Joe L. Murr has lived on every continent except Antarctica and now divides his time between Finland and the Netherlands. His short fiction has been published in magazines such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Chizine and Noir Nation, and most recently in the anthology “The Summer of Lovecraft.”
How did you become interested in the Victorian era?
As a kid, I devoured stories about Victorian adventurers in distant lands. That’s where it started. I especially loved H. Rider Haggard and Jules Verne. Later on, I was fascinated to learn more about the era through a wider lens.
What is your favorite Victorian horror story?
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. To be honest, I haven’t read all that much horror written during the Victorian era – mainly the usual suspects: Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, etc. I keep meaning to get stuck into Sheridan LeFanu.
Do you have a favorite Victorian horror movie? What attracted you to this film?
One of my favorite films of all time is The Innocents. Chilling and masterfully made, it gets under my skin every time I watch it.
Are your characters based on real people?
Yes and no. I usually draw on the characteristics of people I’ve known, but I don’t recall ever basing a character solely on someone particular. Sometimes, as in the case of “Damnation in Venice,” one of the characters was loosely inspired by a fictional character that was based on a real person.
Do you use an outline to write? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I usually prep a loose outline before starting to write – however, it’s very fluid, and I usually replot extensively as I go on. The main purpose of the outline is to help me ensure that the underlying structure is sound.
Do your characters have free will? Or do you decide their fate?
They tell me what they’ll do next. I often find myself revising the plot because it turns out that a character wouldn’t do what I initially thought they’d do.
What are you most afraid of?
A blank page (shudder).
What is your favorite form of divination?
I sometimes perform a Tarot reading for myself. The cards are a mirror.
Who is your favorite horror author?
It’s really hard to pick just one, but if I absolutely had to, Clive Barker had the greatest impact on me, particularly the Books of Blood.
What does the future hold for you? What books, short stories, or works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?
I’ve vowed to write a saleable novel at some point, so I’m currently working on outlines and fragments to test out viable ideas. Mainly, I enjoy writing short stories, mostly horror and crime. Most recently, I’ve had stories published in Summer of Lovecraft: Cosmic Horror in the 1960s (an anthology from Dark Regions Press) and Shooter Literary Magazine in the UK.