#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant Naching Kassa

Get to know the contestants of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest!

 

What do you love about horror?

The best thing about horror is the fun. I enjoy watching a movie and identifying with the girl who creeps through the haunted house with a killer on her tail. I love cheering for Ash as he revs his chainsaw or Kolchak as he fires a crossbow at a shape-shifting monster. I can’t wait to turn the page of a great Dean Koontz, Stephen King, or R.L. Stine novel and see whether the character falls victim to a killer or triumphs over him. Most of all, I like to scare those who read my work, to make them question the creak in the floorboard or the scratch of skittering feet. Horror entertains and I love that.

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?

The first horror movie I fell in love with was Dracula (1931) with Bela Lugosi. I saw it on TV when I was five and I loved it. I liked Vampires for a long time after that. (When I grew older, I liked werewolves but that’s another story.) My first horror story was told at bedtime. It’s called “Where’s My Golden Arm?”. The ending was especially startling. My first book was “The Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston Leroux. Eric was frightening and tragic. He’s an all to human monster. And, my first horror TV show was “Kolchak: The Nightstalker” starring Darren McGavin. The first episode I saw featured a female vampire. She was frightening. The scene where she killed her sister was just brutal and I loved that a clumsy guy like Carl Kolchak could vanquish such a monster.

Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?

I write stories of good and evil, of hope glimmering through the darkness. My stories are character driven and entertaining. If the reader isn’t deriving some pleasure from my story, I’m not doing my job.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

I listen to a lot of rock (mostly Journey and Kiss). I also listen to some country. Tim McGraw’s “Southern Voice” album is haunting and kind of macabre. (There are several songs referring to death.) Bernard Herrman is great. (He composed music for Alfred Hitchcock films.)

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

I bead, cross-stitch, and embroider.

What is your favourite part about writing?

My favorite part of writing is meeting the characters for the first time. I don’t use an outline so everything is a surprise. I just go where the characters lead.

What is your favourite word?

My favorite word is LOVE.

What is your least favourite word?

My least favorite word is HATE.

What turns you on in a book?

Strong emotion turns me on. (Watchers by Dean Koontz is a prime example of a book that evokes strong emotion.) I have to care about the characters or I won’t enjoy the book.

Why should people be on team Naching?

I’m going to give them chills and thrills. This contest isn’t about me. It’s about the people listening and I want them to have fun. A good writer serves the reader and I’m going to do just that.

Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant Patrick R. McDonough

Get to know the contestants of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest

What do you love about horror?

I love how it seems to never run out of scares.

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?

The first one that I remember falling in love with, was the 1999 remake of “House on Haunted Hill”. It’s a movie that I can watch over and over again, and never lose my love for.

Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?

My horror stories tend to be more on the strange and macabre side.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

I almost always listen to music while I write. I listen to nearly everything, from classical to movie and video scores, classic rock, EDM, and nu-metal.

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

Outside of writing, I enjoy playing video games, riding my bike, and working with my hands.

What is your favourite part about writing?

My favorite part about writing is that I don’t need to pay a therapist loads of money. It’s my positive outlet.

What is your favourite word?

Love, that is my favorite word. That word alone conjures up too many images to describe in this interview. I lovvve it.

What is your least favourite word?

My least favorite word, hmm, never thought about that one before. I don’t think I really have one. I love words! Ut-oh…there I go again with that word.

What turns you on in a book?

Compelling characters and a stimulating story turns me on more than anything in a book. Throw in some fun, new, or obscure words that flow nicely, and you got me sold.

Why should people be on team Patrick?

My roots are buried in New England. My mind is spread amongst the odd wonders of the universe, and my hands release the combination of the two. If those aren’t good enough reasons to join team Patrick, then maybe my stories can convince you otherwise.

 Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant Jess Landry

Get to know the contestants of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest!

 

What do you love about horror?
That’s a tough one to pinpoint, but I suppose the love is a nostalgic one. My childhood was full of horror, from the Goosebumps books that gave me nightmares, to TV shows like Tales from the Crypt that I used to sneak around to watch — I have nothing but happy memories when I look back at my upbringing. That, and I’ve always had a strong infatuation with strange things.

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?
The first movie, in general, I remember falling in love with was Army of Darkness — it definitely shaped my taste in film (and totally leveled up my sarcastic abilities). Book-wise, my first memories are from a kids book called Popcorn. In it, a little bear is left alone on Halloween night while his parents head out to a party. He decides to invite some bear friends over, and everyone brings popcorn as a gift. There’s so much damn popcorn that it fills the whole house and the kids have to eat their way out of it. When his parents come home, they bring him a gift for being a good kid while they went out. And yup, it’s popcorn. I actually still have the book, and it’s now in my little one’s library.

Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?
I tend to write stories about family bonds, be it between sisters or a father and daughter, any combination, really. I try to focus on having strong yet believable characters that go through extraordinary events. Usually, the characters do not come away unscathed.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?
When I’m writing emotionally charged scenes, I put on Max Richter. He composes some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. I usually listen to instrumental songs only, as I find lyrics can sometimes be distracting (I’m a toe-tapping sing-a-longer).

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?
I’m a voracious reader and movie-watcher: I will read and watch anything, good or bad (I actually love terrible movies. It’s weird.). And, because I had a baby last June, I’ve now taken up crawling as a hobby. It’s a great way to see all the disgusting things living in between your floorboards even though you just cleaned (or, at least, thought you did).

What is your favourite part about writing?
It’s definitely the creative expression. I love being able to put down the images that pop up in my mind onto paper — it’s like taking a weight off the old shoulders.

What is your favourite word?
“Bescumber.” It’s the fanciest way to talk about flinging poop.

What is your least favourite word?
“Moist.” Nobody likes that word. I feel gross having typed it.

What turns you on in a book?
Nothing turns me on more than Canadian spelling. It’s a delight to my eyes to see a “U” where it’s supposed to be.

Why should people be on team Jess?
If you’re going to be on a team, be on Team Everyone. Sure this is a competition, but writing is tough. Hell, writing and putting it out into the universe is even tougher. I’m already a fan of everyone participating in the contest because it takes guts to pursue your dreams. So, go Team Everyone! I’m rooting for you all.

 Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant Timothy G Huguenin

Get to know the contestants of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest!

What do you love about horror?

Part of that has to do with the themes that can be dealt with in horror in a unique way, like death, the afterlife, the supernatural, evil, the darkness in human nature. It is true that I like to read and write horror to explore those themes, even though I don’t usually like stories that are simplistic and overly moralistic (I do love complex layers of meaning when you don’t notice until you really start mulling over the story after reading). I keep that answer ready for most people who ask because it’s easy to understand and package even if one isn’t really drawn to the horror aesthetic.

But honestly, I mostly like spooky, creepy books, for the same reason I like vanilla ice cream over chocolate, even though my dad thinks I’m crazy for it (chocolate rules in his house). I just, you know, like it (you remember the old Apple Jacks commercials?). My grandfather always says, “Everyone goes crazy different.” Some people like to read high fantasy. Some people like to watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Some very strange, disturbed souls think Florida Georgia Line plays good country music. I like to read books with a creeping sense of dread.

Okay, so maybe there might be something a little weird about that…

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?

My parents bought me a collection of stories by Edgar Allan Poe one year for Christmas. I think I was in middle school at the time, though I’m not certain. I’m not sure if that was the very first, but I do know that Poe was highly influential in my desire to write horror.

Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?

I don’t necessarily limit myself to this, but I tend to set my stories in the Appalachian Mountains, where I have lived most of my life—West Virginia, in particular. I feel a deep connection to the area, and I often like to integrate its culture and myths into my fiction, as well as kind of be a creator of new Appalachian lore, if I can. So there is that about my work, that makes it a little more distinct. A bit of my fiction falls into pretty standard categories like haunted house or ghost stories, probably because that’s the kind of stuff you grow up hearing as a kid late around a campfire on a cool summer night in West Virginia. On the other hand, some other short stories I’ve been working on fall a little more into the realm of weird fiction, or if not that, than some other murkier category that is hard for me to pin down. I’ve written stuff with really twisted human villains, too. I don’t really gravitate toward monster fiction as much as the supernatural or weird. But I’m open to almost anything.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

I wish I could be one of those cool, rockin’ writers jamming to favorite tunes while cranking out novel after rad novel. Unfortunately, I find music too distracting. It’s hard enough sometimes to get the words to really flow even in complete silence. Even classical music makes it hard for me to write.

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

I like a lot of outdoor activities. I love to ski in the winter. I grew up next to two downhill ski resorts and did a lot of that in high school. Lately, I’ve gotten more into cross-country skiing. I’ve done some rock climbing, but I’m not really dedicated to it like most climbers are, so I’m not very good. I like to go backpacking, I like to fish, and even better if I can do both of those at once. I’ve run a couple ultramarathons, but over the last few years I’ve gotten out of shape, and I’m hoping to get back into trail running when the snow melts.

As a kid, I was interested in building and programming computers, and while I haven’t stayed current with that kind of thing these days, once in a while I’ll tinker around with installing different Linux distros on my Macbook.

What is your favourite part about writing?

When your characters really come alive, saying and doing things that take your story in a direction you didn’t expect, that is so cool. There are a few scenes in When the Watcher Shakes near the end (I would describe them but I don’t want to spoil anything), that just kind of happened, and I remember just stopping and thinking, This is really cool, I don’t even feel like I thought of this myself, it just happened on its own this way.

What is your favourite word?

I was a kid in the nineties, so I say “dude” a lot. I also get all warm and fuzzy inside when I hear the phrase, “Do you want some ice cream?”

What is your least favourite word?

“Irregardless.” It’s not changing or adding to the meaning of the word “regardless,” and it isn’t shorter or easier to say. It doesn’t even sound better. It’s just a wasted syllable that immediately compromises the speaker’s credibility.

Now, “dude.” That word makes you sound like a genius, dude.

What turns you on in a book?

Characters that feel like real people. Not just characters that are realistic. The ones that are real. You finish a book and you’re sad because you feel like you’re saying goodbye to friends you’ve known your whole life.

I’m also a sucker for terrible, depressing endings. Especially if an ending depresses or unsettles me in a new, creative way.

Why should people be on team Timothy?

Alliteration is always a good reason to follow someone, right? Listen peeps, join my fan club, and I’ll even let you say “Team Tim.” That’s quick and catchy enough to win over anyone, I’d reckon.

Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant: Jonathan Fortin

Get to know the contestants of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest!

What do you love about horror?

There are a lot of reasons. I like how free it is content-wise, and I’m a sucker for anything with a pretty gothic visual style or a unique, well-developed monster. But on a deeper level, I think it’s because it makes me feel like I’m facing my fears. When I was young I was too scared to watch horror movies, but as I got older I forced myself to do it more and more until I was totally desensitized. It made me feel brave to take myself out of my comfort zone. Good horror frightens us, but in so doing it also makes us feel strong because we faced something we were afraid of and lived through it. And that is, ironically, extremely life-affirming.

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but it was probably the Goosebumps books. I think even as a kid I knew they were stupid, but still, I got a kick out of them. I mean, where else could you read about a tornado made out of werecats? My favorites were the Give Yourself Goosebumps choose your own adventure books–the ones where almost anything you did would lead you to a horrible fate with “THE END” written in big bold letters. You’d make the wrong choice and end up becoming a wax figure or getting eaten by a vampire poodle or whatever. I loved it.

Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?

Primarily dark fantasy and gothic horror. I’m big on dark magic, bloody rituals, demented characters, macabre visuals, and otherworldly monsters that call into question our very beliefs about reality. Gothic horror also tends to be highly plot-driven, building complex mythologies and twisted worlds that we can really dive into, and I enjoy that. That said, my sense of humor is pretty sick, so I’ve also been known to write horror/comedy. I’ll also write erotic horror now and then.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

All the time, partly because whenever I want to write in public it’s too noisy for me to concentrate. I’m very easily distracted by sound and tend to find music with discernible words too distracting to write to. So I’ll often listen to movie and video game soundtracks, as well as ambient or instrumental music. Metal is also great to write to–bands like Alcest, Opeth, and Wolves in the Throne Room are always nice to have in the background. Black metal is also a good bet, not only because the dark tone matches my writing style, but also because the growled lyrics are difficult for me to understand without paying attention, so it isn’t very distracting.

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

Acting, voice acting, playing video games, watching anime, dancing (poorly), doing death growls (poorly), and wasting far too much time on the internet. I also really like cute animals. No, seriously. I squeal like a kid when I see red pandas.

What is your favorite part about writing?

Connecting the dots in my head. I tend to plot novels like delicate houses of cards, and I love that “ah-HAH!” feeling of realizing how the ideas I’ve come up with can link together.

What is your favorite word?

Aberrant.

What is your least favorite word?

Toss up between “Chagrin” and “Preternatural”–the former because Twilight overused it, and the latter because Anne Rice overused it. Those words are dead and gone.

What turns you on in a book?

I like it when a book grabs me by the throat and never gives me time to get bored. I want lush prose, a fast pace, and interesting characters. I want action and mysteries and hanging threads of suspense that build to explosive crescendos. I want sub-plots tying together in interesting, unexpected ways. I want stories that fill my head with incredible visions, and take me to worlds beyond my imagination. I want to laugh and cry and bite my nails in fear. And I don’t want to be bored, not even for a second because then I might never finish reading, even if everyone tells me “it’ll get better.” I have a stack of half-finished books next to my shelf that I keep telling myself I’ll finish someday, and then years have passed and I still haven’t done it because, for whatever reason, I got bored with them.

I really admire books that feel like they take place in unique worlds, but also do a good job of orienting the reader in them. China Mieville’s Bas-Lag books and Dan Simmons’ Hyperion series blew my mind and made me rethink what speculative fiction could be.

