has been a coach, a teacher, a cheerleader, and most importantly, a fun and goofy friend.

If you had the ability to bring one author back from the dead to write one more book, who would it be and why?

William Shakespeare, especially to see his reaction to this modern world (400 years after his death in 1616), and how he would translate it into his writing.

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

My first thought was Kate Winslet, so I could stand naked in front of the mirror all day. Seriously, maybe Stephen Hawking (stressing the “one day”), so I could experience existence from his perspective. To understand what drives him, what keeps him positive, and to see the correlation between his genius and his handicap, if one exists.

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

I am currently reading and enjoying HAVEN by Tom Deady, which is due out later this year from Cemetery Dance.

Next in line are THE FIREMAN by Joe Hill, DEAD WAKE, non-fiction by Erik Larson, and THE GIRL YOU LOST by Kathryn Croft.

If you were to give just one piece of advice aspiring writers, what would it be?

Always believe in your art and always strive to improve it. (Okay, that was two, but it was one sentence.)

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

(Outside of family and friends)

Jon Anderson – (From the band YES)

Harry Crews – (author – deceased)

Martin Luther King

Stephen King

Marilyn Monroe

Would make for an interesting evening.

 

How do you want the world to remember you?

Fondly

You can find John on his website, on Facebook, on Goodreads, on his Amazon.com author page and on Google+.  You can follow him on Twitter also – @jmcilveen.  Stop by any or all of those and say hello! I think he’d be delighted that you came by.

Thank you for reading and reviewing my books, and thank you for inviting me to participate in your blog and this interview.

Thank you to everyone who pimped HANNAHWHERE, which helped get it nominated for both The Bram Stoker and The Drunken Druid Awards.

Buy HANNAHWHERE at Amazon.com!

hannahwhere

HANNAHWHERE is the story of twin sisters Hannah and Anna whose mother is in an abusive relationship.  What she teaches the girls will amaze you and give you hope.  If you read only one book this year, make it HANNAHWHERE.

An Interview with Joe Hart

Published March 1, 2016 by MommaCat

JoeHart

 

Being an aspiring published author is_________________.

Not sure I like the term “aspiring” when describing a writer. You either write or you don’t in my opinion.

Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

The next book I have coming out is a thriller called THE NIGHT IS DEEP. It is the second book in a series I’m writing about an ex-homicide detective who has a future waiting for him but can’t let go of the past.

lastgirl

Are books 2 and 3 of THE LAST GIRL written and what are the expected release dates?

Book 2 is finished and is the editing stage. It’s due out in September of this year. I’m about a third of the way through the first draft of the last book and that one should be out sometime in early 2017.

It’s clear to me that the world we live in is a misogynistic one. And that’s the premise, at least from the outset of TLG. And that just blows my mind! What made you come up with the idea that men were so destructive that they wouldn’t nurture and revere the few women that remained?

It’s funny because several people have asked that same question, “Why wouldn’t the remaining women be treated well?” When I first came up with the idea of the birthrate for female infants dropping to nearly nothing I asked some of the most important women in my life a question. It went something like this- If there were only a limited number of women left on Earth do you think they’d be treated like queens or like possessions? Every one of them answered (without hesitation) possessions. I’m not sure if even the threat of extinction would stop people (especially men) from trying to take what they want. Pretty sure history supports this.

Have you ever devised a character and then written a plot around them?

Absolutely. MacArthur Gray from WIDOW TOWN came pretty much fully formed into my mind and I built the plot around him. Zoey from THE LAST GIRL was pretty much formed the moment after I had the general premise for the book as well as Evan Tormer from THE WAITING.

Most authors have had many jobs on their way to a full time writing career. What are some of the jobs you’ve held?

Very true! I’ve worked as an auto mechanic, a line technician at an airport, a customer service agent for Northwest Airlines, an electric motor technician, a personal trainer and manager of a gym.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

Mr. Stephen King would be at the top of the list. I was reading him around age ten or eleven. I wouldn’t be doing what I am without his work. Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, R.L. Stine, Blake Crouch, Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, Richard Adams, Harper Lee, Clive Barker, Justin Cronin, Robert Frost, Shakespeare, Lovecraft, Poe, the list goes on and on.

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

My son who has autism. Since he can’t tell me, I would give anything to know what he’s thinking.

What scares you? Have you written about it?

I’ll have to echo King here. Everything. Everything scares me. Losing those who you love most. Leaving them alone. Whatever lurks under the bed at night even after you’ve checked it. Things like that. And yes, I’ve written about nearly all the things that scare me, but there’s a lot less to write about.

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

Oh wow. I just finished Robert Jackson Bennett’s CITY OF BLADES, which was excellent and I started reading THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. Past that I have a few books waiting on blurbs and whatnot.

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, Stephen King, Jackie Onassis, and Michael Collins.

hemingway

How do you want the world to remember you?

Someone who tried their best at what they loved.

Thanks very much for all the great questions, it was a blast!

Thanks for a great interview, Joe! THE LAST GIRL is available on Amazon.com and anywhere else books are sold.

You can find Joe on Twitter @AuthorJoeHart and on his website. Check them out! If you would like to read my review of THE LAST GIRL – click here!

An Interview with Benjamin Kane Ethridge

Published February 1, 2016 by MommaCat

BenjaminKaneEthridge

Most authors have had many jobs to pay the bills in their quest to become successful. What are some of the the jobs that you have held?

Target (cart attendant, cashier, graveyard shift stock team), Substitute elementary school teacher, Environmental compliance inspector, Program/ Project manager

Being an aspiring published author is different for everybody.

How much did winning the Stoker Award so early in your career change your perceptions toward your writing and writing as a career?

The biggest thing I found was that I didn’t have to work as hard to be published. Trying to get published is probably just as much work, initially, as the writing itself. Once I won the award and started selling more books, I would be invited to anthologies and receive book deals (of widely varying degrees). Although rejection isn’t a thing of the past by any means, a new idea came to be: pre-acceptance. Publishers were willing to buy what I was going to write, and that was very strange; it makes you question the quality of your own fiction, whether it will ever really be judged the way it had been previously as a novice writer.

Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

I am working on the first novel in a series for JournalStone books. SLAUGHTER MAN: MOON CITY TALE. It’s a SciFi adventure with a little hard boiled mood. It’s taking longer than I expected because dumb errors have cropped up and life has decided it needed to keep on happening. But the novel shall get done soon. It shall.

Have you ever devised a character and then written a plot around them?

Yes, my Slaughter Man novella from the Limbus INC anthology comes to mind. I worked with a lot of decent, blue collar guys in my day and I wanted to create a story about someone who reminded me of them. It’s great to have a character that will keep you excited throughout the writing process, a person that will not always make the choices that will make the story easy to write, and therefore the entire creation becomes that much more realistic.

THIS HOUSE… on the surface appears to be a haunted house story. At the very least it seems to question how a house gets haunted. But the reader learns something very different by the end. Would you talk about your thought process as you sat down to write and tell us how the writing flowed (or didn’t)?

I sat down to write a haunted house story that would be the Ethridge Haunted House story. I wanted it to be mine. With everything I write, there are those who may appreciate my intentions and those who may not. Some people can go on reading and watching the same types of books and movies and be completely happy with experiencing similar stories but with differently arranged dominoes that ultimately spill out to the same destination.

I’m not judging. For me, I’m the same way with some genres, but not for haunted house stories. I just cannot be worked up about them anymore, even if they’re well done. After Matheson’s HELLHOUSE and King’s THE SHINING, every other take felt like eating saltines with varying degrees of saltiness. Now, I know I’m discounting quite a bit of lore and literature here, and while there are some literary greats who have been absolutely innovative in the genre (enter Shirley Jackson), I cannot say I’ve really been affected by the “bad place” story since having childhood nightmares about Jack Nicholson limping through the snow with an axe.

The horror factor isn’t what compelled me, by the way, to remember such images. I was more interested in considering wow, what happened to that kid’s father? Can you imagine if one of your parents changed into such a violent manifestation of their former self? The guy was an abusive alcoholic and the end result of that flaw exploited to the horror-ith power really intrigued me. I was more interested in what haunted a human being, and I didn’t want to involve the supernatural in that study. I’m not believer. Not in the supernatural, or the natural though. This is fiction and so I don’t need to answer to other convictions or even my own. I don’t want to write about people who conjure up false mental demons and spirits. I want to write about mental demons and spirits who conjure up false people. THAT is fascinating to me. Is it scary? Yes, I think if you put yourself in the shoes of any of the characters in THIS HOUSE… it would be terrifying to have such little control over the parasitic chaos in your life.

I wrote this novella a couple years back, but I recall it flowing steadily from start to end. Back then I was averaging around three thousand words a day. So I probably had a draft in under a couple weeks.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

James Joyce, Stephen King, Madeleine L’Engle, Robert Jordan, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Matheson, Emily Dickinson, and Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

Somebody dying with huge regrets. I want to know where the thoughts go toward the end. I want to know how that process of acceptance feels. Coming out of something like that would give a person stronger psychological armor than anything else I can imagine. It’d be a blessing to live a life with such knowledge.

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

Oh boy. I should be incarcerated for the lack of reading I’ve been doing lately. I need to finish my Tom Savage novel (because he’s awesome and all his books are great books). I also need to read more of my fiancé Sara Brooke’s work, because she writes tight, wonderful mainstream horror, which I could stand to learn enormous amounts from. And I need to read the last Wheel of Time book. The series ended and I’ve still not finished it—and I’ve enjoyed Sanderson’s piloting of the conclusion thus far.

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Jesus Christ – not because I’m Christian, but because I want to see if he really looks like old school Kenny Loggins as all the cheap paintings portray, or if he looks like a Cro-Magnon Charlie Manson as the latest forensic anthropological studies suggests. I just want to know.

Jack the Ripper – so I can turn the bastard in.      Ripper

 

Michael Louis Calvillo – because he was a great friend of mine which I lost too early, and he always enjoyed a good party.

Shakespeare – just to see if twenty different people show up.

Henry Rollins – because he’ll help with turning over Jack the Ripper to the authorities and when he returns to the table he’ll keep the conversation lively.

How do you want the world to remember you?

As someone who lived, and then wrote stories about it.

 

I will remember your stories, Ben. And I’d like to thank you for taking time from writing to visit with us today.  Look for more on Benjamin at these links:

FACEBOOKPINTERESTGOODREADS, TWITTER

February 2 is the release date for THIS HOUSE…  this-house  As I said in the interview, on the surface it appears to be  haunted house story.  And that cover sure grabs your eye, doesn’t it?  Awesome artwork!

But, as you delve into the pages you’ll find much more than you were expecting…  You’ll be glad you read it. Available at Amazon, B&N and the usual booksellers.

Synchronized Sleepwalking by Martin Mundt

Published December 16, 2015 by MommaCat

For those of you who read – or at least skim through my entire blog you’re going to get a double dose of Martin Mundt.  I actually read and reviewed this book a few months ago at the request of Marty’s new publisher, John Everson.  You can read that (along with a bunch of other reviews) HERE on the Random Reviews page.  If you didn’t get SYNCHRONIZED SLEEPWALKING yet,  let me run through the book and try to convince you to buy it today. Now. mmmkay?

A Bird in Hand –  BDSM with a little twist.  Always have a safe word.

The Girl With a Motorcycle for a Heart – A futuristic cop story, but some things never change.

Breathless – Cheating is never a good idea.

He Passed Himself Away – Some people just belong together.

The Pale Blue Zenith of the Sky – He built a ladder of books.

Chair – What would you do to become a millionaire?

Skinny Bones – Big Momma decides she wants a skinny beau.

Lost Dog – 6 page ad…

The Once-Upon-A Time King – Is this the king or a storyteller?

Flying – What is it like to fly?

The Saga of El Pollo  Part 1 – Live Poultry – Um…chickens.

The Saga of El Pollo  Part 2 – El Pollo – The crazy chickens.

The Saga of El Pollo  Part 3 – The Chicken Killers – Si, es loco.

Still Life with Walls – Jeff took up a new hobby.

Boom – Fun with firecrackers.

And that takes us just past 50%!  Whew!  There’s a lot of great reading still to come.

Buy SYNCHRONIZED SLEEPWALKING at Amazon.com

SynchSleep

 

 

 


	

An Interview with Christopher Golden

Published December 1, 2015 by MommaCat

ChristopherGolden

How many hours per day do you spend writing? How would you spend your time if storytelling were no longer an option?

CG: Unfortunately, business takes up more and more time. These days, in addition to the usual email and phone calls, there’s social media. Sure, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are entertaining, but there’s also a certain amount of marketing and event promotion and planning that is just a requirement for writers these days, and it’s becoming a larger and larger part of every day. As for how I’d spend my time, that would depend on whether or not I still had to earn a living. I’d teach, or direct kids’ theater (which I’ve done in the past). But as long as I could spend time with my wife and kids, read books, spend time outdoors, and watch old movies, I’d be all right. If I couldn’t write novels, I’d find other ways to tell stories.

What’s the first story you remember telling?

CG: Hmm. I’ve actually never been asked that question. I was always an embellisher, so I have no idea what story I first told anyone. Probably some campfire tale about “the hook” or something that I heard at camp as a kid and then re-told. I loved comedy as a kid, too, and I think it’s for the same reason. Steven Wright, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin…their comedy routines were often stories, and I had a knack for memorizing and being about to rehash those routines. I’d never have done it on stage, but it amused me. The first story I remember writing was something I actually still have (I think). I don’t remember the title at the moment, but I wrote it in high school and it concerned a bunch of kids partying on some railroad tracks, and what happens one of them decides to play chicken with a train.

Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

CG: My latest novel, DEAD RINGERS, came out earlier this month. It’s a horror novel about a handful of people in Boston who encounter their doppelgängers, and what happens when they begin to investigate the phenomenon. It’s got ghosts and a demon in a basement, but it’s also very much about our fear of losing control, or losing ourselves, and whether or not we’re living our best lives.

How important are character names and how do you come up with them?

CG: They’re important to me in that they need to feel right, TO ME. I’m sure they’re important to readers as well, but I’ve never had a publisher attempt to change one of my characters’ names, except to say “hey, there are too many characters whose names start with B, and that’s going to confuse people.” As for how I come up with them…I get them everywhere, from people I went to school with, to people who wait on me in stores and restaurants, to the casts of movies. I’ll also often think of what a character’s background ought to be and then research names that match that background. Sometimes I use place names, or choose based on the meaning of a name and what I want that character to accomplish. When you’ve written as many books as I have, you use every trick there is.

Have you ever devised a character and then written a plot around them?

CG: Weirdly, I don’t think so. I always come up with a plot first. Though I guess the Menagerie series, which I wrote with Thomas Sniegoski, might fall into that category. Tom had created a character for comics, and I had done the same, and we decided to merge them into one series with a bunch of other characters, and then instead of comics we did them as novels. They’re absolutely crazy novels. I recommend everyone pick up the first one, THE NIMBLE MAN, though all four are available in a single ebook download for pretty damn cheap.

Being both an editor and a writer, do you find it difficult to switch hats when going from one job to another?

CG: I really don’t. It’s all storytelling to me. Editing, writing novels, writing comics or screenplays. Some are easier on one day and harder on another, but it’s all storytelling.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

CG: Hands down Stephen King would be first on the list. But there are so many others, from Jack London to Charles de Lint to, more recently, Michael Koryta. Anything I read that inspires me also influences me. I think it’s sheer arrogance and foolishness for any writer to think they can’t keep learning or keep being inspired.

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

CG: Myself at age twelve. I’d get that lazy little bastard into shape and create a lifetime habit out of it.

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

CG: I’m currently reading the WEREWOLF BY NIGHT OMNIBUS from Marvel Comics, revisiting a favorite from my childhood. Then I think it’ll be Austerlitz by WG Sebald. After that, I should be done with my novel in progress, and I’ll reward myself with the new Stephen King, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

CG: I know you’re looking for something more interesting, and I could come up with that list (it would include Lou Costello and Humphrey Bogart, for starters), but I’d rather tell the truth. Truth is, I’d invite my wife and three kids, and my father, who died when I was nineteen. He had his flaws—some big ones—but what a beautiful thing it would be for him to be able to meet them.

If you could claim one book as your own – think fame not fortune – what would it be?

CG: I’d never want to claim someone else’s work as my own. Ever.

How do you want the world to remember you?

CG: I hope they’ll say I was kind. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Thank you for a wonderful few minutes, Chris. Fans can check out Chris on Twitter, Facebook and the Web. Please scroll down and check out my review of DEAD RINGERS. Click on the link to head over to Amazon to buy it for yourself.

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