Tim O’Neal graduated from UC Berkeley. He served ten months in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and is currently working on a dual Masters in nutrition science and exercise physiology. When he is not studying, he plays guitar or explores California by bicycle. “REMS” is his first short story.
1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?
I was 15 years old.
2.) What author has influenced you most?
Stephen King inspired me to write horror after I read The Shining in high school. I told myself I wanted to write something as well done and scary as that.
3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “REMS?”
I was bored working at my day job in a gray cubicle beneath the fluorescent lights. I had an idea for remote controlled maggots and how much fun that could be. I scribbled down a few things in a nearby notebook (complete with doodles!). After a few years, those ideas developed into the current story.
4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?
I think the best writing happens when you can hypnotize yourself into a state of creative unconscious. The most believable fiction occurs when you take yourself out of the driver’s seat and ride shotgun, letting your characters do what they wish; however good or bad the result.
5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?
I used to listen to music like Green Day while writing. But I outgrew the practice. Now I mostly write in silence. It helps me focus.
6.) Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration just by letting my unconscious mind turn over different thoughts, ideas, images, visuals, sayings; basically anything that happens to me in a day gets churned up and blended together. Sometimes you get a gem.
7.) What is your favorite horror novel?
Ooh, that’s a hard one. I have so many favorite horror novels. The Shining is up there, of course. So is Justin Cronin’s The Passage. As well as Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box.
8.) Favorite horror movie?
I normally don’t watch horror movies. I prefer comedies.
9.) Favorite horror television show?
10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?
I continue to write every day, writing down ideas, editing old stuff, and putting down new ideas. I hope that, in time, more of my stories will find homes with attentive readers.