Why should people be on team Jonathan?

You know, I think that’s up to you. The other contestants are all very talented writers who are more than worthy of your support. Do I hope to win the contest? Oh, absolutely. But I respect my competition too much to act like I’m better than them this early in the game.

Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant : JC Martínez

What do you love about horror?

The gut-wrenching goosebump it gives you, that spreads all over your body through your spine.

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?

It’s a tie between 1988’s film Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters and 1993’s videogame Zombies Ate My Neighbours.

 
Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?

Is “no” an acceptable answer? I never follow a single line of thought when it comes to writing horror. I am fond of the supernatural, and very much like a good thriller, but I could not give a specific label as to the sort of stories that I write.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

I usually prefer to write in silence, so I just listen to the beats of my heart.
Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

Reading books, watching films and TV shows, and listening to music are my most important hobbies. I also love to eat… sweets, mostly.
What is your favorite part about writing?

Dreaming up stories, even before putting them on paper. Also, I am very fond of writing dialogue.
What is your favorite word?

In English, my favorite word is “sentient”. In Spanish, it’s “decididamente,” which translates to “decidedly”.
What is your least favorite word?

“Responsibilities” Both in English and Spanish.
What turns you on in a book?

Its cadence. If it hooks me and makes me want to keep reading until the very end, it’s golden.
Why should people be on team JC?

With me, they are in for a wild ride. I will fill their dreams with the sweetest nightmares.

 

Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant: Sumiko Saulson

 

What do you love about horror?

Horror is the genre we use to tell cautionary tales, to warn humanity of the folly of our ways. It’s the genre that celebrates the struggle of the spunky underdog against nearly impossible odds. Win or lose, we are so deeply mired in the life of that character that we are concerned about his or her future. Horror is a character-centered genre because we need to care about the protagonist in order to relate to his or her fear. For all of the criticisms about how horror desensitizes us, it also forces us to learn empathy for those unlike ourselves, whose struggles we do not often consider, by asking us to take a cold, hard look at man’s inhumanity to man. Using monsters and other supernatural creatures to convey the story creates enough distance from our bad behavior as a species to allow us to think things over without immediately going on the defensive.

What was the first horror movie/story/book/show that you fell in love with?

Although “Planet of the Apes” is generally considered sci-fi, as a child the subtextual plot about the destruction of humanity that replaced us with intelligent apes was my first exposure to dystopic fiction, which many consider being horror. I was terrified when they showed the Statue of Liberty and revealed that this had all happened on Earth and was pretty obsessed with the movie when I was about five. However, the first purely horror film I fell in love with was “Ben.” I saw it with my dad when I was eight – he thought I’d like it because I had a pet mouse. It was a double feature with “Willard”… I absolutely loved it, and the Michael Jackson song as well. I was 8, so you know I thought Michael Jackson was cute – every little black girl in America did back then. But he wasn’t the one I was in love with – it was Ben. I was totally incensed by the cruel treatment of the poor, beleagured Ben by the evil rats and the cruel humans who picked on him because he was a rodent.

Can you describe the sort of horror stories you write?

My primary genre is psychological horror, such as you see on “Twilight Zone,” “Outer Limits,” or movies like the “Stepford Wives” and the recent Peele film “Get Out.”  I also write gothic horror and dark fantasy, but there is always an element of psychological horror, even when there are monsters like zombies. My horror stories are character-driven usually involve multicultural or Afrocentric characters, and often have strong female characters as their central protagonists. There is a lot of range in terms of goriness, depending on the type of supernatural threat and what the audience is, but some of my stories are really violent and relatively disgusting.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?

I often listen to gothic or alternative rock music, punk, grunge, or metal. I also listen to rap, hip-hip, R&B, and soul. It really depends on what the story is. I usually pick out music that I think the character I am writing would listen to. Because it helps me to get into character and visualize the world that character lives in.

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

I enjoy drawing and painting… in fact, I make comic books and little zines that are mini-comics. I work primarily in acrylics on paper, but also, on canvas or wood. I’ve had paintings exhibited in galleries and cafes. I also enjoy fashion, music, and going dancing.

What is your favorite part about writing?

I find writing very therapeutic.

What is your favorite word?

Proactive.

What is your least favorite word?

Ulcerated.

What turns you on in a book?

Humor. If I don’t like an author’s sense of humor, I am unlikely to find the story particularly interesting, regardless of the genre it’s written in. I can usually identify a particular author by his or her sense of humor once I am familiar with their work.

Why should people be on team Sumiko?

My stories make people think. I think I have something important to bring to the world of horror.

 

Follow the #NGHW Contest, this season on HorrorAddicts.net!