Are you ready for our featured author, who, in case you didn’t know, is also our featured musician for this week’s HA episode?!?!
That’s right, Dan Shaurette and I both had the honor to interview Josh Heinrich. Now this may be Josh’s first time to be on HA as an author but he isn’t a Horror Addicts newbie. “It’s my first time as an author, but one of my bands, Black Wedding, was featured on an episode last year. It’s great to be on here as both an author and a musician, though. As an author…well, at least with my fiction writing…a lot of the process has involved submitting work and waiting on publishers. It’s easy to feel relegated to sort of being in the background working behind the scenes. So it’s great to get recognition in this format and to be able to do something a little more immediate and multimedia-oriented with my writing. It’s been fun.”
Josh’s relaxed nature took hold and he began to joke around while explaining his story The Basement to me. “It’s a bit over 1700 words. Originally written in Times New Roman. 12 pt, I believe. In English. There’s a basement involved. Okay, okay. I’ll stop. It’s a story I actually wrote a few years back. It sort of jumps into the story of a woman locked in a pitch black basement, sort of following her actions and inner narrative as things come into focus. I’m not sure I really want to give any more away before your listeners experience the story. I guess that’s the problem with promoting stories with twists or that evolve into something else as the narrative goes along…it’s hard give a summary without spoiling the whole thing.”
And though, what Heinrich said may be true…who doesn’t love a good teaser?!
Moving forward, I asked Josh if he would explain the inspiration behind his story, this is what he had to say, “I don’t know if there was any real world inspiration, necessarily. It wasn’t really based on or inspired by anything like…say…a real event or dream. I think it came more from the idea of taking something sort of straightforward, something that might make up the premise of a typical horror story, and then sort of shifting perspectives to make it something more. Not to give too much away. I think a lot of my writing is inspired by that, the idea of taking elements of what’s been done before but putting a new twist on it or even using it to illustrate a concept or theory, something that leaves the reader thinking or has an emotional or cognitive impact.”
Being both a musician and author, I was curious if the two played a part with the other. Heinrich was kind enough to give us some insight into his work. “I think the two play into each other. I don’t think the two art forms are necessarily mutually exclusive, either. I sort of visualize ideas for each. They’re just different forms of expressing those ideas or emotions, whether used separately or together. Parallels can even be drawn between the consumption of the two. I mean, the album format is basically a thematic element or narrative broken up into individual songs, much like a novel and its chapters. The same comparisons can be drawn between everything from films to photography exhibitions. I think a lot of art probably comes from the same place but is just expressed in different ways, with certain formats being more conducive to certain types of expression. For example, music being able to express emotion in a more direct, innate, simplistic form, while writing takes a bit more work and descriptive ability to conjure the same emotional response…or a complex narrative being easier to convey through writing than a 3 minute song or oil painting.”
“My songwriting, especially lyrically, often does have a literary aspect to it…trying to tell a story or express a concept in the frame of a song. Sort of similar to how I like to take something familiar and put a unique spin on it in my writing, I like to, musically, use melodies and sounds to convey emotions and visual elements but also try to have a deeper, often poetic, slant to the lyrics or thematic elements. On the flip side, I think my sense of rhythm and melody maybe influences the format of my writing. I think with both art forms, I tend to be descriptive and visual, and both are ways of sort of trying to convey the images or emotions unfolding in my head.”
Wanting to get to know Joshua better I asked him a few questions about his love of horror and what got it kick started. “That’s actually a tough one. I know some films made an impact on me when I was young…like the Poltergeist movies, in particular. I did read some cryptozoology-themed books when I was younger, tales of sightings of creatures like the Jersey Devil and the Dover Demon that definitely left an impression and helped fuel my interest in the paranormal. There was a made for TV “true story” movie called The Haunted back in the 90s that still gives me goosebumps. I was also excited by other real life ghost stories. My uncle/aunt/cousins actually lived in a haunted apartment for a while and they all had experiences there along with some of my other family members (and all of the other tenants in the 3 apartment complex), and I was really fascinated by those stories. I mean, later in life…in college and in my 20s I can point to films like The Shining (I’ve always preferred Kubrick’s vision) or favorite authors like Bentley Little and Dean Koontz, but I’m not sure I can really point to one definitive favorite story growing up. I guess my interests varied a lot, and I was drawn to both fiction and real-life stories of the paranormal…I think I’ve always been sort of intrinsically drawn to horror…the aspect of fear, the aesthetics involved, the atmosphere, and the elements of the unknown. I mean, one of my favorite books as a toddler was apparently The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree. It’s just something that’s always attracted me…I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal…from haunted house stories to cryptozoology to UFOs. I think there’s also an attractive duality there, too…sort of the fear but also that element of excitement and curiosity…of wanting to explore the unknown and understand it. It’s actually sort of amusing since the other genre I’m routinely drawn to is comedy…although, I suppose, comedy has certainly made its way into the horror genre quite frequently, and I enjoy the combination of the two and have a penchant for silly b-horror now and then.”
This Horror Addict not only writes and creates music, he also has a day job. “I have a “day job”…necessary evils and what not. I actually have a degree in Computer Science (with a minor in Spanish and an external concentration in Music), as well. So it’s sometimes sort of like trying to balance 3 part-time jobs and my personal life while trying not to fall off the beam. I dabble in other art forms and projects and have other interests I’d like to explore, too. I’m a creative type and tend to get bored just doing the same thing over and over, so I think mixing it up and having some variety is a positive…and, sometimes…while it’s often not my first choice…doing something simple and mundane is a helpful break when I have a million things going through my head and am going in 5 directions at once or when I hit a bit of writer’s block or am frustrated with something not turning out right in the studio and need to regroup.”
Joshua’s goals for the future are actually pretty simple, work, work, work. But trust me Horror Addicts this is a good thing for us! 😉 “There are some projects I’m working on…or have had on the back burner…writing, music, other forms of art, or combinations of two or more of those…that I’d like to get done. I know…that was kind of non-specific. I’d maybe like to get back into film in some capacity…or other performing arts avenues…maybe even get into video games from a creative standpoint (I did a little soundtrack work in the past…but it would be cool to also work in that venue from a writing perspective or in creative design). There are some other interests I want to explore, as well. It’s just a matter of finding the time, motivation, and opportunities. I think I tend to think about the future in bite sized pieces or what I’m working on now rather than “this is where I want to be in 20 years”. There are some people that think you’re directionless if you don’t have the next 20 or 30 years of your life planned out. Personally, I think that, sometimes, if you keep your eye on the prize, you sort of miss what’s going on around you now and some of the new paths that become available to you in life.”
Currently, Heinrich is working on several projects, “I have a handful of short stories out at publishers right now but don’t have dates or details for anything yet… There are a few more stories in the works and ideas percolating. I have a new Fornever album coming out later this summer and am working on some other music. I have a few other projects in progress or on the back burner while working on other things, like I said, but it will probably be a while before some of those are realized or come to fruition, so I don’t want to reveal too much at this point.”
For more information about Joshua Heinrich, be sure to check out these websites: